Boost your balance and tackle a Tough Mudder

Tough Mudder
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Conquering the 20km and infinite obstacles of a Tough Mudder takes more than brute strength and an affinity for dirt. It requires agility and coordination to scale awkward hurdles and a body awareness that lets you move efficiently and without the risk of injury. It’s no good having run the equivalent of Land’s End to John o’ Groats on the road when your first step on the uneven terrain of a Tough Mudder leads to ankle sprain. That’s why balance is so important.

So how good is your balance? ‘Stand on one leg and imagine you’re on the middle of a clock face,’ says Wes Tubb, an osteopath, personal trainer and founder of Wes James Osteopathy & Personal Training ( ‘Tap your other leg to 12 o’clock, lowering your standing leg into a quarter squat as you do, then return your extended leg to the middle. Keep doing this in a clockwise direction for each hour hand. 

‘The more stable you are, the greater your balance or body awareness,’ Tubb says. ‘Good proprioceptive strength makes you more stable, and more in control when performing multiplane, explosive and single-leg exercises, which are involved in almost every obstacle you’ll encounter on a Tough Mudder and play a part in almost all the everyday activities you do subconsciously.’

Ankle mobility and stability are also vital. ‘Inversion sprains are very common injuries on the awkward terrain of an obstacle course race,’ says Tubb. ‘Improving your range of motion for your foot and ankle combined with strength in that given range of motion is crucial to reduce the risk of sprains.’

Incorporate this five-move circuit in your Tough Mudder plan, scheduling at least one session a week using a training schedule such as the Sony Lifelog app in connection with an Xperia™ Z3 smartphone, to improve your balance and keep you out of trouble on the course and in your training.

Start out by doing 60 seconds of light stretching as active rest between each exercise. For a greater challenge, do each move back-to-back with no rest. Aim to complete three rounds, building up to five to encourage progression, resting 60 seconds after each round, and perform it once or twice a week.


Reps 10 each leg

Imagine you’re standing on the middle of a clock face. Stand on your right foot. Jump forwards to land at 12 o’clock on your left foot. Stabilise, keeping your knee in line with your second and third toe, then jump back onto your right foot in the middle of the clock. Repeat to 9 and 7 o’clock. Switch legs and jump to 12, 3 and 5 o’clock.


Reps 10 each leg

Again, imagine you’re standing on a clock face. Hold a medicine ball above your head, lunge forwards with your left leg to 12 o’clock and chop the ball towards your left shin Push back to the start position, bringing the ball back above your head. Repeat to 9 and 7 o’clock. Switch legs and lunge to 12, 3 and 5 o’clock.


Reps 10 each leg

Hold dumbbells by your sides and place the top of one foot on a bench behind you. Bend your front leg to lower, keeping your chest up and core braced. Pause, then drive back up through your front foot to return to the start. Make sure your knee stays in line with your second and third toe.


Reps 10 each leg

Stand with a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing you and feet shoulder-width apart. Bend forwards – hingeing from your hips – and raise one leg straight behind you. Lower the dumbbells until you feel a moderate stretch in your hamstrings. Keep your standing leg straight throughout.


Reps 10 each leg

Work on your ankle stability with inversion and eversion band exercises. Wrap a physio band a couple of times around one foot, holding the two ends in each hand. To work on strengthening your ankle everters, pull on one end of the band so that your foot turns in at the ankle (inversion). Evert the foot under the resistance of the band for ten reps. To strengthen the inverters, pull on the band that turns the foot out (eversion), then invert the foot under resistance from the band for ten reps. 

Coach Staff

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