If there’s one sure thing about training for a Tough Mudder, it’s that you absolutely don’t need a barbell to do so. In fact, a pair of dumbbells is all you need to build the strength, stability, balance and explosiveness necessary to conquer our awesome obstacles and gnarly terrain. In this workout, you’ll do a full body workout then two rounds of a core training circuit, all using either one or two dumbbells.
Try this effective and efficient dumbbell only workout to prepare your entire body for any Tough Mudder course.
1. Dumbbell Lunge with Curl and Press
How to Do It: Stand holding a dumbbell in each hand using a palms facing up (supinated) grip at your sides with feet shoulder-width apart and back straight. Step forward with your right foot so right thigh is parallel to ground and left knee is 1-2 inches off the ground. At the same time, curl the dumbbells until they reach your shoulders. From the lunge, turn your hands to face each other (neutral grip), then press both dumbbells overhead. Step the right foot back to the starting position as you lower the weights to your sides, effectively returning to the starting position. That’s one rep.
2. Dumbbell Deadlift
How to Do It: Stand holding a dumbbell in each hand using an overhand (pronated grip)with core tight and feet hip width apart. The dumbbells should be in front of your thighs. Keep the chest and shoulders back. Squat down, lowering your hips first, until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Make sure your knees are bent, heels are on the ground and your back is straight the entire movement. The weights should stay close to the shins and travel straight down to the top of the ankles. From the bottom position, press hips forward driving through your heels and squeezing your glues to return to the starting position. That’s one rep.
3. Dumbbell Farmer’s Walk
Distance: 20-100 yards
How to Do It: Stand holding a dumbbell in each hand at your sides using a neutral (palms facing each other) grip. With chest and shoulders back, walk forward for 10-50 yards, then turn around and walk back. Try not to lean forward, so keep a straight back throughout the trip. This exercise will improve grip strength for Tough Mudder obstacles such as Kong and Augustus Gloop in addition to simulating what it will be like to carry a log during Hold Your Wood.
4. Dumbbell Glute Bridge with Chest Fly
How to Do It: This exercise combines two exercises into one. Lie on your back with knees bent at 90 degrees holding one light dumbbell in each hand at your sides. Your palms should be underneath the dumbbell and arms straight out to the side, forming a “T” shape. Simultaneously bring your hips towards the ceiling and the dumbbells towards each other over your torso. The end position should be hips up as in a glute bridge with the weights touching, palms facing towards each other, and your chest squeezed at the top. Lower your butt back down to the ground and separate the weights, returning them to the ground. That’s one rep.
5. Dumbbell Bentover Lateral Raise
How to Do It: Stand with a dumbbell in each hand, knees bent and torso bent over until chest is nearly parallel with ground. Let your arms hang down at your sides with palms facing each other (neutral grip). Keeping a slight bend in your elbows, raise arms out to the sides until they are nearly parallel to the ground which is about shoulder level. Then, return the weight back to the starting position. That’s one rep.
6. Dumbbell Wrist Curl
How to Do It: Stand hold one dumbbell in one hand with palm facing forward (supinated/open grip) and arm straight out in front of you. Let the weight roll down onto your fingertips then raise your wrist toward the ceiling to bring the weight into the palm of your hand. That’s one rep.
Directions: Do 2 rounds of the following three exercises. Rest 1 minute between rounds and 40 seconds between exercises.
10 Dumbbell Ab Slam
How to Do it: Lie down on a mat with knees bent, back against the mat, holding a dumbbell by its handle with hands extended behind you overhead. Do a situp with the dumbbell, so you bring the dumbbell from the ground behind, over your body and down between your legs to touch the ground. That’s one rep. Do this move explosively, quickly bringing weight between your legs from the floor that’s behind and above your head.
5 Dumbbell Pushup and Row (each side)
How to Do It: Get in pushup position with hands holding one dumbbell in each hand. Do a pushup then bring the left dumbbell backwards towards the left side of your rib cage, pause, then return it back to the ground. Next, bring the right dumbbell towards the right side of your rib cage, pause, and return the weight to the ground. That’s one rep each side. Keep hips low and back straight for the entire movement.
10 Dumbbell Burpee and Press
How to Do It: Hold a dumbbell by its ends so each hand is grabbing an end. The weight should be in front of your hips, horizontally. Squat down, placing the dumbbell on the ground slightly in front of your chest, and kick/step your legs back into pushup position. Do a pushup as you’re still holding onto the dumbbell, then kick/step legs back to a low squat. Next, bring dumbbell to chest level and press it overhead, still holding it by its ends. Return the dumbbell to the starting position, in front of your hips. That’s one rep.