How CrossFit Training Can Help You Crush Your Next Spartan Race

How CrossFit Training Can Help You Crush Your Next Spartan Race
Presented by Spartan Training®

It’s no secret that training hard creates results.

In his book, “The Comfort Crisis,” author Michael Easter said it well: “Nothing great in life comes with complete assurance of success … evidence shows that people are at their best—physically harder, mentally tougher, and spiritually sounder—after experiencing the same discomforts our early ancestors were exposed to every day.” 

What’s more, according to Easter, “Scientists are finding that certain discomforts protect us from physical and psychological problems like obesity, heart disease, cancers, diabetes, depression, and anxiety, and even more fundamental issues like feeling a lack of meaning and purpose.”

It’s no wonder millions of people are attracted to CrossFit and Spartan Races. In both communities, individuals choose to do something hard—something that challenges and transforms them, and helps them write their best story. 

Obstacle Races Require Fitness Prep

Running a Spartan Race is no easy task but it can lead to worthwhile gains. Whether this is your first race or you have completed so many you have lost count, signing up for the race is only the start—training for the race is the challenge ahead. 

There are a lot of options when it comes to race prep, and training with CrossFit offers similar challenges to prepare you for whatever you might face is ideal.

How CrossFit Training Helps You Train for Spartan Races

CrossFit is defined as constantly varied functional movements executed at high intensity. Put simply, we work hard relative to our own capacity and perform everyday movements in as many different combinations as possible. For most, these movements are things like squats, deadlifts, walking, jogging, cleans, presses, carries, and getting on and off the floor. 

These are all movements that help us build the capacity to be the best versions of ourselves. In order to maximize our results, we need to challenge ourselves and push to find new thresholds. 

CrossFit provides an appropriate challenge for the fit, the unfit, the young, the old, and everyone in between. It is not for a specific group of people. CrossFit is for everyone. 

As long as you are willing to challenge yourself and execute each training day to the best of your ability, you will be prepared for anything that life (or a Spartan Race) can throw at you. Sometimes the hardest part is simply getting started.

Key CrossFit Principles for Spartans

For those new to CrossFit, there are some key principles that make the methodology ideal for Spartan Race preparation. 

Spartan and CrossFit have a lot in common. Spartan’s diverse level of tests makes it easy for athletes of all abilities to choose the race that best aligns with their goals. And in CrossFit, every workout is scalable. This means  each movement can be modified to best challenge every athlete’s current ability. 

This also aligns with the concept of relative intensity. What is intense for one person may not be intense for another and vice versa. As long as each person modifies the movements and pushes to their own intensity level, they will see the benefits of the program. 

All over the world, CrossFit athletes and Spartan racers use these concepts to help maximize results. It’s about continuously breaking down barriers to find fresh obstacles and a growing hunger to achieve new goals.

According to an article written by highly acclaimed running coach and Level 2 CrossFit Trainer Chris Hinshaw, “Strengthening ligaments, tendons and muscles throughout the body can help a long-distance runner support the body’s structure and stay efficient even under fatigue.”

Using CrossFit to build strength and develop fast-twitch muscle fibers, long-distance runners can improve their overall performance and reduce wear and tear. This is another example of why CrossFit is an excellent resource to help you crush your Spartan Race.

In order to successfully complete a Spartan Race, you must complete a long run and overcome a variety of obstacles along the way, including rope climbs, log carries, balance beams, stone carries, and wall climbs, to name a few. 

To conquer these obstacles, you must be proficient in a variety of skills and CrossFit training can help prepare you. Here’s  a 12-week training program to help you crush your next Spartan Race. Click here to access the full guide.

CrossFit Training Program for Spartan Highlights:

  • CrossFit-specific training three times per week.
    • Build the strength and skills necessary to conquer even the toughest Spartan obstacles.
  • Running-specific training two times per week.
    • One day of interval training. Accumulating volume at higher intensity.
    • One day of long-distance training. Build stamina and cardiorespiratory endurance.
    • Progressive build-up to 8 miles. It’s similar to running a 10K Spartan Race.
  • Active recovery day.
    • Get outside the gym and recover through minimal-intensity movement.
  • Full rest day.
    • No exercise. Allow your body to recover.

This program has been specifically created to help you succeed in your next Spartan Race. The program is designed with both equipment and no-equipment options, leaving no room for excuses.

Each day includes a post-workout skill session that aims to improve Spartan-specific skills. You can also expect stretching and mobility work to help close each workout.

Recommended Equipment:

  • At least one dumbbell, but multiple options are preferred (light, moderate, and heavy).
  • A box or object to jump on and/or over.
  • An AbMat, rolled-up towel, or yoga mat (used during abdominal exercises).
  • Foam roller and lacrosse ball for mobility.

Additional Equipment (optional):

While this equipment is not on the recommended list, each item will be useful for race prep. The rope climb is one of the more challenging obstacles you will face during a Spartan Race, for example. Having consistent access to one or more of these items will significantly improve your chances of success:

  • Climbing rope, pull-up bar, and/or gymnastics rings. 

No matter which Spartan Race you plan to run, CrossFit’s methodology provides one of the best platforms to help you succeed. 

Stay disciplined, on task, and on target. Remember that nothing worth doing is ever easy. Putting in the work will allow you to reap the benefits. And at the end of the race when you are on your back covered in dirt, sweat, and grass, remember the effort you put into your accomplishment and feel that pride. You earned it! 

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