How to Complete The Bucket Brigade Challenge in The Spartan Race.

One of the most uncomfortable memories of me doing the Spartan Race was challenges that involved lifting heavy rocks, logs and the worst of them all: The bucket brigade.

For me, it was the heaviest challenge out of them all. It was also on the longest up and down climb which made it far worse.

spartan race bucket brigade

What is the bucket brigade (carry)?

It is one of the final obstacles along the Spartan Race route. Basically after getting really tired over the majority of the course, you reach the top of a hill and see empty buckets. In the 3 Spartan Races I did, one which was rained out, but the other 2 being the Super and Beast, the Bucket challenge was right near the end of the course, both times.

You job is to load them up with a bunch of gravel up to about 80-90% of it and then take it down hill and then return them to where you started the challenge so others can go too.

The length of this descent and then ascent is ridiculously long, about a quarter of a mile and is extremely exhausting. Really there’s no easy solution to completing this obstacle, but what you can do is not add to the already uncomfortable hardships this obstacle brings by doing the following things:

1) Practice carrying something that is about 40 lbs well before you start your event.

It’s a great way to prepare you mentally for the hardship bucket brigade brings as well as the other challenges. I believe 40 lbs is what men have to carry, women are allowed to carry lighter weights.

2) Always practice keeping your back straight when holding onto the weight.

The way they want this challenge done is that you have have to hold the bucket in front of you, against your chest at all times. You can hold onto it from the bottom or in the middle. You are not allowed to carry it on top of your shoulders, otherwise, they’ll have you redo the obstacle, that’s how it was for us.

But while carrying it for so long, you’re guaranteed to get tired and start slouching. This is something you have to practice avoiding by doing the first thing above (practicing it). Bending your back which is what I did a number of times along this challenge is what can lead to injuries and back pains later and keep in the mind the event doesn’t end with this challenge, it continues so you need to be healthy and flexible after it.

3) When going downhill, get into a rhythmic walk, when going uphill, take frequent breaks.

The momentum of the downward slope makes it easier to carry it to the bottom, but the second half of this challenge is where you’ll get most tired.

Do NOT blaze through the upward area because that will destroy your legs. Uphill climbs, especially with weights need to be done at a slow pace, but a continuous one.

When you start walking upward, try to get into a rhythmic walk and get a momentum which carries you, rather than forcing yourself to walk. If you find yourself starting to force yourself to take the next step up, stop, put the bucket down, take a break and resume when you’re feeling better.

4) Talk to your team and other people, joke around while doing this challenge.

Why? Because this obstacle is very mentally destructive, especially if you’ve been running for hours prior. I found that by joking and talking to your teammates and other people and positively encouraging them, that it makes this challenge easier.

One of the biggest hurdles to the Spartan Race is the mental aspect of it and besides being physically able to complete it, you may moments like I did where you feel as though you’re ready to break down.

To avoid these moments, again, talk to people along the race, in addition to this obstacle, be positive and take those breaks when you need to. Don’t try to mentally break yourself through something when you need to relax and regather your strength.

5) Keep in mind that you are not allowed to drop a certain amount of gravel.

spartan race bucket carry

There’s a reason they have you fill it up so much, it’s so that when you finish it, however much you had to fill it up with, you can’t drop it along the route to make it less heavy, otherwise it’ll be considered that you didn’t complete the challenge and…you’ll have to redo it.

6) Stretch out before, along and after this challenge.

For me personally, the stress of the race prior put a lot of hardship on my body so going into the bucket brigade was even harder. By stretching out before I started it and several times through it, in addition to after, I prevented serious injury and I recommend you do this too, especially if you’re over 30.

In fact, stretch along the entire event when you can. The less flexible you are entering the next obstacle, the more likely you are to get injuries.

7) Do not look at how far you need to go, because it’ll depress you.

This is the longest and heaviest challenge for the Spartan Race. When I began this challenge and looked at how far I needed to go, it became depressing and it didn’t help me when I continued looking at how much longer I had to go.

