When competing in a high-intensity event like Tough Mudder, preparation is key, right up until those final few moments before you run off into the mud. We’re not just talking about stretching here: we’re talking about a full-body warm-up that will have your blood pumping and heartbeat heightened. Tough Mudder requires the whole body to work, so you’re best off engaging as many muscle groups as possible.
Dynamic warm-ups are valuable to Mudders who are about to run. Static warm-ups and stretches are meant to lengthen and increase flexibility. In taking long, slow stretches, bodies muscles release, which is great in its own right. Dynamic movement, on the other hand, helps prevent further injury upon diving into the mud. Experts recommend dynamic stretching before a workout as opposed to static stretching. The ideal dynamic warm-up “includes stretching, strengthening, balance exercises, sports-specific agility drills, and landing techniques”
Try taking each of these moves for a minute if you’re looking for maximum warmth. If you’re short on time, take them for 30 seconds for a five-minute warm-up:
1. Heel Lifts
Stretch the calves and elevate the heart-rate with this move. Feet shoulder width apart, arms low, lift and lower the heels feeling that full range of motion. Pick up the speed and send the arms over head to add in a cardio element.
2. Torso Rotation
Remember: you’re a three-dimensional being, so be sure not to move just front and back when you warm-up, but twist side to side as well. Feet a little wider than hip’s width distance, fingertips on top of shoulders, twist through your trunk.
3. Walking Lunges
Keep it simple, stepping it forward and back in again, then switch sides. Maintain a lifted chest and drive your energy and efforts through the front heel. Option for jump lunges, switching the feet with a hop instead of a step.
4. Air Squats
With feet a little wider than the hips, lower your seat down, extending the arms out. Pull the belly into the spine and keep chin and chest lifted, and come back up. Start slow and gradually pick up speed and depth through the minute of work.
5. High Knees
Here’s where that cardio kicks in: bring knees to hip height or higher, one at a time. Option to take it as a run or to keep it like a march. Focus on the lower abdominal control with this one, keeping a light landing in both feet.
6. Side Lunge
Stretch through the inner thigh and groin area by taking your legs wide, then shifting your weight side to side, adding taps to either foot if you like. Maintain a stack of knee on ankle and don’t let the head or chest drop below the hips.
7. Plank Walk-Outs
Start standing in parallel, take palms to floor, walk out to a plank. Hold for one breath and walk back in. Optional to take a push-up in plank position. To modify, come to knee plank instead.
8. Bear Plank Presses
Knees under hips, palms under shoulders, spine straight. Float the knees one inch off the floor, take a big inhale, exhale, and send your glutes towards your heels. Press back to the bear plank. Continue through these with the knowledge that your quads might burn a bit and that you might need to take a quick break.
The shoulders have been engaged with previous planking, but take it up a notch by alternating between forearm and straight-arm planks. Maintain balanced, square hips to avoid any wiggling or tilt in the pelvis.
10. Power Jacks
Final chance to get your heart racing, so give this all you’ve got. Extend arms and legs out, pressing your hands up, then draw it all back in. Pick up the speed.
Remember: as with every exercise and form of movement, listen to your body’s cues and what it’s telling you. If something feels like too much, take it down a notch, either by modifying or by slowing down so that you can focus on form. Don’t injure yourself right before the race due to improper alignment, but instead take the same amount of focus and care that you’d muster before diving into The Block Ness Monster.