Prepping for a Tough Mudder? Try Obstacle Course Training with DIAKADI
(photo courtesdy of DIAKADI)

Prepping for a Tough Mudder? Try Obstacle Course Training with DIAKADI


SoMa-based DIAKADI's latest expansion, Suite 102, is the ultimate obstacle course training facility with monkey bars, a peg board, rings, a cargo net, and more. This is one SF playground you don't need a kid to enjoy!

"We wanted Suite 102 to bring back that old-school gym feel," DIAKADI founder Billy Polson explained. "We wanted to give our trainers the right space with an obstacle and sport performance establishment; clients are excited and seeing results!"

In preparation for the upcoming Spartan and Tough Mudder races hitting the Bay Area, we met up with DIAKADI trainers and obstacle gurus Jon De La Torre and Elijah Markstrom to learn some basics. What ensued was a sweaty, challenging and surprisingly fun hour attempting Jon and Eli's "Top 5 Exercises to Becoming a Spartan."

1. Endurance

LSD, or Long Slow Distance running, is a must for any obstacle race prep program. There is usually a mile or two between each obstacle, so depending on how long your race is, you'll want to ensure you can cover that distance without bonking.

Workout: Run 2x/week. Increasing mileage each week to match your specific race distance. Focus on keeping a consistent pace and your heart rate around 50-60% overall max.

2. Upper Body Strength

Most of the obstacles are upper body focused and will require both strength and endurance in your shoulders, back, chest and arms.

Workout: Monkey bars and rope climb. Start out completing one full set of each. Then start to add more and more as you get more comfortable with the movement.The race will more than likely have a climbing component in the beginning, middle and end, so one should prepare for all three.

3. Crawling

Whether it's through mud, water, sharp little rocks or a combo of all three, you will certainly have some crawling to do. Some races even add an extra challenge of barbed wire or electrical wire above the crawling space, to ensure you're as low to the ground as possible.

Workout: crawling with bar overhead. Get your body as close to the ground as possible, keep your head down and use your elbows to pull yourself forward. Have somebody hold a bar or band over your head about 1-2 inches and ensure you stay below that bar throughout your crawl.

4. Balance

Another popular challenge of obstacle races is balance. Whether it be stepping from post to post, or having to hold a sandbag and navigate a chalk line, balance will be key.

Workout: KB Walks on line. Using a stretching strap, rope or even chalk lay yourself out an outline to walk on. Grab a kettlebell or dumbbell in each hand, and slowly complete the route without falling off. Change the route to be more difficult as you get more comfortable, adding turns and circles.

5. ROM

Range of motion is another important component to rocking your obstacle race! Aside from climbing, running, crawling and/or balancing to complete an obstacle, you also must be able to move your body in all sorts of crazy angles and modalities. An example of this type of obstacle will be climbing over a short wall and then under an even shorter marker, and then repeating for a half mile.

Workout: Over/Unders. Take a box, grab a bench rack, set them up a few feet from each other. Climb over the box and then under the bar, turn around and go under the bar and over the box, repeat. Figure out which method works best for you to complete both movements.

// DIAKADI and Suite 102 are located in SoMA at 290 Division Street. Daily passes to the gym stat at $15 with discounted series and monthly memberships available. Individual programs and fees vary by trainer;


  • Men often compete shirtless and women in sport bras to reduce friction, if that isn't ideal, wear a tight shirt or tank top.
  • Wear shorts with zipper pockets or no pockets to avoid collecting mud throughout the race.
  • Wear shoes that are both supportive for trail running but also can drain water easily.
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