Look down often or side to side. If you focus on the momentum on your walk, not how far you have left, you’ll make it mentally easier for yourself to finish this. The same goes for when you go up-hill.

These 7 tips are what I’ll take to the next race.

I had to learn these things the first time I completed a big Spartan Race and keeping them in mind will make the next challenge much easier for myself and you. 

I wasn’t prepared for all the strength heavy challenges the first time, but next time, I definitely will be. Practice lifting the weights so you get used to it, keep a safe form when carrying them and remember how important the mental aspect is! 

Don’t let the bucket brigade stop you from finishing the Spartan Race, good luck!

How to Scale Tough Mudder’s Balls to The Wall Without Breaking Anything!

So balls to the wall was one of the Tough Mudder obstacles which took me by surprise in a bad way.

I had practicedtough mudder balls to the wall for it extensively prior to scaling it on my first Tough Mudder race by working on my grip, seeing the pictures on the main website and not thinking of this challenge as being a big deal.

After all, how difficult could it be to climb a wall when you also have a rope with knots to help you? Not difficult at all consider I climb the rope pretty well as it is.

Then the race came around and this is what really happened:

But what I didn’t consider was what would happen if on the day of the race that same obstacle would end up being covered in extremely slippery dirt such that even grabbing onto the wall or trying to use your feet for support only made it more likely you’d slip and break something

That person climbing on the wall is my uncle. He has awesome grip and if you can tell, he’s not having an easy time with this obstacle either.

And even though neither of us fell (thankfully) my strength really didn’t help me at all here either. On the day of the race, there was a lot of rain and by the time my team and I reached this challenge, there were already enough people who were also wet that went through it that the rope and wall were already slippery enough and with more constant rain and more wet contestants going through it, there was no chance this challenge would be dry enough to complete easily.

The more I tried to get a firm grip and pull myself up, the more quickly I would slip. I dare say this challenge was even harder than the Spartan Race rope climb.

I ended up having to request help from people to lift me up so I could at least reach one of the few knots to get to the top. At least by holding onto a knot, I could maintain a certain height level to maybe reach the top. Thankfully though, there were people at the top who were lending a hand, literally, and I managed to grab hold.

I reached the top but continued to be extremely cautious because of the slipperiness being a constant risk and also because going down the wall on the other end was pretty much structured the same way I came up.

To my recollection, about 90% of all the people who were on this obstacle needed help like I did and many of them looked to be in great shape, but again, that slipperiness cancelled out the strength aspect.  

Because of that 1 factor, I learned that to pass this obstacle and be safe about it, you needed a few things:

 5 ways to beat balls to the wall:balls to the wall tough mudder obstacle

1) If it’s a dry day when you do the race, you’re fortunate. Then your grip and strength will really be enough to get you to the top. 

2) Don’t rely on a dry day to save you. Be prepared to handle this and every other obstacle as though they are in their worst condition possible. In the case of balls to the wall, when you reach this obstacle and it’s your turn to climb, make sure to do a test jump to see if you can grab and hold onto the rope. 

Do not attempt to jump onto the wall and grab the rope and start climbing it without knowing how slippery it is or how good your grip is. This can lead to falls and injuries and it becomes more and more dangerous the higher up you go.

3) Apparently some gloves do help with the slipperiness. I did this challenge without gloves and it was almost impossible for me. However, I also had purchased footballs gloves with a rubber palm and tested it on a few metal bars before the race. 

Turns out, as long as the challenges where they’re climbing (metal poles, ropes, wood), you will have an excellent grip. But if it’s wet, oh boy, put them away and use your hands. 

However, there’s different types of gloves available. My uncle who was also with me and one of the people who boosted me up when my turn came used regular gloves that people use for things like handball, lifting weights, ect… and apparently they actually gave him a better grip.

