Looking to train for an Obstacle Course Run, scared what Tough Mudder has in store for you? With the right training and the confidence you can take on nearly any Obstacle Course that is set out in front of you.
The physicality required to navigate the course mimics the functional, whole-body movements made by our ancestors thousands of years ago: natural movements such as running, balancing, crawling, jumping, climbing, and carrying. Obstacle-course racing is the perfect marriage of strength and endurance in a competition. In addition, you need explosive power, stability, and stamina.
For this reason, a good training program should focus on these elements:
Improving core strength and mobility
Building strength and stability across the hips, midsection, and shoulders
Developing explosive movements, such as jumping and leaping
Creating seamless transitions between obstacles
Your goal should be the ability to launch yourself over a wall and, in one fluid motion, start running again
You’ll need somewhere to run or a treadmill if in a gym, a set of monkey bars or a bar to hang off, a park bench or gym bench, a makeshift balance beam and a box to jump on.
Start with dynamic warm-up stretches, then repeat the sequence of exercises below until you reach 40 minutes.
1. Lie on your back with your knees bent 90 degrees and your feet flat on the floor, toes pointed forward.
2. Press your heels into the ground, squeeze your glutes, and raise your hips as high as possible. Only your shoulders and feet should remain on the ground. Hold for two seconds.
3. Lower your hips toward the floor without touching it.
4. Repeat 12 times.
1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and knees softly bent. Bend over to place your hands on the ground, directly in front of your toes, keeping your legs as straight as possible.
2. Keeping your legs straight and your belly button drawn in, walk your hands forward into a plank position, with your hands directly below your shoulders. Hold for two seconds.
3. Walk your hands back to your toes and slowly rise to standing.
4. Repeat six times.
1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and toes facing forward. Take a wide step to the right keeping your toes pointed straight and your feet flat.
2. Keeping your left leg straight, push your right hip back and lower into a squat on your right side. Keep your right foot, knee, and hip aligned and your weight in the heel of your right foot. Pause for two seconds.
3. Push off your right foot to return to the starting position.
4. Repeat 12 times. Then switch sides.
Backward Lunge with twist
1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and toes facing forward. Step your right foot backward into a lunge.
2. Arch your back slightly while twisting your torso to the left and while reaching your right hand up.
3. Push off your left foot to return to standing.
4. Alternate sides for a total of 12 repetitions on each side.
Run 400 metres
Develops explosive power for leaping up and over obstacles.
1. Stand with feet at shoulder width. Squat by pushing your hips back and bending your knees so that your thighs are parallel to the ground. At the same time, swing your arms backward.
2. Jump vertically by extending your ankles, knees, and hips in a straight line, while swinging your arms forward and upward. Reach as high as possible, as if trying to block a volleyball.
3. Land on your forefeet, then heels, with knees bent.
4. Repeat 20 times.
Note: Once you start getting more confident try jumping onto a box and gradually increasing the height of the box.
Builds full-body strength, power, and endurance.
1. Start in a squat position and place your hands on the ground. Jump your feet back into a plank position. Keep your core engaged and avoid arching your back.
2. Perform a pushup.
3. Jump your feet forward toward your hands to return to a squat position. Immediately jump as high as you can while swinging your arms over your head.
4. Repeat 10 times
Run 400 metres
Monkey Bars Or Dead-Hangs with Hand Release
Develops upper-body strength and technique required to traverse monkey bars and rings.
1. Start with two hands on the first bar in a dead hang. (Opt for gloves if you’re worried about blisters.) From this position, reach one arm forward to the next bar.
2. Swing your hips forward to generate momentum. Your hips will then swing backward and forward again. As you begin your next swing forward, reach your trailing arm ahead and grab hold of the next bar.
3. As soon as your trailing hand becomes the lead hand, let your body swing backward and forward again. Use the momentum to reach your trailing arm to the next bar.
4. Repeat for 10 rungs.
Note: If you do not have access to monkey bars, substitute dead-hangs with a hand release. Try to take one hand off the bar for a few seconds, before grabbing the bar and releasing the other hand. Repeat the release 10 times for each hand.
Builds upper-body and core strength as well as shoulder stability, which helps you pull yourself up and over obstacles.
Alternate bench pushups and bench dips for sets of 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, and 2 repetitions.
Bench Pushups (12, 8, 4)
1. Start by facing a park bench or other elevated surface. Place your hands on the bench, slightly wider than your chest, and step your feet back into a plank position.
2. Keeping your weight on the thumb sides of your palms, bend at your elbows. Keep your body in a straight line and your elbows at a 45-degree angle relative to your chest.
3. Press your hands into the bench and extend your elbows to rise to the starting position.
Bench Dips (10, 6, 2)
1. Face away from a park bench or other elevated surface. Place your hands behind you on the edge of the bench, with your palms down and fingers facing forward. Keep arms straight and chest open.
2. Step your feet forward and away from the bench. Straighten your legs so that your weight is resting on your heels and the palms of your hands.
3. Bend at your elbows to lower your body toward the ground, with triceps parallel to the ground, keeping your butt close to the bench and your chest open.
4. Press your palms down and extend your elbows to rise to the starting position.
Run 400 meters
Front plank with Superman Reach
Develops core strength and improves mobility and stability in shoulders and hips, which helps with crawling and climbing.
1. Start in a plank position on your forearms, with your shoulders directly above your elbows, your entire body forming a straight line from head to toes.
2. Reach your left arm forward while lifting your right leg off the ground. Focus on keeping your hips level. Note: If this is too challenging, extend one limb at a time, going clockwise: left leg, left arm, right arm, right leg.
3. Return your left arm and right leg to the ground. Then reach your right arm and lift your left leg.
4. Alternate lifting your left arm/right leg and right arm/left leg for one minute.
Develops skills necessary for balancing obstacles.
1. Find a narrow surface (no wider than 4 inches) similar to a balance beam. Step onto the “beam,” putting one foot directly in front of the other. Engage your abs and keep your shoulders back and down.
2. Transfer your weight to your front foot, making sure to engage your glutes. Slowly step your back foot forward while keeping your abs tight and knees softly bent. Keep your arms close to your body.
3. As you place your new lead foot on the beam, distribute your weight evenly between both feet. Once you feel stable, continue walking forward in this manner.
4. Repeat for 20 feet (one set). Perform 10 sets.
Sprint 400 Metres to Finish
If you want to increase the intensity level, then increase the running distance between each exercise and increase the reps by double or even triple the amount.
If you like this article, please like my facebook page, Tom Nash Personal Training to stay up to date with my latest posts.
You can also follow me on Instagram @tomnashpt or on twitter @ThomasENash for updates and training ideas.