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Top tips for training for a Spartan Race

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Friday 29th September 2017
Tags  OCR   |   Spartan Race
It's Spartan Race Windsor this weekend and we're taking a look at the best way to train for a Spartan Race, for maximum success!

For a Spartan Race you need to master a lot of different disciplines and that means training in a variety of ways. Not only that, but you need to be in the right frame of mind. This race is designed to challenge you as much mentally as it does physically.
Here are top tips from David Lloyd Personal Trainer, David Downey, for getting Spartan fit. 
Not anyone’s favourite, we know. But if you fail any obstacles on the course, you’re doing 30 of these as a punishment. And trust me, you’ll fail a few so be prepared. Incorporate them into every session and learn to love how good they actually are. The only reason they hurt is because they work. 
Going to the gym and running 20ish kilometres straight away won’t help anyone. You need to build your endurance over various disciplines, and build it up slowly. Make sure you allow plenty of time ahead of the race to start your training, and incorporate running alongside other exercises, keeping both endurance and strength intertwined in your training. 
High intensity interval training (HIIT) will be the perfect training method to conquering many different body disciplines in one workout, thus making it perfect for the race. A typical session can be only 30 minutes and in that short time your body is building up a lot of strength to take to the course. Ideal if you’re stuck at your desk for all the other hours in the day.  
Core exercises and stretching will be a major part of staying healthy and happy throughout training. Take a day during the week to really concentrate on core stability and flexibility, this is a nice time to take a moment out of the day and focus on your breathing. You don’t need a trip to the gym for this. Get it done at home or even on a lunch break. 
We all love an easy treadmill session, but there is nothing like getting outside and doing the real thing. A Spartan Race is mucky, so get out there and familiarise yourself with the elements. Do hill sprints and muddy runs to get your legs, ankles and knees used to it. It’s also a great excuse to clear your mind of all the other stress that’s built up from being stuck at a desk. 
Get your partner or friends to sign up with you. The bigger the group the better the atmosphere on the day. More importantly for training, being together will give you more motivation to train. It's harder to say no to the gym when you’re letting your team down. 
This is simple and it’s a cliché but failing to prepare really is preparing to fail.  Test your shoes/socks/tops/shorts/ even pants! There is nothing worse than getting your body ready to have your kit let you down. Even a blister or baggy pair of shorts can be a huge influence on your race. 
There is a reason the slogan is: ‘You’ll know at the finish line’. This isn’t an easy race; but it is designed to be fun. Train hard and you’ll be fine, but expect a battle so make every session count. 


The below is a Spartan workout, perfect for getting you race ready:
Warm Up:
Before getting into the session, you need to get your entire body nimble. Spartan Races require you to test your full body to the limit, calling upon flexibility as much as strength and endurance. So warm up properly. 
Exercise: High Knees; Heel Flicks; Star Jumps; Lateral Raises; Floor walkout to plank 
Sets: 3 sets of 40 seconds each at half pace  
Rest: 30 seconds between sets 
Main Workout:
It wouldn’t be a Spartan workout without Burpees.  They’re the total body strength training exercise and the ultimate example of functional fitness. With every rep, you'll work your arms, chest, quads, glutes, hamstrings, and abs. 
Exercise: Burpees with tuck jump 
Sets: 3 sets of 10 reps
Rest: 20 seconds between sets
Mastering kettlebell exercises help to build a strong and explosive trunk to tackle any obstacle. The movement of kettlebells is much more fluid than other weights so you’ll increase strength and endurance at the same time. This will allow you to replicate more activities from the course all in one set of exercises. 
Exercises: Kettlebell swings; Kettlebell sumo squat to upright row; Kettlebell lunge with twist; Kettlebell Russian Twist 
Sets: 3 sets x 40 seconds on each exercise 
Rest: 30 seconds between sets
Not only will combat moves make you look like a fighting Spartan, they will be perfect to help tone, tighten and strengthen your glutes and increase power in the hamstrings. Perfect if your feet get stuck in the mud. 
Exercise: Reverse lunge to front kick; Holding squat with 4 straight arm punches; lateral lunge to high knee; Sit ups with 4 straight arms punches 
Sets: 3 sets x 40 seconds of each exercise 
Rest: 30 seconds between each set 
Relying on your team is crucial to get through any Spartan. Whether that’s on the course or in your training, it’s going to help. Bring your training partner in and use each other’s strengths as motivation – the gym is a lot easier than the trials so you need to push each other. 
Exercise: Partner Squat Hold – Squat back to back with your partner leaning on each other for stability. Once your legs at 90 degrees pass a medicine ball back over your head and pass to your partner who will have their hands ready. Keep in place and continue. 
Sets: 3 set x 40 seconds 
Rest: 30 seconds between each set 
Warm Down: 
Although you’ve just conquered the Spartan workout, you’re not superhuman so your muscles are going to hurt. The warm down period of an exercise session is just as important as the warm up. The aim is to decrease the intensity of the aerobic session and to return the body to a state of rest to prevent the risk of injury. 
Take your body through a series of stretches focusing on the legs, torso and upper body. 
Make sure you recover well with the correct nutrition and hydration intake.  

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