Move Fast, Lift Heavy, and Race Better With Christian Harris

Move Fast, Lift Heavy, and Race Better With Christian Harris

Sponsored by our partner, Titan Fitness

Elite CrossFitter and Spartan Games 2.0 competitor Christian Harris is as authentic and passionate as they come. So much so, that when we collaborated with him to bring his Spartan race-prep program to life, he insisted on turning the production day into an actual real-life workout. 

It wasn’t necessary to capture all three rounds for time, but for Harris, it needed to be real. So for four hours, he went full-throttle while the team watched in awe. There were no cuts, reshoots, or water breaks (with the exception of a few outfit changes). The imagery that you see, in photo and video, is Harris truly in his element, doing what he loves.

For anyone that’s not familiar with Christian Harris, he’s a former collegiate wide receiver-turned-CrossFitter, the owner of MFLH, and a true Spartan. After several appearances in the CrossFit Games and his recent efforts in the Spartan Games, he’s now designed an OCR-specific training plan. 

Related: TRAINED FOR THE GAMES: This Elite CrossFitter Designs EPIC Programs

“This program is inspired by my experience as a competitive CrossFit athlete preparing for a Spartan race," he says. "It’s a blend of strength, conditioning, and rehabilitative training, so you can expect to get fit in a fun and thoughtfully well-rounded way.

“You can have the best of both worlds — the ability to Move Fast and Lift Heavy.”

How Spartans Can Move Fast, Lift Heavy, and Race Better

Christian Harris' Move Fast, Lift Heavy

According to Harris, each day of the program is a unique blend of strength and conditioning work utilizing various pieces of equipment, as well as different time domains. The running workouts range from long to medium to short, with some mixed modalities sprinkled in there. The days complement each other in a way that allows you to maximize each session. With everything combined, this translates to faster obstacle completion by improving climbing, crawling, gripping, and pulling proficiency.

Pair your new training program with a strong nutrition plan. See what it’s like to eat like Christian Harris.

4 Gym-to-Race Standouts

All of the exercises within Harris’ MFLH, Race Better training program will improve your strength and endurance for race day, but there are some standouts worth noting. 

Chest to Bar Pull-Ups

While the dead hang and traditional pull-up are standards for race prep, Harris throws in the chest to bar pull-ups for that extra bit of work at the top. Those extra inches will translate to easier climbs over walls in addition to any other pulling obstacle.

Related: 3 Ways to Start Doing More Pull-Ups

Toes to Bar

Obstacles like the Multi-Rig require body control, and toes to bar is one dynamic exercise that requires a combination of strength, skill, and coordination. It will translate well when it’s time to get across quickly and efficiently.

Kettlebell Box Step-Overs

In any race, the terrain is rarely consistent. It’s wet and slippery, and there are rocks, roots, and ditches everywhere. Exercises like the kettlebell box step-up will prepare the muscles surrounding your ankles, knees, and hips for getting into and out of awkward, technical situations. 

Legless Rope Climb

On race day, you’re best to focus on using some sort of foot lock method while climbing the rope to save your upper-body strength. But in training, Harris likes legless rope climbs because they truly force your arms and back to get as strong as possible. 

The MFLH, Race Better Training Program: One Week of Training 

SUNDAY 

Threshold Run:

2,100 meters | 1,800 | 1,500 | 1,200 | 900 | 600 | 300 (9,000 meters total)

100-meter walk between sets (Start the 2,100 meters at easy pace, getting slightly faster each set.)

5-minute reverse sled drag

100 tibialis raises

3 sets:

Dumbbell external rotations (12-15 reps)

Weighted dead bug with psoas march (20 reps)

Copenhagen adduction (20 seconds/side)

MONDAY

Morning

Climb & Crawl Better

5 rounds:

200-meter run

100-foot bear crawl

2 legless rope climbs

100-foot bear crawl

3 sets:

Single-arm dumbbell rows (10/side)

Rest as needed

Weighted sit-ups (25 reps)

Rest as needed

Afternoon

Every 30 seconds, for 7 minutes (14 sets):

Front squat (1 rep @ RPE 8)

Take 20 minutes to build to today's 1RM power clean 

Move Fast Mondays

3 Rounds for Time:

30-calorie fan bike

30 burpees to a 4" plate

30 dumbbell snatches  

TUESDAY

Morning

Tough Tuesday Part 1

3 rounds for time:

