Obstacle course races, which can be anywhere from a 5K up to a 50K, require more than cardio fitness. Core, leg and arm strength is essential to help racers successfully go over each obstacle on the course.
And yet, many obstacle course race (OCR) participants skip strength training in the months and weeks leading up to an event.
Here are a series of strength training exercises you can use to help you prepare for an obstacle course race.
The deadlift, squat and box jump are three effective exercises that will build strength in your lower body, allowing you to jump over obstacles and stave off fatigue in longer races.
The deadlift: Few people enjoy the deadlift. But it's one of those difficult and necessary exercises that will make you stronger.
If you belong to a gym, you can use a straight bar. You can also use a dumbbell, a rock, a sandbag, you name it. Get creative.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Grasp dumbbells or other similarly weighted object. With your knees straight, lower the weight to top or sides of your feet by bending at the hips. As the weight approaches your feet, bend at the waist. Lift dumbbells or object by extending hips and waist until standing upright. Pull shoulders back slightly if rounded. Repeat.
Begin with light weight and gradually add more to allow your lower back to adjust. Throughout the lift, keep your arms and knees straight. Keep dumbbells or the object close to your legs. Don't pause or bounce at the bottom of the lift. Your lower back may bend slightly during full hip flexion phase.
Remember, the full range of motion will vary from person to person, depending on flexibility. When you lower the weight, you should feel a mild stretch throughout hamstrings and low back. Don't lower past that point. Inhale on the way down and exhale on the way up.