If you are new to Obstacle Course Racing or you want to improve your overall performance, you may be wondering what workouts/exercises you should be doing to prepare yourself to conquer the obstacles and terrain. I see questions on this topic asked frequently in Facebook groups and often times the advice given is "run" or "do pullups" or "carry a bucket".... while yes, those actions are beneficial, saying that without any structure or detail is about as helpful as telling someone who wants to build a house to pour cement, hammer in some nails, and saw things in half.
Here is a fantastic workout you can use to train for your next OCR. I've also given some variations depending on your strength level and current physical capabilities. This workout can be done in a gym with a treadmill and pullup bar or if you have access to a outdoor pullup bar that is near a running space, even better! The goal for the workout is to move at a consistent pace throughout so that you can avoid burning out and having to take breaks because of pushing too hard on either the run or the exercises. During an OCR, you want to be able to transition from running, into the obstacles, and back into running without stopping, so start slower than faster and after a few attempts, you'll be able to pick up the intensity a bit.
(make sure to warm up prior to beginning this workout)
.5 Mile Run
10 Pull ups
Repeat as many rounds as needed to match the course distance you are training for. If you are training for a Spartan Sprint, do 6 rounds, a Spartan Super do 12 rounds, ect.
Again, make sure to pace yourself throughout the workout with the goal of consistent movement. If doing 10 pull ups is too difficult, try using an band for assistance or doing inverted rows. If this combination overall is going to be too tough for you, then cut it down a bit to 5 burpees, 5 pullups (or variation), and 10 lunges. The focus here is the overall structure of training your body to run with tired legs and be able to switch between full body, upper body, and lower body then back into running. Time yourself with this workout so that you can check back every month or so to see how you are improving. You should not try to set a new record every time you do this workout, just like it's not smart to try to race at an all out intensity every single weekend. You can do this workout 2-3x a week at a lower intensity and pick a date for a timed "race pace" intensity as a race simulation.
These are not the only exercises you should do to train for OCR, but it does target the majority of the components required for success and will be very beneficial for your overall training. Give it a shot and let us know how you do!
If you have any questions about what to do for the warmup, the exercises, or exercise variations, send me an email and I'll be happy to help! firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit the Training Programs page in order to learn about the different custom programs we design for athletes in OCR.