Tough Mudder 14 Most Difficult Obstacles: And How To Get Ready

Tough Mudder Funky Monkey
Courtesy of Tough Mudder

If you are training for a Tough Mudder, you probably wonder how to prepare. The challenge of pushing oneself to complete one of the most grueling outdoor events comes with a wide range of obstacles. While a few of the obstacles in a Tough Mudder have changed over the years, the excitement never has. 

So, what are the most challenging obstacles of the Tough Mudder, and how do you get ready for them?

Convincing yourself to face the challenge is one thing; having the strength and skills to complete the challenge is an obstacle in itself to tackle. Continue reading to learn about the 14 Tough Mudder’s most difficult obstacles and how to get ready for them. You will need to focus on different training areas when it comes to the unique obstacles found in a Tough Mudder.

Arctic EnemaOpens in a new tab.

To start relatively lightly is Arctic Enema. Although it may not take the most significant physical strength, Arctic Enema is no walk in the park. If you are an athlete, the chances are that you have taken an ice bath before. Consider jumping – or falling – into 20+ tons of ice. After surfacing, you have to submerge yourself a second time, come up, and wade your way to the end of the ice bath. Not pleasant, right?

No amount of strength training can make you react differently to freezing water. Arctic Enema is a mental test. When you fall into the ice, you will not be able to prevent your muscles from tensing as you enter a state of shock. The trick is to prepare with the right mentality. Unfortunately, physics will be working against you. However, there are some steps you could take to prepare.

First of all, focus on your mental awareness. You will have to be able to recognize the feeling of freezing water while continuing to push yourself through the obstacle. You could practice this through meditation before your Tough Mudder. Try out different breathing exercises to remain calm. It may also be beneficial to practice taking cold showers. It will not numb you like the Arctic Enema, but it could undoubtedly prepare you for the sensation.


The Block Ness MonsterOpens in a new tab.

The Block Ness Monster is a 30-foot wide block sitting in chest-deep water. To complete the obstacle, you have to climb over it. However, the spinning block is not easily manageable, especially on your own. Aside from sifting through water, you have to keep the Block Ness Monster as stationary as possible to conquer this tricky obstacle.

There is a bit of strength involved with The Block Ness Monster, but without teamwork and strategy, you might find that it is one of the most challenging obstacles to complete. It takes more than two or three people to get over the block. Even strategizing with your friends before your Tough Mudder may not be enough.

As you will learn, many of Tough Mudder’s most challenging obstacles involve upper body strength. To get ready for The Block Ness Monster, training your upper body strength can help. You do not have to do much else besides be able to hoist yourself over the block, so weak shoulders, arms, and backs may struggle. Regarding The Block Ness Monster, you must also strategically either push or pull the block to help others get over it.

Tough Mudder Electroshock Therapy
Courtesy of Tough Mudder

Electroshock TherapyOpens in a new tab.

Jumping Into Arctic Enema may feel like a shock, but it’s nothing compared to the literal 10,000 volts surging through Electroshock Therapy. It looks like a walk in the park, you might change your mind when, upon your first step into the maze, you are running with zaps to all parts of your body. 

Electroshock Therapy requires more guts than strength. If you do not have the determination to push through, it may not matter how well your strength supports you in the rest of the Tough Mudder. If anything, practice staying up when you feel defeated. If you fall into Electroshock Therapy, you will get more than a few stings.

The best way to get through Electroshock Therapy is by covering your face, staying focused, and sprinting. If you can drown out the few pinches here and there, you will have less chance of falling short when completing the obstacle.

MORE FROM ODT: Spartan Race vs. Tough Mudder: Which is Harder?Opens in a new tab.

Tough Mudder’s Mud Mile

The Mud Mile will test your stamina. As a staple of Tough Mudder, the Mud Mile consists of lots and lots of mud. However, it is not just the flat mud ground that makes typical running more difficult. Mud mounds and trenches stunt your progress to the greatest extent, often requiring a helping hand to pull you out.

