training tips

Before launching your training regimen, establish a goal. Decide if your ambition is to drag your sorry backside across the finish line, to your best friend’s lone cheer, or if it’s to earn a First Place finish (or anywhere in between).

To achieve the first goal, arrive on time, skip the tough obstacles (and the chance of winning anything), and realize you’re blessed just to have someone waiting for you, especially on a dark Youngstown corner.

To achieve anything else, read on.

For everyone:

  • Walk the course before the run. Even if the obstacles aren’t in place, see where the race will take you. This will make the course more comfortable on race day.
  • Review the official rules and course policies. If anything is unclear, contact the appropriate official and ask.
  • Obtain a list of course obstacles and try to duplicate them as much as possible. Develop an attack strategy for each. This will achieve two things: one, you won’t embarrass yourself, and two, it will prepare your muscles for movements not included in your current workout (either at the gym or on the couch).

For the more serious:

Go see your doctor. Ask what shape your shape is in. When you get the all clear, start training.

  • Since obstacles are typically staggered, prepare by boosting endurance with sprints, alternating with body-weight exercises like sit-ups, push-ups, pull-ups, jumping, climbing, and crawling.
  • To prepare for stairs, hold dumbbells and lunge; stand and repeat on the other side. Start with three sets of eight reps and build to three sets of 12.
  • For cargo nets, try a butt-high, bear crawl followed by press ups . Do continuously for one minute, building ultimately to 10 minutes.
  • Wall or bale climbing, and rope climbs call for upper body strength. To prepare, try body dips, push-ups, and curls. Start with three sets of 8 reps and build to three sets of 12.
  • Assault courses call for high intensity from all muscles at once. Prepare by going 100% Marine: lie down, jump up, squat and lie down. Did we mention, again, again, again! (Go for three sets of 12.)
  • Keep a positive mindset. Look forward to it. If you’ve never entered an obstacle course race before, get family and friends on board as well. Team support both during workouts and once on the course will supercharge your batteries.

For the truly serious:

  • Winning an obstacle course race takes planning and training. After consulting a physician, settle in to a regular training program that includes warm ups and warm downs, strength and endurance training, short-burst aerobics, and exercises specific to the expected obstacles, as listed above.


Whether you participate in the Steelathlon or not, if you are looking to take your fitness to the next level contact the professionals at Fitness Together. Visit www.FTYoungstown.com or call 330-702-1311.