During an obstacle course race or mud run you can expect to encounter a variety of unpredictable challenges. Sure, there is no way to know exactly which obstacles to expect. Don't rely on traditional gym equipment or body-building routines during your training because you won't find an elliptical along the race course.
Instead, use kettlebells to build functional strength and cardiovascular fitness as you prepare for your upcoming obstacle race.
More: 6 Tips to Get Ready for an Obstacle Race
Kettlebell workouts are fast paced and intense, similar to the environment of an obstacle course race. Unlike typical strength-training circuits and stationary exercise machines, training with kettlebells improves strength and cardio conditioning at the same time.
And, exercises like the kettlebell swing train the body as one unit, strengthening the legs, improving athleticism and helping to boost your speed with every swing.
Simply put, kettlebells are the most versatile and effective training tool for obstacle racers. Doing 2 to 3, 20-minute workouts each week helps to train power, explosion, grip strength and cardio. By training multiple muscle groups simultaneously, kettlebell training provides significant benefits in a fraction of the time required by traditional workout routines. More impressive is the fact that these outcomes can be had with only one piece of equipment in a spare bedroom or basement, at home.
Get race-day ready by incorporating the kettlebell swing into your weekly workouts.
More: A Look at Obstacle Course Racing
The Kettlebell Swing
With feet shoulder-width apart, chest up and shoulders back and down, hold the kettlebell with both hands. Brace the core and relax the arms as you sink into a squat with the weight between the legs. At the bottom of the movement shift your weight back onto your heels. Standing up from the squatted position, use your hips to propel the weight to hip level. Then, engaging the hips and core, swing the weight up higher until you reach shoulder level. Focus on using your hips and legs to move the weight, rather than your arms.
After learning the proper form, begin to include kettlebell swings into training sessions. Use a manageable weight for four sets of 15 repetitions. Over time it will be possible to increase the amount of weight used and repetitions performed.
More: Kettlebell Workout to Strengthen Your Shoulders