Obstacle Mud Runner - issue 09

27 ForEliteAtheletes to FunRunners 01732 452404 My preferred way to develop extensors is to use finger bands that will work each digit individually and equally. The bands vary in thickness too so once you get good at the thinner bands you can progress onto the thicker ones. Do 3 sets of 50 reps every time you train your flexors and use them also on your days off when you’re recovering. Start off with a thinner band and when 3 sets of 50 feels easy, just move onto a thicker one. Obstacle Proficiency As I mentioned earlier, it’s no use developing a cast-iron grip if your obstacle proficiency is awful and just because an athlete can do 10 muscle ups or hang from a bar for 10 minutes, that doesn’t always compute to how good they’re going to be over obstacles. Sure, developing grip endurance IS important and will make a difference, but you can’t rely solely on grip strength. Regularly practising your technique on grip related obstacles is, in my opinion the best way to become better on obstacles. It sounds obvious right but I still don’t think athletes are doing enough practise in this area. The more you practise your technique, the more naturally it will come to you when you’re racing and when the pressure is on. Simulate The Stress Response (SSR) Once shoulder stability is under control and grip strength is improving the next thing to look at is incorporating your grip flexor exercises into cardio workouts/runs. So you’re transitioning from cardio to grip, cardio to grip in an elevated heart rate session. This will get you used to working your grip when your lactic acid levels are sky high (eg when you’re knackered & when the pressure is on!!) so that you’re basically simulating and mimicking OCR race conditions. If you live near an obstacle gym then a regular weekly 30-60 minute session targeting the above would be useful. Alternatively here’s a SSR gym based session that I’ve used on athletes in the past: 5 rounds of the following: • 200m run on a 5% incline • 30 seconds of monkey bars/pull up reaches • 200m run same • 10 x Dead hang with toes to bar • 200 metres • 30 seconds of lapping/carrying • 200m same • 20 x hand switches • 60 seconds rest Finish with finger band workout (as mentioned) as part of your warm down to train & target the extensors. Final Thoughts If you enjoy going bouldering then you definitely should keep doing it and they’ll certainly be some added grip strength benefits as a result that will transfer over to obstacle course racing, but if you don’t really enjoy it and it’s not really your thing don’t panic, there are other more effective ways to develop grip endurance for OCR. Adapt a balanced approach to your grip endurance plan which includes crush, pinch and support strength and don’t forget those extensors too. Just make sure your shoulder function is healthy before you start building a strong grip on a weak foundation! Practise being more proficient on those grip-related obstacles so that you’re using LESS energy and less grip strength for things like low rigs, high rigs, monkey bars, rope climbs, stairway to heavens etc. Practise your technique frequently and consistently. Listen & learn from people who know how to do it too. And if you can challenge your grip in a cardio type workout with an elevated heart rate for some stress response simulation then you’ll be well on your way to a 100% obstacle completion rate and smashing your competitors. If you need any help then I’m always here for you. Train hard & BE strong Sam Winkworth CPT, SPN, UKAD Accredited Advisor Creator of The Unbreakable Project. [email protected] RACE : TRAINING It’s no use developing a cast-iron grip if your obstacle proficiency is awful But if you don’t really enjoy it and it’s not really your thing don’t panic