Remember the sheer joy you felt as a kid the first time you made it across the monkey bars? First there was the struggle as you kicked your legs and tried to get your tiny arms to yank you from one bar to the next. Next was the frustration whenever you fell or had to jump down because it got too hard. But eventually with practice, you made it across.
When you face Funky Monkey - The Revolution, you may find not much has changed. It’s a tricky obstacle to begin with, and in 2017 the stakes are even higher. We've only gone and swapped the second half of mud-coated monkey bars for revolving wheels that get increasingly difficult the further along you go.
But we’re not here to play playground bully--on the contrary. To help you channel your inner child and get all the way across our turning challenge, here are our top five tips to successfully complete Funky Monkey - The Revolution.
Practice on monkey bars
Got a playground nearby? Use it. Hey, there are crazier ways to train. We’re guessing it’s probably been a while since you tried going across monkey bars, and you need to get used to gripping them again. Also make sure to add pull-ups to your strength training routine to prepare your upper body.
Hand coordination is key
Decide whether you’ll go across one hand at a time or swing from one bar to the next, alternating hands. For Funky Monkey first-timers, one hand at a time is a good move. Grab the bar/wheel with your dominant hand and let your other hand follow, making sure to grab onto the same bar before your dominant hand moves onto the next. And if you’re already World’s Toughest Mudder-strong, then try it backwards.
Just keep swinging
Once you get started, keep the momentum going. Don’t try to thrust your arms forward and grab at the bars like a greedy five-year-old on Halloween because you’ll waste precious energy that you’ll need on the next obstacle. The swinging strategy works well for people who don’t have a lot of upper body strength.
Bicycle-kick your legs
This kicking technique will help you to propel yourself forward from one bar to the next. If you’re not going to use the swinging technique - maybe you’re a bit stronger and have been doing your pull-ups - then the bicycle-kick move works well to keep your momentum going. Just make sure when you’re kicking, it feels natural, not forced. Again, you don’t want to waste energy.
Keep arms at 90 degrees
If you’re using the bicycle-kick technique rather than the swinging technique, then don’t ever let your arms go slack or you risk not being able to gain control of them again. Hanging from the wheels and pausing for a moment means you’ll need to exert more strength to start going again. However, you never would have lost it if you’d kept that momentum like we told you to.
Get a grip
Some people swear by gloves to get across Funky Monkey, and others swear against it. We tend to think that it depends on the glove. If you do go with gloves, make sure you choose a pair that has superior grip to latch onto those slippery, muddy wheels.
The bottom line: Monkey bars may seem like child’s play, but ours are anything but. Whether you’re 25 or a 45-year-old Mudder legend, keep training, get that upper body strong and keep that momentum going. When you reach the other side, you’ll feel that old familiar rush you remembered as a kid.
Think you could take on the revamped Funky Monkey? Find Tough Mudder 2017 events here.