The Best Cardio and Upper Body Workout for OCR Obstacles

The Best Cardio and Upper Body Workout for OCR Obstacles

As much preparation as we do for upper-body obstacles, the majority of the Spartan course involves running. And while it’s important to improve grip strength, lift intelligently, and build mental toughness, none of that matters if you can’t actually get from obstacle to obstacle. Solid cardiovascular training goes hand in hand with upper-body exercises, core strength, and joint mobility.

The idea with this workout is to build a strong base of cardio. Here, you’re not necessarily focusing on speed drills, but rather amping up your overall threshold so you can dig deep when you need it most. “It’s called the burpee death spiral,” says Sam Stauffer, Director of Training at Spartan. “When you burpee out of one obstacle, it can make you so fatigued that you go into the next obstacle super tired. Burpee movements are really complex because we’re asking for optimal shoulder, ankle, and hip mobility and stability, in addition to cardio and strength. There are so many components involved, it’s a cycle that’s tough to beat.” This cardio-focused workout will help train your body for the mileage, burpees, and obstacles, all at once.

Consider the walk/run distance adaptable. If you're in the middle of training and want to do two or three miles instead of one, it’s fine to adjust. Similarly, if you’re just starting a training program or tapering for a race, dial it back. Most importantly on race day, you can use the dynamic stretching warm up to wake up your muscles, and increase your heart rate before the gun goes off. You should complete the entire workout three times a week on non-consecutive days (follow Spartan on Instagram for additional lifting and recovery workouts to fill out the week). You can condense the warm-up if you’re short on time, but keep in mind that these warm-up moves were designed to prep your body for this specific sequence.

You’ll need: foam roller, ladder, medicine ball, hurdle

Cardio and Upper Body Workout: Self-Myofascial Release + Dynamic Stretching Warm-up

cardio and upper body workout heel to butt with reach
Heel to butt with reach

Perform 1 set of the number of reps indicated.

Leg cradle with ankle extension: 10 yards Heel to butt with reach: 10 yards Walking single-leg deadlift with reach: 10 yards Walking lateral lunge with reach: 10 yards Lateral crawl with push-up: 10 yards Straight-leg march: 10 yards Straight-leg skip: 10 yards

Cardio and Upper Body Workout: Mobility + Speed, Agility and Quickness Drills

cardio and upper body workout lateral leg swing
Lateral leg swing

Perform 1 set of the number of reps indicated.

Lateral leg swing: 6 on each side Single-leg lower: 6 on each side Side-lying T-spine rotation: 6 on each side

Perform 3 sets of the number of reps indicated.

Cross behind: Forward / backward Linear in, in, out, out: Forward / backward Scissors: Forward / backward Shuffle quick to stick: Forward / backward 1, 2, 3, in: Forward / backward

Cardio and Upper Body Workout: Power + Speed Circuit

Perform 3 sets of the number of reps indicated.

Squat to wall ball (with medicine ball): 10 Lateral hurdle hop: 8 on each side

Cardio and Upper Body Workout: Strength + Conditioning Circuit

cardio and upper body workout straight leg sit up
Straight-leg sit-up

Perform 2 sets of the number of reps indicated.

1-Mile jog (alternative: 1-mile walk OR 1-mile fast run) Burpee (alt: hinge jump): 10 Mountain climber (alt: active plank): 60 seconds

Perform 3 sets of the number of reps indicated.

Straight-leg sit-up (alt: weighted): 12 Lateral lunge (alt: weighted OR lateral squat): 8 on each side Bear crawl: 10 yards