We know that slipping and sliding through muddy trails and clambering all over giant obstacles might not bring cycling to mind, but you could be missing a trick by leaving it out of your training plan. Cycling is a great low-impact workout that can boost your physical fitness in a myriad of ways, as well as aiding mental health and helping you explore your local countryside. But aside from all of that, it could help you feel stronger and more capable on the course. This is how cycling can help you train for Tough Mudder.
The Benefits of Cycling
Hopping on two wheels in any form is a great aerobic workout. This means that it’s going to boost your cardiovascular system, including your heart and blood vessels. Running and brisk walking can do the same but the real benefit of cycling is that it’s low impact. So won’t be putting as much strain on your bones and joints.
It isn’t just your physical health that can be improved by cycling though. We all know keeping active can help us with our mental health too and as with most regular exercise it can reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. But cyclists also enjoy higher feelings of wellbeing because cycling can be an incredibly enjoyable and fun experience especially if you’re getting outside in nature.
How Cycling Can Help You Train for Tough Mudder
1. Stronger Leg Muscles
When you’re stuck in Mud Mile and you feel like your legs are in quicksand, you’re going to really regret skipping leg day. But getting a good leg workout doesn’t have to mean lifting heavy weights or smashing out hundreds of squats. Hop on a bicycle and you’ll be working your glutes, quadriceps, gastrocnemius and soleus muscles (that’s your calves FYI), hamstrings and flexors. Plus, your core will be working to keep you upright and stable while your arm, shoulders and hands grip the bars and steer. That’s a full body session if ever we heard one.
2. Feel Fitter
At TMHQ we always say you can take on the course without training. Believe us when we say we’ve seen countless folk turn up hungover, with no kit but go on to cruise through the 15K course. BUT we also know that if you train for your Tough Mudder you may just surprise yourself, enjoy it even more and kick start a health and fitness journey that could last a lifetime. So, if you want to get round 10 miles and 25 obstacles with as little discomfort as possible add some cycling into your training. It will boost your cardiovascular health, strength, endurance, help you lose weight and even protect you from heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Win.
3. Better Spacial Awareness, Coordination and Balance
You might think that being big and strong will solve all your problems when it comes to Tough Mudder obstacles. Not so fast Mudder. Our obstacles aren’t just built to test strength, although some of them certainly will. Instead you’ll find that you need a mix of physical strength, mental grit, balance and coordination AND of course one hell of a lot of teamwork. A session on your bike will demand balance, good posture, spacial awareness and coordination as you take on turns, climb and descend all the while using your body to get the bike where you want it to go.
4. Improves Joint Mobility
We’ve already mentioned that cycling is a great low-impact workout that will help protect your joints and bones. This is because it takes the weight off joints like your hips, knees and feet. But the movement of cycling can also help lubricate your joints which can reduce pain and stiffness. On the course mobility and flexibility is key as you climb up and over beasts like Mudderhorn and Hero Walls.
5. Find Your Team
Almost all Tough Mudder obstacles need to be tackled with teamwork. That means you’re going to need a band of plucky Mudders willing to give you a muddy leg over or haul your filthy muddy out of the dirt. Cycling is a notoriously social activity, so what better way to find your people? You could join a local cycling club or group and find yourself with a ready-made Tough Mudder team.