Straight to the point… if you want to get better at Obstacle Racing then Yancy Camp is gonna help you with that! Simple as that!
I just wanted to get that out of the way. I am sure you have searched online for training and workouts specific to obstacle races and sure there is a lot of good stuff out there, but it can be hard to understand some of it and you might get bored of it.
That is why I want to break down why Yancy Camp is so awesome!
Basically the originally I would say is for more experienced or elite athletes, but to be honest anyone can do them. You would just need to scale down some of the exercises. Heck I still scale down a lot.
The Yancy Campy Superheroes is a more scaled down version and like they say on the site….. “if you can walk and breathe, you can do this program!”
So… What Is Yancy Camp?
Basically it is programmed workouts by Yancy Culp himself that these OCR athletes are doing. This is not just some templated workout that you follow over and over again.
These are strategically created workouts that if you follow are sure to get you results on and off the race course!
The other thing that I love is the support. You can actually get in touch with Yancy if there is something you need to know! That is pretty awesome and he is a super cool dude and loves to help!
What Do You Get?
Before I go into more below let me say this… Yancy is accessible! I had asked him for quick upper body grip workout to help me with the RIG and he whipped together something for me on the fly! Now, this is not something I plan to do, but the fact is I was in a rush and needed somethign short and sweet and he delivered via Facebook messenger! The results of that workout are in this picture here! As Yancy would say… “somebody turned on the Sweat Faucet!” LOL!
OK so here is what you get with Yancy Camp!
Getting 3 updated workouts a week design by Yancy Culp himself. AS of now there are 335 workouts in the system.
Access to private Facebook group. Talk about motivation!!
Challenge testing program! How do you know if you are getting better if you don’t test!
An awesome video library showing you how to do certain exercises and obstacle help.
Access to Yancy to get any answers you might need
Yancy always tosses in a few bonus workouts as well…. if you have anything left in the tank to do them 😉
How I Do The Workouts
I have to be honest… I am signed up under Glenn Racz and the workouts are great, but they are tough and they can be longer. It all depends on the day.
Depending on the workouts I usually have to break them up just for the fact I don’t have the time.
I also try to get at least 1 workout in a week, but I tell ya any Yancy workout I get in really pushes me to the next level. The fact that I know others in the group are pushing to finish the same workout really motivates me.
I mentioned above that these workouts are strategically created and they are. These are not just about putting a whooping on you, they are about creating a well rounded athlete that can attack any obstacle race.
When I am consistent with the workouts I can see huge improvements especially on the uphill climbs! You will learn a lot about lactic threshold training and how to push yourself past that pain point to get stronger and faster!
If you want a PLAN
If you want to be part of a TEAM
If you want SUPPORT & MOTIVATION then Yancy Camp is for you!
Agh… the dreaded burpee! Yeah most people hate to do them, especially if they fail an obstacle at a Spartan Race and have to bang out 30!
Sucking aside burpees are a great exercise. You essentially work everything, but like anything else they are not fun to do and can be tough if you never really do them.
So you wanna get better at them? DO MORE!! Seriously though do more, I mean everyone is always looking for tips on how get better at pull ups, squats, burpees etc…. and the best way is to really just do them!
Now as simple as that sounds it is not that simple right? In the back of my mind when I am training I am always saying….. ok I need to do more burpees, but I never do them! LOL!
2 Ways To Get Better At Burpees
Incorporate them into your workout and/or warmup. What I mean by this is just start off adding 10 burpees into your daily warmup. I add them at the end because I don’t like to go into burpees cold. You can also break them up during your warm up… 5 here, then few other moves, then 5 more etc….. During your workout you can let’s say…. do 5 in between sets or however else you want to fit them in. This way you are not tasked with doing 50 burpees in a row and you still get them in….. “although there is a place for doing 50 burpees in a row and if you feel up for it then do it!”
Set a DAILY GOAL! So say 50 burpees…. Now throughout the day you bust sets of 5 or more burpees until you reach that goal. Now I know doing burpees at work in work clothes is not fun, but get it done. You can also just stop and bang out 5 around the house. Again the idea being you are breaking these up and getting them in!
Hey wanted to post a quick picture of a rope hang I just made to help with defeating the Spartan RIG which I failed this past weekend at the Vermont Beast! lol
You will sometimes see just the rope with a knot at the bottom or a baseball above the knot.
I was trying to figure out how to make my own. I could have went with a baseball, but I had a few tennis balls laying around. I grabbed some 1/2 inch rope from home depot.
I also used a heavy duty carabiner that I was hoping I could just clip onto my pull up bar, but it was not big enough. So what I did was took 2 pieces of climbing rope I had laying around tied that around the bar and can now hook the caribiner on that. Not bad and it works well and more importantly it holds me!
So I drilled a nice hole into the tennis ball. BE CAREFUL! I did not realize they are pressurized… nice POP once you break it open 😉
I jammed the rope through it. Be sure to tape the end of the rope first with some duct tape to make it easier to pass and not get un-frayed.