5 devils press

10 kettlebell box step-overs

15-calorie row

10 burpee box jump-overs

— 5-minute rest between sets — 

Tough Tuesday Part 2

21-15-9 reps:

Chest to bar pull-ups

Sandbag cleans

Toes to bar

Sandbag squats

Afternoon

Christian Harris Move Fast Lift Heavy

Every minute, on the minute, for 10 minutes:

2 deadlifts @ RPE 8 (reset between reps)

Every 2 minutes, for 24 minutes (4 sets of each):

Station 1: Supinated-grip bent-over barbell row (10-12 reps @ 2111 tempo)

Station 2: Dumbbell death march (20 steps @ 2011 tempo)

Station 3: Dumbbell bench press (45 seconds)

WEDNESDAY

Morning

The Spartan 40-30-20 

40-30-20

Wall balls

Kettlebell swings

3 sets:

Supine medicine ball hamstring curl (12-15 reps)

Rest as needed

Plate bent-over rows (12-15 reps)

Rest as needed

Ab wheel rollouts (12-15 reps)

Rest as needed

Supermans (12-15 reps)

Rest as needed

Christian Harris Move Fast Lift Heavy

Afternoon

For time:

800-meter run

100 double-unders

400-meter run

80 double-unders

200-meter run

60 double-unders

Rest until the running clock reaches 20 minutes. 

The Bike and the Burpees

3 rounds for time:

15-calorie bike

10 burpees

THURSDAY

Swim

Warm-up

500-yard swim

100-yard kick

3 sets:

300 yards @ 80% effort

— 15-second rest — 

100-yard sprint

— 2-minute rest — 

Christian Harris Move Fast Lift Heavy

10-minute EMOM:

50-yard swim

If you're unable to swim:

30-45 minutes of Zone 2 heart rate cardio

For heart rate (HR) training, you'll want to use a wearable of some sort. Harris uses a WHOOP, but if you don’t have one, you can get one free by using his link here.

How to find your Zone 2:

  • Subtract your age from 220 to get your maximum heart rate. (Harris, who's 34 years old, has a max HR of 186.)
  • Calculate your resting heart rate by counting how many times your heart beats per minute when you are at rest, such as first thing in the morning. It's usually somewhere between 60 and 100 beats per minute for the average adult. (His is 51.)
  • Calculate your heart rate reserve (HRR) by subtracting your resting heart rate from your maximum heart rate. (His is 135)
  • Determine 70% of your HRR by multiplying it by 0.7. Add your resting heart rate to this number. (94.5 + 51 = 145)
  • Multiply your HRR by 0.80 (80%). Add your resting heart rate to this number. (108 + 51 = 159)
  • These two numbers are your average target heart rate zone for vigorous exercise intensity when using the HRR to calculate your heart rate. Your heart rate during vigorous exercise should generally be between these two numbers.


For Harris, this means keeping his HR between 145 and 159 to train in Zone 2.

FRIDAY

Every 2 minutes, for 16 minutes (8 sets):

Front squat

*Set 1: 2 reps @ 75%

*Set 2: 2 reps @ 80%

*Set 3: 2 reps @ 85%

*Set 4: 1 rep @ 90%

*Sets 5-8: 1 rep @ 90-95%

For time:

400-meter run

5 rope climbs

400-meter run

4 rope climbs

400-meter run

3 rope climbs

400-meter run

Christian Harris Move Fast Lift Heavy

4 sets:

10 dual-dumbbell Romanian deadlifts @ 3111 tempo (75s/50s)

— 30-second rest —

100-foot sandbag carry (200/150)

— 60-second rest — 

SATURDAY

8 sets:

8 sandbag clean (as fast as possible)

— 1-minute rest —

Christian Harris Move Fast Lift Heavy

20-minute EMOM

1: 15 box jumps

2: Dumbbell thrusters (95/65) (12, 12, 15, 15, 20 reps)

3: Burpees (12, 12, 15, 15, 20 reps)

4: Rest 

8 sets:

15 push-ups

MAX dead hangs with the remaining time

Run work: 

2 minutes easy

10 minutes moderate to fast

4 minutes easy

10 minutes moderate to fast

2 minutes easy

— 2-minute rest —

4 sets:

3 minutes @ fast pace

90 seconds easy

— 2-minute cooldown — 

Carry Better

2 sets:

20 decline sit-ups

50-foot single-arm overhead carry

50-foot single-arm kettlebell carry

10 barbell rollouts

1-minute plank

*Rest as needed between sets and movements.

App Logo