Tough Mudder Training: The Best Benchmark Workout for Beginners

By TMHQ | April 25, 2019


While step one of your Mudder journey is simply gathering the mental strength to sign up, step two involves prepping your body to absolutely crush miles of muddy obstacles. 

An important part of starting any training program is knowing where you stand not only on the scale, but in your fitness capabilities too. How many pull-ups or push ups can you do? How far can you run without gasping for air? (And yes, you can build endurance without running.) You get the idea. Tracking your fitness progress is one of the best ways to stay motivated as you work toward reaching your goals. How do you do that? It's simple, one of the first workouts you do as you begin Tough Mudder training should be a benchmark, or baseline, workout. Benchmark workouts aren't complex, they're meant to give you a clear understanding of what level of fitness you're at. 

While the movements, or exercises, in this workout are relatively simple (and easily done at home, at a Tough Mudder Bootcamp studio, or at your local park), make no mistake, you should be tired when you finish and if you’re not, you didn’t push hard enough.

Start the clock and sprint through these four moves as fast as possible, then, write down your time. To assess your strength, agility, and cardio progress, work this routine into your training program once a month. You'll be surprised—and even more motivated to keep up your training—when you see how far you've come. 

Beginner Benchmark Workout for Time

40 air squats
30 sit ups
20 push ups
10 pull-ups 

Air Squat

Position your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart with your hands at your sides. Bend your knees and lower down as if to sit in a chair—be sure your knees do not extend over the tips of your toes. Keep your core engaged, chest up, and complete the squat with fully extended ups as you come back to standing position.


Lie on your back, bend your knees and keep your feet flat on the floor. Bring your arms behind your head and in a controlled motion bring your upper body toward your knees. Look ahead and keep your core engaged.


Learn how to do a push-up correctly: Place your hands in front of you on the floor, shoulder width apart, fingers pointing away from your body. Assume a plank position, remembering to keep your back in a straight line. Engage your core and lower your body toward the ground until your elbows reach a 90-degree angle, then rise back into a plank. Make this move easier by doing the push up from your knees. 


Pull-ups are the ultimate, humbling, benchmark move. Make your way to the monkey bars and see how many times you can pull yourself up until your chin reaches the bar. Too hard? Try using a resistance band for some assistance by wrapping it around the bar and placing your foot in the bottom of the loop. The thicker the band, the more help you’ll have getting your chin to the bar. Not quite there yet? Get out your stopwatch and see how long you can hold yourself in the chin up position. Plus: These 9 moves can help you get pull-ups.

Looking for something more challenging?

Try the benchmark workout often used by CrossFitters to measure progress: Murph. Beware, this is not easy or fun. In fact, we don’t recommend you do this workout monthly, shoot for once every three months to clock measurable results. What we will say is, it feels damn good once you finish this ass-kicking workout. 


1 Mile Run
100 Pull-Ups
200 Push-Ups
300 Air Squats
1 Mile Run

To conquer Murph you have a few options. Knock out all of the reps at one time, or break up the total reps into sets (for example: 20 rounds of 5 pull-ups, 10 push ups, and 15 air squats).

Rate your performance:

Beginners: 70+ minutes
Intermediete: 40-70 minutes
Advanced: 30-40 minutes
Elite: sub-30