As mentioned, you will need to work on your stamina. Along with routine runs, work some off-road locations there now and again. Sled-pushing is a great exercise to build a strong lower body and to help you conquer the muddy trenches. However, keep in mind that the best way to conquer the Mud Mile is simply by relying on and helping others during this challenging obstacle. Always remember to keep pushing forward, no matter how tired, dirty, or disgusted you might be.

Well SwungOpens in a new tab.

Well, Swung is one of the newest additions to the Tough Mudder. Although it is not painfully long, it requires a considerable bout of temporary strength. You have to jump and reach for swinging handlebars. After other obstacles, having the upper body strength to accomplish this takes some willpower. After grabbing the bars, you have to finish the swing by letting go and ringing a cowbell, only to inevitably fall into the water below.

Along with strengthening your upper body, you will need to focus on training a few other things in preparation for Well Swung. For one, work on your hand-eye coordination. If you jump and miss the handlebars, you will not be able to ring the cowbell—additionally, practice training your grip strength. Be able to take the transfer of momentum from swinging to letting go and hitting your target.

Tough Mudder Blockness Monster
Courtesy of Tough Mudder

GauntletOpens in a new tab.

Gauntlet is perhaps the most difficult Tough Mudder obstacle of them all. It is technically three obstacles in one. First, you have to get across the balance beam. Be careful, however, because it may not be as easy as it seems. After multiple obstacles have already worn you down, maintaining your balance can be the most difficult challenge.

Next, you will face rings hanging by holes, with which you must keep your grip on each ring by swinging through the obstacle. You have to maneuver through the course with the most significant focus and strength, whether it be pegs, holes, or handles. When you think you can take a break from the gripping and use of upper body strength, you have to complete the second round of upper body traverses.

The best advice you can get for conquering the Gauntlet is to take it one step at a time. It does not matter how strong you are. You have to keep your focus on the balance beam. If you cannot keep your footing, you will find it challenging to complete. Next, work on your upper body strength. The obstacles that follow the balance beam require strategy by using your arms and back more in the first section and your grip strength more in the second.

MORE FROM ODT: Can you skip obstacles in a Tough Mudder?Opens in a new tab.


It was tough, but you managed to get through Electroshock Therapy. You might be disappointed when you discover the voltage zaps are not over. Entrapment is an obstacle where you must army crawl underneath electric bands. The further you crawl across the 30-foot stretch, the narrower the gap between you and the electricity.

As with Electroshock Therapy, there is not much you can do to train for the zaps of Entrapment. For Entrapment, you should focus on a crawling motion using your arms and legs. Practice staying as low to the ground as possible. Aside from unsuspected cramps, stay determined in keeping your body flat.

Funky MonkeyOpens in a new tab.

Funky Monkey requires some of the most incredible upper body strength of all Tough Mudder obstacles. While the beginning of the obstacle involves simple monkey bars on an upward incline, you will be faced with diagonal lines, spinning wheels, and more as you continue through the course. Using your arms, shoulders, and back is essential to complete Funky Monkey.

The best way to conquer Funky Monkey is by focusing on your momentum. Starting at the body, use your momentum to swing swiftly and quickly through the monkey bars. However, as you descend to the more complex handles, you have to make sure you take it one pass at a time. Rushing to swing to a spinning wheel can disrupt your entire process.

As with many other Tough Mudder obstacles, training should build your upper body and grip strength. Most of the more challenging obstacles involve using your strength slowly and not having the convenience of short bursts of energy.

Berlin Walls

Even if you are an avid climber, Berlin Walls could be one of your toughest challenges. The 10-foot, flat, vertical wall is an obstacle that countless people struggle with. If you decide to complete it yourself, you will need leg strength to jump and the most capable upper body strength to hoist yourself over the wall.

