Maniac Monday Workout: The Battle Test

Maniac MondayWinding Down

The last two weeks, I really tapered down my mud run training due to participating in the Dec. 10 GORUCK Challenge in Washington, D.C. and the World’s Toughest Mudder event this past weekend in Englishtown, NJ. While I completed the GORUCK Challenge in its entirety, I missed my goal of lasting 24-hours at the WTM as the cold weather really took its toll on me physically and mentally. I trained hard for this, so naturally I’m a little disappointed to only make it to the pit area once. I managed to complete one full lap in just under 5 hours, which was a feat in itself, but definitely leaves a lot of room for improvement. For more on my recent GRC and WTM, keep checking back as I hope to have those articles up in the coming days.

So, as we get ready to dive in the 2012 mud running season, it’s time to get back to work and set some new goals. I’m definitely going to give the WTM another try next year…word is, the event is scheduled to be in a slightly warmer location and last 48 hours! I also plan to complete more GRC’s along with at least 1 mud run/adventure race/challenge per month. Currently, I’m scheduled to run:

  • ABF 10K Mud Run (March)
  • Tough Mudder New England (May)
  • Rugged Maniac (July)

And I’m penciled-in for the following:

  • NJ Trail Run Half-Marathon (Jan/Feb)
  • Tough Mudder TriState (October)
  • Tough Mudder Montreal (?)
  • GRC Atlantic City (July)
  • GRC NYC (Sep)
  • WTM (Dec)

Back to the drawing board!

So, with a lofty schedule ahead, I suppose it’s time to get back to work with yet another Maniac Monday Workout. This is a variation of a Tabata Set that I complete during my lunch hour at NYSC. It’s quick and brutal, and should replace at least one of your sprint days per week. It’s great for building strength, power and stamina and provides a great lung-burning cardio workout.

Today’s Maniac Monday Workout: The Battle Test

The Workout:

The Battle Test is a Tabata Workout: 20-seconds as hard as you can followed by a 10-second rest. A two-minute rest should be taken between each set. If you’re looking for a great way to keep track of your Tabatas, check out this free Interval Timer iPhone app.

Warm-up: 15 Pull-ups, 10 Bear Crawls (moderate pace)
Tabata Sets:
  • Battle Ropes x8
  • Farmer’s Carry x8
  • Kettle bell exercise (ex: swings, snatches, cleans, clean & press) x8
  • Box jumps or bench jumps x8
  • V-ups x8
Cool down: Row or bike for 2 minutes (moderate pace)
More maniacal? Use weighted GORUCK or vest.

How to:

Battle Ropes: Battle ropes are those giant ropes at your gym that look like they should have an anchor tied to one end. Generally, you wrap them around a post, which at my gym is the leg of a stretching station, then pull either side of the rope so the two ends are even. I like to alternate between four battle-rope exercises for this first Tabata Set: Alternating Waves, Two-handed Slams, Criss-Cross, and Alternating Waves while stepping down to one knee then back up again. For a great list of battle rope exercises with descriptions, check out this page at

Farmer’s Carry: Use what you have available here, such as dumbbells, kettle bells, buckets of sand, sandbags, or gripper plates. Keep your chest out and your arms steady at your sides. I’ll typically use 22 kg kettles, which are around 48 pounds. Get a good pace and go for distance, trying to beat or reach your previous distance for each 20-second go. You can check out my demo of a Farmer’s Carry on my YouTube Channel.

Kettle Bell Exercise: There’s so many to choose from. I’ll either use one exercise and repeat 8x, four exercises and repeat 2x or 8 different exercises with no repeat. It’s up to you! Check out some great kettle bell exercise demos here.

Box Jumps or Bench Jumps: Self-explanatory for the most part and anything from 30-40″ depending on your hip flexibility and power should give you a good workout. One word of caution, do not go for MAX HEIGHT here. The object of a Tabata is to sprint or do the max number of reps. Setting a max height will increase your chances of slamming your shins or missing your height completely. Instead, aim for a lower, faster, form-driven box jump. Here’s some more information on box jumps from

V-Ups: Like a sit-up, except you extend your arms and legs and touch your toes at the center of the sit-up to form a “V”. You can also hold a medicine ball to do these.

Like this Maniac Monday Workout?

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Meet the Author

Mud Run Maniac
Mud Run Maniac

I'm the proud owner of, specializing in mud run training and tips! The mud run community is growing fast and I’ve made it my responsibility to keep you up-to-date on the latest and greatest mud running topics.

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