The obstacle portion of obstacle course racing typically requires grip strength and upper body strength to hold yourself up, pull yourself over something, drag something, carry something, and so on. If you don't have enough upper body strength to support your body weight and move it over, under, and through obstacles you may face penalties. In OCR today, there are less penalties, so maybe that isn't the biggest reason, but COMPLETING all of the obstacles is a big goal that most people I have. I know it was my first goal when I started in obstacle course racing. So, we've written a workout that you can do 2x per week (with at least 2 rest days between) that will help you build the upper body strength and grip strength needed to complete more and more obstacles.
Warmup is on you.
1: Pullups x As many reps as possible. Perform 6 sets. Rest 2 minutes between sets. Modify to assisted pullups or TRX pullups as needed.
2: Farmer's Carries x 45 sec. Perform 4 sets. Rest for 2 minutes after each set. Males use 50lbs. Females use 35lbs. Adjust weight to your ability as needed, but challenge yourself. You can use Dumbbells or Kettlebells.
3: Pushups x As many reps as possible. Rest 90 seconds between sets and perform 4 sets. Modify as needed, but again, challenge yourself.
4: Scapular Pullups x As many reps as possible and perform 3 sets. Rest for 90 seconds between sets.
5: Plank Lateral Walks x 10 steps each direction per set. Perform 4 sets. Rest 60 seconds between sets.
Be sure to stretch afterwards!
3 Training Days Per Week
Perfect for the beginner OCR participant, The Finisher will get you ready to complete your first race or maximize your performance on short courses. Click to learn more
This isn't the only workout that you can do for OCR, obviously, nor the only possible breakdown of these exercises, reps, rest, etc. This is just a very good workout focused on building the strength and endurance you need for OCR. Now, remember, depending on where you are with your fitness right now, it may take a very long time to be able to do this workout without modifying any exercises, and even if you can perform this workout with a lot of reps and proper form, it doesn't necessarily mean you'll complete every obstacle, BUT it will help you a lot if you do it consistently. We've used workouts similar to this one (but tailored to specific athletes) to help several of our athletes improve their upper body strength, and it works.