The Benefits of Obstacle Course RacingPosted on November 29, 2016
Growing up I played many competitive sports, but as I got older the opportunities to play most sports at high levels got lower and lower. I needed something to fill that competitive void, so 2 years ago I randomly discovered the sport of obstacle course racing (OCR), some people recognize these types of races as Spartan or Tough Mudder races, where you are required to run and go through a series of challenging obstacles. While I’m fairly new to this type of competition, I already love the concept, of running as well as completing obstacles, like rope climbing, monkey bar swinging and heavy carries as some examples. In 2015, I placed 28th overall in the world in the elite heat at the World Spartan Race Championships in Lake Tahoe and this experience left me with the feeling that I wanted more.
How I currently train allows me to compete at a relatively high level without reformatting my life in the months leading up to an event and I’ve realized there are many benefits for everybody! Most people think you have to be a crazy fit athlete, but you don’t! All of the necessary skills and physical requirements can be mastered doing the right types of exercises on a consistent basis.
What I love about OCR is how practical it is in everyday life and since movement is fundamental to life I think everyone should include a minimum of OCR specific exercises in their fitness routine. Lets analyze this for a second, being good at pull-ups, monkey bars or carries is not only amazing for your back, postural muscles as well as your grip and core strength, but also because you never know when you’ll need to climb/jump a wall/fence/snow bank in an emergency or when you’re stubborn and only want to do one trip with 8 groceries bag in your hand, up 3 flights of stairs to your home without dropping them everywhere.
Another good example is being good at crawling on the ground like an animal. Yes, you read correctly, crawls are a primal movement, which are essential for joint mobility, core and upper body strength. They are also really helpful for getting up and down, playing with your kids or sneaking up on your buddies during a round of paintball. The aforementioned key movements have tremendous related-benefits and will make the obstacles the easiest part of any race, which is important because they are usually what most people find intimidating.
As a Kinesiologist I want to help you reach your highest potential in life and in OCR. I strongly believe you should train like an OCR racer whether you want to do an actual race or no. The benefits of OCR training are endless and on top of it you are helping develop or maintain your “physical literacy” (blog to follow soon).
Staying healthy is a priority no matter what and when you take the time to invest in yourself you become the most active version of yourself and get to reap all the benefits that come along with it.
I release new content every 2 weeks so if you feel up for it join me on this journey and let’s do this together. It’s not as scary as you might think.