The popularity of obstacle races is forever on the up and there are now a wide variety of races available throughout the world, of varying difficulties. They’re tough, both physically and mentally, requiring preparation beforehand if you want to finish it strongly.
Most of these races follow a similar format and they require a lot of functional fitness i.e. being able to navigate your way over hurdles, lifting objects, running and crawling. You’ll need explosive power for jumping, endurance (for obvious reasons) and strength to haul yourself over walls or hang on to ropes and bars.
Structuring a Programme
In order to cover all of the types of challenges you could face, your gym program should be well rounding and aiming to develop on:
- Explosive power (jumping)
- Grip strength
- Core strength (and balance)
Let’s dive into each category mentioned above and show which exercises can help to improve your performance.
This will be extremely useful throughout your entire race, most likely for jumping up and over obstacles. There’s an endless list of exercises you can perform in order to work on this, however here are some of the tried and tested ones.
Weighted Squat Jump
Frog Squat Jump
Improving your endurance and stamina will help you avoid burn out towards the end of the race. Here are a couple of ways you can work on your endurance.
HIIT (high-intensity interval training) is one of the more popular forms of cardio because it is usually short and fast, meaning the pain is over much quicker than the traditional style of endurance training. Studies are showing that even 25 minutes of high intensity, short rest bursts will improve endurance.
Chop and Change
Your body is a machine which adapts incredibly well to routine. That’s great news because it means that the more frequently you exercise, the easier it will become. However, in order to maximize the benefits, you should try to change up your fitness routine regularly. This will force your body to keep adapting, avoiding plateaus.
You might need to do monkey bars, swing from a rope or pull somebody up a hill. Grip strength gains, even if minimal, could be the difference between making it to the end of the monkey bars or ending up in the cold, muddy water.
Two Arm Passive Hang
Your core strength will greatly help you stabilize and balance throughout the course. In fact, most of your movements in life are aided by good core muscles.
Hanging Leg Raises