3 Full Body Exercises That Will Get You Course Ready

By mark barroso | October 5, 2017


At any given time during a Tough Mudder, you’ll need to use every muscle in your entire body. Crawling and climbing through, over, and around obstacles such as Kiss of Mud 2.0, Birth Canal,  Pyramid Scheme and Balls to the Wall require the use of your legs, arms, back, chest, core, hands—all of 'em. More importantly, making the transition between climbing, crawling, swinging, and running requires full body awareness, decent aerobic capacity and straight up grit. Incorporating these 3 full body exercises into your workouts will help you build the strength and cardiovascular capacity you’ll need at your next Tough Mudder event.

Directions: Either incorporate these exercises into your current workout regime. Or, do 15 reps of each of the exercises below in a row, circuit-style. Then, rest 30 seconds, before repeating the circuit 2-3 more times for an ultimate Tough Mudder training workout.

Squat with Shoulder Press

Equipment Needed: Two dumbbells or kettlebells

How to Do It:

  1. 1. Stand with one dumbbell in each hand, holding them with palms facing each other on top of your shoulders.

  2. 2. Keeping elbows bent and dumbbells on top of your shoulders, squat down until your thighs are below parallel.

  3. 3. When you break parallel, press heels into the floor and explode up towards the starting position. As you stand, press the weights overhead.  

  4. 4. You should be standing with both arms extended overhead after pressing the weights up.

  5. 5. Bring weights down back to shoulders like in the starting position, before going immediately into the squat again.

  6. 6. This is one fluid motion. There are no pauses between reps.

Trainer Tip: The power you generate on the way up from the squat should be what presses the weight overhead. Your shoulders will be used in this exercise, but it’s not a strict overhead press.                                                  

Burpee Lateral Hop

Equipment Needed: None

How to Do It:

  1. 1. Clear at least 5 feet in front of and behind you. Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart and hands at your sides.

  2. 2. Next, reach forward and drop your hands to the floor. As your hands reach for the floor, sit your hips back so that your legs are bending and moving with you.

  3. 3. Kick your feet back so that you are in a pushup position with your palm remaining pressed to the floor.

  4. 4. Do one pushup.

  5. 5. Release your hands from the floor completely and allow your body to drop to the floor.

  6. 6. Re-place your palms on the ground. Then press against the ground with your palms as you push your body into a straight-arm plank.

  7. 7. Jump both feet forward, close to your your hands, so that you are in a low squat position. Then, jump laterally, or horizontally to your left or right. The goal is to have both feet landing at the same time.

  8. 8. That’s one rep.

  9. 9. Repeat. But for the next rep, jump horizontally in the other direction, or back towards where you came.

Trainer Tip: To increase difficulty, jump horizontally over a barrier such as a plastic step-up, a small box, or a partner that is in a plank position.

Russian Kettlebell Swing

Equipment Needed: One kettlebell

How to Do It:

  1. 1. Stand with feet hips width apart with a kettlebell of moderate weight between your legs.

  2. 2. Squatting down, grip the kettlebell by the handle with palms facing you and thumbs wrapped around the handle.

  3. 3. Hold the kettlebell so that it is in front of your hips.

  4. 4. Make sure your back is straight and that your core is engaged before you begin the movement.  

  5. 5. Keeping your shoulders back, swing the bell backwards between your legs. To do this, bend slightly at the knees and hinge back at the hips.

  6. 6. Next, drive through your heels, explode through your hips and  squeeze your glutes to send the weight upward from your quads.

  7. 7. Aim to bring the weight to chest or eye-level height while keeping your arms extended out in front of you.

  8. 8. As the kettlebell begins to descend, let the weight swing back between your legs as you prepare for a second rep.

  9. 9. When you’re done with the movement, continue holding the kettlebell with a firm grip, and allow it to lower down back between your legs. 

Trainer Tip: Don’t lean forward too far with your shoulders at any point throughout the movement. The trick is keeping a straight back, slight knee bend, and backward to forward hip hinge.


Want to keep your training going? Find a Tough Mudder Bootcamp near you.