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The Ultimate Warm-Up Guide for Obstacle Course Racing

Updated: Jun 24

Warming up is an essential part of preparing for any physical activity, and it's especially crucial in Obstacle Course Racing (OCR). A proper warm-up gets your body ready for the intense physical challenges ahead, reducing the risk of injury and enhancing performance. Here’s a guide to effective warm-ups based on the principles outlined in "Epic Training"

The Importance of Warming Up

Before diving into your workout or race, it's vital to get your body prepared. A good warm-up increases blood flow to your muscles, raises your core body temperature, and enhances your range of motion. For OCR, where you face varied and intense physical challenges, a thorough warm-up can make a significant difference in your performance.

General Warm-Up Guidelines

1. Tailor Your Warm-Up: The length and intensity of your warm-up should match the workout ahead. For shorter, high-intensity workouts, extend your warm-up to ensure you're fully prepared. For longer, endurance-based sessions, a moderate warm-up will suffice.

2. Focus on Mobility: Incorporate mobility exercises to prepare your joints for the dynamic movements of OCR. This helps reduce the risk of injuries and ensures you can move efficiently.

3. Dynamic Movements: Use dynamic stretches to activate your muscles and increase flexibility. Avoid static stretching before your workout, as it can reduce muscle strength and power.

Mobility and Range of Motion (ROM) Warm-Up

Start your warm-up with exercises that focus on your joints. Aim for 10 repetitions or 30-second holds for each movement:

- Ankle Circles: Rotate your ankles in both directions to loosen the joints.

- Knee Circles: With your feet together, make circular motions with your knees.

- Hip Circles: Place hands on your hips and move them in circles.

- Torso Rotation: Rotate your upper body to loosen the spine.

- Windmills: With arms extended, reach towards the opposite foot in a controlled manner.

- Good Mornings: Bend at the hips while keeping your back straight to activate your hamstrings.

- Shoulder Circles: Rotate your shoulders in both directions to warm up the joints.

- Arm Circles: Extend your arms and make circular motions.

- Neck Circles: Gently rotate your neck to relieve tension.

- Walking Quad Reach Stretch: Walk forward while pulling your heel towards your glutes.

- Deep Squats: Perform slow, controlled squats to engage your lower body.

- Cossack Squats: Shift your weight side to side while keeping one leg extended.

OCR-Specific Dynamic Warm-Up

These movements are designed to prepare your body for the specific demands of OCR:

1. 200-400m Easy Jog: Start with a light jog to get your blood flowing.

2. Jumping Jacks (x20): Classic exercise to get your whole body moving.

3. Skiers (x20): Simulate skiing motions to engage your legs and core.

4. Skaters (x20): Side-to-side movements to activate your glutes and legs.

5. Mountain Climbers (x20): Get into a plank position and alternate bringing your knees to your chest.

6. Air Squats (x20): Perform bodyweight squats to warm up your lower body.

7. Jumping or Walking Lunges (x20): Alternate legs to engage your quads and hamstrings.

8. Butt Kicks (20m forward and backward): Jog while kicking your heels towards your glutes.

9. High Knees (20m forward and backward): Jog while bringing your knees up towards your chest.

10. 5 Burpees: Combine a squat, plank, and jump for a full-body warm-up.

11. 200-400m Easy Jog: Finish with another light jog to keep your muscles warm.

General Warm-Up Routine Example

1. 200m Jog: Start with a light jog to elevate your heart rate.

2. Jumping Jacks: 20 reps to engage your entire body.

3. Cossack Squats: 20 reps to stretch and strengthen your legs.

4. Mountain Climbers: 20 reps to activate your core and shoulders.

5. Air Squats: 20 reps to warm up your lower body.

6. Lunges: 20 reps to engage your quads and hamstrings.

7. Burpees: 5 reps for a full-body warm-up.

8. 200m Jog: Finish with a light jog to maintain muscle warmth.

By incorporating these warm-up exercises into your routine, you'll ensure that your body is primed and ready for the physical demands of Obstacle Course Racing. Remember, a proper warm-up is crucial for preventing injuries and enhancing your performance, so take the time to prepare your body before every training session and race.

Ready to get warmed up and tackle your next OCR with confidence? Follow this guide, and you'll be well-prepared to face any obstacle that comes your way!

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