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Training Without An Obstacle Course!

Infinite possibilities are possible for those who desire to compete but do not have access to a course.
Infinite possibilities are possible for those who desire to compete but do not have access to a course. The only limitations lie in your mind. First things first, what obstacle course competition will you be competing.

The courses

The two that I have had the privilege are the NOVA Obstacle course (Previously known as the Galaxy Competition) and the Women's Tri-Fitness Competition. Below is a table that reflects elements of both courses.

Competition NOVA Obstacle Course Women's Tri-Fitness
Venue Indoor Convention Center Beach or Football Field
Distance "Compact" - Varies 130 yards (Beach)
50 yards ( Football Field)
Obstacles Rope Grid: Parallel squares that simulate running in tires Rope Grid: Parallel squares that simulate running in tires
Hurdles - 24-30 inches high Hurdles - 2 Low
10 Foot Wall with Knotted Rope 10 Foot Wall with Knotted Rope
Cargo Net: The cargo net will vary in height from 15-20 feet. Competitors must scale the net and tag a specified board near the bottom to successfully complete this obstacle Cargo Net: Height 15 feetCompetitor may dismount after passing specified mark.
Over/Under: Two overs and two unders. This obstacle tests flexibility and coordination as contestants must duck under and jump over the obstacles. Under: Athlete must sprint under bar. Displacement of bar results in penalty.
Strength Carry: Two containers that weigh approximately 50-60 pounds each. Competitors will be required to carry the containers a specified distance that will vary at each location. Steeple Chase Jump: Competitor may hurdle this obstacle or perform a dive roll. A landing pad is an available option.
Sprint Sprint
Shuttle Run: Athlete sprints to pick up baton sprints around cone and places baton in container
Balance Beam
Incline/Decline Monkey Bars

Now you must know look at skills required for each one. This will allow you to properly identify an exercise, drill or simulated obstacle to sharpen this skill.

Obstacle Skill Needed Simulation/Drills
Rope Grid Speed, High Knees, Coordination, Agility Place tape on ground in squares in 12 squares. Practice knees coming straight up and down versus sideways
Hurdles Speed, form, rhythm, tempo Use wood pole or pvc pipe balanced on two stationary objects at least 4 feet apart and 25 inches high
10 Foot Wall Upper Body Strength, Flexibility of hamstrings, Vertical Jump Stretch daily, practice approach on a all start by walking 3 steps and placing one foot up at approximately a 90 degree angle, pushing up and lifting the other leg. Both arms extend over head to touch higher spot on wall "invisible rope" As confident build increase from jog, to sprint. With the goal of landing the lead leg higher each attempting
Cargo Net: Upper Body Strength, strong Hip flexors Versa ClimberMountain Climbers
Strength Carry Upper Body Strength, Speed, Core Strength for balance Practice walking, jogging, and sprinting with 50 to 60 pound weights,sand bags, or water filled gasoline jugs
Sprint Sprint Sprint Workouts at a trackDay 1-10 50 meter runs with 10 pushups in betweenDay 2-4 set of wind sprints sprint Curves jog straights then jog straights sprints curvesDay 3 500m 400 m 2 300 m 4 150's rest as with walk to starting line
Shuttle Run: Strong quads, speed, agility, endurance Measure a distance of 20 ft. Place 10 similar sized objects at one end and container at the other. Start at container end. Practice 3 times through with 2 minute rest in between
Balance beam BALANCE!!!
Monkey bars
Upper body strength, momentum Time hangs on pull bar, quick release drill one hand to the other 20 times rest 1 minute, repeat.
Steeple Chase Jump Speed, form, rhythm, tempo

As you can see a speed, upper body strength, ability, and coordination are recurring themes for obstacle course training. In addition there is a need for the following:

    Mastery of Transition
    Agility/Flexibility Drills
    Dynamic Stretching
    Anaerobic Threshold or Tolerance
This may seem a bit overwhelming but you can do it. Each competition allows some free time to run the course before the official timed runs. Your best will come from hands on experience confidence and comfort will continue to grow. The major obstacle is you and you are the only one that can master that. Trust yourself and have fun!

For questions or information on preparing for obstacle course competitions contact me via email at