By Pete Williams
TAMPA – Eric Stratman mixed things up for this morning’s version of Tough Mudder training camp, which is only appropriate. After all, Stratman’s The Next Level Training Center near Westchase specializes in CrossFit, which constantly throws the unexpected at you.
Of course, part of the allure of obstacle mud runs like Tough Mudder, which comes to Florida for the first time in December, is seeing how well you can handle the unexpected.
Today’s wrinkles in the TNL parking lot included running 400 yards with a tire, which was not too bad, at least the first time around. Moving 400 yards laterally was a welcome addition for me; the lateral lunge has been a staple of my workout since writing the first Core Performance book with Mark Verstegen.
I was a little disappointed not to have the farmer’s carry return, having incorporated walking long distances while carrying 45-pound plates into other workouts since participating in Tough Mudder camp two weeks ago.
Then there was a rope obstacle. With one end of a heavy rope looped around a concrete pole, you had to take a 20-foot end in each hand and shake the ropes until the slack reached the pole….100 times. I suffered through the first 100, but like so many obstacles in this category, it’s all about technique.
A fellow trainee showed me how to grab the ropes below the handles. You could do 50 overhand and 50 underhand. That didn’t make it easy, just doable.
The tire toss returned, along with plenty of 800-meter runs around the parking lot between obstacles. Also returning was the dreaded “Prowler,” a sled with 300 pounds of weight plates. This time we had to use a lower grip on the thing, increasing the degree of difficulty.
Today’s workout began at 10:30 a.m. and we enjoyed a bit of a cool front, with temperatures only 87 degrees.
Unlike the 45-minute session of two weeks ago, Stratman extended today’s workout to an hour. I’ll be more than prepared for next weekend’s Savage Race in Clermont, which shouldn’t take more than 45 minutes. The Tough Mudder takes most athletes more than two hours, so presumably our workout on Sept. 3 will be longer.
The free program continues every other Saturday until the race in December. Interested? Check out TNL HERE.