Now that you’ve signed up for a Spartan Race of a lifetime, it’s time to train! Whether you’ll be squaring off in a stadium or on rock-studded terrain, one thing you can expect is the gut-wrenching climbs. And it’s not just hoofing up ski slopes with heavy sandbags or jumping over eight-foot walls that’ll require you to grit your teeth and power through. You’ll also face the rope climb and the multi-rig (a mix of rings, ropes and bars — a far cry from your childhood monkey bars).
Spartan Strong: Functional Training Plus Grit
While you don’t need to be a pro athlete to become a Spartan finisher, you will need a solid foundation of fitness, says Kevin Donoghue, a Spartan elite athlete, Spartan SGX coach and head trainer for Daily Burn Spartan. That’s why the six-week training program focuses on total-body strength and conditioning, as well as obstacle-specific training.
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You might assume that the obstacles you’ll be up against are all about building upper body strength, but they take some leg work, too. For example, Donohue says, “If you’re doing the rope climb correctly, it’s a combination of upper body and lower body strength. You need to have hip mobility and learned coordination so you can get your knees high.”
Translation: Training with a few long jogs just won’t cut it. But leave it to Donoghue to lead you through a smarter routine built around complex, functional movements that kill a few birds with one stone. Case in point: this forward lunge with dumbbell hex hold.
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Build Glute and Grip Strength: Lunge with Dumbbell Hex Hold
Want to try it yourself? Make like Donoghue and grab a set of dumbbells, gripping the ends with your fingertips to work that grip strength. Meanwhile, you’ll knock out forward lunges to build stronger glutes, hamstrings and quads. As Donoghue notes, be sure to drive off of your front toe when you lunge forward.
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To get a better sense of what race day will be like, feel free to take this exercise outdoors. Doing the forward lunges on hills, or on uneven terrain, will be prime preparation for race day. Or, if you’re in a fairly flat area, you can also practice this move on a treadmill at an incline to help prepare your body for the uphill climbs and carrying obstacles. “Start by gradually raising the level of incline and increasing the time you’re on the treadmill, as well as speed,” Donoghue says.
To get the complete Daily Burn Spartan training program, head to dailyburn.com/spartan. Plus, use promo code DAILYBURN for 15% off your next Spartan Race.