How to Train for an Obstacle Course Race Like Tough Mudder or Total Warrior - Diligent Fitness

How to Train for an Obstacle Course Race Like Tough Mudder or Total Warrior

4th December 2016 by Kieran Igwe Exercise 0 comments

Perhaps you’ve signed up (or thinking about signing up) to an obstacle course race like Tough Mudder or Total Warrior.

It sounded like a good idea at the time. But now reality’s dawning on you; you’re actually going to have to do this.

If you’ve done it before you’ve probably got a few areas – or obstacles – you’d like to improve at. And if it’s your first time these thoughts likely keep playing on your mind;

  • Am I fit enough to make it through?
  • Will I be strong enough to tackle the obstacles?
  • Will I hold people up and feel like a failure?

These are all legitimate concerns. But the reality is you deserve respect for even considering putting yourself up for the challenge. Most people just wish or dream about stepping outside the comfort zone. But you’re actually taking action – so cudos to you.

Now you’re signed up, how do you prepare?

First off know that grit and mental determination play as big a part in your ability to make it to the finish line as anything else.

But incase you feel like you’d like something more practical to build your fitness so you’re prepared here are 4 main areas you’ll need to work on;

1. Develop your cardio fitness

There’s no escaping it. You’re likely going to have to run. So you’re going to need to build up a basic level of running specific fitness. The best thing for this is…

You guessed it; running!

The length of the course kinda determines how far you need to be able to run. But here’s the good news:

Because of the varied nature of obstacle course races you don’t have to be able to run the full distance.

You’ll be alternating between running and obstacles. So if your race is around 12 miles in total you’ll only need to be able to run half that (say 5 to 6 miles) without major drama and you’ll be fine.

In any case, you can always walk a little here and there. These challenges are about participation. Everyone’s going to be supporting and encouraging each other. And no-one’s judging.

2. Build Your Core Strength

Hanging from monkey bars, pulling yourself up and over a wall and crawling under a cargo or through a tunnel will all need a strong, stable core.

When you strengthen your core not only will you find obstacles easier, you’ll have a more injury resistant body too (there’s nothing worse than having to pull out because you’re injured).

In the build up to your obstacle course race work a few simple core strengthening exercises into your routine;

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Dead Bug 2×20 each leg

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Side Plank 2x 30 seconds each

3. Increase your upper body strength

During the course you’ll need to pull yourself up and over various obstacles swing from bars and maybe even tackle a rope climb.

So you need to build you upper body strength in what we call the ‘pull’ movement pattern and strengthen your grip.

While a typical training program might recommend pull ups if you can already do a handful of these then you’ll be fine.

Most people can’t bang out a load of pull ups though… yet! So if that’s the case for you here are a few alternatives to help you improve your upper body strength:

  • Dead Hang 2×30-60 secs
  • Monkey Bars 2×30-60 secs
  • TRX Row 2x 15-20

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  • Eccentric Only Pull Up 2x 30 secs lowering
  • Pull Up 2x 2-10

4. Develop Explosive Lower Body Strength & Power

There’s going to be points in the course where you need to jump to get onto an obstacle over a wall or need to sprint to get up a ramp.

So we need to build your lower body strength and explosive power so you can have the support of your biggest and strongest muscles helping you out.

A few of our favourites to try;

  • Single Leg Squat 2×10 each leg
  • Explosive Sled Push 2x 20 metres (or 20 seconds)
  • Box Jump / Jump Squat 2x 5-10
  • Explosive Step Up with High Knee 2×10 each

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Work some of the above exercises into your routine and you’ll be well prepared for anything you’ll encounter on the day of your obstacle course race. It’ll be tough no doubt. But you’ll have a great sense of achievement when you cross the finish line!

Want help training for an obstacle course race like Tough Mudder or Total Warrior?

If you’ve signed up to a challenge and want to get fit for it we’d love to help! Call us on 07766 808553 (or complete a form here and request more info) and we’ll be in touch to chat about your goals and share details of how we’ll help you build up your fitness and strength so you can complete your obstacle course race with style 🙂

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