How Tough Are You

How Tough Are You?

If plummeting through a ring of fire, taking ice-water baths, crawling through mud, climbing up slippery walls, and being electro-shocked all while running 10-12 miles sounds appealing to you, then you might want to consider participating in the Tough Mudder obstacle course.

If you need a new motivation for training, want to experience half a day of marine boot camp (minus the combat), or simply need some “tough” profile pics, the Tough Mudder is for you. However, your “toughness” is really up to you, since participants get the option to skip obstacles and can take their time running the 10-12 miles. Organizers say it is not a timed race but instead a team oriented challenge. Simply completing the course requires a great deal of camaraderie—how else would you be able to haul half a tree through some of the obstacles? And someone needs to pat you on the back after you get through the finish line bruised, sore, and very, very dirty.

While some might think that the obstacles sound like one fear-provoking adrenaline rush after another, to others it sounds like fun!

  • Running through electrifying voltage-leaden wires
  • Plummeting through a giant ring of fire into a tank of water
  • Plunging down a near-vertical water slide through a five-foot wall of flames into a muddy pit
  • Spinning a human hamster wheel with your hands while clinging to it
  • Climbing laterally while hanging from heavy duty-rings along a series of ascending and descending pegs.
  • Crawling through an inclined mud-infested tube then dropping into a muddy water pit
  • Crawling through the birth canal – a heavy water-filled liner that leaves just enough space to let you crawl underneath it while pushing up and moving forward
  • Being in an enclosed structure filled with a tear gas-like substance and clambering over obstacles
  • Crawling through a mud pit whose bottom is constantly changing elevation, all while avoiding a barbed wire above your head.
  • Climbing multiple walls and objects by using ropes, pushing pegs into holes, forming human pyramids, and whatever else you can think of
  • Carrying a massive tree log over, under, and through walls as a team.
  • Sliding down vertical mud, wading through waist-deep mud, and trying to exit through a mud-slide while giving your teammates a hand
  • Navigating skewed slippery bars using only your hands.
  • Climbing up and down the ‘ladder to hell’, a 12-foot wooden structure
  • Climbing up and down a high stack of huge hay bales
  • Repeatedly plunging under a series of obstacles in a body of cold water
  • Taking an ice-water plunge – which now sounds easy compared to everything else

How Tough Are You

Reportedly only 78% of participants successfully complete a Tough Mudder course. But it has become a huge success, and a lot of people want to find out if they’re ‘tough enough” to complete the course.

What does it take to be tough? A lot of training and a fearless attitude. Unless Turkish Get Ups, Rope Climbs, Pull Ups, Box Jumps, and Balance Training are already part of your usual routine, then you should increase your strength training to be up for the challenge and not feel like you’ve been run over by a truck the day after the event.

How Tough Are You

While the recommended training program includes a lot of running, and the entire course is 10-12 miles long, the longest run between obstacles is only 2 miles. Thus wind sprints and interval training are most effective besides strength training. You may want to add sauna or steam room in combination with ice plunge baths to your weekly routine to get used to the ice-cold water dip, which will simultaneously improve toxin elimination and circulation in your sore muscles. The following strength-building exercises are recommended:

  • Jumping Jacks
  • Push Ups
  • Squats
  • Burpees
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Turkish Get Ups
  • Ski Jumps
  • Crawl Outs
  • Planks and Side Planks
  • Jump Rope
  • High Knee Jumping
  • Pull Ups
  • Balance Training
  • Duck Walk
  • Skates Jumps
  • Ski Jumps
  • Triceps Dips
  • Hand-to-Toe-Kicks
  • Lunges
  • Leap Frogs

After the course you will need a massage for sure (after a very long and hot shower!). Studies have shown that massage improves post workout recovery time and decreases tissue inflammation that is caused by exercise. Massage also improves circulation and is useful in preventing and treating muscle imbalances that occur when increasing strength training on certain muscle groups.

Written by
 Eliane Baggenstos, owner of bodono, Registered Nurse, and Certified Health Coach with certification in Plant-Based Nutrition by the Cornell University and Evidence-based Health Coaching for Healthcare Providers by the National Society of Health Coaches, Licensed Massage Therapist with certifications in Advanced Sports Massage and Medical Massage, and Personal Trainer NASM CPT.