Bodyweight training is—or at least should be—the cornerstone of any Mudder’s training.
Why? Because relative strength (your strength to body size ratio) is a key determiner of athletic prowess. Think about it: some of the hardest Tough Mudder obstacles use just your bodyweight as load, think Funky Monkey and The Gauntlet.
“Your body is a machine that requires all components to work together to perform a task,” says athletic trainer Megan Beck, C.S.C.S. That means that, contrary to biceps curls and triceps extensions, every bodyweight exercise will train your upper- and lower-body and core muscles to operate as a strong, cohesive unit for a smaller risk of injury and better stability, coordination and agility.
That said, by bodyweight exercises, we mean more than pull-ups and push-ups. After all, as much as we love them (or love to hate them), they’re probably already part of your routine. But these exercises, you’ve probably never tried.
The Four Bodyweight Exercises
Try mixing these into your warm ups and cool downs, or, for a full workout, perform 3 sets of 10 reps of each exercise back to back.
What you’ll need: No equipment; a small work space.
EXERCISE #1: PUSH-UP TO LOADED BEAST
Get in a high plank position, then lower into a pushup. As you push through your chest to raise from the pushup, bend your knees and shift your weight backward to end in a loaded beast—just like child’s pose, but with your knees hovering just off of the floor. Keep your core tight, then “unload” the beast to lower into the next pushup.
EXERCISE #2: AIRPLANE
Standing on one leg, hinge at the hips to lower your torso toward the floor and raise your leg behind you until your body forms a T shape. Rotate your torso toward one side, then the other, and then extend the hips to return to standing. Perform all reps, then repeat on the other leg.
EXERCISE #3: LATERAL APE
Get in a low squat and place your hands on the floor in front of and to your side. Press your hands into the floor and jump your legs up and over toward that side. That’s one rep, perform all reps moving in one direction, then the other.
EXERCISE #4: CRAB WALK
Sit down, place your hands and feet on the floor, and squeeze your glutes to raise your hips a few inches from the floor. Keeping this position, walk backward, counting each “step” as a rep. Perform all reps moving backward, and then forward.
You’ve nailed these bodyweight moves, so put your fitness to the test with a Tough Mudder event.