In 2016, it’s next to impossible to look at your Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram without seeing pictures and posts from someone’s recent mud run. Whether it’s a Spartan Race, Tough Mudder, Warrior Dash, or a brand new obstacle course race, everyone’s getting in on the fun.
Whether you’re a total newbie to the world of obstacle course racing (OCR), or you’ve already got a few of these races under your belt, there’s always room for improvement. CrossFit Delirium has compiled a short list of exercises and movements that’ll help you get stronger, faster, and more coordinated for these races.
Squats (weighted or unweighted)
Depending on where geographically your obstacle course event is, you’ll more than likely encounter plenty of hills, inclines, and declines. This type of terrain puts an enormous amount of stress on your legs. Combine this with various weighted carries (sandbag carries, log carries, gravel buckets, etc.) and your quads, hamstrings, and calves are really in for it.
To prepare for this, start squatting! Squats are a great way to start building your leg strength. Any squat will work, whether it be an air squat or weighted. Use whatever type of squat challenges you the most and start getting your legs ready for the inclines and declines.
While obstacle course races are all different, they almost all contain some variation of monkey bars. Some races may even throw them in there more than once. To prepare for these, start putting pull ups into your workout regimen. If you can’t do pull ups, start with push ups and gradually work your way into pull ups.
For readers that might not be familiar with what this movement is, it’s pretty simple. Just choose a pair of kettlebells that are a challenging weight for you and take an extended walk with them. You should keep one kettlebell in each hand and let your arms simply dangle at your sides. Start with a 200m walk and try working your way up to 400m without putting the kettlebells down. This movement reinforces grip strength and muscle endurance – two attributes you’ll definitely need during an OCR.
Ok, so this isn’t technically a movement – but the importance of running can’t be overstressed when training for an obstacle course event. Even if you’re a seasoned athlete, it’s a good idea to start with small distances for your runs. Immediately accumulating miles throughout the week puts an unexpected amount of stress on your knees, which can lead to pain down the road.
Ease your body into a running regimen and allow yourself to get used to the distance.
If you’ve read through this list and still feel intimidated, have no fear. CrossFit Delirium offers an Obstacle Course Racing program that can help get you in shape for your next mud run. Contact us for more details.