Grip Strength

Training to improve obstacle performance

Grip Strength
An important element to obstacle course races and mud runs is grip strength. Whether you’re climbing up a rope, crossing monkey bars, swinging ring-to-ring or traversing a wall, having a good grip is essential for completing these obstacles. Grip strength is often overlooked in training, but it can easily be incorporated into the beginning or end of any workout.

Grip Strength Work

Grip StrengthWhether at a gym, playground, rock climbing center or favorite tree branch, find a place that you can hang from where your feet will not touch the ground. Grip the bar, handholds or branch in the pull-up position. Then, perform one of the following:

Beginner/Intermediate – 3 Sets
Grip Strength30-second hang
30-second rest
45-second hang
30-second rest
30-second hang

Rest 1-2 minutes between each set.

Advanced – 3 Sets
45-second hang
30-second rest
1-minute hang
30-second rest
45-second hang

Rest 1-2 minutes between each set.

This can be incorporated into the beginning or the end of your workout and done a few times a week. It will a BIG improvement in your grip strength.

Monkey Bar Obstacle Tip

Whether you’re competing in Tough Mudder, Reebok Spartan Race or one of the many other series, monkey bars obstacles are a favorite. One tip to help you tackle this obstacle: Instead of locking your elbows out and trying to swing from bar-to-bar, keep your elbows bent a little and match hand-for-hand on the monkey bars. This move is extremely helpful when the distance between the bars isn’t even or the bars are positioned at different levels. Or, as in the Tough Mudder Funky Monkey, you are climbing.

With a little bit of practice and preparation before the race or run you will be able to fly through the obstacles and avoid getting wet on the Funky Monkey or having to do the 30 penalty burpees at a Reebok Spartan Race.

That’s the dirt for this week. Next week, we look at the pre-race meal, and why it’s important to get calories in your body before you hit the starting line.

Margaret Schlachter

Margaret Schlachter, the first professional female obstacle course racer, is a top ranked athlete in the Reebok Spartan Race series. She is also an endurance athlete specializing in ultra trail running races, a Spartan SGX Coach, and a CrossFit Level 1 Trainer. She founded DirtinYourSkirt.com, a leading source for all things obstacle course racing and endurance sports. For more information on Margaret, her upcoming book and online coaching services.

Margaret's book "Obstacle Race Training: How to Beat any Course, Compete Like a Champion and Change Your Life" is available for PRE-SALE! Click HERE to reserve your copy.

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