Top Tips for Tackling “The Urban Jungle”


The ability to lift and move your body weight is crucial during an obstacle course like Tough Mudder or Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest. Whilst it takes skill and stamina to run a 10K, obstacle-style races involve a whole different ball game in terms of mental determination to stimulate muscles you never knew you had.

As well as the right nutrition, upper body strength is key, especially with the Urban Jungle obstacle, a scaffold-steel based rig that’s peppered with hardy challenges. Many of them feature obstacles that dangle precariously above water hazards.

Obstacle races test not only your endurance, but also your strength, agility and mental grit. If you’re in it to win it, have no fear because we’ve pulled together a muscle-pumping, obstacle-specific workout that targets your upper body and arms. You’ll be fighting fit to face anything – especially the Urban Jungle. Complement the below exercise plan with our Ultimate Race Week Meal Plan, and you'll totally nail it.

Why Is It So Important to Do Obstacle Training Exercises?

Enthusiasm will take you far, but the real art of performing well and reducing damage is prepping your body with proper training.

It doesn’t matter what your body weight is, the muscles of the back, arms, hands, shoulders and core all promote effectively being able to hold on to or squeeze things. However, bear in mind that with these muscles, it isn’t just about their size – what really matters is their strength and endurance. Muscle building and strength training are incredibly important before an obstacle.

Obstacle Course Workout Ideas to Crush the Urban Jungle

Try the below exercise obstacle course ideas to improve grip strength and upper body endurance, and never fail an Urban Jungle obstacle again. What's more, these moves will boost your other gym lift numbers too. These exercises target specific movements and skills you’ll need to conquer an obstacle, while also taking full advantage of your overall dexterity and resilience.

Wide-Grip Pull-Ups - Sets: 5 / Reps: 10 / Rest: 60 secs

  • Take the bar with your palms facing away from you and your arms fully stretched
  • Make sure your hands are as wide as you can comfortably get them
  • Exhale as you squeeze your shoulder blades together, and drive your elbows towards your hips to bring your chin above the bar
  • Lower under control back to the start position.


Sumo Squat - Sets: 3 / Reps: 10 / Rest: 60 secs

  • Stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart holding a barbell across your upper back with an overhand grip
  • Making sure you don't arch your back, push your hips back and bend your knees to lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor
  • Drive you heels into the floor to push yourself explosively back up to the start position.


Press-Up - Sets: 5 / Reps: 20 / Rest: 60 secs

  • Set up with your weight supported on your toes and hands beneath your shoulders, body straight. Take care to keep your core locked so a straight-line formsbetween your head, glutes and heels
  • Lower your body until your chest is an inch from the ground then explosively drive up by fully extending your arm


Chin-Up - Sets: 5 / Reps: 10 / Rest: 60 secs

  • Grab the pull-up bar with your palms facing towards you and a grip that is narrower than shoulder width
  • Pull yourself up until your head is above the bar
  • Slowly lower back to the start position


Plank - Sets: 5 / Reps: 60 secs / Rest: 30 secs

  • Get in a press-up position but rest on your forearms rather than your hands. Make sure your back is straight and tense your abs and your glutes
  • Hold without allowing your hips to sag.


Resisted Hand Opening

  • Touch all of the fingertips together so thumb is touching the tip of the other four fingers
  • Place a rubber band around the DIP joint (the bendy part of your finger closest to the fingernail)
  • Push fingers against the band until the hand is open, as if you were giving someone a high five. Bring fingers back together. That’s one rep.


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