The Super-Effective 7-Move Bodyweight Workout

By Gabrielle Kassel | June 26, 2018


Alright Mudder Nation, by now, you’ve probably heard that strength training is a nonnegotiable, especially if you’re trying to look as jacked as ERock, the Program Director for Tough Mudder Bootcamp, prevent injury, and feel like one of the Toughest Mudders On The Planet. But while you might think of strength training as requiring barbells, heavy weights, and whole lot of grunting for effect, the truth is your very own body is all the equipment you need for building strength, according to Alena Luciani, M.S., C.S.C.S., Pn1, founder of Training2xl.

"Bodyweight workouts play an important role in creating a stable foundation by increasing muscle density and endurance," she says. That means that by using the weight and resistance of your own body, you can burn calories, build muscle, and get a really solid Tough Mudder training workout in without ever stepping foot into a gym.

But if stepping in the mud and beasting the course is your goal, you do need to know the most effective exercises for mastering Tough Mudder obstacles like Funky Monkey - The Revolution, T-Boned, and Rope-A-Dope. That’s why we asked Luciani to design this super-effective bodyweight workout with muscle-building and mud-crushing in mind.

So whether you’ve tried an at-home workout once or twice, or haven’t had a gym membership since forever, the 7 exercises below will help you build upper body, lower body, and core strength. Know ‘em, love ‘em, reap the benefits of ‘em right in your living room.

How to Do This Bodyweight Workout

Go through and complete each exercise for 30 seconds, rest 10 seconds, and then go onto the next move. After completing the entire circuit, rest 1-2 full minutes before repeating the entire circuit 2 more times. Or simply intersperse the below exercises into your own routine.

What you’ll need: No equipment; a small work space.

Movement #1: Air Squat

1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, arms by sides.

2. Engage your abs, push hips back and bend your knees, lowering body into a squat. Be sure to stay in your heels.

3. Pause at the bottom, and then push back up through your heels to starting position. That’s one rep.

Make it harder: From bottom of squat, immediately go into squat jump. When you land, absorb impact of jump with slighting bent knees. If you did not land with legs hip-width, re-adjust, then repeat.


Movement #2: Side Lunge

1. Start standing with toes facing forward and feet one foot apart.

2. With hands at your side, take a large step with right foot to the right side and lunge toward floor. Make sure right knee does not extend past toes, keep left leg relatively straight.

3. Push off through right foot to return to the start.

Make it harder: Add a hop. When you bring right foot back to center, immediately explode up and off of left foot as if taking a jump shot.

Movement #3: Push-up

1. Start on all fours with fingers spread slightly, then step both feet back so that you are in a high plank.

2. Engage your core, keep your pelvis in neutral so that your tailbone is pointed down towards your heels. Squeeze your glutes and hamstrings.

3. Lower your body (keeping back flat and eyes focused about two feet in front of hands) until your chest grazes the floor and elbows are at a 90 degree angle.

4. Keeping core engaged, exhale and push back up to starting position.

Make it easier: Place hands on 12- to 18-inch bench or go down to your knees. 


Movement #4: Hollow Hold

1. Lie on your back with your arms and legs fully extended.

2. When you’re ready to begin, squeeze everything tight. Press your lower back into the ground and slightly lift your legs and upper back so that your shoulder blades are off the floor.

3. Hold this position.

Make it harder: Practice rocking back and forth.

Movement #5: Skater Lunge

1. Start in a squat with your legs hip-distance apart.

2. Jump sideways to the left landing on your just your leg, and bring your right leg behind your left ankle. (You can either let the toe of your right foot touch the floor to help you balance, or you can keep it hovering 1-2 inches above the ground). As you do this, move your arms side to side the way you would if you were running.

3. Then, reverse direction by jumping to the right and landing on the right side. That’s one rep. 

Movement #6: Plank

1. Start on all fours with fingers spread slightly, then step both feet back so that you are in a high plank.

2. Position hands on the ground, directly under the shoulders, shoulders pulled down and back, abs and glutes engaged, hips tucked under, legs together and fully extended, body in a straight line from head to toe.

Movement #7: Glute Bridge

1. Lie on your back, arms resting at your sides. Bend knees so that feet are flat on the floor about a foot away from your butt.

2. Push through your heels to activate hamstrings. Then, lift your hips and back off the ground so you're resting on just the top two inches of your shoulders.

3. Hold for five seconds, then release and lower back down to ground. That’s one rep.


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