A Mudman Pro Tip from Kevin "Mudman" LaPlatney
Some of the most important training for OCR doesn’t necessarily require any fancy equipment or expensive gym membership. And most of these routines can be done at home or at the local park, with simple supplies that you might already have, or can easily create on the cheap.
1. ANIMAL MOVEMENTS (Bear crawl, crab walk, alligator crawl, etc.)
If other creatures have perfected their movements to be fast and agile on the ground and in low or tight spaces, why shouldn’t we follow suit?
For humans, and especially our crazy little muddy subspecies who participate in obstacle races, these full body exercises are great to practice for getting under the barbed wire mud pits, through tight tunnels, or under narrow wall holes. Move like the animals they are named after. Gives a new meaning to “beastmode”, right?
To make sure climbing obstacles such as monkey bars, cargo nets, rope climbs, vertical walls, and hurdles won’t give you trouble, these basic upper body pulling exercises are the biggest part of getting yourself up or over those structures, while also developing super grip strength to hold on when you’re hanging for dear life! Even just a simple long hang, suspended from any ledge or horizontal pole, will blast your forearms and fingers so much that the obstacles will seem like nothing.
3. CARDIO (run, swim, bike, etc.)
Even the shortest of races that are in the 5k range are going to test your endurance when obstacles get thrown into the running mix, so you had better have that engine ready to go. Running might be the most ideal form of cardio training for OCR, but other methods will actually translate well and even compliment the mileage you’re getting on your feet. And you never know when a race may surprise you with a nice brisk swim mid-course anyway.
4. PLYOMETRICS (Squats, lunges, jumping/bounding)
Nothing develops pure power better than explosive, ballistic movements and lifting. Even if you don’t have bumper plate weights, wooden boxes, or the typical CrossFit setup, most of these done with just bodyweight are effective for what you’ll need to do in OCR. Jump ropes are a classic and inexpensive piece of equipment you can carry anywhere, and it’s never hard to find a sturdy bench or sidewalk curb to bounce on and off.
5. STRONGMAN “toys” (tire flip, sandbag carry, atlas stone lift, sled drag etc.)
This is where you can get creative with your own personal inventory or workout supplies. Many of the above items can be made from parts at your local home improvement store or even found laying by the wayside. One means trash can be another man’s treasure, when it comes to training equipment. I personally have grabbed old used tires from the corner mechanic shop, and picked up hefty logs and rocks to carry while on my trail runs.
If you want some brand new stuff of your own, cinder blocks (to carry or attach to a chain and drag) and demolition sandbags are two very inexpensive but very effective workout tools to keep in your car’s trunk. Plenty of bang for your buck!
For more OCR training tips, check out our Free Guide: Warrior Strong - How to Become Resilient to Injury in Obstacle Course Racing