The Spartan Stadion is a 5K, 20-obstacle race in some of the most iconic, famous stadiums and ballparks in the world. The nearly 4-mile course is not only a backstage pass to peek behind the curtain at your favorite team's home base, but with a short distance, a relatively low obstacle count, no mud, and an incredible amount of energy exuding from the stadium walls each race weekend, the Stadion is an incredible introduction to the world of obstacle course racing and the perfect format for team building.
If you've never run a Spartan or Tough Mudder race before and are worried you won't be able to complete all of the obstacles and will have to do your fair share of burpees (each failed obstacle results in 15 burpees), don't worry — you're not alone! Plenty of fellow first-timers have never climbed a rope or thrown a spear in their lives, but have an absolute blast just trying their best. And, to ensure you won't face any obstacle wild cards the day of, we've compiled a list of every obstacle you'll typically find at a Stadion race, along with some expert tips to conquer the tougher ones.
Use this guide to prepare mentally and physically before your Spartan Stadion race, and you'll be crossing the finish line in no time!
Which Obstacles Are at a Spartan Stadion Race?
1. 4' Over Walls
Resembling a series of hurdles, the 4-foot walls — usually toward the beginning of the race, if not the first obstacle you'll face — occur in rapid succession and are a perfect introduction to some of the higher walls you'll see later in the race. Don't overthink it! Even beginners should feel confident hoisting themselves over these walls.
2. Pipe Lair
The Pipe Lair is like an old-school playground with one simple rule: Don't touch the ground.
3. Jump Rope
Again, this one is just like you used to do on the playground, only heavier — much heavier. You'll complete 15 rotations of the weighted jump rope, and then be on your way.
4. The Multi-Rig
The Multi-Rig is often regarded as one of the more difficult obstacles in the Spartan ecosystem, mainly due to its grip and dynamic strength demands. However, the Stadion version of the daunting Beast obstacle eliminates the hand-over-hand bar, leaving a straight line of rings that — with a little grip training, practice, and bravery — you can conquer in no time.
Follow these Multi-Rig tips to nail this obstacle on your first try.
5. Cord Crawl
The Barbed Wire Crawl's non-barbed cousin, the Cord Crawl often weaves up stairs or ramps within the stadium. While your body is allowed to touch the cord, practicing your bear crawls during training can help rough up your hands and prepare your body for the demands of this sometimes lengthy obstacle.
6. 6' Wall
As the walls get higher, you'll need a significant running start and more upper-body strength to hoist yourself over the top. The higher walls have red stepping blocks on either side that female racers in non-competitive heats are welcome to use for an extra boost. (But you don't REALLY need it, do you?)
7. Monkey Bars
Old school, yet again. Though our Monkey Bars are known for being more challenging than your typical neighborhood playground (you'll need to reach a bit further), getting in a few rounds of practice at the local park will serve you well before your first Stadion race.
Here are some hacks for tackling the Monkey Bars on your first go.
8. Rope Climb
We get it: Climbing a rope — especially if you're afraid of heights — can be daunting. That's what techniques and training are for. To help you prep for this iconic obstacle, we polled Age Group winners on their favorite approaches to climbing the rope. Plus, check out the additional Elite tips on conquering the Rope Climb below.
9. 7' Wall
The highest wall you'll face on a Spartan Stadion course, the 7-Foot Wall is where first-time racers seem to lose some confidence. It's only one more foot! As you near the half-way point of your race, here's how to take control of your 7-Foot Wall attempt.
10. Jerry Can Carry
The Jerry Can Carry is basically an upgraded farmer's carry. Female racers will tote one 42-pound, water-filled jug through a portion of the course, while male racers are required to grab two cans. This obstacle requires solid core strength, focus, and grip, so follow the Spartan Guide to Performing the Perfect Farmer's Carry to succeed and avoid 15 burpees.
11. The Z Wall
The Z Wall is an obstacle where its difficulty can be affected by the day of the race: The rain, the humidity, the tilt of the ground, or leftover residue from preceding racers' hands and feet can throw off your balance and grip. However, if you've ever completed a horizontal bouldering problem, you'll know almost exactly what to expect. In any case, here are four simple steps to get you prepped for the Z Wall right now.
12. Slam Balls
If you've trained for a DEKA event or have done CrossFit, you've probably already developed the functional abilities to complete the 15, 25-pound ball overheads-to-slams. If not, get started with these 30 exercises for functional strength.
No explanation necessary — except for the fact that you'll get to perform this obstacle in some of the stadiums' coolest locations, like in team clubhouses and right on the infield soil! Get some solid chest workouts in and you'll be golden for this 15-push-up obstacle.
14. Hercules Hoist
This is an obstacle where being heavier may play in your favor. You'll have to use your body's leverage to pull on a rope to eventually raise a sandbag (red for female racers, black for male racers) to the top of a vertical and then lower it back down with control without letting it drop. You'll need full-body and grip strength, as well as the ability to control the bag's weight. If you drop the bag, officials will fail you on the obstacle, so be careful!
Pro tip: Make the most of your body weight by leaning all the back to the ground when hoisting the bag. You can also check out additional tips from Spartan experts on how to ace the Hercules Hoist below.
15. Spear Throw
The Spear Throw might be the most iconic Spartan race obstacle ever, paying homage to the ancient Greek warriors themselves. But no matter how fit you are, sticking the spear into the target (which has recently taken a circular shape, rather than the older, rectangular version) can still be a tricky task. The key to completing this obstacle is to slow down, steady yourself, and throw with enough force to clear the distance.
Follow these four crucial tips to master the Spear Throw once and for all.
16. A-Frame Cargo
Don't look down! The A-Frame Cargo is an awesome opportunity to take in the epic stadium views, and aside from balance and being able to climb and descend vertically, you shouldn't have much trouble completing it. (And by the way, there are mats at the bottom, for any potential acrophobics.)
17. Sandbag Carry
Some like to hoist it behind their neck or on one shoulder, some clutch onto it for dear life with both hands, and — hell — some unlucky souls will probably even be dragging theirs behind them (though we ask that you please refrain from doing so). The Sandbag Carry features 60- and 40-pound sandbags (for men and women, respectively) that you have to tote for a certain distance during the race. During a Stadion, it will almost definitely occur across a few punishing flights of stairs.
You'll need plenty of core strength to complete this obstacle, so check out our expert tips below.
18. Atlas Carry
Atlas stone carries were one of the original functional fitness movements that humans ever practiced. What's more simple than picking up a massive rock and moving it around? That's exactly what you'll be doing here, with men carrying 100 pounds and women carrying 75. This is a full-body and core-heavy movement, and these 100 full-body exercises will help you crush it.
19. Box Jumps
This obstacle will get your heart rate up and have your legs burning like hell, but it's simple to prepare for. Build up your leg strength during training with these 20 kick-ass leg exercises.
20. Weighted RAM Burpees
The RAM is a Spartan staple: a weighted foam roller that can used to make functional fitness workouts more difficult. Also seen in the last of 10 zones in a DEKA FIT event, Weighted RAM Burpees are like regular burpees, only you'll have to raise the RAM (55 pounds for men and 33 pounds for women) above your head between reps. Your heart rate will be soaring, but as long as you fight through the pain and keep the correct form, you'll ace this obstacle.
Here's how to master the Weighted RAM Burpee, straight from DEKA Director of Sport Yancy Culp himself.
21. The Gauntlet
More of a pre-finish celebration than an obstacle, the Gauntlet is a series of hanging punching bags that you'll have to push your way through before crossing the finish line. By this time, you'll probably be both exhausted and euphoric, but don't forget to smile for the camera waiting on the other side!