Even if you’re a Tough Mudder veteran with several races under your belt you can never take the event for granted, because every year an array of terrifying new obstacles is added to the mix.

One of the men working on ways to make your life miserable and muddy is Nathan Bassett, senior manager of product and obstacle innovation. We spoke to Bassett about the two new obstacles set to arrive on Tough Mudder courses in 2018 and asked for his advice on how best to tackle them.

The Obstacle: Happy Ending

What is it?

Massive, absolutely massive.

“Happy Ending will be our new finisher obstacle and the biggest OCR obstacle in existence,” says Bassett. “It stands 25ft [7.6m[ high, 80ft [24m] wide and 100ft [30m] long.

“It is a monstrosity that encourages all Mudders to finish together, because they are required to create a 40° human pyramid up to the top before going feet first down a 30ft [9m] slide into a water pit.”

What’s special about it?

“Happy Ending brings together all Mudders from the Tough Mudder Half, Tough Mudder Full and Mudder Legionnaires to the finish at the same time on the same obstacle,” says Bassett.

“Mudders cannot finish without working together no matter how experienced they are, so they will be helping each other across the finish line.”

How to tackle it

“Happy Ending is all about teamwork,” says Bassett. “You need to have your team and the rest of Mudder Nation there with you to get up and over this obstacle to the finish line.

“Helping each other build a human pyramid to get to the top will take teamwork, strategy and good communication.”

Prepare with these exercises

If you want to start prepping for Happy Ending, focus on your lower body and core so you have the sturdy base required to form part of a human pyramid. You also need to build your endurance so you have the stamina to clamber to the top at the end of the gruelling Tough Mudder course.

Work your lower body with box jumps and squats, add some hill sprints to your weekly routine, and strengthen your core with planks, hanging leg raises and the bear crawl.

The Obstacle: Kong Infinity

What is it?

“An upgrade on Kong, last year’s Legionnaire favourite,” says Bassett. “Kong Infinity is definitely one of the most challenging obstacles ever seen on a Tough Mudder course. It sees Mudders start by climbing onto a 15ft structure before reaching out to a barrel with handles fixed around it. Participants will then have to use a combination of upper-body strength, agility and momentum to ‘roll’ the barrel to the other side.”

What’s special about it?

You actually can’t blame Bassett and his team for the brutal nature of Kong Infinity, because it was designed by two fans from Glasgow.

“Kong Infinity is the first winner of our annual obstacle design challenge to make it all the way through testing and onto courses around the world,” says Bassett. “It is a testament to the skills of UK Mudders Ross Munro and Jonny McDonald, and will be one of the most technically demanding obstacles we have ever put on to a course.”

How to tackle it

“You will need to master the momentum and rhythm needed to move the barrel up the rails,” says Bassett. “This is a new technique that is going to be hard for people to replicate, so grit and a little bit of luck will go a long way. Mastering this technique and pairing it with decent upper-body and grip strength will be the key to getting across this test.”

Prepare with these exercises

As Bassett says, you need a strong upper body and an iron grip to get past Kong Infinity. When doing upper-body exercises, it’s best to choose ones that challenge your core at the same time. Think pull-ups and dips.

How strong your grip is depends on your thumbs, fingers, forearm and wrist. It’s not the easiest thing to work on in the gym, but fingertip press-ups and alternating hangs (hang from a pull-up bar or monkey bars from one arm, swapping the arm either constantly or after set periods) will help.

Sign up for a Tough Mudder race at toughmudder.co.uk/events


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