One way Tough Mudders choose to get over Berlin Walls is through teamwork. It can make the challenge much easier than doing it alone, but it still requires skill. Pushing through the sweat and mus caking you and your partners’ bodies can prevent you from solid grips when helping to pull each other up.

When getting ready for Berlin Walls, practice working on your vertical. Train your legs and measure your jumps. Doing so can help greatly, even when you have others working around you to pull you up the wall.

SkidmarkedOpens in a new tab.

Berlin Walls are tough enough. How about Berlin Walls with a twist? Skidmarked is a 10-foot wall with no footholds. The only difference is that it is pointed diagonally, with the top facing your direction. There will be no climbing up this monster. The most gifted Tough Mudders may be able to grab the top of the wall and hoist themselves up, but they are few and far between.

In most cases, you will need the help of multiple people to get you over Skidmarked. With one person reaching from the top of the wall to pull you up and another helping below to give you somewhere to plant your feet, you will need a successful strategy to get things going.

The same training for Berlin Walls applies here. Make sure both your upper is prepared to hold the top of the wall while your legs swing hopelessly for something to hold.

Tough Mudder Mud Mile
Courtesy of Tough Mudder

Hero Carry

It may not sound all that difficult, but Hero Carry is not for the faint of heart. After taking beatings from other obstacles, Hero Carry can buckle you to the ground. It carries another Tough Mudder on your back, adding substantial weight to your journey. 

You should not get too excited as the Tough Mudder piggybacking on someone else. Halfway through the trip, the Tough Mudders switch roles. So, either way, you will have to trek through the mud with a partner weighing you down.

The best way to train for Hero Carry is by strengthening your legs. You should also work on keeping your posture straight to avoid a back injury.

MORE FROM ODT: 8 Best Mud Run Training Programs: Free and Paid.Opens in a new tab.

Boa Constrictor

Including the Boa Constrictor, the rest of the obstacles on the list will not be present in the nearest Tough Mudder. Still, they have earned a spot in Tough Mudder’s most difficult obstacles. For Boa Constrictor, you slither down a dark tube. However, when you reach the bottom, you are met with chin-high water, surrounded by barbed wire.

Even after facing the danger of the water and barbed wire, you must continue to snake your way up the black tube, using your upper body to climb to the top.

The best way to prepare for Boa Constrictor is to remain calm. Much like your first encounter with Electroshock, realize that the quicker you do it, the quicker it will be over with. It is also worth noting that just because Boa Constrictor and the following obstacles are not featured in the latest Tough Mudder does not mean they will not make a reappearance.

Cliff Hanger

Cliff Hanger takes all of the energy you’ve got. The 40-foot incline is caked in dirt and mud, beckoning Tough Mudders to try ascending to the top. Some choose to try peaking by themselves, which rarely succeeds.

Tough complete Cliff Hanger, you need to work as a team. Work with strangers or the people in your group to create a human chain to the top. Beware: even the best strategy will require upper body strength and balance.

Dark Lightning

If the name is not daunting enough, perhaps the next revelation is. Dark Lightning is an enclosed space with no sunlight. You have to crawl under electric bands without being able to see them. Think of the Entrapment obstacle, but imagine crawling through it without being able to see.

Dark Lightning is another of Tough Mudder’s mental obstacles. Even if you get zapped a couple of times, staying calm is essential.


There is no easy obstacle in a Tough Mudder, but some are much harder than others. You have learned the most difficult Tough Mudder obstacles and how to get ready for them. Now that you know how to prepare for your Tough Mudder, you can better acclimate your training to fit your challenges.


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Diego Nieves

I’m Diego Nieves, an outdoor sports enthusiast. In 2013, I was overweight, unhealthy, and unhappy. I knew my life had to change, and that's when I discovered Obstacle Course Racing (OCR). It gave me the discipline and set of principles to continue the path to health. Now, I’m exploring even more ways to enjoy the outdoors, and I want to bring you along on my journey.

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