Spartan courses are the ultimate test of functional fitness, demanding high levels of strength, speed, mobility, and adaptability. Sports that require such increased demands on the body, however, often lead to increased opportunity for injury.
The key to staying injury-free through any Spartan race is to train preventatively.
Types of Injuries
In life, injuries usually occur in one of two capacities. First, there are impact-related injuries, caused by an external source out of the athlete’s control. On a racecourse, these can happen through unexpected collisions and obstacle mishaps. While impact injuries are unforeseeable and unavoidable, they are also the less common Spartan affliction.
Non-contact injuries are the second most common, and they occur when your body cannot stabilize itself in its current surroundings. These injuries, including ankle sprains, shoulder dislocations, ACL tears, and even cramping are preventable to an extent. How preventable they are, however, depends on the athlete's focus on proper core stabilization training, including hip and shoulder stability, and mobility training.
Injury-free Spartans are adaptable. Their bodies absorb the shock of jumping, running, climbing, and crawling with ease. Injury-free Spartans' movements are fluid. They regularly hang and swing with their shoulders fully extended and scale mountains without relying too heavily on their hip flexors or quads. To stay injury-free, Spartans preventatively train a 360-degree body, incorporating unilateral and bilateral, multi-planar movements.
Injury Prevention Training
Injury prevention training consists of single-leg and/or single-arm exercises. These types of movements train the cross-sections of your body, allowing your hips and shoulders to remain square in everything you do. Athletes who train to prevent injury are able to engage the entire posterior and anterior chains simultaneously to hold their own weight. In this training, your body becomes wired to act as one cohesive unit, regardless of what you encounter on the course. Instead of leaving each individual joint to fend for itself, the body's core now successfully absorbs shock to prevent trauma.
The Workout: Stabilize Your Core and Lengthen Your Muscles
This workout incorporates the very basics of injury prevention training. Each exercise emphasizes core engagement while allowing free range of motion to transition through movements. Functional mobility, designed to increase joint range of motion through natural movement, will be a key theme throughout. To maximize this workout's benefits, synchronize your breath with each motion. This will train your core to stabilize and your muscles to lengthen simultaneously.
In this circuit workout you will perform 3 rounds, moving from one set of each exercise to the next before starting again at the top.
Hanging Scapular Retractions – 10 Reps
Halos (Requires 1 Kettlebell) – 10 Reps Each Side
Single-Leg Bodyweight Lunge Into Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift – 10 Reps Each Leg
Push-Ups With Lateral Step – 10 Reps Each Direction
Lateral Split Squat – 10 Reps
Crab Walk – 10 Steps Each Direction
Prone Arm Circles – 10 Reps
Hollow Body Rock – 10 Reps