The Gear You Need to Overcome the Most Common Spartan Training Challenges

The Gear You Need to Overcome the Most Common Spartan Training Challenges
Presented by Spartan Training®

These days, we all want to be prepared for whatever comes next - whether that means making sure we have enough groceries in the fridge or enough gear in our home gym to train for 2021. 

Whether you’re training for a virtual race or working towards signing up for a trifecta next year, almost every Spartan has an obstacle they struggle to overcome: maybe you struggle with the spear throw or you don’t think you have the endurance to make it through an Ultra. 

Our Director of Training Sam Stauffer is more than familiar with the most common challenges Spartans face - he shared his best advice, as well as his gear recs for each one - so you’re equipped to take on every obstacle - at home, on the course and beyond. 

Related: Spartan Race Obstacles: Move Your Way to a Better You

The training challenge: Improve your grip strength

Pro tip: As any Spartan knows, grip strength is critical to conquering so many obstacles, from the rope climb to the Olympus. Stauffer advises practicing a few exercises on the rope to improve it.

The first is the eccentric pull-up, where you jump up on the rope, holding yourself and then slowly lowering yourself to the ground. The second is kneeling tricep extension, which can especially help you getting over walls. Keeping your knees on the ground with the rope in front of you, lean on it hanging and do your tricep extension from there. Wearing gloves during these exercises can help you grip the rope, and focus on doing the work.  

The training challenge: Increase your endurance

Pro tip: This one is for all of you training for your first trifecta in 2021: maybe you’ve never done an Ultra or Beast before and you want to make sure you can go the distance. Stauffer says tempo runs are great for helping you sustain a faster pace for a longer amount of time, as is interval-style training. If you’re running 5K, for example, jog at 70 percent of your fastest pace for two minutes then walk for one minute. Compression socks can help support your blood flow as you work up to longer distances, increasing oxygen delivery to your muscles and improving circulation to your heart. Staying hydrated can also help, so investing in a belt is worth it: adding electrolyte packets to your water will replenish critical nutrients like sodium during the race. 

Related: 6 Smart Secrets to Build Endurance for OCR

 The training challenge: Carrying the atlas

Pro tip: This pure test of strength is one of the most difficult obstacle to train for. It’s also tough to figure out how to carry that Atlas properly, without hurting yourself. Stauffer recommends training with the deadball, mimicking the movement so your body can get stronger moving in that pattern. In terms of form, he says the keys are driving through your heels and keeping your chest up (not hunched over.) In terms of helpful exercises, he advises practicing the dead ball carry. And for the tire flip, another tricky obstacle that involves an obtuse object, he suggests the dead ball dead lift. 

Related: The Spartan Guide to Dead Balls, Plus a Badass Circuit Workout to Get You Started

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