The obstacle-race workout you should be doing

14 July 2015 by
First published: 23 July 2015

While adventure-racing is fun, it’s no walk in the park; training is essential to see you through, so here’s an awesome obstacle-race workout you should be doing to get ready to rumble in no time at all.

Obstacle races are increasingly popular and there are plenty to choose from, including Tough Mudder, Spartan Race and Survival of the Fittest to name a few. They’re not just about bragging rights and proving you’ve got the minerals; they’re a great incentive to lose weight and increase fitness.

Sarah King, founder of the Gauntlet Games says, ‘I’d suggest signing yourself up to an event or challenge and giving yourself a few months to train. You will work much harder at your activities when you have a challenge looming, and it gives you a target to aim for. At the Gauntlet Games, it’s a great atmosphere, you’re exercising and we encourage you to sign-up to the event with friends because its much more fun when you’re having a laugh with all your mates!’

This workout can be done once or twice a week to help get fit and strong for obstacles races. Each set lasts 30 seconds with 10 seconds’ rest to get ready for the next move. The circuit can be performed three times in 25 minutes. If you don’t have a timer, perform 10 reps of each exercise in the circuit, then repeat twice.


Bear crawl

Prepare your body for tackling lower obstacles with bear crawls. This simple exercise will work your whole body, but it is particularly good for improving your upper body and core strength.

Start on all fours, with your hands underneath your hips. Keep your back flat and raise your knees off the ground. Keeping your hips low, move forwards on your hands and toes approximately 10m depending on how much space you have.  Then turn around and crawl back.


Farmers’ walk

A great way to build overall strength is by just carrying something heavy.

Pick up a pair of heavy dumbbells and let them hang at your sides at arms’ length. Walk forward for as long as you can while holding the dumbbells. If you can walk for longer than 60 seconds, switch to a slightly heavier weight.



Burpees increase strength and fitness; they work the chest, shoulders and abs while providing a great cardio workout. Sarah says, ‘Obstacle races demand a basic level of fitness and a great exercise to achieve this is the burpee. It is definitely one of those exercises that everyone loves to hate but it helps to improve the power in your muscles, which will assist you in jumping over high obstacles.’

Start in a standing position, squat down and put your hands on the ground in front of you. With a jump, extend both legs out behind you, very quickly bring them back in and jump into the air.


Bench jumps

Begin by standing straddled over a bench. Jump up so both feet are on the bench, the jump down to the original position. Continue jumping on and off the bench as quickly as possible.


Gorilla pull-up

Sarah says, ‘Climbing, jumping, crawling and hauling yourself over a range of obstacles requires a lot more upper body strength than normal running, so it’s important to vary your training accordingly.’

Keeping arms shoulder-width apart, hang from a chin-up bar with a supinated grip (palms facing you). Start with your arms and body extended and pull your chin over bar-height while bending your arms. As you do this, crunch your knees into your chest or raise your legs. In a controlled manner, return to the start position making sure you fully extend your arms before your start the next rep.


Single-leg squat

Stand on one leg with the opposite leg and both arms extended out in front of you. Keeping your back straight, squat down as far as possible while keeping the raised leg elevated. In a controlled manner, return to the start position and pause before repeating the movement on the opposite leg to complete one rep.