Tough Mudder, training for the extreme obstacle course

Story by: Alexander Hall


Wading through freezing water, sliding on mud with exposed electric wires overhead and climbing Everest in a single day is now possible.

Garrett Jensen trains for Tough Mudder.

Garrett Jensen trains for Tough Mudder.

Obstacle courses are designed to test stamina and strength. Developed by the military to train troops, these courses have found their way into the public sector. Now regular people participate in modified courses that stretch over 10 miles, for fun. The only difference in these courses… you have to sign a death waver.

“I said, that sounds like a lot of fun, this is something I might wanna do,” said Garrett Jensen.  On early mornings Jensen heads to the gym by 5 o’clock. A 24-year-old Lincoln Nebraska resident, Jensen is getting ready for an event known as Tough Mudder.

Tough Mudder is one of many new obstacle course fitness crazes popping up not only across the country, but around the world. The course stretches 12 miles, almost a half marathon. But that’s not what’s tough about Tough Mudder.

It’s the modified obstacles that are considered extreme, 27 of them to be exact. The course was based off a design the British Special Forces use. And Jensen trains hard to prepare for them. “Ya know, I didn’t think about it too much, so I signed up,” said Jensen. He works out six days a week and can sometimes spend up to four hours a day in the gym, that’s an average of 24 hours a week working out.

And Jensen is a working man, after his morning workout he goes into work for a full day. Afterword’s he sometimes heads back to the gym to train more. “Tough Mudder is getting a little closer, ill switch it up a little bit,” said Jensen. As the day for Tough Mudder gets closer his two-a-day training will be in full swing nearly every day. [youtube][/youtube] Jensen on Mudder by: Alexander Hall, NewsNetNebraska

Garrett Jensen talks routine, goals and Tough Mudder.


Jensen has been an avid iron pumper for over five years. He’s by all standards a modern day Hulk. He has a healthy weight and is virtually all muscle. But how can anyone train for obstacles with names like the Electric Eel and Arctic Enema.

The rise in popularity in extreme obstacle courses has also had deadly results. In the past year six people have died participating in Tough Mudder and similar events. One man drowned in an obstacle where participants swim through a bath of ice water under a divider to reach the other side.

“That’s the risk you take I guess,” said Jensen, who will face challenges that require him to run through live electric wires that can have a power range of up to 10 thousand volts. He will also have to run a dangerous gauntlet of pressure hoses the size of small dam spillway pipes. Scale a 15-foot vert ramp named Everest and the list goes on. The obstacles themselves sound like Sylvester Stallone movies with names like Cliffhanger and Fire Walker.

“If you have certain problems nothing’s going to prepare you ultimately for what might happen,” said Jensen, who is headed up to Minnesota to compete in the challenge on July 20. But he’s not going at it alone.  Jensen and his group of 10 buddies are headed to the event. “We’re kind of going as a team which is probably going to help us out a lot,” said Jensen.

Garrett Jensen performing a chest exercise.

Garrett Jensen performing a chest exercise.

For Jensen it’s a combination of pride and teamwork.  At the end of the challenge it’s just enough for him to say that he did it. “It’s not really an individual thing even if you go individually, you help out your fellow mudder,” said Jensen.

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