The Obstacle Course Workout
Build the strength and speed to overcome any obstacle in your path.
DIRECTIONS: Alternate strength and cardio days, doing three of each workout (plus a rest day) per week for five weeks leading up to the race. On strength days, do the workout here, starting with the warmup exercises. On cardio days, do the cardio plan below, starting with 10 minutes of light jogging. If you don’t have a strong aerobic base, start logging kilometres for a month before beginning this programme.
1A/ Power Skip: Skip forward, propelling yourself as high as you can by driving your knee into the air. As you thrust each knee up, swing your opposite arm upward to get as much lift as possible. Do 20 skips (10 each leg).
1B/ Bear Crawl: Get on all fours with your hips up and your knees bent at roughly 90-degrees. (Only your hands and toes should be touching the floor.) Crawl forward 12 metres, then backwards 12m, moving your opposite hands and feet together (left hand and right foot, right hand and left foot).
1C/ Bodyweight Squat: Stand as tall as you can, feet shoulder-width apart, and hold your arms straight out in front of your chest. Push your hips back and lower your body until your thighs are at least parallel to the floor. Drive back up to the starting position. Repeat as quickly as you can. Do 20 reps.
1D/ Joint Circles: Perform 10 circles in each direction (clockwise and counterclockwise) for each of the following body parts without rest.
- Neck: Tuck your chin and try to touch each ear to each shoulder as you roll your head.
- Arms: Hold them straight out to your sides, palms forward. Start with small circles and progress to larger ones.
- Hips: Place your hands on your hips, guiding them through exaggerated circles.
- Knees: Place your feet together so that your knees touch. Now bend your knees and place your hands on them, guiding them through exaggerated circles.
2A/ Chin-Up: Grab a chin-up bar using an underhand grip, and hang at arm’s length. Pull your chest to the bar, pause, and slowly lower your body back to the starting position. Complete as many reps as you can in 10 minutes, resting as needed. If that’s too difficult, do a band-assisted chin-up: secure a resistance band to the bar, loop it around your knees, and then follow the instructions above for the chin-up.
2B/ Handstand Hold: Place your hands on the floor 15 to 25cm from a wall, fingers spread wide. Kick one leg at a time into a handstand. Hold as long as you can; rest 3 minutes. That’s 1 set; do 3. During each rest period, lie on the floor and blow up a balloon three times, using as few breaths as possible (this will work your diaphragm, improving stability and power). If you can’t hold a handstand, do a pike hold (feet on bench, hips raised high, hands on floor).
2C/ Kettlebell Swing: Set a kettlebell on the floor, spread your feet just beyond shoulder-width, and grab the handle with both hands. Swing it back between your legs, then up to chest level, then back between your legs. That’s 1 rep; do 6. Set the bell down, do 3 broad jumps, and then bear-crawl for 90 seconds with a shoe on your back. (Note how many times it falls off –you’ll need that number for the next exercise.) Rest 90 seconds. Do this 5 times.
2D/ Burpee: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Now push your hips back, lower your body as far as you can, and place your hands on the floor by your feet. Kick your legs back into a push-up position. Do a push-up (elbows tucked, body straight), and then bring your feet back to your hands and stand up. That’s 1 rep. Do 10 reps for each time the shoe fell while you were bear-crawling between kettlebell swing sets.