By Brian Byrd, Train 4 Life Studios Fitness Coach
Here we are with another beautiful season for outdoor events, you know the tough outdoor obstacle events we all love that get us filthy but challenge us in ways it may seem very tough to train for. I mean really who has a spider web rope net in their gym or backyard. There may be some out there with access to these sorts of things, but the average person does not. I have a remedy for you! Let’s break it down into categories, here are the things we must do to ready our bodies for these types of head-to-toe body challenges and ultimately being the most natural and an overall good way to train.
We all know what this means but do we know effective ways of training our sense of balance for running over narrow logs or hopping over zig zag tires? First and foremost pay attention to your core. It is paramount for having a good sense of strength and balance. Next do your favorite exercises on one leg or while standing on a bosu ball. My favorite is having a partner throw a heavy medicine ball at me while I balance on the flat end of the bosu ball. We play catch from all angle forcing my muscles to work in all sorts of twisted unorthodoxed ways. Olympic style lifting like overhead squats can help by forcing the weight to be away from the body (overhead) thus making balance and core control key to be powerful through this movement
Okay dudes, this does not mean your max bench, although your chest does play a part in equation. Big Bear strength comes from the coordination of your large muscle groups in power movements. Deadlifts is a fantastic exercise for stimulating lean muscle making hormones in your body. Use good form and lift heavy with this one. Barrel Hugs- if you have access to a heavy bag place it on the ground standing upright. With legs a little wider than shoulder width squat down in front of it dropping your bottom parallel to your knees grab the heavy bag like a barrel and stand up. Then drop the bag and repeat. If you do not have access to one grab a dumbbell and and hold onto the end of it standing with legs shoulder width and hands in between your legs squat up and down tapping the weight on the ground each time.
This can be done a few ways but I’ve found that nothing works better than dribbling an racquetball or tennis ball, and also using an agility ladder. You will not believe how frustrating, but focus-honing, dribbling those small tennis balls will be. The agility ladder is what’s responsible for all the laser like cuts and movements you see on most football fields or basketball courts. It can prepare the knees and hips for the impact and for the sharp changes in direction when you are scurrying over rocks. And finally grip strength!
Boy, have I learned that out of all the aforementioned skills there is nothing that can get you out of jams in these sometimes grueling events is pure hand grip strength. This one can take some time to develop but once you have it it is like a shoebox full of cash on a rainy day. Farmers carry is a great way to build brute forearm strength. Grab the heaviest dumbbells you can safely lift and walk slowly with them until your arms and hands are screaming at you! Rest and repeat. The pull-up and its many variations is another way to develop the back which is a key part of your grip strength. Try doing overhand, underhand, wide and narrow grip. Also try the assisted one handed pull-up or simply hang one handed or two handed for as long as you can. You can even add weights with the appropriate belts. There is nothing better than feeling like Popeye when you go to an event and have to climb a rope with just your arms. Adding these tips into your workout regimen will make you lean and mean and ready for all the summer time fun events and will make you a more well rounded athlete at the same time.
Live long and be healthy!