So do I recommend gloves for this challenge? Well what I do recommend is that you try out a few different ones that you currently have and when you reach this obstacle to first test the grip you have with the gloves on and then off and see which one is more comfortable, then go ahead with the version that gives you a better grip.

4) Use the knots as checkpoints and go slow, very slow. That’s how it worked for me. Climbing that thing in one effort was impossible with the slipperiness so I had to grab onto a knot, pull my body up to it then use that level to reach the next one. 

When you reach the top, you’re not done yet. You have to get your legs over bttw3before attempting to go back down or help others. Consider that the wall can also be very slippery and dangerous so go very slow to make sure you have an excellent foothold and aren’t slipping at all. 

When I reached the top, it took me about a minute to slowly pull myself up and over before I attempted to finish the obstacle. This was because every little motion I made had me feeling as though I was about to fall. 

5) Request help from others at the bottom and from the top. Tough Mudder is all about help. If you really see that the obstacle is giving you a hard time, ask for help, whether it be the people who are with you or strangers. Most of the help I got was from strangers and they really helped me with preventing major injuries. Obviously pay it back by also helping them or others when you finish the obstacle. 

Apply these cautious approaches to all the obstacles!

Balls to the wall wasn’t the only look alike obstacle or one that was slippery for me, there were a bunch and you should use these safety tips, especially when it’s raining. If it is, your obstacles are going to become a lot more dangerous and difficult, but it doesn’t mean you can’t beat them. Always focus on being prepared!

And another thing. Though I usually recommend good mud run shoes like these, they didn’t really help me here because the wooden wall was wet, which made is extremely slippery for just about any shoe.

Is Bone Frog The Most Difficult Mud Run Ever Made?

Bone Frog is a relatively new challenge that started a few years ago that is right up there with many difficult mud runs but is it the most difficult OCR race to date? 

As an update, this mud run has become very popular and is still going. But once again, is it the most difficult OCR?

Well it depends on how many mud runs you’ve personally done, and more importantly which ones you did. I’ve personally done 7 and while Bone Frog is not one of them (yet), I have done truly difficult ones like the Spartan Beast and one could say it’s comparable to this one.

Most of the other popular mud runs are not at the level Bone Frog is at so if you’re going to compare this race to something, it’s gotta be something that is around that level which is why we’ll be comparing vs the Spartan Race, Tough Mudder and Battle Frog.

Personally I have done 2 of those events (3 Spartans and 2 Tough Mudders) and will be looking to take on my first Bone Frog challenge when it’s near my area, but I have had a chance to look at the obstacles and compare them to the ones I’ve done on other OCR’s.

Basic info on Bone Frog:

This is another obstacle course that was made to mimic the types of challenges special forces people face, specifically NAVY Seals. To partake in this event, you have 3 choices:

  • A “regular” Sprint: 3 miles, possibly a little bit longer.
  • The challenge which is 9 miles and also maybe slightly longer in distance.
  • And the final one called “Tier 1” that is over 12 miles long. 

Obviously the more difficult level you pick, the harder it will be and the more obstacles you’ll go through so choose your level according to your fitness level (and experience).

Do note, this is NOT BattleFrog:

There are many people, myself included who mistake these 2 events. They are not the same, they have completely different layouts and obstacles, although both were structured based off army challenges and also BattleFrog is currently cancelled. 

Unique challenges of this event:

What I like about this event is that there’s more obstacles overall than in any other mud run I’ve done before. Even the longest ones I’ve finished have about 20-30 per race.

And despite a “lack” of obstacles, the hardest ones focus mainly on hiking mountains which is difficult, but it kind of feels like a rip off when there’s no many actual obstacles along the way to make paying so much to compete in it worth it.

Luckily in this event, you get more obstacles (There’s over 30 here, at least on Tier 1) and you’re on a mountain. Now many of them are common to ones in the Spartan Race such as carrying bags, lifting bags with ropes, barbed wire challenges and obviously scaling different kinds of walls (vertical or angled), but here are some I found to be completely new to any other OCR’s I’ve done:

1) A long 20-30 horizontal monkey bar. The difference between this and normal monkey bar challenges is that you’re about 20 feet above the ground. Although there is a safety at the bottom should you fall, this is the only obstacle I’ve ever seen in an OCR that’s this long and high up.

