With obstacle course races like Devils Circuit gaining popularity in India, obstacle race challenges have a fan following of their own. But mind you, these races are no child’s play! Many of the obstacles are similar to those used in military training, while others are unique and are employed throughout the course to test endurance, strength, speed and, dexterity.

The races may vary in distance and challenge level and usually combine trail running, road running, and cross country running.  If you have any intentions of participating (or winning) an OCR then you better hone in on your grip and shoulder strength, pull and endurance to get to the finish line. Yancy Culp, who is a certified Spartan SGX coach based in Austin, Texas, suggests that the following key exercises need to be implemented in your regime at every five minute interval during a five-mile trail run.

Squat Press With Rock

  • Find a rock and grasp it between your palms.
  • Bring the rock parallel to your chest, with your elbows close to your sides. Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Push your hips back and bend into a basic squat position, keeping your weight on your heels, knees over your toes, and chest tall.
  • Rise up from the squat position and press the rock above your head.
  • Return to starting position. Do 10 reps.

Tree Limb Dead-Hang Or Pullup

  • Find a tree limb that will support your body weight.
  • Latch onto the branch and pull yourself up until your chest touches the limb.
  • Lower yourself down and hang for 10 breaths.
  • Do as many as you can.
  • If the branch is too high, drape a towel or rope over it to assist yourself, grab both ends with your hands, and jump off the ground to do a pullup.

Bear Crawl

  • The bear crawl will require you to get down on your hands and knees. Engage your abs and lift your hips up slightly to bring your knees off the ground.
  • Now do a crawl by stepping forward with your right arm and right foot.Do the same thing on the left side.
  • Keeping your core engaged and your back flat, bear-crawl for 20 yards. Do three sets of 15 reps.
The obstacles in many of the races are similar to those used in military training

Lateral Pulldowns

  • Sit down at the lat cable station and secure your thighs under the knee cushion.
  • Grasp a straight bar attachment with your hands shoulder-width apart, palms facing down.Your arms should be extended overhead.
  • Maintaining a straight back, bring the bar down until it lightly touches the top of your chest.
  • You must also try and keep your shoulder blades together.
  • Slowly release the bar overhead and return to starting position.

Standing Cable Row

  • You will need to attach a straight bar to a low pulley. Grasp the bar with your palms facing down, hands slightly wider than shoulder width.
  • Your starting height should be at mid-thigh. Slowly exhale and raise it up to just below your chin.
  • Remember to keep the bar close to your body as you draw your elbows up.
  • Pause before returning to starting position.

Agility Ladder Shuffle

  • The agility ladder might seem like a simple tool, but it is very effective for building endurance. You will need to stand slightly behind and to the left of a lengthwise ladder with your feet outside the first rung.
  • Now take your right foot and step to the far right of the inside rung. Plant your left foot next to it.
  • Next, step your right foot to the outside of the ladder and plant your left foot to the far left side of the second wrung. The right foot should follow next.
  • Continue this pattern through the ladder, then switch the leading foot.
  • Once you have the steps down, run through this drill as fast as you can without hitting the ladder’s edges.

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