Obstacle Course Training for Triathletes


Obstacle course races are some of the hottest, most popular events for endurance athletes this summer.

Chances are your triathlete friends have tried to get you to sign up for at least one of these events with them. But they are hard. They push both your strength and endurance limits, and many occur during the triathlon season.

The question is, can you train for a triathlon and an obstacle race at the same time?

More: How to Train for a Long Course Obstacle Race

The answer is a resounding "yes," according to both Kacy Catanzaro and Brent Steffenson, two stars from "American Ninja Warrior," who also launched a new obstacle series called Alpha Warrior.

Steffenson, a former stuntman before joining the cast of "American Ninja Warrior," says the endurance training for triathlon is important. "Keep up with the running and develop your grip strength," he says.

To adequately prepare yourself for the speed, strength, endurance and agility required for an obstacle race, Steffenson and Catanzaro recommend focusing on four areas in your weekly training program:

Upper-Body Strength

To strengthen your upper body you need to do lots of pull-ups. Try some of the more familiar ones first—underhand or neutral grip. Individuals who can't perform multiple pull-ups can do the exercise with a chair underneath to assist.

For those looking for more intense workouts, try weighted pull-ups.

More: How to Do Pull-Ups Correctly

Core Strength

To strengthen your core, add hanging abdominal lifts to your training routine. This assumes you are already doing traditional planks, side planks and maybe even mountain climbers. Core strength is critical to meet the agility requirements for these types of races.

More: 5 Steps to a Solid 6 Pack

Grip Strength

To build grip strength, you need to modify your lifting routine. Using traditional grips for weight lifting is a great place to start, however, grip strength is best built by lifting in ways that require you to have a more open grip. This can be accomplished by lifting a stack of smaller weights. You can also wrap strong towels around dumbbells or kettlebells to quickly change the nature of the work.

More: Train for an Obstacle Course With The Kettlebell Swing

Explosive Force

To increase explosive force, try box jumps:

  • Make sure to find a stable platform.
  • Spread your feet about the width of your shoulders.
  • With a swing of your arms, jump on top of the step or box.
  • Either jump off or climb down and repeat.

More: 5 Steps to a Perfect Box Jump

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About the Author

Paul Tyler

Paul Tyler is founder of Triessential.com. Triessential offers an iPhone application that provides training tips and motivation every day throughout the entire year.

Paul Tyler is founder of Triessential.com. Triessential offers an iPhone application that provides training tips and motivation every day throughout the entire year.

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