Prepare for your next obstacle race with these 5 tips!

Top 5 Tips for Obstacle Race Preparation Workouts

June 9, 2014
Updated April 12, 2018

So, you want to try your hand at some extreme obstacle course races and you’re having troubles figuring out how to train for them? Obstacle course races come in all shapes and sizes, but for the majority of them, you can train the same (unless it is the ridiculously long ones; that is a whole other level). The following are 5 training tips to help guide you through what it takes to successfully complete extreme obstacle course races and not kill yourself in the process. These are to help you figure out what you should be working on to get ready for the challenges that await you.

Obstacle Course Training Tip #1 – Sprint! Don’t Run or Jog

Train for obstacle races by sprinting instead of running or jogging.

Even though these obstacle course races have some mileage to them (3-10 miles at times), it’s not about running long distance; you have to think that there are multiple obstacles in between your running, so you are never really “running” more than a mile at a time. Doing sprints will help build the muscle and endurance you need for the quick running in between the obstacles. Try going to a track and start off with 4 Laps (1 mile). On these 4 laps, on the straight parts sprint at your best, then slow down to a jog around the bends. You can add on from there or add intervals of High Knees or quick feet in place to your normal workouts. These will prepare your heart rate going up and down as needed.

Obstacle Course Training Tip #2 – Work on Agility Training!

Enhance your agility to improve your results in obstacle races.

How is your jumping ability? There are tires, mud pits, walls, hurdles, and rocks to get through. Working on your agility is great because it allows you to practice how to safely jump and land. Working in things like Jump Squats, Calf Raises, Ankle Mobility, High Knees, and general jumping is a great thing to do. Make sure that you are bending into the jump when you land each time to help build stability as well.

Obstacle Course Training Tip #3 – Work on the Pull up!

There are usually high walls, monkey bars, climbing ropes, and many things to climb up on, so working on the ability to pull yourself up is a great thing. Pull Ups/Chin ups are a good to start working to build that strength. You can also do Bar Hangs, Overhead Presses, and Waiter Walks to help on the shoulder strength that is needed. Rope Climbs are also a great thing to start doing if you have access to one.

Obstacle Course Training Tip #4 – Start Interval Training!

Because of the nature of the obstacle course race, you are changing what you are doing constantly; your training should reflect that fact. Interval/Circuit training combining strength and endurance is great for getting ready. Adding things like Burpees, Jump Squats, High Knees, Push Ups, and Overheard Presses into a Tabata Drill or other circuit is a wonderful way to prepare for obstacle course races.

Obstacle Course Training Tip #5 – Get a Partner or Team!

Get a partner or team to improve your obstacle race performance.

Through all the obstacle course race training above, nothing is better than having a person to do it with or a team behind you.  They will help drive you forward and many obstacles can take at least two people to complete, so always having a person with you at them is best. You will find no better motivation than another person.

Workout Vid for Obstacle Course Training

Workouts that utilize dynamic, explosive agility movements are excellent for preparing your boy for obstacle course races. Stunt training has many of the same demands as obstacle course training; give this workout a shot to prepare yourself for both.

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Anthony Eisenhower
Anthony Eisenhower has over 20 years of experience studying, practicing and teaching martial arts including Muay Thai, Tae Kwon Do, Coju-jitsu, Capoeira, Kenpo Karate, Gung Fu, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and Pankration. Anthony holds Blackbelts in Coju-jitsu, Tae Kwon Do as well as Muay Thai Level 2 Khru. Anthony studied gymnastics at L.A. Valley College and dance at Loyola Marymount University with the purpose of increasing flexibility and endurance for competition. He competed in full contact Kickboxing, Pankration and MMA. Anthony also performs stunt and fight choreography for music videos, commercials and various film and television projects; past projects include Alias, Birds of Prey, Dark Angel and Power Rangers in Space. Anthony is also the creator of the Brood 9 Stunt System, which is one of the few Stunt Certification classes taught for Physical stunt work. He has a DVD with the basics of this program through My Mad Methods Productions, and is a contributor to the My Mad Methods Magazine as well as other Fitness and MMA forums.

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