A Full List of Tough Mudder Obstacles And Yes, They Are Extreme!

Of all the obstacles I have faced on various mud runs, it appears that Tough Mudder may have the most challenging ones. There are up to 25 of them.

Now keep in mind that for this and many other mud runs, these obstacles change, so you may see new ones if you decide to try one, or even some that are on this list, not appear on the ones you do.

Also having gone through Tough Mudder twice, here’s info on my experiences for the first one, and here is info on my experiences for the second one.

First, there are 5 different types of Tough Mudder:

1) The regular race: It is up to 12 miles long and the one most people do (I will be doing mine in October!). And also, don’t mistake this event for the Spartan Race. Here are the differences between them.

2) The half version: You only do 5 miles or half the distance of the regular event. Also some of the hardest challenges you’d find on the regular event are not in this one. 

3) The one known as the “Toughest Mudder”: Basically the regular race, but you do it at night. Supposedly there’s new obstacles coming out in 2017!

4) The 24 hour event where you run through a the same course as many times as possible. BattleFrog has this type of race as well!

5) Then there is a kids one which is only a mile long.

If you are a beginner, do the half (5 mile) version. If you are intermediate or higher, the regular race will be challenging enough (or you can try these other mud runs)! And if you’re an insane athlete, the 24 hour one might be the most appropriate challenge for you!

Now, we have the list and wow…it’s not a joke…ew4

Artic Enema: Many Tough Mudder races begin with this obstacle. You jump into an icy bath to get you started! Sometimes it is dirty (if it’s further down the event and people who already were dirty when they got in had it on them) and sometimes it has a coloring over it. If you’re not used to taking cold showers or even diving into icy water, you better get ready!

Update: In the Tough Mudder I did, this obstacle appeared about halfway into the race.

The “Block Ness” Monster: This a team effort challenge where you have to maneuver over several blocks that are floating above water and rotate as you try to climb over them. The key to beating this challenge is letting one or more team members climb over it while the remaining one hold it at the bottom and as one or more members crawl, they push the block over to get them over it. It’s like a push but it can make the obstacle less difficult for the climber. 

Then if the person gets over it, he or she has to hold it from the other end so it doesn’t flip while the people who wereew5 originally holding it can now get over. You’re probably going to have other teams doing it with you so make an effort to work with them so that you all get over this without losing too much time.

King of the Swings: This is a scary challenge where you swing across a pole, not rope, then take a major risk by letting go and trying to hit a bell in mid air. Then after that, whether or not you hit it, you’re still going to fall into dirty water. 

I honestly thought this was the coolest obstacle I did, but it didn’t appear in the second Tough Mudder I did, which actually happened to be in the same location.

Pyramid Scheme: This is an obstacle where you have to cross a triangular prop that is about 7-8 feet high, but it is extremely slippery so often just running up to it and up may not work.

A lot of teams actually completely this hurdle by laying on the side of one of the pyramid walls and letting their teammates walk above them as a way to keep their grip, then there’s also other people at the top who will often help you up. 

If you and your team choose to do it the first way (where you lay down), then it’s your job as the person who climbs above them to help the members at the bottom reach the top.

Cage crawl: You basically swim on your back with a cage literally touching your face. It creates a bit of a claustrophobic effect (helpful tips for this challenge!) but the key is to use the cage to move your body through this obstacle. Don’t focus on the water or that it’s scary, focus on pushing your body using your hands and nothing else. 

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Birth Canal: Well…this is an interesting obstacle in that it somewhat resembles you being born? That’s certainly one way to describe Birth Canal, but in reality, you’re crawling on dirty with a heavy prop weighing on you the entire way.

The Liberator: You grab a piece of wood and have to use it to climb a wall. There are holes on the wall you have to plug in with that wood you have and basically that is used to get you over.

Mud Mile: It’s not actually a mile long, but it’s basically a bunch of mud mounds like you see in Warrior Dash. It’s very slippery and very, very dirty.

Everest: A run up a very high wall. Usually the faster running start you get on Everest, the more chances the momentum will be able to carry you to the top. This obstacle is very similar to the one on American Ninja Warrior!

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Berlin Walls: This is a vertical, 10 foot wall. There’s usually a handle to step on a few feet up that you can use to then propel yourself over the top.

Skid Marked: The Spartan Race have this type of challenge where you have to get over a wall that is slanted against you, but on Tough Mudder, when you get over it, you will have to step on tires that are against the wall to then jump over them to land on the ground.

Funky Monkey: You’re going to need super human grip strength here. You first have to cross monkey bars but this is not on a horizontal level, oh no, it’s actually slanted upward, but even if you do get over that, then next part is the descent but it’s not on monkey bars, it’s on a pipe that is usually very wet. This is one of the most challenging upper body obstacles you will ever cross.

Hold your wood: This is another team effort challenge where you carry a heavy wooden log across a few walls. Some of them will have holes where you’ll have to put the log in and take it out the other side.

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Warrior Carry: You have to carry a teammate up or down a hill while they are on your back.

