Build a Tough Mudder-ready lower-body

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Few activities will test as many different aspects of your fitness as a Tough Mudder. Strength, power, muscle endurance and aerobic fitness all play crucial roles in getting you round the course, not to mention over, under and across its assortment of mud-splattered obstacles. And while you don’t have to be a cardio machine with beast-like strength to complete the event, tailoring your training in the weeks leading up to it to focus on a variety of different elements of fitness will make a huge difference to your performance, especially when it comes to your lower body.

When you’re getting your stamina levels to where they need to be, you should ensure you’re tracking your everyday runs to see if you’re improving in distance and speed. Powered by Android Wear, the SmartWatch 3 from Sony gives you useful information at a glance and responds to your voice. It feeds you relevant and specific information as you move. Water protected at an IP68 rating and with GPS and compass sensors, it’s an accessory that will boost your training in style, synching with the XperiaTM Z3+ from Sony to help you keep track of your fitness behaviour.

And once you’re ready to work out, you can try the variety of different exercises below – provided by trainer Luke Chamberlain of Impulse Fitness – to help you build the strength, power and endurance you need to be able to jump, scramble, crawl or climb over whatever the course throws at you, while still taking the 20km run in your stride.

If you're more of a beginner looking for a simple training plan for your first race, try our 8-week first time Tough Mudder training plan.

How to do these workouts Add these workouts to your weekly training regime for the 6-8 weeks prior to your Tough Mudder event, along with 2 running sessions per week and 2 upper body workouts.

WORKOUT 1 – Endurance

1 Barbell split squats Sets 3
Reps 10 each side
Rest 45-60sec
Start in a split stance with the bar resting across your shoulders. Keep your chest up and bend your legs until your back knee is just off the floor, without your front knee moving beyond your toes. Press back up to the top of the split stance. If you want to make it harder, try holding the bar across your chest in a front squat position. ‘This compound exercise mimics the movement pattern you use when running, while adding resistance to help you build muscle endurance,’ says Chamberlain.

2 Walking squat Sets 3
Time 45sec
Rest 30sec
Lower into a half squat and then walk forward while maintaining the position and keeping your hips low. ‘This move keeps all the weight on your quads for the full 45 seconds,’ says Chamberlain. ‘By the end, they’ll be screaming.’

3 Prisoner wall hold Sets 3
Time to failure
Rest 30sec
Stand with your toes close to a wall, feet shoulder-width apart and hands behind your head. Squat down so your thighs go lower than parallel to the floor. Hold the position. ‘This isometric hold develops is as much about building mental strength and endurance as physical,’ says Chamberlain. ‘If you start to feel like you can’t hold it any longer, think about something else to take your mind off it – you’ll be amazed at how much longer you can last.’

4 Box jump variations Sets 3
Time 60sec
Rest 30-45sec
For the first set, position a low box directly in front of you and jump forward and up onto it, bending your knees as you land to soften the impact, then step down one foot at a time. For the second set, stand at a 90° angle to the box and jump sideways onto it. For the final set, start with the box to your side, and then rotate 90°in the air as you jump, so that it’s directly in front of you as you land. ‘Varying the angles with each set will allow you to work through your sagital, frontal and transverse planes of motion,’ says Chamberlain. ‘This will help to prepare your knee and hip joints for jumping and landing at different angles, which is crucial to reduce the risk of injuries for obstacles such as Island Hopping and Hero Walls.’

5 Cross trainer ramp challenge Sets 1
Time 10sec
Rest N/A
Set the cross trainer to level 5 and increase the resistance by one level every minute for 10 minutes. ‘This helps you build the mental strength to keep pushing harder when you’re already exhausted,’ says Chamberlain. ‘It’s a fun but brutal finisher to end the workout.’

WORKOUT 2 – Strength and power

1 Sumo deadlift Sets 3
Reps 12
Rest 45-60sec
With feet double shoulder-width apart, hold the bar with a shoulder-width grip so your arms are inside your knees. Keeping your chest up and your back straight, drive down through your heels and pull the bar up your legs, pushing your hips forwards to stand tall. ‘This compound lift is designed to help warm you up and prepare your central nervous system for the more complicated, challenging exercises that follow, so don’t worry about going too heavy,’ says Chamberlain.

2 Walking dumbbell lunge Sets 3
Reps 10 each side
Rest 30-45sec
Holding dumbbells in each hand, lunge forwards, keeping your back upright and your front knee over your front foot. Lower until your back knee is just off the floor, then drive through the heel of your front foot to stand and continue straight into a lunge with your other leg. ‘This will mimic the movement pattern your legs use for running, but with added weight to help build strength,’ says Chamberlain.

3 Single leg glute bridge Sets 3
Reps 10 each side
Rest 30-45sec
Lie on your back with your legs bent and feet on the floor. Raise your hips to form a bridge. Raise and straighten one leg, then lower back to the bridge position. Repeat with the other leg. ‘This move puts a big percentage of your bodyweight through one glute, forcing it to adapt quicker and improve it’s ability to assist your other leg muscles when you run,’ says Chamberlain.

4 ViPR ice skater Sets 3
Time 30-45sec
Rest 30-45sec
Hold a ViPr directly in front of you, resting it on your hips. Step to the side with one foot, while reaching across your body with your opposite hand, bringing the ViPR across at knee height. Decelerate through your hips and then push off and return to the start position. Repeat on the opposite side. ‘This move uses the opposite hip motion to the sumo deadlift helping to balance you out and reduce the risk of injury,’ says Chamberlain.

5 Tabata incline treadmill sprints Sets 8
Time 20sec
Rest 10sec
Set the treadmill to the steepest incline and fastest speed you can safely manage, then sprint for the specified intervals. ‘This exercise is great for developing power and speed, as well as getting you used to running on an incline when you’re already tired,’ says Chamberlain. ‘This will help you power through the crucial first phase of Everest, which is usually one of the last obstacles you’ll face on a Tough Mudder course.’

Find out more about the Xperia Z3+ from Sony and its benefits for your Tough Mudder preparations

Coach Staff

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