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OCR - Should I Just Train Hills, Carries, and Climbing?

Updated: Jan 18, 2019

Obstacle Course Racing is growing and changing at a lightning fast pace! New race venues are popping up literally all over the world! Of course, with so many new race venues, there are also a multitude of new obstacles being created. But, most obstacles you’ll find in OCR are based off of just a few core challenges.

Hills: These are the death of me…. For a lot of races, it’s actually mountains, not hills. Most athletes struggle with hills because of leg muscle and cardiovascular fatigue.

Carries: Water jugs, buckets, logs, sand bags, and more! These carries wear down your traps, lower back, and (mostly) grip strength! It’s always a pleasant surprise when the carries are paired with hills!

Climbing: The climbing obstacles are the hardest for most people because they take a serious amount of upper body and grip strength to complete. Since you are fighting to pull yourself up the whole time, you are using lats, biceps, shoulders, core, and (again) grip strength!

If all the obstacles can be broken up into 3 categories, then is training for OCR just as simple? Should we all just run up hills, carry things, and climb?

The short answer is a big fat NO.

I once heard a quote: “Don’t shoot a cannon from a canoe”. In other words, to perform safely and at your best, you must first have a good foundation. If you just start carrying heavy things up hills, you put yourself at a high risk of straining your back or pulling a muscle. Or, if you start climbing without a good foundation you can end up dislocating your shoulder (I saw it happen once) or again pulling a muscle.

Take the time to build a foundation for yourself and keep building on top of that foundation so that you perform at your best and greatly reduce your risk of injury. Spend time working on balance and flexibility. Include all different muscle groups and a variety of exercises for each muscle group into your plan. If you don’t know how, then get a coach. We get one body and we need to make it a pirority. You wouldn’t take a Ferrari to Jiffy Lube (I hope). Treat your body like a Ferrai and give it the quality care it needs to perform at its best!

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