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3 Keys to Obstacle Race Training

10 Jul 2012

Hi everyone! Today’s post is written by Joe Vennare. Joe  is an accomplished fitness entrepreneur. He is the co-founder of Hybrid Athlete and co-creator of Race Day Domination, a training manual designed to prepare competitors for success in any obstacle course race or mud run.


3 Keys to Obstacle Race Training

When training for an obstacle course race or mud run you will need to prepare your body to climb or crawl over, under, around or through various obstacles while navigating rugged terrain.  Skip the elliptical and bodybuilder workouts.  Instead, structure your training around the 3 keys to obstacle race training; strength, stamina and race specific skills.

More specifically, strength gains relative to your own body weight are most helpful.  Start with body weight training like push-ups, pull-up, dips and squats then move on to exercises that are dynamic and explosive.  Here, think about including kettlebell swings, box jumps and burpees.  The focus is increasing functional strength and athleticism, not maximum strength like a one-rep max.

Increase stamina by completing long distance runs, hill sprints and speed work.  Keep it simple; in three run specific workouts a week go long, run up hill and run fast.  You can increase the distance of the long run, the length and grade of the hills and the work to rest ratio of the intervals to keep workouts fun and varied.

During a “hybrid” workout that combines aspects of strength and stamina training into one workout, look to spend some time training race specific skills.  Pairing running intervals and kettlebell exercise with oversized tires flips or weighted sandbags carries is a solid starting point. Training in this manner will mimic the start then stop, strength then cardio nature of the race.

Try this hybrid workout.  Then, in the future, use it as a template for combining stamina, strength and race specific skills into one training session.


12 Rounds

12x Bodyweight Squat

6x Lunge (each leg)

6x Jump Lunge* (each leg)

6x Jump Squat*

Rest 2-3 minutes, then



Find a steep hill that takes 45-90 seconds to climb

Run uphill @ maximum effort, walk or jog back to starting point

15x Kettlebell Swing*

15x Kettlebell Thruster*

Repeat 8-10x


5-10 minutes of easy jog, bodyweight exercise, and stretching as desired.







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