MovNat and the Tough Mudder … Mud, Fire and Ice

I recently had the opportunity to test my movement aptitudes in a 12-mile obstacle challenge through mud, fire, and ice … the Tough Mudder.

It is described as “probably the toughest event on the planet;” with a tagline like that and a few online videos of some passionate individuals training for the event, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.

‘For me, MovNat is a way of life, whereas the mud run was just a single event.’

Rather than change my training to be tailored to an obstacle course, I stuck with training the movement skills that enliven my spirit and strengthen my mind.

I spent a lot of time on five basic climbs of MovNat, jumping progressions, crawling, and carrying during this training block.

‘As it turns out, the broad set of MovNat skills prepared me quite well for what was in store at The Tough Mudder.’

On the day of the event, I was looking at all the people crazy enough to participate in an event like this. Many appeared to be fit, but how would they perform?

MovNat was the one factor that set me and my teammate (a fellow movnatter) apart from the rest. Although it was more team-based and focused on completion – it was nice to put MovNat training and principles to the test and see them do so well in action.

‘The adaptability we developed training MovNat set us at ease during the course.’

As others struggled crossing the wobbly balance beams or slippery monkey bars, we delighted in it as just another day moving through Nature and the elements. When others had to stop at a certain steep hill, we were able to flow with the contours of the earth overcoming these obstacles gracefully.

There were a few obstacles that surfaced hallmark distinctions between the skills of MovNat training and those of conventional training. Most notably were the 12-foot walls where we saw many participants struggle to pull themselves up, let alone up-and-over the wall.

The practicality of our training muscle-ups, grip strength, jumping to climbing transitions, etc. was quite apparent. While teamwork is essential at times to overcome certain obstacles, it was empowering to know that we were able to efficiently scale that 12-foot wall on our own.

‘While I like to have fun with events like this, I also view them as a test of will and courage.’

How has my training prepared me for the unknown obstacles? Where did I struggle and what can I improve? Even though my MovNat skills made The Tough Mudder less challenging than it was for most, I still used the event to identify weaknesses and spark new growth within myself and my tribe.

‘Overall, it was nice to see that MovNat training had prepared me so well for the event.’

The Tough Mudder was a real world application of my physical competency, mental fortitude, and warrior spirit. My foundational experience exploring nature and honing movement skills improved my adaptability and efficiency, allowing for a confident response to the challenge!

Guest blogger Dan Foley Jr is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer, group fitness instructor, and gymnastics coach at the Livonia Family YMCA in Michigan. In this setting, he is able to help many populations (old, young, deconditioned, athletic) move better with the principles of MovNat.

Copyright © 2012 MovNat

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4 replies
  1. Jesse Drelick says:


    Great article. I have incorporated a lot of your training principles into my training for the Mudders and have seen improvements. Thanks and keep it up. When are you going to put on a session in PA?

  2. Aubrey Williams says:

    Fantastic MovNat application. Would love to see some pictures of the vent to augment your descriptions.

  3. jason says:

    Well done on the tough mudder its something im thinking of for next year for my 40th birthday treat. I have a question if you dont mind what 5 climbs did you focus on.8


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