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The Ultimate Obstacle Course Race Strength and Conditioning Program

By Todd M. Cambio | July 6, 2017

I wrote an article for StrongFirst called: “A StrongFirst Approach to Obstacle Course Racing” that has a sample one month training program included.  Here are the detailed instructions for this sample program with video links to most of it.

Give it a go.

Prepare your body to hit the course the right way and reduce your risk of injury!

Training Format:

  1. Warm up
  2. Dynamic Flexibility
  3. Training
  4. Static Stretch
  5. Re-Fuel

Warm Ups include:

Movement Prep:

 Dynamic Flexibility:

  1. Run Prep: (50’ distance) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KuJ7_THbUb0&feature=youtu.be
    1. High Knee Hug (get up on toes) è
    2. High Knee Skip ç
    3. High Knee Run è
    4. Heel Up Walk ç
    5. Cross Over Toe Touch è
    6. Punter ç
    7. Straight-Leg Deadlift Walk è
    8. Backward Run ç
    9. Back Pedal è
    10. Forward Lunge ç
    11. Backward Lunge è
    12. Inchworm/Cobra ç
    13. Lateral Lunge è
    14. Grapvine ç
    15. Grapvine è
    16. Skipping clockwise windmills ç
    17. Skipping counter-clockwise windmills è
    18. Skipping Seal Jacks ç
    19. Skipping Touchdown è
    20. Sprint ç

2. Spartan A, B, C’s (50’ distance) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ADHhd0QkNU&list=UUK0mpQknnGUQWbKbtGgn5Q

  1. Run – forward and backwards x 4
  2. Lateral shuffle – down & back
  3. Gorilla Charge – down & back
  4. Lateral Ape – down & back
  5. Bear Crawl – forward and backwards
  6. Crab Walk – forward and backwards
  7. Perfect Squat/Inch Worm/Push Up combo – down & back

Conditioning and Spartan Skills to Master:

  1. Burpee Test
  2. Crazy 8’s
  3. Spartan Sprint Ladder
  4. 300 Yard Shuttle
  5. Bucket or Sandbag Carries
  6. Wall Climbing
  7. Rope Climbing
  8. Monkey Bars
  9. Hill Repeats
  10. Stadium Stairs 

TESTS Phase 1:

Five Minute BURPEES – See how many Burpees you can do in 5 minutes.  Pick either a Spartan Burpee or a Speed Burpee.

Lets take a look at the steps of what I consider a Spartan Burpee.

Spartan Burpee = full push up.  Basically an explosive plyo push up as you get better at these.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=snl0can7SJE

Speed Burpee (Squat Thruster) = No Push up.  Simply do all the steps mentioned above with out doing the push up.  Crouch down, kick out to your push up position, then drive legs back into your crouched squat to explode up!

I will also make a note that if you can’t do the push up part, which is the main area of dispute for me, then I have one answer for you…GET STRONGRER!  Get your core stronger and get your upper body stronger.

I would much rather have you do what I consider a Speed Burpee, which simply means no push up, then do a shitty “worm” Burpee.  Do your level of push ups separate on an elevated surface until you are strong enough to do them on the ground for at least a set of 20.

So how “SpartanFIT” are you?  Do your 5 Minute Burpee Test and see where you compare.  This chart is based off of Spartan Burpees NOT Speed BurpeesGoal is to do Spartan Burpees.

300-Yard Shuttle Runs

Some other things to look for are making sure:

Under 1 minute! Top-level athlete!!

1:01 – 1:05 good

1:06 – 1:10 average athlete

1:11- 1:20 anaerobic endurance needs some work

1:21 and over – time to train not pretend anymore


DAY 1: 300 Warrior Workout 

With Great Form for Relative Time – Follow the order below and finish each exercise before moving on.  You decide how to break up your sets.  Ex: Dead Lift 5 sets x 10 reps, recover as needed. 

WU: Spartan ABC

JM: Shoulder Matrix x 2

  1. a) Inverted Body Rows x 50 reps
  2. b) Deadlift your body weight x 50 reps
  3. c) Superman Pushups x 50 reps
  4. d) 24” Box jumps x 50 reps
  5. e) Elbow to Knee x 50/side
  6. f) See Saw KB Press 20 kg KB men or 12 kg women x 50 reps

DAY 2: Spartan Running Base

WU: Dynamic

Day 3: Recovery and Rejuvenation

DAY 4: Increase Your Iron 5×5 – You can use a single bell or double bells depending on your ability level.

WU: Spartan ABC

JM: Hip/Glute Matrix

  1. KB Goblet Squat or front squat
  2. KB Single Leg RDL
  3. KB Shoulder Press
  4. Pull Ups

SWING FINISHER X 10 x 10 Swings EMOTM (try and up the weight each week)

Day 6: Run and or test day!

WU: Your choice

SL Cone Touch & Lateral Hops x 10/leg

Run/Test then go for an easy to moderate (no more than 5 miles) jog if you want.

Terms on the Calendar:

EMOTM  = Every Minute On The Minute

EOM = Every Other Minute

R & R = Recovery and Rejuvenation

JM = Joint Mobility

WU = Warm Up


Spartan Run Ladders and Crazy 8’s:

Use a 50 ‘ distance…down and back is 1 run or 100’.  You will get a lot of change of direction work in too.  These runs are great to do with a partner.

  1. The “Run Ladder” 1…10 (or 1…10, 10…1, etc.) is simply running your distance with equal break to the amount of time it took you to run. Go hard!  Legs should get very heavy!
    • Run fast (90% effort)
    • 100′ run x 1 (down to your cone and back = 1 run)
    • 100′ run x 2
    • 100’ Run x 3
    • All the way to 10 runs
    • Hence 1…10
  2. Crazy 8’s” is a Burpee/Run Combo.
    1. The fast explanation is we do 1 x 100′ run, then 1 Burpee.
    2. Then 2 x 100′ runs then 2 Burpees…all the way to 8 runs and 8 Burpees.
    3. Since it is “Crazy 8’s” we work our way back down from 8 runs and 8 Burpees …to 1 run/1 Burpee!  1…8, 8…1

Goal is to improve stamina and Burpee form each attempt at this workout.


Topics: kettlebell, kettlebells, Obstacle course, Obstacle Course Race, Spartan Coaches, Spartan Racing, Spartan Training, sport specific, sports performance, Sports Performance Training, strength, strength and conditioning, Uncategorized | No Comments »