The toughest obstacles at Tough Mudder

- Mudder Guide: Chapter 2.3 -

As the saying goes – know your enemy!

Each Tough Mudder course is 10-12 miles long and contains 20-25 obstacles. Some of them are easy to master, others will push you to your limit.

Which obstacles will challenge you in your Tough Mudder will be announced only a few days before the start. Nonetheless, a few classics are part of almost every event.

Prepare yourself mentally for the toughest obstacles, and nothing will shock you when you attack Tough Mudder. Well, except the electro shocks of ELECTRIC EEL and ELECTROSHOCK THERAPY, of course.

We from MUDDER GUIDE have created our personal Top 10 of the toughest obstacles. Of course, our Top 10 are highly subjective, as they are largely based on our own experiences. If you want to share your opinion with us, we’d be happy to hear your .

This page will get permanent updates because there are already 20 new obstacles in the pipeline for 2015 and don’t expect them to be easier then there predecessors.

We try to participate in as many events as possible to give you our feedback on those crazy new obstacles but we also .


Tough Mudder: the shocks at ELECTRIC EEL make even the toughest man cry like a baby
ELECTRIC EEL probably is the hardest obstacle at Tough Mudder

In our opinion, ELECTRIC EEL is by far the toughest obstacle of Tough Mudder. Sometimes, we have nightmares about this obstacle. It might be the only obstacle that leaves you more frightened than you came in.

A construction made of timber spreads over the watery ground, its „ceiling“ just as high as your rear end. Not only do you have to crawl through this, you also have to evade the numerous electric wires.

The bad news: It’s impossible to avoid all wires. As soon as you touch a wire, it will shock your entire body. The water will do the rest.

At this obstacle, you can hear people scream every 3 seconds. Don’t worry though: As long as you don’t have a pacemaker, the electroshocks won’t kill you.


Switch off your mind and attack the obstacle immediately. The longer you wait at the obstacle and hear other Mudders scream, the more you’ll cramp. Get it over with as fast as you can. Protect your head only.

The slower you crawl, the harder the electro shocks will hit you and the higher the chance you’ll panic.


Tough Mudder: Funky Monkey is one of the hardest obstacles
Mastering FUNKY MONKEY requires a lot of strength and coordination

The FUNKY MONKEY is so extremely challenging that only few Mudders master this obstacle. Hanging by your hands, you have to make your way along a bent frame. If you let go, you’ll fall into the ice-cold water below you.

As if that weren’t enough, the rungs are greased up, which makes them extremely slipper and tough to hold on to.


Many Mudders lack the necessary strengths in fingers and/or shoulders to master this obstacle. For better traction, we highly recommend wearing gloves.

Steady movement is important. If possible, never hold onto the same rung with both hands, or you’ll lose momentum.

Also, don’t hang there like a sack of potatoes. Slightly lift your shoulders (draw shoulders in), and you’ll can get into a much more relaxed and controlled position.

Before you start your Tough Mudder, try to find a good position on a pull-up bar of your local get-fit course. You’ll get a feeling for the right position.

While attacking FUNKY MONKEY, you can save the most energy by keeping your arms bend in a 90-degree angle. Use your legs to generate momentum. You’ll need good coordination and well-developed core muscles, which makes this a more advanced technique.

If you’re desperate for a break, you can rest your legs on the rung ahead of you. Most times, however, this is an act of desperation. After they had to reach for this last resort, only few Mudders manage to reach the other side dry.

Your best chance to conquer FUNKY MONKEY is to get into a rhythm and keep going.


Tough Mudder: Faces full of fear are common at ARCTIC ENEMA
ARCTIC ENEMA’s ice water will almost burst your lungs

The ARCTIC ENEMA is not for pussies. You have to jump into a pool filled with ice water and, as if that wasn’t enough, dive underneath a wooden plank.

Even though this obstacle takes only a few seconds to complete, you’ll think your lungs are about to burst. Unsurprisingly, you can see the panic in many Mudders’ eyes when they climb out of ARCTIC ENEMA.


ARCTIC ENEMA is the main reason why you should toughen your body while preparing for Tough Mudder. Don’t enter the ice water too early, as there can be “traffic jams” at the wooden plank and at the exit. In ARTIC ENEMA, you’ll regret every second you’ve wasted.

At this point, we can’t stress enough how important specialized running gear and specialized running shoes are for Tough Mudder. Wet, slow drying clothes in a cool environment increase the risk of hypothermia and can be serious health risk.


Tough Mudder: At HANGIN TOUGH you have to swing from ring to ring
Few people stay dry at HANGIN TOUGH

HANGIN TOUGH is somewhat similar to FUNKY MONKEY and equally challenging. According to their own statements, only 30 percent of all Mudders master HANGIN TOUGH successfully. Based on our own judgment and experiences, this value seems to be pretty accurate.

If you want to stay dry during HANGIN TOUGH, you need to swing from ring to ring until you make it to the other side of the water.

The rings are roughly 4-6 feet apart and pretty slippery. This means you need less swings to complete the obstacle than in FUNKY MONKEY, but you need better coordination to stop your body from rotating too much.


For significantly better grip, we highly recommend wearing gloves.

Grab the first ring with your weaker arm and work your way forward. The smoother you move, the less you will rotate. Since stopping the rotation takes the most energy, try to move as smart as possible. Never grab one ring with both hands, or you’ll have a tough time making it to the next ring.

