The Ultimate Ab Workout

Every Tough Mudder course calls on the upper body and abdominal muscles. For example, Kiss of Mud, Soldier Sling and Mud Mile all require muscular endurance in your abs, lower back and glutes. In this quick workout, you’ll prepare your shoulders and core for crawling through mud/close quarters and work on stability to carry any heavy object. Each exercise requires you to engage your entire core and also involves use of your arms, shoulder and back.

Power through this 5-move workout to prepare for the your first Tough Mudder of 2018.


Do the first four exercises for 10 reps each. The last exercise is performed for 30-45 seconds. Rest 1 minute then do 3 more rounds. Do four total rounds, resting 1 minute between rounds.

Ab Rollout

1.     Kneel on a soft surface such as a foam mat or towel. Place on your hands on an ab roller or ab roll out device.

2.     Tighten your abdominal muscles and glutes and roll the device forward until you feel the tension in your core. Your torso should be parallel to the floor at this point.

3.     Roll back to the starting position.

Trainer Tip: To increase difficulty, start in a straight arm plank with knees off of the ground. You can also use a barbell with 10-45 pounds on each side for this exercise.

Plank Jack Climber

1.     Get into the top of a push-up position with hands stacked under wrists and body in a straight line. Tighten your abs. This is the starting position.

2.     Tap your right foot out to the side then return to start. Tap your left foot out to the side then return to the start.

3.     Immediately bring your right knee into your chest then return it to the starting position. Then, bring your left knee up towards your chest and return it to the starting position. That’s one rep.

Trainer tip: To increase difficulty, use lateral resistance bands with ankle cuffs.

Alternating Hanging Knee Raise

1.     Hang from a pullup bar or sturdy overhead structure using an overhand grip so your hands are wider than shoulder width apart.

2.     Squeeze your shoulder blades together and brace your abs.

3.     Bend your left knee and bring it towards your chest. Return to starting position. Bring right knee up towards chest. Return to starting position. That’s one rep.

Trainer Tip: Bring your legs up and down in a slow, controlled manner. Beginners can simply hang from the bar for 15-30 seconds at a time for 3-4 sets. Advanced Mudders can bring their ankles to the bar with straight legs instead of knees to chest.

Seal Walk

1.     Get into the top of a pushup position with arms and back straight.

2.     Place your toes on a weight plate, sliding disc or a paper plate.

3.     Move your body forward in a straight line by moving your arms forward as your legs are dragged by the sliding object. Keep your knees off the ground the entire time. Move 5-10 feet forward, turn around and seal walk forward to where you started.

Trainer Tip: Advanced Mudders can seal walk backwards after moving forwards by alternating arms until you reach your starting point. New Mudders can keep their legs against the ground and use their arms to drag their body forward.

V-Sit With Shoulder Circles

1.     Sit on a mat with knees bent and bottom of heels on the ground. Your toes are off the ground. Slightly lean your torso back. Straighten your arms overhead and point your index finger towards the ceiling. This is the starting position.

2.     Make small, slow clockwise circles with your shoulder joint while your arms continue to be shrugged up and pointed towards the ceiling.

3.     Do this for 30-45 seconds then switch directions, making the slow, small shoulder circles counterclockwise.

Trainer Tip: Don’t let your shoulders fall forward. Keep shrugging your shoulders towards the ceiling, keeping a slight backwards lean in your spine.

If you’re unsure of what to wear at an upcoming Tough Mudder event – click here