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Training Out Of Your Comfort Zone

By Mud Runs (484 words)
Posted in Staying Fit on March 27, 2012

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Are you trying to get faster, stronger or higher?   Are you training for a Mud Run? If you are, the old adage “no pain, no gain”, might just be appropriate.  After training for and competing in three Olympic Games in the sport of gymnastics I’m pretty confident in saying complacency and feeling comfortable don’t go hand-in-hand with improving.  My coach/dad used to always say, the best gymnasts have a high tolerance for discomfort.  Discomfort, being a nice word for pain.  If you’re a runner who wants to get faster, a weightlifter who wants to lift more, or a gymnast who wants to fly higher, you have to consistently be pushing your personal limits and comfort level.

Mud Pit                                                                                                                    Source:

If you’re doing bench press, squats, lat-pulls, pull-ups, etc.  Start by doing higher reps, 10+, with lower intensity.  Over the course of the next 4 – 6 weeks lower your reps and increase your intensity (aka add weight).  As your intensity increases make sure you go to failure (a spot is recommended).  At the end of about a 6-week period you should be down to about 2-4 reps. Make sure you work in some rest time after the 6 week period, then get ready to start again.  The idea is similar, although not exactly the same, if you’re a runner.  If you want to run 8 minute miles, but you run 10 minute miles every time you go out and never push yourself to go faster, you probably won’t. 

When we trained strength for gymnastics, we often did handstand push-ups.  With someone spotting me, I would do at least two more reps after I finished making them on my own.  I can still remember that feeling of failure to the point where it didn’t feel like there was any weight on my hands.  Oh, how good that pain felt.  I could barely lift my hands above my head when I stood back up, but I got stronger.

Mud Army Crawl                                                                                                                    Source:

Bottom line, is you have to know your own limitations to avoid injury, but if you want to get faster, stronger or higher you need to train in a zone of discomfort once in a while.  And enjoy it! If you’re looking for an adventure to push your personal limits, check-out Mudder Fest at, your Mud Run with an Olympians touch. 

John  Roethlisberger
Mudder Fest – Pride is the Trophy
3-Time Olympian

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