How Crazy Are The Obstacles on The Savage Race?

The very first time I even heard about the Savage Race was while checking out videos of Tough Mudder.

savage race obstacles

I always love to compare obstacles on different mud runs to the most difficult and easiest ones I’ve tried, so how does this one do?

Well if you’ve done the Warrior Dash or Rugged Maniac, then about half the obstacles on this course are very similar there so you’ll be able to get through fine. There’s also some that bear a resemblance to the Spartan Race and Tough Mudder. But there are 7 which are completely unique to those other mud runs…

Basic race information:

There are 3 versions of the adult race on this mud run:

The basic Savage Race: Generally it’s 5-7 miles long.

The Syndicate event: Same exact race event but for people who try this mud run more than once in a year. The main prize is a finisher’s medal.

The Pro event: There is an extra fee to participate in this, but it’s the regular course, with cash prizes. However, there are very, very strict rules, not just for the whole event, but even each obstacle. The pro event is worth trying if you’ve completed the Savage Race before and feel confident about beating it again or you’ve tried and beaten a more difficult mud run. 

There is also a “junior” division. The course here is half a mile long and for kids only.

The 7 one of a kind obstacles you’ll find on this mud run (with preparation tips)!

Mud Walls: A dirty and watery trench which has several, chest height, climbable walls on them. 

The thing about any water level that’s at least 2 feet deep or more is that the more you try to struggled in moving through it, the more tired you’ll get and with the Mud Walls you have to climb, it is important to slowly maneuver through the water because nothing zaps your strength more than trying to maneuver through any “deep” water.

Don’t forget, there’s plenty more challenges awaiting you which is why if you move slower but so that you don’t get too much resistance in the water, you’ll be able to save that energy.

The way I would advise preparing for Mud Walls is to go into a pool or sea. Then (if it’s the sea) walk in about 3-4 feet deep and start trying to walk about 100 feet sideways (parallel to the shore, otherwise, you’re just walking into deep water). And if you’ll try this in the pool, just stay in a shallow area.

Feel the resistance the water gives you the harder more you try to move through it. That’s what zaps the energy so you have to try to move with the least amount of effort, but still maintain a motion. If you can move at least 100 feet like this without getting tired, you will very prepared to beat mud walls. You should also occasionally try give more resistance to train your legs to withstand the resistance. 

Tree Hugger: I have never seen a challenge like this. You have 3 pieces of tall wood with an equally tall metal pole in between each one (3). You have to go from the piece of wood to the metal pole, then back to the next piece of wood and on until you reach the end. You cannot touch the ground or you will be eliminated.

There are a number of go about preparing for Tree Hugger. If you live near a playground or have a gym where there are poles used for pulls ups, you can practice holding onto the vertical side of the pull up bar with 2 hands and both your feet. You will get a better balance if you keep one foot on top of the other. 

Now to move onto another pole you have to practice, letting go of one hand and one foot holding onto the pole and being able to fully reach out. Usually most pull up poles have about a 3 foot distance between each vertical pole so you can hold onto one vertical side, let 1 hand and 1 foot go and try to have them reach the other, then when you have a handle on the other pole, release your other hand and foot and swing to the other. If you can do this, you can beat Tree Hugger.

Big Cheese: A semi octagon shaped challenge where one side has big holes cut out in them to make it look like swiss cheese. You have to use your hands and feet and find the holes to pull yourself the challenge.

If you hike, then Big Cheese is easy to beat. If you don’t have any hiking areas, then using something like a stair master machine at the gym will be fine, except you should use your hands on the stairs instead of the handles on the side. .

Pole Cat: There are multiple railings involved here, but you use 2, put your feet on one with your hands on the other and walk across this railing.

A good way you can get ready for Pole Cat is to use 2 beds that are 4 feet away from each other, plant both feet on one bed and both your hands on the other, then travel across the beds back and forth. If there is actually an area where you live where there’s 2 poles that close to each other, you can also do it there. 

Squeeze play: A crawl on dirt water and underneath barrels. 

If you can do military crawls, Squeeze Play is easy.

Wheel World: There are 4-5 hexagon shaped metal bars you hand onto. They also spin around and you have to use that to get from one of these bars to the next. Remember, there are up to 5 of them. 

Unfortunately there is no real life obstacle that can recreate this one other than the Savage Race, but if you can climb monkey bars, you should practice reach one end of them, turning around (while holding on) then going back. That motion of swinging from one direction and then going back around will help you get used to it.

On the fence: You scale across a fence.

Gloves might be helpful here because it can hurt your hands clenching onto the fence for a long time. This is not really a difficult challenge and if your hands do get tired, put most of the pressure on your legs. Being that they are also pushing against the fence, you’ll have more reliance. 

There are more than 7 challenges (see the rest) on the Savage Race, but if you do these exercises and the other recommended exercises in this post, you won’t have problems with this race!

In my opinion, the Savage Race is very fun and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it, but personally, I prefer races like the Spartan Beast, and Tough Mudder.


2 thoughts on “How Crazy Are The Obstacles on The Savage Race?”

  1. In the mid-1970s, when I went through the Special Forces Qualification Course, phase I, there was an obstacle that was similar to the Tree Hugger obstacle of the savage race.

    It was a real monster and we called it the whopper. There was always a medic stationed there because guys fell off it like crazy. The Whopper broke a lot of arms and collar bones.

    I can’t imagine anything that tests stamina more than an obstacle course. It was the guys who were too tired to safely negotiate an obstacle that got hurt.

    • Sounds like the tree hugger you went through was a lot higher than the one in the Savage Race. The one in this course is not very tall, maybe about 9-10 feet high so even if people do slip or fall, the chances of them getting hurt isn’t as high.


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