Upper Body Strength Training for Your Mud Run

 

By Rick Morris

 

Upper body strength training isn't high on the workout priority list for most distance runners. In most cases, I agree that endurance, stamina, speed, running economy and lower body strength training are the most critical components of a distance running plan, but upper body strength should not be ignored. You especially need to pay attention to upper body strength for mud run or obstacle course training. Most mud runs, adventure runs and obstacle courses have a wide range of obstacles that require all sorts of upper body strength. Some obstacles require lower arm and grip strength for hanging and climbing. Some other test the strength of your upper back with scrambling and climbing events. Some others challenge your shoulder, biceps and chest strength with pushing and pulling obstacles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You don't need to spend a ton of time with upper body strength, but don't ignore it either.  Your mud run success will probably depend upon your upper body fitness. An upper body strength plan for the mud runs has a few requirements. Your upper body mud run strength plan should be:

 

Functional -Machine and free weight based resistance exercises do a good job of building the strength of individual muscles but are not highly efficient at building your functional mud run strength. Body weight exercises are more functional in nature and do a better job of improving the strength of the specific moves you need for a mud run.

 

Efficient - Gym based resistance training tends to target specific muscles. For example - a biceps curl using a machine will isolate your biceps muscle. That is great for building biceps strength and size, but those types of isolation exercises are not very efficient. Body weight exercises place stress on multiple muscles, making them much more time efficient. For instance, a body weight chin up exercise will work your biceps and at the same time build strength in your upper back and grip strength.

 

Convenient - The gym is nice but not very convenient. You either need to take the time to drive to the gym or purchase expensive resistance equipment for your home gym. Body weight exercise are much more convenient. You can literally do them anywhere - on the trail, the park or at the track.

 

Upper Body Mud Run Exercises

 

There are lots of different upper body exercises you could do to build your mud run strength. Here are just a few basic upper body mud run strength exercises that will get you ready for nearly any mud run obstacle.

 

Push Ups

 

Begin face down on the ground with your upper body supported by your hands and extended arms. Your lower body is supported on your toes.

Don’t arch or sway your back. Your hands and arms should be about shoulder width apart.

Slowly lower your upper body until your chest nearly touches the ground.

Push yourself back up to your starting position.

 

Dive Bomber Push Ups

 

Begin in a pike position with your feet spread side and your arms about shoulder width apart and placed in front of your body.

Drop your head and upper body forward and towards the ground by bending or flexing your elbows.

Arch your back and continue to drive your upper body down and low along the ground in a “dive bomber” motion.

In the same continuous motion push your upper body by straightening your arms in a push up motion and arch your head  and upper body up. Keep your core and hips low to the ground with your back arched smoothly.

Now perform the same motion in reverse back to your pike starting position.

 

Single Clap Push ups

 

Begin face down on the ground with your upper body supported by your hands and extended arms. Your lower body is supported on your toes.

Don’t arch or sway your back. Your hands and arms should be about shoulder width apart.

Slowly lower your upper body until your chest nearly touches the ground.

Powerfully push yourself away from the ground and quickly clap your hands together once before landing back in your starting position.

 

Pull Ups

 

Grab a bar or branch with an open grip (palms facing away from your body).

Pull yourself up until your chin is just above the level of the bar or branch.

Focus on squeezing your shoulder blades together and pulling with your upper back.

Slowly return to your starting position.

Be sure the structure you use for this exercise is sturdy enough to support your weight.

Use whatever structure you can in the area. In these photos a deck facing is used. Be sure to test the structure for sufficient strength.

 

Biceps Supine Pulls

 

This biceps exercise will give you a burn like no other if you can find an appropriate structure to use. You will need a sturdy bench, step or shelf that is about 3 to 4 feet off the ground. These photos show the use of the underside of deck stairs.

Lie in a supine position and grab the edge of the shelf with a closed grip (hands facing towards your body).

Your hands should be held at roughly head height.

Keeping your hands high and your body straight, lift your upper body up by flexing your elbow using your biceps.

Keep your hands high and your elbows pointing up. Don’t pull down with your hands and shoulders. All of the motion should be at your elbow joint using your biceps muscle.

Slowly lower yourself back to the starting position.

 

Bench Dips

 

Begin in a face up position with your upper body supported by your extended arms and hands on a bench and your lower body supported by your heels on the ground.

Keeping your legs extended, drop your hips toward the ground by allowing your arms to flex at the elbow.

Control this downward movement using your triceps muscles on the back of your upper arm.

Return to your starting position by extending your arms. Focus on driving your body up using your triceps muscles.

 

V-Shoulder Press

 

Begin in a pike position with your feet supported on a bench or bleachers and your upper body supported by your extended arms and hands on the ground.

While maintaining a pike position slowly lower your head and upper body towards the ground.

Push your upper body back up into your starting pike position.

Repeat until you reach your desired level of fatigu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright 2013 Running Planet, Inc All rights reserved - Contact Us - Security and Privacy