Think youâre hardcore? If you havenât taken on a Spartan Race, then how will you ever really know?
Equal parts adrenaline rush and lunacy, a Spartan Race is the ultimate in obstacle course racing, covering anywhere from a 3 mile Spartan Sprint to the Spartan Ultra, a 30-plus mile, 60-plus challenge behemoth filled with everything from barb-wire crawls, spear throwing, and rope climbingâplus a bundle of burpees for each missed challenge.
Sound daunting? As Spartanâs 2021 schedule
is unveiled, Spartan Director of Training Sam Stauffer is confident anyone regardless of skillâor pain thresholdâhas it within themselves to successfully completing a race.
âThe biggest and most common misconception is that a Spartan Race is âtoo hardâ or âimpossible,â says Stauffer, whoâs completed more than a dozen Spartan events and has developed many of the workouts on the recently released Spartan Fit App
. âThe truth of the matter is this: ANYBODY can complete a Spartan Race! Your fitness level will dictate how quickly you can move through the course, but just because youâre not in tip-top shape doesnât mean that you canât do one.
The key, Stauffer says, is not immediately leaping (or bear crawling) into the hardest races at first, but instead gradually progressing in your Spartan endeavor till youâre ready for the Ultra. âStart small,âit wonât be long before the excitement hits your blood and your completely hooked,â he says.
For those who donât know, what exactly is a Spartan race?
Spartan races are so much more than just a race; it shows people that they are capable of great featsâwhich translate on and off the course. We provide the means for people to become better humansâand that sets us apart from other races and events.
Competing in a Spartan race is all about changing your frame of reference. Too many of us write off hard things because âŚ well, theyâre hard and uncomfortable! Spartan pushes boundaries and proves that hard or impossible things can be overcome, leaving you stronger and more resilient as a result.
What are some of the rigors of one of the tougher Spartan races youâve completed? What makes each race so personally fulfilling?
My most memorable Spartan race was Big Bear, CA, in 2019. Walking through the festival beforehand, I heard whispers of this course being the âsoul crusher.â And It absolutely was! But thatâs also what left me feeling incredibly fulfilled and accomplished. I may not have crushed my time, but I got it done, and thatâs what is important.
If it werenât for the obstacles and stellar views, it wouldâve been a grueling four hours! But the accomplishment of crossing the finish line and wearing the âheavy beastâ medal was the most fulfilling feeling ever.
What is your sports and fitness background?
Iâve been in the sports and health and wellness industries for about 12 years now. Prior to Spartan, I worked with strength and conditioning pioneer Michael Boyle. I trained and certified coaches all over the world with cutting-edge programming and business practices.
With people having been forced to work out at home, can you still train effectively for a Spartan Race?
Yes, 100 percent! Our philosophy has ALWAYS been rooted in body-weight training first! Most people write it off as being too easy when it is actually your greatest resource. Starting with body-weight training will teach you how to master your body and movement. When youâre ready, you can up the intensity by adding more traditional modalities such as kettlebells, dumbbells, and barbellsâbut theyâre not always necessary. Our Spartan Fit App
has tons of great body-weight conditioning, core, and strength workouts that require no equipment at all.
Whatâs one piece(s) of equipment everyone should have at home if they want to get Spartan fit?
The be-all and end-all for me are kettlebells
. A decent weight can go a long way. Once you mastered bodyweight movement, the kettlebell is a great compliment to any exercise.
Whatâs the one exercise everyone should have in their Spartan routine?
The burpee is the ultimate body-control and conditioning exercise. This exercise will get blood moving throughout your body at a rapid pace. If your workout didnât leave you feeling achieved, throw in 30 to 60 burpees and youâll walk away feeling accomplished!
There is a reason we make racers pay their âduesâ when failing an obstacle. The defeat of failing an obstacle can be tough, but by completing your 30th penalty burpee, youâll walk (or even run) away feeling accomplished!
Is there an exercise people mess up the most? How can this be fixed?
Improper form across the board. For a lot of people, it comes down to laziness; for others, itâs movement education. Regardless, proper form is so incredibly important.
The number of times I see people doing half pullups is crazy! I almost never catch an individual doing the full range of motion. The same goes for pushups. Iâve seen folks crank out 80 pushups at a time, but with the most awful and awkward form you can imagine. Take your time with each rep and make it count. It should be quality over quantity every single time.
Any advice for people working out at home and trying to train like a Spartan athlete?
Keep it simple. There is no need to change it up every single time. Look to train strength and conditioning equally and donât forget about grip training. For the most part, grip training is a byproduct of kettlebell/dumbbell training. Including farmer walks and suitcase carries are paramount too! And using tools like the Spartan Fit App
are great ways to prepare for your first race.