Once it was all set up I did some hangs and the tennis ball just crumpled up… so I basically cut a hole in the side leaving one side uncut so it was like a flap. I mixed up some mortar concrete mix and filled those bad boys up. Pushed down the flap and let them cure over night.
They work great, are real solid, and def help with the grip strength! Just need to pass the rig next month.
The first obstacle race I ever did was a Super Spartan back in 2012 and it ended up being almost 12 miles! Since then I have done a handful of races including, 5k Rugged Maniac, Tough Mudder, and many Spartan races. I would do them every weekend if I could, but it takes up a good chunk of the day and family time is important plus it can cost you an easy $100 on each race when all is said and done.
When I first signed up for the Super Spartan I thought it was a 5k, but turned out it was an 8 mile race! What did I just sign up for lol! I had not ran in years and attempted to run 1 mile the week I had signed up. WOW! It whooped me… Most of my training was just running and building up to a 5k distance as well as doing a lot of Insanity & P90X which helped me a lot. On race day I finished, but it was tough!! There were a lot of things I realized I should work on for obstacle races, so I wanted to put together this little training guide for you.
First Let Me Say This…
All that I list below can and should be modified to your level of fitness… If you can do more, do more… if you have to do less do less, just do something! I will try to break it down for people who have not ran a mile in years to someone who can do a 5k on the road no problem, but are not sure about the obstacles.
Why 5k Obstacle Racing Is Different Than A Regular 5k Road Race
When I first started I did not really grasp this. I really just figured if I kept running and got the mileage in on my legs “which is important” I would be fine.
The truth is that during an obstacle race when you reach an obstacle whether it be climbing over a wall, monkey bars, crawling under wires etc… you are using explosive energy! I still remember the first obstacle at Spartan. It was a simple climb over then under these 3/4 foot walls. Nothing crazy, but I still remember the feeling of wow I just exerted a lot of energy to do that and for a brief moment felt drained!
Think about it this way… if all you have ever done was run…. picture being at a point in your run where you are struggling or almost at the finish line… now you have to do 20 pushups or climb a rope. That is the obstacle. Switching gears and attacking the obstacle.
OK I think you get the point… lets talk about some training.
Who Is This 5k Obstacle Training For? How To Prepare!
Beginners Mud Runners? – YES
Intermediate? – YES
Advanced? – YES
This is a good overview for anyone and like I said earlier you can modify this to fit your needs or to match whatever equipment you have to use.
How To Train For A Mud Run – My 5K Mud Run WOD
After each total half mile run I added 5 pull ups and 20 push ups. Running was done on a treadmill. I highly advise getting some regular runs on the road or on the trails and even substituting the exercises below with body weight.
Warmup / Stretching – I normally do the Insanity Workout Warm Up & Basic Stretching.
You can do a circuit of… running in place, jumping jacks, air squats & high knees for 30 seconds each for at least 5 minutes to give you an idea.
1/4 mile run – 20 KB Squats “35lbs”
1/4 mile run – 20 DB Lunges “20lbs” – 5 Pull Ups – 20 Push Ups
1/4 mile run – 20 DB Calf Raises “30lbs”
1/4 mile run – 20 Sit Ups – 5 Pull Ups – 20 Push Ups
1/2 mile run – 20 DB Lunges “20lbs”- 5 Pull Ups – 20 Push Ups
1/4mile run – 20 Calf Raises “30lbs”
1/4 mile run – 20 Sit Ups – 5 Pull Ups – 20 Push Ups
1 mile run
Total mileage above is 3.5 miles… a 5k is 3.10 miles.
This workout takes me about 50 minutes to complete!
I have no doubt in my mind that if you can complete the above workout you can complete any obstacle 5k race or even reg 5k race with no issues whatsoever!
How Many Times Should I Do This Workout?
It really depends when the race is! So many people tell me…. hey I signed up for this 5k next week what should I do. LOL… A week won’t change much if you are not in great shape, but in that case I would say go and run as far as you can for a day or two and see what happens, at least you will get some mileage on your legs before the race.
If you have signed up for a race and given yourself a few months to train that is ideal.
Depending on your fitness level I would say you can give this workout a try 1-2 times a week as well as adding just some straight runs in another 1-2 days a week. Again if it is too much just dial it down… cut the mileage down, cut the reps down, use body weight etc…. If you are sore…. REST… if you feel pain… REST… be sure to cool down and do light stretching after as well.
Hey for the most part people that have not really trained will finish the race, it just might take a few hours and that is OK. They might skip an obstacle. That is OK too! Don’t be intimidated by that, just go at your own pace and make it happen in your own time. This is supposed to be fun right?? 😉
With the above if you do not have a kettlebell you can use a dumbbell… if you do not have a dumbbell you can hold something heavy. Heck just doing those moves with your own body weight is going to be a challenge so just do that.
If you do not have a pull up bar I would suggest getting one since most races have you doing a lot of climbing and pulling yourself up.
I do this on a treadmill since everything is right there in my garage gym, but there is no reason you cannot use any phone app to track mileage and do this out on the road and just use body weight.
If you are advanced and have access to a jump box, squat rack, barbells etc… I would add those in, even some dead lifts, cleans, and more power moves.
