Certainly there is some subjectivity that goes into this, but these are the 5 best exercises for OCR in our professional opinion!
1: Trail Running
You just can't beat the most exact of replications for race training. Trail running is at the vast majority of obstacle course races, so you need to be great at it to be great on race day! A lot of athletes make the mistake of thinking that road running and trail running are similar enough that it won't make a big difference if they don't train trails a lot. They always find out the hard way.
2: Walking Lunges
It doesn't particularly matter if you are lunging with your bodyweight or with additional weight. Where you are in your training will determine factors like that. However, you should be lunging. Lunges work your single leg strength and stability and build up lower body muscular endurance a ton. Often times, when athletes in OCR don't have access to hills for training, they will program in a LOT of lunges. It's not the same, but it absolutely works to build you into a better OCR athlete. Your glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves will be prepared to take a beating on race day.
Coaches Joel & Luke Hayes
Train with us for your next OCR!
Joel and Luke's Combined Race Experience:
44 Top 10 Finishes
31 Podium Finishes
3: Rope Climbs
Not all obstacle courses have ropes, but the neat thing about ropes is that if you are skilled and capable at climbing them, the vast majority of grip obstacles will be fairly easy for you. This is especially true if you practice a lot of your rope climbs using only your arms/hands. Your hands will get a lot tougher, and your grip will become vice-like.
4: Farmer's Carries
OCR's are well known for having a lot of varying carries. Carrying heavy objects a few feet isn't very difficult, but carrying them for upwards of a quarter mile on challenging terrain, that's where the pain kicks in. Farmer's Carries develop greater grip strength, core strength, back strength, leg strength, and so on. Lots of strength gains, and lots of practical application on race day.
Similarly to the lunges, where you are in your training and abilities will determine whether these are weighted or bodyweight pullups. Either way, pullups are the perfect exercise to build solid upper body strength for OCR specific needs. You'll be much better at every obstacle that has a horizontal bar, and you'll be stronger on things like carries and hoists.
We have amazing OCR Training Programs! Our programs are customized to fit your specific race goals, current fitness level, and equipment/time availability!