Earlier this year, some other media types and I got the chance to work out with the new official trainer for the Tough Mudder challenge. His name is Kyle Railton but he goes by Coach Theodore Mudhoney or Coach T. Mud or simply “Coach.” And he’s quite a character, actually. A native of Lake Tahoe, Coach is a fan of those tight Bike coaching shorts from the ’80s, the Hulkster facial hairstyle, aviator sunglasses and mesh hats worn indoors.
He’s also a strong proponent of hip thrusts and hip rotations. And above all else: enthusiasm. Lots and lots of enthusiasm. His whole philosophy on fitness is: “Don’t take yourself so seriously. It’s just fitness. Work hard and have fun. Pretend you’re a child again.”
I’ll leave the details of the workout that Coach put us through below, in case you want to do it on your own or with a friend. (It’s probably better to do it with a friend or friends, if possible, because some of the exercises require a partner). I will warn you: It’s deceptively grueling.
#3. Climb over your car. To build mental grit, make it your boss’s car.
But the other new development in Tough Mudder Land is that, for the first time ever, they’ve created an official training program and video series to prepare people for the Tough Mudder. It’s a four-week training program and it builds in intensity as you make your way through it. They’ve also created an obstacle training guide – i.e., exercises to perform to get you ready you for those epic Tough Mudder obstacles.
Now normally, you can’t get access to the training program/obstacle guide unless you sign up for a Mudder. But I got my hands on one, so I figured I’d share some of my favorite exercises with you. The thing I really like about them is that you can do them without traditional weights or fancy equipment. Also, a lot of them seem pretty fun.
With the first-ever Urban Mudder taking place July 25th at Randalls Island in New York, feel free to try them yourself. Just don’t blame me if you wake up incredibly sore tomorrow.
Start by warming up for five to ten minutes. Do something similar to this.
1. Find monkey bars and travel across them sideways.
2. Hang from monkey bars as long as possible. Rest and repeat until you can’t use your hands.
3. Climb over your car. To build mental grit, make it your boss’s car.
4. With a partner, put a car in neutral, take turns behind the wheel and push it around the neighborhood.
5. Find a neighbor with a sand box. Fill it with water. Assume fetal position and roll from side to side.
6. Go to a local skate park and run to the top of everything.
7. Carry your friend up a flight of stairs. Switch roles. Do this 10 times.
8. Perform box jumps on a picnic table.
9. Do army crawls: Crawl keeping your hips and shoulders low to the ground and use your shoulders and lats to drag yourself.
10. Do mountain climbers like this.
11. Do plank rotations: From a plank, raise your right arm in the air and twist, supporting yourself with your left hand. Switch between arms while keeping your core tight.
12. Do Supermans: Lay face down and arch your back, raising shoulders and legs off the ground. Align arms, legs and torso with fingers and toes just off the ground. Release to the ground and return for another rep.
13. Do broad jumps: With knees wider than your shoulders, bend your knees to generate power and jump as far forward as you can. Think explosive on takeoff and use your arms for added power. Land softly.
14. Do zombie drags: Laying on your stomach, reach your hands out and use your fingertips to drag your body across the floor. Don’t rush—take your time and build your grip strength.
15. Sprint 100 yards. Rest while your friend sprints 100 yards. Repeat for 30 minutes. (Note: This one seems ridiculously difficult.)
Oh, and here’s the workout that Coach put us through. I’ll call it, um…
The Workout that Coach Put Us Through (a.k.a. Coach’s Tough Mudder Workout)
Coach at work. And that’s our writer in the orange shirt, hanging back because he’s tall.
As always, warm up for five to ten minutes.
Then do the following with 30-second breaks between each:
Two minutes of wheelbarrow walks with a partner. (Alternate every 30 feet or so.)
Two minutes of army crawls. (For added fun, crawl under your partner, who’s creating a tunnel with his/her body. Then switch.)
Two minutes of broad jumps.
Two minutes of pull-ups. (To make it easier, do three pull-ups and then switch with your partner. Let your partner assist you if you need help.)
Two minutes of box jumps. (Jump up on the box, land softly, step down, repeat.)
Two minutes of tug of war. (Against your partner or another team.)
Two minutes of carrying your partner, piggyback-style. (Alternate every 30 feet or so.)
Two minutes of zombie drags.
Cooldown period: Rub out your muscles with a small massage ball. Have a beer.
Final thought from Coach: “As long as you’re getting out there on a daily basis, doing work and keeping your goals in sight with a positive attitude, success of all shapes and sizes is in your future.”