2) Scaling across a rope, but above water. I believe it is called “Traverse”. This was somewhat similar in the Spartan race but here you scale from one point to another over or under a rope, but here, over water. Your weight may actually pull you down so much that you’ll be “swimming” across while you scale across. You may actually be able to finish this by only using your hands and having the rest of your body be submerged in the water.

3) Moving onto other obstacles that involve a rope…there’s one that is involves you scaling it down (head first) after you climb up to reach the top of it.

4) Doing burpees, but they call it heroes. If you ever did burpees (or the Spartan Race where they are mandatory for each failed obstacle), then you’ll do the same thing here, but this counts as a separate obstacle, not a punishment.

5) A “Spider Wall”. So you have conjoined walls with long wooden pillars horizontally on the top (for your hands) and bottom of it (for your feet) and the goal is to get through the entire set of walls without touching the ground.

This one is also seen on the Spartan Race, except they have small wooden pieces, not long pieces of wood so on the Spartan Race version, it’s a bit harder to do. 

6) Crossing over water but through rafts. If you have ever sat in a lift raft and tried to move around it, you know how difficult and unstable it is. Well in this challenge, you have a bunch of life rafts joined together that make a “bridge” across the water and you have to climb from one raft into another until you reach the other side.

I’ll be adding more and more obstacles especially after I personally take on this mud run! 

So is this mud run the most difficult one yet?

Well based on the distances, location of it, I’d say at best this race is about as difficult as the Spartan Super, and possibly a little bit harder than Tough Mudder

In terms of strength challenges, obstacles, locations and distances, Bone Frog bears a lot of resemblance to the Spartan Race (as you saw, I compared a lot of the obstacles in both events together) particularly as they both have similar distances for their races and involve a lot of carrying of similarly heavy props and finally, there’s also lots of climbing on ropes. 

bone frog vs spartan race

For people who are active mud runners that enjoy challenges, this is one you’re going to want to add to your list. If you have people on your team who are beginners, have them do the 3 mile race. 

The good thing about Bone Frog is that for the most part most of what you need to be prepared for are long, steep hikes and being able to have strong upper body training.

Other than that and good gear, if you’ve experience more than 1 mud run with a distance of about 5+ miles, you should be able to get through Bone Frog, not easily, but you’ll be able to beat it. 

This is definitely a hard event to finish but it’s also very rewarding to beat. They also give you a medal, which honestly, I am looking forward to adding since I only have 2 so far (Spartan and Survival Race, the rest don’t make them.).


Worried About Electroshock Therapy in Tough Mudder? Do This.

There were 2 obstacles I legitimately feared going through in Tough Mudder and one of them was electroshock therapy. I have a video of myself passing it.

However, after I was yelled at by my uncle to just dash through it and hardly feeling the zaps hitting me, I discovered that there was a great way to do it.

tough mudder electroshock therapy

Compared to how awful the experience was in MudmanX where I was shocked much worse, the one on Tough Mudder was MUCH less terrible (in MudmanX, I was crawling with my head exposed to the wires, in the other, I had to run through and my feet were what was exposed to the wires).

So why is it that in one I was shocked a lot more than in the other and more importantly, why is that so many people get zapped like crazy in electroshock therapy and what can you do to prevent it? Here are my theories:

1) Less skin exposed to the wires means less static electricity:

Every person I saw running through in shorts, without a shirt, basically with substantial areas of skin exposed got shocked like crazy in this obstacle.

Why is it that more skin exposed causes more shocks? Well my theory is that the hair on all exposed areas is basically a static. It makes it easier for the wires to zap you. 