To reach the next ring more easily, always keep your arms slightly bend. This way, you can take a lot of stress away from your shoulder and grip muscles.

To prepare for this obstacle, train at your local get-fit trail. You can also do pull-ups. You can find more tips in our chapter on training tips.


Tough Mudder: Passing EVEREST without help is almost impossible.
A slippery half pipe named EVEREST causes a lot of problems for many mudders

So far, EVEREST has driven quite a few Mudders to desperation. Most of the time, EVEREST is the second to last obstacle, which means you’re pretty spend when you attack it.

Still, you have to gather all the strength you’ve left, start sprinting, and run up a steep and slippery half pipe. It’s almost impossible to make the final part on your own. Try to grab the hand of another mudder, so that he can pull you up.

Only at few other obstacles, Tough Mudder’s team spirit is as important as at EVEREST.


If you’re running as a team, let the mudder with the greatest range go first. When trying to grab someone’s arm, every inch can be important.

Since the half pipe is very slippery, attack it with long steps. When running towards the half pipe, sprint at full speed. Give it all you got, or you’ll fail. Every additional attempt requires an immense amount of energy.


Tough Mudder: Before getting the finisher headband, you have to survive the electro shocks at ELECTROSHOCK THERAPY
A few yards shy of the finish line, electro shocks are waiting for you

Shortly before you can finally receive your legion headband and the well-deserved beer, you have to face ELECTROSHOCK THERAPY. That means you have to run through hanging electric wires.

While this obstacle is far from being a pleasure, in our opinion it’s not nearly as bad as ELECTRIC EEL. Firstly, you can make it through the obstacle quickly. Secondly, the electroshocks aren’t amplified by the water, as in ELECTRIC EEL.


If you need to think of something during that obstacle, think of the fact that you almost made it. Protect your face with your arms, and run as fast as you can. Then, the horror will be over in two seconds.

While you can avoid quite a few wires in ELECTRIC EEL, they are far too close in ELECTROSHOCK THERAPY: Evasive maneuvers are futile. Therefore: Grit your teeth, get to it, and enjoy your beer afterwards.


CAGE CRAWL: Be calm, be strong.
Make sure you don’t drown at CAGE CRAWL

At CAGE CRAWL, you have to make your way through dirty, cold water by dragging yourself backwards along a fence above your head.

Since that fence is only a few inches over the water, you’re always in danger of swallowing water. If you don’t like water or if you’re claustrophobic, this obstacle can make you panic quickly.


Strength lies in calmness! Attack this obstacle slowly and smartly.

If you go too fast, you’ll automatically swirl up the water, which will then land in your face. That increases the risk that you’ll panic and move even more erratic – a viscous cycle! Always try to stay calm and keep your head and body as high as possible.

Afterwards, you’ll be soaked. Therefore, we recommend apparel and shoes well suited for Tough Mudder. They’ll help you dry quickly.


Tough Mudder: If you lose balance, the cold water is waiting for you
At TWINKLE TOES you need balance and coordination

If you hated the balance beam in school, TWINKLE TOES will hardly cause any enthusiasm with you either. To avoid (another) cold surprise, you have to make it across a timber plank that’s only as wide as your foot.

Since you’re a real mudder, you’ll face this challenge upright and not crawling or sitting down.


Surely you know the feeling when you have to overtake a truck in a construction area on the highway. The more you think about how close a call this is, the worse you’ll feel. If you don’t think about it, however, you’ll pass by the truck smoothly and relaxed.

TWINKLE TOES is very similar. Don’t try to run across the plank and don’t crawl on your knees. Take normal steps at a medium pace, and you’ll have the best chance to make it across dry.

Try to walk as upright as possible and focus your eyes on the other end of the plank. To avoid having to stop in the middle of the plank, make sure too leave enough room to the mudder ahead of you.


Tough Mudder: Cool mudders do a backflip at WALK THE PLANK
At WALK THE PLANK, mudders show off their diving skills

Whether you’ll enjoy WALK THE PLANK or not largely depends on your attitude towards water and heights. For many, this is one of the most fun obstacles.

For others, the sheer thought causes massive panic: You have to jump into the water from 12 feet high and swim to the other side.

At WALK THE PLANK, you can see everything from a scared plunge to a backflip with twist.


If WALK THE PLANK should scare you, try jumping from the diving board in a public swimming pool. At Tough Mudder, you have to master this obstacle anyway.

If you hesitate, other Mudders will show no mercy and push you in. Therefore, grit your teeth, and get to it.

To make sure you dry quickly, we recommend specialized equipment and running shoes that are well suited for Tough Mudder.


JUST THE TIP: A question of strength and technique
You need strong hands to master JUST THE TIP

For JUST THE TIP you’ll need touch and strength in your fingers! You need to climb up a small wooden beacon. Every few feet, there’s another small beacon where you can place your feet and rest your fingers and arms.

Of course, advanced Mudders ignore these rest areas and conquer JUST THE TIP without a break.


Once again, we recommend you to wear gloves. They’ll provide you with better grip and make sure you don’t catch a splinter.

Keep your arms bend at a 90-degree angle to use your strength efficently. Try to gain as much length with each stride as possible.

The longer you pause, the more your muscles will weaken. To avoid getting into a traffic jam, make sure to leave enough room to the mudder in front of you.

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