Kids don’t think about working out to get stronger or build endurance. Kids are just focused on having fun. It just so happens that some of those fun activities are great exercises to help train for your next Tough Mudder.
Kids love to jump. Hopscotch, trampolines, and the bed are just a few ways that they get their daily dose of jumping. While it may just seem like a way to expend energy, jumping has great fitness benefits for both adults and kids alike. Jumping is a cardio based exercise that will get your heart beating and burn calories, which is great for keeping your body and heart healthy. Jumping also builds strength throughout the leg and core muscles and improves coordination and balance. Building up cardio, leg strength, explosiveness, and balance are all key skills required to conquer the Tough Mudder course and obstacles. You can add jumping into your workouts and training routines with the following.
One important thing to remember when jumping is making sure you keep proper form throughout the movement, particularly when landing. When landing from any jumping movement, focus on landing softly on the balls of your feet, then simultaneously absorbing and distributing the impact through your glutes and quads. If you land flat footed, the impact when hitting the ground can lead to injuries in the feet, ankles, calves, knees, and lower back.
The joy a kid has when they complete the monkey bars for the first time. For a kid, the monkey bars are a way to outshine their classmates out on the playground. For adults, well maybe you can outshine your colleagues. Monkey bars are an incredible workout though that can help you build up your upper body strength, grip strength and core stability. The traditional way to cross the monkey bars is to swing from one bar to the next, though for adults, you can up add different elements to this equipment to keep it interesting
2 hands per rung
2 hands per rung w/ pull ups
Lateral (sideways) movement
There are 2 methods that you can take when using the monkey bars. The first is to swing, using your momentum to carry you along. This method works well when alternating hands with every other bar, focusing on your grip strength.
As you level up to some of these monkey bar varieties, you’ll want to start working towards having your elbows at a 90 degree angle. By keeping your elbows at 90 degrees, you are now engaging more of your muscle groups, such as your back, biceps, shoulders and grip, whereas when you were swinging with straight arms, you only activated your shoulders and grip. When you progress to new options that remove swinging and momentum, and focus on control, you will be able to stabilize yourself and hang on for a long duration by using the 90 degree elbow angle method.
Who didn’t love rolling down a hill as a kid? When you finally reached the bottom, you’d run back up and do it all again. Well, it just so happens that this fun kids activity will have them ready to crush the Tough Mudder Kids course. If you want to join in on the action, hill workouts will also have you ready for your next Tough Mudder event (though you can walk down rather than roll). Plus, if you enjoy hills enough, you can earn unique rewards when tallying up your elevation towards a Tough Mudder Climb Milestone.
Running or walking up hills is another exercise that is great for building leg strength and working your cardiovascular system. In addition, hill work contributes to building quickness and helps with form that will make you a better overall runner.
Hill workouts are best accomplished by using different types of intervals. Get creative with how to use a hill you have available. If it’s a small hill, get to the top and then go back down, using the time on the way down to take deep breaths and recover. If it’s a bigger hill, play around with going up the hill for a set time, and then recovering as you return to the bottom. You can also add in sprints or other speed intervals as you get comfortable with the quick elevation gain during your workout.
For proper form when running, or speed walking, up hills, Tough Mudder Certified Coach Allison Tai (link: https://toughmudder.com/blog/no-excuses/meet-your-new-endurance-coach/) explains that you should “stay upright and relaxed. Use your arm swing (nips to hips) and drive your knees up lightly”. She also includes to make sure you are looking straight ahead, and not down at your feet.
Seeing your kid crawl is an incredibly proud (and potentially scary) moment for a parent. This movement is a huge accomplishment for an infant, and rightfully so. Crawling is a full-body exercise that requires strength and coordination from head to toe. The difficulty of crawling movements make them a great way to train for a Tough Mudder event. Two great crawling movements to include into your training routine are:
When performing crawling movements, remember to keep your core muscles activated and tight. Don’t let your hips drop too low or you could injure your lower back. The goal is to use coordination to move your body in one succinct motion.
Exercising and training is meant to be fun. Try out some of these movements that bring that childhood nostalgia into your workouts. If you have a Tough kid out there, bond a little closer by doing these movements together.