Obstacle races like the Tough Mudder and the Spartan Race are more popular than ever.

The group dynamic of these races are a fantastic way for friends to do something active and for businesses to use the races as a team building activity.

Tough Mudder..oh, you mean my prison bitch

Whatever..

The key thing to obstacle race training is simplicity and convenience. If you need $100,000 worth of high tech gym equipment or if you need to drive an hour each way to your secret obstacle race training location; then, guess what?? You probably won’t do the training.

And then, when you run the obstacle race because all of your friends and coworkers pressured you into doing it, you’ll probably injure yourself or you’ll be the one person holding everyone else back- and of course, nobody wants to be that guy.

So, what’s the answer? Super simple exercises that you can pretty much do anywhere with virtually no equipment.

Now, obstacle races are difficult to train for since they’re unpredictable and unspecific in their nature. There’s really no true way of preparing for the race other than running through the obstacles. And it’s not always easy to find a wall next to a rope sitting next to an icy pond directly beside a muddy field.

Still cleaner than most of the girls that go to the Roxy :-O

Still cleaner than most of the girls that go to the Roxy :-O

However, what we can do is train ourselves in a broad manner. We can build strength and endurance in areas that can be applied to wide array of tasks.

Okay, now we’re looking at simple exercises that we can do with minimalist equipment all while building the strength and endurance we’ll need to run, crawl, jump and climb all while being super gross and muddy.

Sweet!

Let’s get started.

Do as many rounds of these exercises as possible in 20 minutes.

  • 50 Jumping Jacks
  • 20 Mountain Climbers
  • 20 Walking Lunges (10 each leg)
  • 10 Jump Squat
  • 5 Burpees
  • 50 High Knees (25 each leg)
  • 50 Bicycle (25 each)
  • 5 Pull Ups
  • 50 Skipping
  • 20 Push Ups

Do this 20 min circuit 3 times a week or 5 times a week if you’re already in great shape. If you’ve been sedentary for a long time, you’ll want to start this routine about 90 days before race day. If you’re in moderate physical condition, you can start 8 weeks out. And if you already work out regularly, you’ll be able to get away with a 4 week obstacle race specific training program.

This high intensity interval circuit is gruelling and it’s tough. Tough Mudder is called Tough Mudder because it is tough. Spartan Race is called Spartan Race because it is a spartan experience.

So suck it up Buttercup!

Here’s a quick breakdown of all the exercises.

Jumping Jacks

jumping-jack

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A cardiovascular staple, Jumping Jacks will get your arms and legs moving in a lateral fashion so you can run, jump and move in any direction for any obstacle.

  • Feet together. Hands by your sides.
  • Hands over your head. Feet a part

 

 

Mountain Climbers

1001-mountain-climber-483x300

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You’ll hate doing these now but you’ll be happy you did when you’re crawling underneath barbed wire. A key component for obstacle race training, Mountain climbers will get your heart racing and build stamina in your arms and legs.

  • Feet on the floor and your hands on the floor.
  • Bring your right knee up to your right hand.
  • Feet back together.
  • Now bring your left knee up to your left hand.

 

 

Lunges

Lunges

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A fantastic exercise to build strength and balance in your lower body. Lunges help develop your gluteals (Your butt muscles) and your hamstrings. Lunges will help you scale those big fat hills during that obstacle race of yours.

  • Take a large step forward
  • Keep your back straight and your chest proud
  • Drop down so that both knees are bent at 90 degrees

 

 

Jump Squats

Jump Squats

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

High intensity exercise to get your heart racing and your muscles burning. Obstacle race training wouldn’t be complete without developing a powerful jump to help you scale walls and to clear hurdles.

  • Feet shoulder width apart
  • Drop your hips down so that your thighs are parallel to the floor
  • Jump up

 

Burpees

Burpees

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The #1 high intensity exercise that everyone loves to hate. Y’know, really, you could just do 100 burpees three times a week for the 8 weeks before your obstacle race and you would be a total rock start on race day- but what fun would that be right??

  • Do a push up
  • And then jump up
  • Repeat

 

High Knees

High Knees

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a core exercise amongst track athletes and it’ll have you sprinting through through trails like a greyhound on espresso.

  • Stand chest proud and up on your toes
  • Bring your knees up to your chest

 

 

Split Lunges

Split Lunges

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Explosive power and muscle building all at once. Split lunges will give you the power and stamina to blow through any obstacle.

  • Take a big step forward.
  • Bend your knees.
  • Jump and switch your feet in mid air.

 

 

 

Bicycle Abs

Bicycle Abs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The best exercise to get 6 pack abs and the best exercise to connect the power between your upper body and your lower body.

  • Lay down on the floor with your hands behind your head.
  • Touch your right knee to your left elbow.
  • Switch and bring your left knee to your right elbow.

 

 

Pull Ups

pullup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pull ups build your biceps and your back and the grip strength you’ll need to climb up and over any obstacle.

  • Grab the bar so that your hands are slightly shoulder width apart.
  • Keep your back straight and your legs still.
  • Pull your chin up to the bar and repeat.

 

Jumping Pull Ups are are also acceptable if you don’t have the upper body strength just yet.

 

 

 

Skipping Rope

Skipping Rope

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Skipping rope is one of the best ways to burn fat and build cardio. Super important for building agility and fast feet for trail running and clearing obstacles.
The rope passing over your head and going under your feet count as one revolution.
Do 50 of these.

  • Holding the rope loosely in your hands, keep your elbows close to your sides.
  • Stay on your toes.
  • Start with both feet together; and then, go right/left/right/left

 

 

Push Up

Push Up

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The king of all upper body exercises. Push ups develop your chest, your triceps and strengthen your core.

  • Have your hands on the floor slightly shoulder width apart.
  • Keep your body straight as a a board.
  • Drop your chest so that your elbows bend 90 degrees and repeat.

 

 

So, there you have it. A complete high intensity interval circuit.

Here’s the complete Obstacle Race Training Program one more time:

  • 50 Jumping Jacks
  • 20 Mountain Climbers
  • 20 Walking Lunges (10 each leg)
  • 10 Jump Squat
  • 5 Burpees
  • 50 High Knees (25 each leg)
  • 50 Bicycle (25 each)
  • 5 Pull Ups
  • 50 Skipping
  • 20 Push Ups

 

Run through each set of exercises in this order as many times as possible in 20 minutes.

You’ll want to do this work out for a minimum of 3 times per week for 8 weeks. If you’re totally out of shape, I recommend starting 12 weeks before race day.

And if you’re already a complete gym rat; then, 4 weeks shall suffice.

If you need the help of a professional strength and conditioning coach to help you maximize your results and to supervise your training, we run Tough Mudder and Spartan Race training programs at both of our Brentwood Burnaby and Downtown Vancouver studios.

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