Whether it be the Warrior Race, the Spartan Race, the Impi Challenge, the Mud Run, or any other obstacle course challenge that you participate in, these 6 strength training exercises may be just what you need to help improve your overall performance.

You may be a super-fit running machine who can pound away kilometre after kilometre but when it comes to hitting the obstacles, you lack that little something extra to help to annihilate them in no time flat; and that is where strength training comes into play. By performing the following exercises, you will be giving yourself an upper hand on the obstacles helping you to achieve better race results.


1. Pull ups

The pull up is often referred to as the king of body-weight exercises and for good reason. It will help you develop strength in your back, lats and biceps giving you the strength to pull your own bodyweight free of gravity. Performing this move will help you with monkey bars, rope climbing, hoist obstacles and pretty much with any obstacle where a pulling movement is required.

2. Spider-Man Push Up

The spider-man push up helps to strengthen the chest, shoulders, triceps and core all while increasing hip mobility. This will help you to push through obstacles like crawling under barbwire and the traverse wall with ease.

3. Burpees

Burpees are often used as a penalty exercise for when obstacles are not completed, but they will help you with much more than that. The burpee is an excellent conditioning exercise which will help you to push through portions of the race where anaerobic energy is required.

When training for an obstacle race, intermingle your running with burpees. For every 250m you run, do 5-10 burpees. This will help to mimic the physiological reality of obstacle racing so that you are able to handle and adapt to the build-up of lactic acid and depletion of glycogen reserves.

4. Jump Squat

The jump squat is a great move for developing explosive power in the legs which can be used to improve sprint performance and jumping ability which will both help to improve overall performance, but not just that, jump squats also teach you how to land softly. This is an often overlooked aspect of obstacle course training but it may actually help you to ward off injury, especially when coming over a high wall or off a drop. Softer landing will help you to prevent knee and ankle injuries and they will help you to spring back into action quicker.

5. Kettlebell Swing

The kettlebell swing helps to strengthen the posterior chain (glutes and hammies) which is important for when you are traversing a steep incline. This exercise also helps to build core stability which will help with both balance obstacles and heavy carries.

6. Playground Horseplay

This is not exactly an exercise but in prep for an obstacle course race, it is a good idea to get back to your childhood playground basics. Climb poles; swing on the monkey bars or from rings to ring. Mix it up and work your forearms and grip from various angles for prolonged durations so that you not only improve strength but the resistance to fatigue. This will help you to overcome the pain barrier which often hits grip strength first, especially with heavy lifts, rope pulls, climbs and pretty much everything where an uncomfortable grip is required.

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