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From Couch to Tough Mudder Workout

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For those who are new to the marathon and fitness scene, taking on something like a run can be extremely overwhelming. Especially with new runs like the "Tough Mudder," where trudging through mud, hopping over fire or crawling beneath barbed wire is a typical obstacle, all aspiring runners need to properly train areas of their body before hitting the course -- not only to show off those guns, but to safely maneuver through it.

Before you take on your first mud run, make sure you incorporate these exercises into your fitness regimen. These moves will target areas of the body needed to hurdle, crouch, lunge and jump your way to victory and once mastered, you'll be fully prepared for the obstacles in the Warrior Dash, Tough Mudder, Spartan Race or a local version of these adventure races sweeping the nation.

Side Plank Series
While you're slipping down mountain-sized obstacles and balancing over ice baths, make sure your core is tight and you're keeping your balance. This side plank series is great for moments when you need to climb up those slippery slopes, over hay bale mountainous regions or lay low on the ground.

a. Start in a low plank position: laying face-down and propping yourself up on your forearms.
b. Slowly drop your right hip down to the ground with your core engaged.
c. Switch to the left side and repeat until you feel the burn.

50 Jump Lunges (or Leap Frogs)
To increase your leap leg-span, practice these in every routine. They'll come in handy during mud pits, tire jumps and other obstacles that require quad-strength.

a. Begin by lowering yourself into a low squatting position.
b. Place your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, bend your knees and lower your bottom toward the ground.
c. Continue lowering until your knees are as close to a 90-degree angle as possible. Stay in this position as you jump forward.
d. As you leap, keep your head, neck, shoulders and arms relaxed. The quality of the jump is more important than the speed or quantity at this point.

Spider Lunge (Walk or Crawl)
Low ropes, hanging fire and other elements will constantly be bombarding runners during this course, and to combat the aerial obstacles, get and stay low! Training your lower body will help you immensely in this course -- and spider lunges will keep you out of harm's way.

a. From a position in which you are on all fours but only inches off the ground, crawl along the ground keeping your body very low, arms and legs spread as wide as possible.

Burpee With Jump
During the course, fallen or staged obstacles will cross your path, and it'll be your job to jump over and under hurdles as you make it towards the finish line. Burpees with jumps will familiarize yourself with avoiding objects and help keep your speed on the course.

a. Begin standing with your feet shoulder-width apart.
b. Lower your body down, bending at the hips and knees, so your hands are on the floor.
c. Thrust out your legs behind you, so that you're at the start of a pushup position.
d. Do a pushup, then pull your knees toward your chest so your feet are beneath you.
e. Jump up and land softly in a standing position.

High Knees
Although many underestimate this exercise, it will come in extremely handy when running through mud, water or any low-to-the-ground rope equipment during the course. Make sure to throw it into your circuit it also doubles as cardio to get heart rate up.

a. Stand in place with your feet hip-width apart.
b. Drive your right knee toward your chest and quickly place it back on the ground.
c. Follow immediately by driving your left knee toward your chest.
d. Continue to alternate knees as quickly as you can.
e. Hold your arms out to the side at shoulder length as you high step.

For more by Angeles Burke, click here.

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