Quagmire: You go through a very dirty trench that is filled with water. There’s little space so you’re really stuck in a line (thus the name Quagmire). 

Balls to the Wall: You have to get over a wall using a rope but can use your feet to grab onto the wall itself. Then on the other side, you also do the same thing. 

Kiss of Mud: A crawling challenge on dirt. Oh and it’s under wires too :).

Shawshanked: Usually there is an obstacle that leads to it, but eventually the challenge itself is a crawl through a dark pipe.

Electroshock Therapy: Yep, you’re going to get shocked and it’s going to suck…I have been lucky to only go through this kind of hurdle in one of the 4 races I’ve done (it was on MudmanX). I hated it, but it was somewhat optional to get through because I could kind of avoid the wires. In Tough Mudder, you won’t be able to. You just have to dash through it. Typically Electroshock Therapy pops up right before the end of the race.

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There are also obstacles for what are known as “Legionnaires”: You get to test new obstacles out before they become part of the main race. In 2016, there are several new challenges. You can check out Legionnaire challenge here.

If you think you’re ready for this race, see if you have the gear and physique to take this race on!

Do not do it unless you are very physically fit. This race is very difficult to cross and remains as one of the hardest tiers of mud run events.

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17 thoughts on “A Full List of Tough Mudder Obstacles And Yes, They Are Extreme!”

  1. This sounds like so much fun! I used to run quite a bit but Ive been slacking lately. This looks like just the kind of motivation I need to get back at it. When you enter, are you required to have a team? or can you just enter as a pair? I am really looking forward to trying one of these races out!

    • I think teams are optional for this one Shelby, but it always helps to have support on these races. I’ve never done a mud run alone and in my experience, it’s much more fun going with others than just yourself.

  2. I can’t wait until I can do a Tough Mudder; I also had no idea that there were multiple levels. The one at night sounds insane, especially the one where you do the course as many times as you can. I think my first option would obviously be to do the regular one to get used to all the obstacles you listed. 🙂

  3. Looking at all the pictures online has always made me want to try the Tough Mudder obstacles. Good luck for yours in October I hope to see some pictures. Is the course always set out the same in each location or do they vary from country to country? How are you training for it?

    • Thanks! Yeah I’ll be putting my own pictures once I do the race. As for training, I’m currently injured, but I will be doing cardio mainly and working on my biggest weakness which is upper body stuff via climbing.

  4. I have always wanted to do a Mud Run and there is usually one in Dallas. What do you recommend for the first one. Obviously, maybe just the 5 mile one? Is there a website that lists where they are and how long they are? I would really like to do this. Also, I can’t find anyone remotely interested in doing this with me. You don’t really need a partner right?

    • You can do this without partners but it’s better to complete this difficult race with friends. Start with the easiest 5 mile one first or if there are other runs in Dallas that are 5K long, do those instead. All of the mud run sites list how long each course is.

  5. Wow, some of those types of Tough Mudder versions sound insane!

    I have had family and friends do some mud runs and are trying to get me to join so figured I would start looking around.

    Would you say that the night and 24 hr events would be the ultimate goal to reach when it comes to Mud Runs?

    I like your recommendation to start with the half version…I may even consider starting with the kids version.

    These runs sound really interesting with the different challenges. I have tried running in the past but found it to be boring after a few minutes…this may be the answer I needed to keep me motivated.

    Thanks for the great info

    Cheers
    Paul

    • Hi Paul, yeah the levels you mentioned are definitely the last and most difficult kinds of mud runs you can do, but I would recommend you try several ordinary versions of those events and gradually start picking out more difficult runs if you see that you can take on the previous levels.

  6. These look like a lot of fun – I know my kids have done the Warrior Dash and loved it, lots of great pictures from that. I had no idea there were so many great runs around – having a couple of kids in good shape and like to to these runs, do you think planning a vacation of sorts around a couple of these events would be a good idea?
    Thanks
    Randy

    • Hi Randy, if there is a mud run taking place somewhere not far from you, maybe a few hours, I would spend a day on it, not a whole vacation.

  7. Hey I am a beginning runner (just started around a year ago) and I was wondering about any advice you would give to me for participating in any of the mud runs. What was it like for you the first time you participated in this type of event? Was it a very stressful experience?

    • No it wasn’t stressful, it was exciting but disappointing because the race I did wasn’t difficult, but that was for me and I always tell people to start with a 5K (typically the shortest ones).

  8. It looks like such fun! Pretty intense but definitely something I would be up for. How much training is required before doing a tough mudder for the first time?

    • Hi May, it depends on the condition of the person. If you’re fit and actively run/jog as well as lift weights, maybe a month of preparation is fine, but if you’re completely out of shape, I’d start training several months before you do the race and make sure to do the special workouts that help you specifically on these mud runs.

  9. Awesome article! I never did mud running before and never thought would be this intensive, I’m planning on joining one soon though, I’m really excited because I really don’t know what to expect!

    What was your hardest run, what do you feel what was your biggest success, something you are very proud of that you have achieved, also did you ever sustain any injury from mud running?

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