Hercules' Hoist Tutorial: Tutorial and Rules

Presented by Spartan Training®

For those who may not be familiar, this obstacle challenge is where you anchor yourself to the ground, grab a rope attached to a pulley and start pulling to raise a heavy sandbag 24 feet in the air and then slowly lower it. The obstacle requires arm, back and core strength and the stamina to lower the weight slowly when you are sucking wind and your muscles are screaming for mamma.


We aren’t sure what is tougher, the 12 labors Hercules had to go through, or the Herc Hoist. Anchor yourself to the ground, grab on to the rope with your iron grip, and start pulling. Once that weight is at the top, you must lower it SLOWLY. If that weight slams to the ground, you just earned yourself 30 burpees.

Racer Instructions:

  • Pull the rope to raise the weight until the knot or weight reaches the top.
  • Lower the weight slowly and under control, without releasing the rope, until weight reaches the ground.

Failure Modes:

  • Failure to fully raise the weight.
  • Dropping the weight.
  • Elite racers that help each other.

Failure Penalty:

  • 30 Burpees

Percentage that Burpee: 34%

Skills Needed

  1. Core Strength
  2. Coordination
  3. Grip strength

Muscles worked:

  1. Wrist flexors and fingers
  2. Lats, rhomboids, and scapular stabilizers
  3. Biceps
  4. Core
  5. Hip flexors

Most Important Exercises:

  1. Pull Ups
  2. Body Rows
  3. Isometric and Dynamic Squats
  4. Hollow Holds
  5. Ab Wheels

Tips for Success:

Drape a towel over your pull up bar and do pull-ups gripping the towel for increased grip work. Always emphasize holding at the top of the rep, and controlling the “negative” or eccentric portion of the rep. If you cannot do pull-ups, simply “jump” your chin over the bar and follow the above points. Do “Supine Partner Squats” to strengthen your hip flexors. Do Practice Battling Rope slams in a strong half squat position. At the race, be sure to anchor your feet and drop into a very strong half-squat position to give yourself an anchor to pull from. Then, forcefully pull the rope towards your chest and tactfully continuously regain a strong grip on a new higher spot on the rope as you pull, repeat the process until you the load reaches the proper height. Then, carefully reverse the process to lower the weight to the ground.