I CAN’T DO THAT! WHAT!!
Hey no worries! Like I said… you can adjust this to your needs. Maybe you can only run a mile so adjust this for a mile and if using weights is too much or you don’t have weights just use your own body weight. That will work fine. If you cannot run a mile then walk a mile… you get the point.
You could work you way up to the 5k as well doing this workout 2 or 3 times a week at 1 mile, then week 2 jump to 2 miles, then week 3 to the full workout.
When Should You Stop Training?
I hate to sound like a broken record, but it really does matter what your fitness level is.
If your race is on a Saturday the truth is the training you do 5-7 days before might not really make or break the race for you.
If you are super fit you might run a 5k the day before, but you need to know how your body will react. You do not want to be sore on race day!
I would say for most people stop working out 2-3 days before race day. Maybe do a nice light warmup and stretch the day before or 2 days before, but rest your body, get some good sleep, keep the diet in check and be ready for game day!
Rugged Maniac Training Tips
I only say Rugged Maniac because it is one of the other races I have participated in. You need to look into the obstacles each race event has. Look on YouTube for some videos to see how they are done and get a better idea. This goes for any race even not just the Rugged-Maniac. Savage, Tough Mudder, Bone Frog etc…. You can find tons of videos online of people doing those race specific obstacles, so go and check em out!
Oh… also one more thing. You really need to train for the racing venue. What I mean is if I am going to train for a Rugged Maniac mud run which I know is on flat ground, I won’t have to train as much for the long hill climbs. Granted hill training will always help you, but it could end up being tougher on you depending on the time of your training.
On the flip side if you race is going to be at a Ski mountain then hill training is a MUST! Make sense?
I hope I was able to explain a few things and why training for a mud run is not just about getting miles in, but working on other muscle groups to build up some strength and endurance for the obstacles.
We are all different so I would love to hear feedback if you have questions or would love to point something out. I am just a regular dude with 3 kids trying to stay fit. I don’t know everything, but I figure some of this might actually help a few people.
If you are into Obstacle Racing then pull ups should be a regular exercise in your routine, if not daily! I know it can be frustrating when you can barely do one pull up, so I wrote this to help you get there and beyond!
Really is it possible? Sure it is I did it! Now before you get all excited I doubled my pull ups from 2 to 4 in less then a week, so if you can do 10 pull ups then getting to 20 in a week might be a bit harder, but I think it is attainable.
Pull Up Vs Chin Ups – What is the Difference?
First what is the difference between a Pull up & a Chin up? I am not going into some dissertation here etc.. it is pretty simple lol. A pull up is when your palms face away from you and a chin up is when your palms face you. Chin ups are typically easier since you are using more biceps muscle and pull ups you use more back muscle, but they are both great for getting stronger.
This is my doorway pull up bar I grabbed out walmart and it has sat in that door jam for 5 years now! You can grab one here on Amazon….>>> Go Here!
Also I am not talking about wide pull ups, narrow pull ups etc.. I am talking about grab that bar whatever way feels good and get up there. When you start getting stronger in the pull then you can start really tweaking grips, widths etc…
Here is what I have been doing. For the last week I basically try to do a few pull ups every time I walk by it. The first few days I was just getting 2 and would start for a 3rd and fade out. I started putting a line on my calendar so I know how many I did. Most days I have been getting at least 10 in total. Not a lot, but way more then I have ever done in the past. Again that is 10 throughout the whole day! After a few days I was able to bust out that 3rd pull up here and there, then finally last night after a long day… I had already run 2 1/2 miles and was out all day I figured let me hop up and see what happens and bamm… I busted out 4 pull ups. I was pumped! I told my wife and she said “were they full pull ups!” Ha of course they were give me some credit.
Simple Pull Up Plan:
It is easy to walk by that pull up bar and not do a pull up either so when you wan to just take time and focus here is an awesome plan to follow:
This can all scale on how many pull ups you can do.
20 Pull Ups & 20 Chin Ups
The goal here is to get 20 pulls up & 20 chin ups over time.
So start with pull ups… lets say you can do 3…. take a 30-60 second rest then do chin ups. Maybe you get 3 or 4 chin ups. take a 30-60 second rest.
Keep this up until you hit your # of 20 each. You might need to take a longer break, but get the full amount in.
Try this 2 -3 times a week and I guarantee you results!
Experiment: Don’t forget you can experiment a little. Try to hold at the bottom or pause at the top and/or middle. All of this will help get you past the sticking point of busting out 1 more pull up!
So is it really possible to double your pull up effort in a week?
So will you be able to turn the 10 pull ups you can do already into 20 within a week? I think it comes down to how hard you work, but I will bet if you were to start doing 10 pull ups 3 to 4 times a day you are going to increase for sure. All you can do is try it. Lets see if I can get 8 pulls ups a week from today
My Future Pull Up Plan
Going further here is what I am planning to do as well. I want to switch it up each day. So today is Pull Ups and tomorrow will be Chin Ups. I figured that is a nice way to mix it up and work the muscles differently and get stronger overall.
So… what do you think? Would love to hear some responses.