Ultimate Obstacle Race Training: Crush the World’s Toughest Courses

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Crawl face down in mud. Slog knee-deep in frigid water. Leap through walls of fire. Hurl teammates up and over tall barricades. Extreme obstacle courses offer thrill-seekers a new kind of fast-paced fitness adventure that goes far beyond older events like marathons and triathlons. With step-by-step instructions and extensive course summaries, the training program in this book gives readers the ability to develop the full-body physical strength and fearless mental endurance needed to conquer every obstacle on any course. Modeled on Special Forces training blueprints, obstacle course events have attracted millions of participants over the past ten years. Their popularity continues to surge: in 2012, over 100 events are scheduled across the United States, Canada, and Britain, ranging from kid-friendly short sprints to the extreme 48-hour Spartan Death Race. In this one-of-a-kind book, the authors, veteran obstacle course racers, show readers how to gain the fitness, dexterity, and confidence needed for course challenges such as mud slopes, climbing ropes, and log hauls. Covering all the major obstacles and providing tips about race-specific events like Tough Mudder’s “Electroshock Therapy” and the Muddy Buddy bicycle sprints, this book is a must for anyone looking for instruction and inspiration to release their inner champion.

Take The Test


Want more details? Pick up the book, or follow along daily with the companion app!

Round 1: Start your timer—it’ll run for the duration of all three rounds, including any rest breaks you may take. Rest if needed, and make sure you have water to stay hydrated.
  • 5 Push-Ups
  • 5 Squats
  • Run, jog, or walk 1 mile at a “conversational” pace, one at which you could chat a bit with a friend, one to two sentences at a time. On a perceived exertion scale, this should be about a 5.
Optimal time for completion of Round 1 is under 15:00.
Move as quickly as you can from round to round. Take a sip of water and catch your breath, but don’t forget that you’re on the clock.

Round 2:
  • 5 Push-Ups
  • 5 Squats
  • Run, jog, or walk 1 mile at a moderate pace. This isn’t an all-out effort, but you shouldn’t be talking more than 5 to 6 words at a time while running or walking briskly. On a perceived exertion scale, this should be about a 7.
Optimal time for completion of Round 1 is under 13:00.
Move as quickly as you can from round to round. Take a sip of water and catch your breath. The clock is still ticking!

Round 3:
  • 5 Push-Ups
  • 5 Squats
  • Run, jog, or walk 1 mile at an overall moderate pace, adding in 2 to 3 sections where you pick up the pace. These sections can be as long as 1 minute each or as short as “until that next mailbox” while outside of “during this entire commercial” on the treadmill with a TV handy. The intensity of this pick-up interval should be an 8, not a full-out sprint (Day 1 and you’re already doing interval training—yay, you!).
Optimal time for completion of Round 1 is under 12:00.
Stop your timer, that’s it! Grab a towel and wipe off while drinking some water or a mixture of 50% water, 50% sports drink if you’re a heavy sweater in hot conditions. Forty minutes is right around the time you should be replacing some electrolytes and a bit of glucose, but you shouldn’t need a full bottle of high-calorie sports drink.

How’d you do?
Less than 30 minutes: You’re a Rock Star! Start with the 5-week CRUSH IT Program on page 122. You can even jump right into the second week if you’d like! If you haven’t already done a race, you’re a good candidate for your first one very soon—24 days will provide you enough time to work through the final three weeks of CRUSH IT, rest for a few days, and go tackle the course of your choosing!

Less than 35 minutes: Awesome job, you’re ready to start with the 5-week CRUSH IT Program on page 122. Depending on your confidence, you can sign up for an event that’s around 38 days away, giving you time to complete CRUSH IT and give your body some rest or even tackle a 5K Mud Run in the next few weekends to get one under your belt.

Less than 40 minutes: Great work! You hit the optimal target for each round, and are ready for Domination Level Alpha. Follow the DLA plan and you’ll be ready for a short-distance 5K Mud Run event in about 24 days. This will give you enough time to complete the 3-week program and allow your body to rest and recover for a few days before you kick it into gear.

Over 40 minutes: You just totally destroyed every single person plopped on the couch; give yourself some credit for an awesome job. All those other fast folks below 40 have stopped reading now, so let me share a secret: You’re right in my wheelhouse and my favorite athletes to train—no lie! I’ve worked with elite athletes and professional triathletes, and I can tell you hands-down that individuals in this bracket have the most to gain and make the biggest strides over the course of any program. Welcome to my team, I’m happy you’re on board. I’ve created a simple Prep Program for you to follow and get you ready for Domination Level Alpha.

Prep Program


Want more details? Pick up the book, or follow along daily with the companion app!

MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
Week 1
Set 1
1:00 Walk
:30 Jog
1:00 Walk
:30 Jog
1:00 Walk
1:00 Rest
Set 2
10 Hip Raise
5 Squat
10 Marching Twist
5 Push-Up
1:00 Rest
Set 3
1:00 Walk
:30 Jog
1:00 Walk
:30 Jog
1:00 Walk
Set 1
Rest
Set 1
1:00 Walk
:35 Jog
:45 Walk
:35 Jog
:45 Walk
:30 Jog
1:00 Walk
1:00 Rest
Set 2
10 Superman
5 Lunges
10 Bird Dog
10 Wood Chop
1:00 Rest
Set 3
:35 Jog
:45 Walk
:35 Jog
:45 Walk
:35 Jog
:45 Walk
Set 1
Rest
Set 1
:35 Jog
:45 Walk
:35 Jog
:45 Walk
:35 Jog
:45 Walk
Set 2
12 Hip Raise
6 Squat
12 Mason Twist
12 Marching Twist
1:00 Rest
Set 3
:35 Jog
:45 Walk
:35 Jog
:45 Walk
:35 Jog
:45 Walk
Set 1
Rest
Set 1
:40 Jog
:40 Walk
:40 Jog
:40 Walk
:40 Jog
:40 Walk
Set 2
12 Bird Dog
6 Lunges
6 Push-Up
8 Squat
1:00 Rest
Set 3
:40 Jog
:40 Walk
:40 Jog
:40 Walk
:40 Jog
:40 Walk
Week 2
Set 1
Rest
Set 1
:45 Jog
:45 Walk
:45 Jog
:45 Walk
:45 Jog
:45 Walk
Set 2
14 Wood Chop
7 Lunges
10 Superman
12 Hip Raise
Set 3
:45 Jog
:45 Walk
:45 Jog
:45 Walk
:45 Jog
:45 Walk
Set 1
Rest
Set 1
:45 Jog
:30 Walk
:45 Jog
:30 Walk
:45 Jog
:30 Walk
Set 2
10 Squat
8 Push-Up
12 Bird Dog
12 Mason Twist
Set 3
1:00 Jog
1:00 Rest
1:00 Jog
1:00 Rest
Set 1
Rest
Set 1
1:00 Jog
1:00 Walk
:45 Jog
:45 Walk
1:00 Jog
:30 Walk
Set 2
16 Wood Chop
14 Hip Raise
8 Push-Up
10 Lunges
Set 3
:45 Jog
:30 Walk
1:00 Jog
:30 Walk
1:00 Jog
1:00 Walk
Set 1
1 Re-take Initial Test

Domination Level Alpha


Want more details? Pick up the book, or follow along daily with the companion app!

MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
Week 1
Set 1
Strength Workout
Set 1
Rest
Set 1
Dexterity Workout
Set 1
Rest
Set 1
Strength Workout
2:00 Rest
Set 2
5:00 Easy Jog Warm-Up
10:00 Moderate Run
5:00 Easy Jog Cool-Down
Set 1
Rest
Set 1
Dexterity Workout
2:00 Rest
Set 2
2 mile Easy Jog
Week 2
Set 1
Rest
Set 1
Strength Workout
2:00 Rest
Set 2
1 mile Easy Jog Warm-Up
1 mile Moderate Run
1 mile Easy Jog Cool-Down
Set 1
Rest
Set 1
Dexterity Workout
2:00 Rest
Set 2
2 mile Easy Jog Cool-Down
Set 1
Rest
Set 1
Strength Workout
2:00 Rest
Set 2
2 mile Moderate Run
1 mile Easy Jog Cool-Down
Set 1
Rest
Week 3
Set 1
Strength Partial Workout
2:00 Rest
Set 2
Dexterity Partial Workout
Set 1
Rest
Set 1
Strength Workout
2:00 Rest
Set 2
1 mile Easy Jog Warm-Up
1 mile Moderate Run
1 mile Easy Jog
Set 1
Rest
Set 1
Dexterity Workout
2:00 Rest
Set 2
1 mile Moderate Run
2 mile Easy Jog
1 mile Moderate Run
1 mile Easy Jog
Set 1
Rest
Set 1
1 Re-take Initial Test
2:00 Rest
Set 2
5 Push-Up
5 Squat
1 mile Easy Jog
2:00 Rest
Set 3
5 Push-Up
5 Squat
1 mile Easy Jog

Crush It Level


Want more details? Pick up the book, or follow along daily with the companion app!

MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
Week 1
Set 1
Strength Workout
2:00 Rest
Set 2
3 mile Easy Jog
Set 1
Rest
Set 1
Dexterity Workout
2:00 Rest
Set 2
1 mile Weighted Backpack Walk
Set 1
Rest
Set 1
Speed & Endurance Workout
Set 1
Rest
Set 1
Strength Workout
2:00 Rest
Set 2
1 mile Moderate Run
10 Burpee
2:00 Rest
Set 3
1 mile Moderate Run
10 Burpee
Week 2
Set 1
Rest
Set 1
Strength Workout
Set 2
Dexterity Workout
Set 1
Rest
Set 1
Speed & Endurance Workout
2:00 Rest
Set 2
50 Burpee
Set 1
Rest
Set 1
Dexterity Workout
2:00 Rest
Set 2
0.5 mile Weighted Backpack Walk - Brisk Pace
20 Squat
Set 3
0.5 mile Weighted Backpack Walk - Brisk Pace
20 Squat
Set 1
Rest
Week 3
Set 1
10 Sprint Repeats
Set 2
Strength Workout
Set 1
Rest
Set 1
Speed & Endurance Workout
2:00 Rest
Set 2
22 Burpee
2:00 Rest
Set 3
22 Burpee
Set 1
Rest
Set 1
Strength Workout
Set 2
Strength Workout
Set 1
Rest
Set 1
Speed & Endurance Workout
Week 4
Set 1
Rest
Set 1
Strength Workout
2:00 Rest
Set 2
5 Sprint Repeats
Set 1
Rest
Set 1
Strength Workout
2:00 Rest
Set 2
0.5 mile Weighted Backpack Walk - Brisk Pace
20 Squat
Set 3
0.5 mile Weighted Backpack Walk - Brisk Pace
22 Lunges
Set 1
Rest
Set 1
Speed & Endurance Workout
2:00 Rest
Set 2
40 Burpee
2:00 Rest
Set 3
40 Burpee
Set 1
Rest
Week 5
Set 1
10 Sprint Repeats
Set 2
Strength Workout
Set 1
Rest
Set 1
Strength Workout
Set 2
Dexterity Workout
Set 1
Rest
Set 1
Speed & Endurance Workout
Set 1
Rest
Set 1
1 Re-take Initial Test
2:00 Rest
Set 2
45 Burpee

Other Workouts


Want more details? Pick up the book, or follow along daily with the companion app!

Strength Workout
Set 1
50 yards Sandbag Carry
6 Squat & Tosses
16 Wood Chop
100 yards Weighted Backpack Shuttle Run
2:00 Rest
Set 2
50 yards Farmers Walk
20 Lunges
20 Band Squat & Press
50 yards Farmers Walk
2:00 Rest
Set 3
50 yards Overhead Weighted Walk
5 Band Pull-Down
5 Jumping Pull-Ups
50 yards Overhead Weighted Walk
5 Band Pull-Down
5 Jumping Pull-Ups
Strength Partial Workout
Set 1
50 yards Sandbag Carry
6 Squat & Tosses
16 Wood Chop
100 yards Weighted Backpack Shuttle Run
2:00 Rest
Set 2
50 yards Farmers Walk
20 Lunges
20 Band Squat & Press
50 yards Farmers Walk
Dexterity Workout
Set 1
1:00 Door Pull-Ups
25 yards Army Crawl
10 Inchworm
25 yards Bear Crawl
2:00 Rest
Set 2
5 One-legged Squats
5 Jumping Pull-Ups
22 Bicycle Crunch
3 Forward Rolls
10 Box Jumps
2:00 Rest
Set 3
12 Band Pull-Down
14 Hanging Leg Raise
15 Bench Dips
5 Side Rolls
16 Linear Reactive Step Ups
Dexterity Partial Workout
Set 1
1:00 Door Pull-Ups
25 yards Army Crawl
10 Inchworm
25 yards Bear Crawl
2:00 Rest
Set 2
5 One-legged Squats
5 Jumping Pull-Ups
22 Bicycle Crunch
3 Forward Rolls
10 Box Jumps
Speed & Endurance Workout
Set 1
20 yards High Knees
20 yards Butt Kicks
20 yards Striders
20 yards Skip
20 yards Side Shuffle
20 yards Walking Lunge
20 yards Backward Sprint
20 yards Sprint
2:00 Rest
Set 2
20 Hip Raise
14 Superman
12 Bird Dog
22 Marching Twist
2:00 Rest
Set 3
5:00 Easy Jog Warm-Up
1:00 Rest
1 mile Moderate Run
1:00 Rest
:40 Run - Hard Pace
:30 Walk
:30 Run - Hard Pace
:30 Walk
:20 Run - Hard Pace
:30 Walk
:10 Run - Hard Pace
1 mile Moderate Run
5:00 Easy Jog Cool-Down