The goal for every Obstacle Course Racer should be to cross the finish line with 100% obstacle completion. For many Racers this is easier said then done. Let’s get into why this is happening and how to fix it!
1 – The most common reason is this: a lot of racers simply do not have enough upper body/grip strength to hold up their own body weight, especially while swinging through the air, on things like monkey bars, rings, ropes, etc.
So how do we fix this? Well, that depends on whether your workouts mostly consist of strength training or focus more on cardio. If you currently lean more toward the strength training side and can lift a decent amount of weight but still fail obstacles then you most likely have “show” muscle and not “go” muscle. “show muscle” refers to those big muscles you have that are just for esthetics. You can fix the issue by adding in functional exercises like the explosive and gymnastic type moves we do at Bodify Functional Fitness. If most of your workouts focus on cardio then you need to add in some strength training. At Bodify we use exercises like pull ups, push ups, heavy farmer’s carries and many others to help build strength.
2 – Here’s a more sensitive but game changing reason. Your weight.
Let’s get real, the less weight you have to carry, the easier it will be for you to carry yourself through the air, crawl under barbwire, and make it up and over those high walls. This does not mean you should go to the opposite extreme and become unhealthy and underweight, but getting your body to a healthy weight will only help your overall performance.
3 – A not so obvious reason is a lack of focus/transition preparation.
One of the challenges in OCR is being able to go from climbing up a hill, to carrying a bucket or sandbag, to more running, and then into an upper body hanging obstacle. This is extremely taxing on the body and can be mentally overwhelming if you aren’t prepared. If you run up to an obstacle with your heart rate sky-high and you are mentally stressing about whether you will complete it, then you will probably end up failing. Try taking a deep breath before starting, clearing your mind, and focusing on the task at hand. If it is your first time attempting the obstacle, look at other competitors as they successfully complete it for any tips you might be able to use. Once you are ready go for it with confidence. A great way to practice this in your training is by simulation. For example: Do a 5 minute run, then without a break, go right into burpees and then hanging hand position changes. Doing a couple rounds of this will help your body to adapt to the constant varying strains of the OCR course and give you a chance to practice focusing on performance and not getting overwhelmed or rushing.