2) Wear layers of clothing that is rubber like:et

It wasn’t until after I did electroshock therapy, the adrenaline went away and one of my teammates pointed out that by wearing rubber like clothing, basically rash guards and leggings, it reduced the pain of the zaps tremendously that I realized that I only got zapped twice and hardly actually felt it.

The shocks I experienced from MudmanX was enough to drop me, while the ones in the other race were felt, but didn’t halt my movement. 

There were people like my uncle, his friend and myself who wore fully clothed fabric that went through this obstacle easily. Then there were the others who didn’t wear enough that didn’t and we know what happened to them. What to wear to get less zapped.

3) Do NOT wear anything that is made of wool.

You’re asking yourself for a bad experience if you do. Wool naturally attracts static as does exposed skin. Besides, I can’t think of any reason to wear wool on a mud run, any mud run for that matter…

4) Understand that you can BYPASS this obstacle.

While there are rules in Tough Mudder that say you “can’t” skip obstacles unless you’re in the legionnaire club, the truth is that they put up a board that says who this particular obstacle is not for:

Basically people with health problems and fillings in their mouth (metal). That said, if you have these problems, you shouldn’t be doing this obstacle at all.

I personally have 2 crowns and some metal work done, but I still went in and did it. I would not recommend someone who knows in advance that they have these fillings or health problems (heart) do it. 

So if you do have these, let whoever is in charge of regulating the runners inside this challenge know. They can’t force you to do electroshock therapy. 

The same goes for other obstacles, such as this

As far as I also know, if there are no legitimate reasons for you to skip an obstacle, the staff won’t force you to do things like burpees which you do have to do in the Spartan Race (I admit, I weaseled out of a few of them!).

Also I did another Tough Mudder race a few years after this one, and because I suffered a big injury right before electroshock therapy, I decided to skip it.

5) By the time you reach this area, you’re going to be very tired and desensitized. 

Generally this is the last obstacle on Tough Mudder and when you get to it, you’re covered in a lot of mud (which can also help prevent extra zaps) and are very tired. Use that to push you through this and know that the finish line is close shortly after! 

Are there any ways to practice for this?

Not any safe ones that I know of so don’t try doing something stupid like tasering yourself before hand. This is not a productive way to prepare for this. 

The only thing I would say is: Wear that clothing and dash as fast as possible through it. Tough Mudder often likes to mix up the way they structure this obstacle. For example:

They may make it a long dirty an slippery run without water, but you have to dash through about 20-30 feet of wires.

In mine, it was also about 30 feet, it was in about a foot of water and about 10-15 feet you had a little mound to jump on top of. That’s where I slipped and then had to crawl through to finish. 

Other than that, wear something that’ll make it less likely to slip. My salomon speed cross 3 saved me on this. But in the video I’ll show you of me doing it, I was running through without any issue, and then somehow I slipped…

Here you go, enjoy…

So basically no matter how they structure the next electroshock therapy, the only thing you can depend on is:

  • Hopefully running through it without slipping (wear good shoes like I did).
  • Wearing more protective clothing (rubber, rash guards) to make the zaps much less painful.
  • And if you’re really worried, just not doing it at all for fear of health repercussions. 

Unless you’re a masochist and enjoy getting zapped, do one of those 3 things. I know there are people who love this kind of stuff but even if you’re fully health and prepared to run through it, I always have doubts about long term risks of getting zapped. 

I wouldn’t take the risk of doing it with less clothes or if you have one of the specified rules where they tell you that it’s not for you. Just protect yourself, get through it quickly and move onto the next thing (although after that obstacle, the race ends).

Knowing what I learned from that experienced has made me ready to take on the next Tough Mudder or any mud run with an electrical challenge knowing that I’ll be prepared (although I still have horrible post experiences from the MudmanX zaps).

There aren’t many obstacle courses other than those 2 that I know of which have an electric zapping challenge, but check your race before you go just to make sure. If they do, you already know how to prepare! And if you want to have a laugh beforehand, check out this video of other people doing electroshock therapy: