Survival Of The Fittest: Three Workouts To Knock Your Body Into Survival Mode | Men's Health Magazine Australia

Survival Of The Fittest: Three Workouts To Knock Your Body Into Survival Mode

Obstacle races are all about transitioning from aerobic to anaerobic movements; shuttling blood back and forth from the prime movers in the legs to the bands of muscle through the back, shoulders and arms. All you need to simulate this furious physical assault is a chin-up bar, parallel dip bars and a flat stretch of ground. Set a marker 15 metres from the bars, then complete the eight exercises in a continuous circuit, with each exercise separated by a trip to the marker. Your goal? Complete as many rounds as possible in 30 minutes.

Workout 1: The Lactic Burner

1.     Chin-Ups

Grab the chin-up bar with an overhand grip, your hands slightly wider than shoulder width. Hoist your chest to the bar, pause, then lower yourself back to the start position. Do 10 reps, then sprint to the marker and walk back.

2.     Push-Ups

Drop into a push-up position, your hands shoulder-width apart. Lower your chest to the ground, pause, then drive back up. Do 20 reps, then sprint to the marker and walk back.

3.     Lying Flat to Chin-Ups

Lying on your chest under the chin-up bar, push yourself up to a standing position, then grab the bar with an underhand grip and pull your chest to the bar. Drop back to the lying position. Do 10 reps, then commando crawl to the marker and walk back.

4.     Mountain Climbers

Assume a push-up position, ensuring your core is rigid. Drive your right knee to your right shoulder, then repeat on your left side. Keeping the movement fast, do 10 reps on each leg, then sprint to the marker and walk back.

5.     Dips

Jump on to the dip bars, your arms slightly bent. Shift your torso forward and lower yourself until your elbows are bent at 90 degrees. Pause, then drive back up. Do 10 reps, then lunge to the marker and walk back.

6.     Plank

Drop into a push-up position, resting on your elbows instead of your hands. Suck your stomach in to turn your core on. Hold for one minute, then broad jump to the marker and walk back.

7.     Chin-Ups 

You know the drill here. If you’re hurting, use an underhand grip. If you’re feeling good, drape a towel over the bar and cling to that. Do 10 reps, then sprint to the marker and walk back. 

8.     Burpees 

This should redline your heart rate. From a standing position, drop to the ground, kick your legs back into a push-up position, then reverse the move to return to a standing position. Still got some petrol in the tank? Incorporate a push-up and vertical leap into each burpee.

Workout 2: The Furious Four

This workout starts to throw some race-specific movements into the mix while forging strength and stamina through the legs. You can easily knock this session out at your local park, with a bench, a chin bar and a flat stretch of ground the only requirements. Once again, your goal is simple: do the exercises in a continuous circuit, snapping out as many rounds as possible in 20 minutes. Your time starts now.

1.     Box Jumps

Stand in front of a knee-high bench or box. Drop into a squat, then jump onto the bench. Jump down and repeat, keeping the movement as fast as possible. Do 10 reps.

2.     Overhead Squats

Hoist a 20-kilogram sandbag overhead. No sandbag? A loaded backpack or concrete besser block will work just as well. Push your hips back to lower into a deep squat then drive back up, keeping the overhead weight just in front of your forehead. Do 10 reps.

3.     Wide-Stepping High Knees

Run forward, driving your knees high and your feet wide with each stride; imagine you’re running along two lines of tyres and your feet have to land in the middle of each tyre. Keeping your stride light and fast, run 25m, then walk back.

4.     Single-Arm Hang

Grab a chin-up bar with your left hand, palm facing out. From a dead hang, shrug your left shoulder. Grab the bar with your right hand while simultaneously letting go with your left hand, and repeat. Do five reps on each arm. 

Workout 3: The Power Kick

In this session, the focus shifts to building plyometric power through your core and legs – crucial when it comes to surviving those final obstacles on race day. All you’ll need is a hefty pair of kettlebells or dumbbells, a 20m length of rope and a willingness to sweat. You’re gunning for as many rounds of this circuit as you can manage in 20 minutes. Don’t waste a second – your survival counts on it.

1.     Broad Jumps

From a standing start, drop into a deep squat. Jump forward, then drop straight back into another squat and repeat for 25m. Focus on the speed and fluency of the movement rather than the height or distance of each jump.

2.     Bench Jumps

Stand next to a fence or bench that is roughly mid-thigh high. Place your hands on top of the fence, then vault over it. Do 25 reps, keeping the movements as fast and explosive as possible.

3.     Farmer’s Walk

Stand, holding a heavy kettlebell or dumbbell in each hand (approximately 20kg). Keeping your posture erect and your core switched on, walk 25m favouring form over speed.

4.     Kettlebell Pull

Tie the handles of two kettlebells to a 30m length of rope, then extend the rope out to its full length. Grab the end of the rope, drop into a squat, and haul the kettlebells towards you with a hand-over-hand motion. Keep your feet firmly planted and your core switched on throughout.

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