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9 Best OCR-Inspired Exercises to Get You Obstacle Course Ready

obstacle course ocr Jul 25, 2018

For those who don’t have fire, mud, and monkey bars at their disposal, the best way to train for your first OCR is to mimic the movements you can expect to see on the course.

As nerve-wracking as your initial race can be, it’s time to breathe a sigh of relief...

This 9-exercise guide will kickstart your training regimen and give you the blueprint you need to succeed on the course. And if you haven’t already explored our Pre-Race Checklist and OCR-Prep Guide, add them to your list of required reading.

Keep scrolling for the 9 best exercises you can do right now to get your body ready for the unique challenges of Obstacle Course Racing.

Top 9 Exercises to Ace Before Your First Obstacle Course Race

  1. Rope Climbs. From the Spartan Race’s notorious rope to the Warrior Dash’s “Warrior Summit,” each course has its own twist on rope climbs. Regardless of the variation, your best bet is to hop on a rope to build the upper body and grip strength you’ll need, as well as the ever-important foot position you can only master through practice.
  2. Crawls. Ape, bear, crab, army, etc… Crawling will unlock the mobility required to be nimble on the course as you crawl through tunnels and under barbed wire (yikes!).
  3. Deadlifts. Picking up heavy things translates well to OCR. Barbell deadlifts are a great starting point, but a well-rounded routine will have you mix it up with kettlebell deadlifts and single-leg deadlifts, too.
  4. Agility Ladder Drills. Fancy footwork develops speed, coordination, and balance; all of which will be challenged. Plus, your newfound footwork will be helpful as you encounter unique terrain (mud, anyone?).
  5. Loaded Carries. From sandbags to atlas stones, the OCR gods love to have you carry more than just your bodyweight (the Spartan Race’s bucket carry quickly comes to mind). Practice several variations of loaded carries with kettlebells and sandbags to develop your strength.
  6. Tire Flips. The best way to learn the dos and don'ts of tire flipping is to flip tires. While deadlifts are a viable alternative, they’re hard-pressed to recreate the unique instability of the tire, as well as the follow-through and push-over required to complete flips.
  7. Burpees. Love them … hate them … do them! You might be assigned burpees if you fail an obstacle (standard practice with Spartan Race), but the movement will also come in handy when transitioning from ground to feet or following a fall (hey, it happens).
  8. Plyometrics. You’re going to jump and land several times during the race. Having the power to fly through the sky and the ability to land safely and softly will help propel you to the finish line. Rotate between box jumps, broad jumps, and skater jumps.
  9. Pull-Ups / Chin-Ups: Your pulling strength will be put to the test during every climbing and scaling obstacle (AKA, frequently). Since you don’t have a climbing apparatus in your backyard, try pull-ups and chin-ups to recreate climbing. If you’re not strong enough to pull your body weight, start with relaxed hangs.

Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance 

As discussed in our OCR Prep Guide, getting your body in shape is a must leading up to race day. These exercises are just a handful of the movements you should be practicing to have a safe and successful day on the course.

The Ultimate OCR Prep Program

If you need help practicing the aforementioned exercises or are looking for access to OCR-specific coaching and equipment, you’ve come to the right place.

Our Ultimate OCR Prep Program is perfect for new competitors like you searching for the confidence, strength, and know-how to complete their first course.

We keep things fun and simple, and ensure you get first-hand experience with course-inspired equipment and exercises, so you’re not out there like a blind squirrel trying to find a nut :). Plus, we’ll get you registered for your first race and get you training with the people who will be there by your side on race day :)).

Click here for more information on our Ultimate OCR Prep Program.

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