Strength & Speed


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S&S Articles

Welcome to the Strength & Speed articles section.  If you would like a specific topic to be covered send us a message and we will be sure to add it to the list of articles to be published.  For articles on a specific topic, click on the "Categories" to the right.  For all articles, continue to scroll down and click on "View Older Entries".

All articles are written by S&S owner Evan Perperis unless otherwise noted. 

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Use referral # 240887 for 15% off your first order from Hammer Nutrition. 


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All USA Based NORAM/OCRWC Qualifiers in Mud Run Guides Newest Book

Posted by Strength & Speed on June 16, 2019 at 12:40 AM

The world of Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) can be overwhelming if you are new to the sport. Even if you have been around a while if you are trying to qualify at a smaller race the options can seem overwhelming.


Mud Run Guide, one of our media partners, recently announced the publication of their newest book, Mud Run Guide’s Ultimate OCR Bucket List. The book, available in hard copy only, includes coverage of more than 100 OCR brands and event types. Included in the book is every USA based qualifying event for OCR World Championships and North American OCR Championships (NORAM).


For those who live outside the USA, some international events are talked about including several Canadian brands as well as events from the other side of the globe like Tough Guy, Toughest, Bermuda’s Triple Challenge and Hannibal Race.


Chapters include Swagtastic (races with great swag), Persistence Pays Off (awards you can get for completing multiple races in a season), History Buff (head back to OCRs original races), Destination Races (looking for a fun race-cation?), Reality Show (explanations of OCR TV shows), Challenge Yourself (can you keep your band on these courses?), All Nighters (24 hour OCRs both in the USA across the world), OCR Plus (OCR plus Crossfit and other crazy ideas like triathlon), Permanent (the fixed courses in the USA), Local Races (all the single race events that make OCR great), International Traveler (options for those looking to head to new countries), For the Party (the best party OCRs), Laugh It Up (funny ideas for racing), Assessment and Selection Events (unconventional fitness for those looking to push limits), If You Can Win It All (the coolest overall prodium prizes) and Championship Races (the biggest and best races the unite our sport)


For those looking to qualify for OCRWC or NORAM, you will find the best qualifying information in the Local Races chapter. Once you’ve qualified, definitely head to the Championships Races chapter to find out some details on which one of Adventurey’s championships events you are putting on your calendar for 2019. With over 130+ pictures, the book highlights what makes each event unique and worth your time to travel towards.



Order off the Strength & Speed website.  Hard copies now available.

#AllTheRaces: Ensuring Success With Multiple Races

Posted by Strength & Speed on June 2, 2019 at 12:35 AM


If you are headed to North American OCR (Obstacle Course Racing) Championships (NORAM) or OCR World Championships (OCRWC) you are probably racing more than once over the course of the weekend. With up to five events occurring in one weekend (OCRWC has 100m, 3k, 15k, Team Relay and Charity Run), your pre/intra/post-race fueling needs to be on point. If you missed the previous articles about fueling for the 3k or 15k, give them a quick read. Here are some quick tips to help maximize your performance between each race.

First 30 minutes post-race:

-Don’t pull off your inov-8 race shoes just yet. Immediately post-race conduct a quick cool down consisting of a couple minutes of easy jogging just to help circulate your blood and bring your body back from a period of all-out effort to a resting state.

-Drink a liquid recovery drink like Recoverite that consists of 3:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio. Ideally your drink has the amino acid L-Glutamine in it, an amino acid known to promote recovery, like Hammer Nutrition’s Recoverite to help with recovery.


An hour post-race:

-If you are staying on site (like you’ve been told to do in the “Five Things You Need to Know About Traveling to NORAM”;) you can go back to your room and shower real quick to wash the dirt/mud off, take off your sweaty Akuma race jersey and get comfortable. If not, you might just want to change into some comfortable post-race clothes. I recommend MudGear socks for compression of your calves (for recovery compression you want it a little tighter than race/active compression. Personally, I go down a size in MudGear so they provide that tight feeling and help return blood flow from the legs. Check out Ashley Samples method of putting on MudGear socks here.) If it’s a little chilly now would be the time to throw on your dryrobe.

That evening post-race:

If you have a fancy recovery system now would be the time to use it. Companies like NormaTec have recovery pants that inflate by zones to help circulate the blood (of note, they are expensive like $1500 USD). A little more portable, convenient for travel and at a lower price, companies like Compex offer Electrical Muscle Stimulators (EMS) that help circulate blood via forced muscle contractions (starting at around $80). If you want to go lower tech (and cheaper) gentle massage via foam roller is a good option. Don’t go too deep though, you don’t want to show up sore from a deep tissue massage. A great option that requires no equipment or purchasing of bags of ice is the hot/cold shower. Take a shower and do 1 minute of as cold as the water goes followed by two minutes of warm water repeated three times. This hot/cold contrast dilates and constricts your blood vessels helping circulate your blood and making your legs feel better recovered.


Morning of the next race:

-Your legs might be feeling tight after yesterday’s race. Make sure you do a light warm up job pre-race to get your blood flowing and muscles loosened up again. The back to back racing may mean you are expending more calories than usual, so you are probably going to want to eat something light before your race. Hammer Nutrition recommends giving a three hour gap between breakfast and your race.

During the race:

-If you missed the fueling articles for the 3k and 15k race check them out by looking at the last couple of articles on this website. Having proper fueling during the race will avoid putting you in a huge deficit that could hurt performance the following day.



As always, don’t plan on doing anything new on race day. That includes nutrient timing, food choices, race clothing, shoe types or anything else you are doing. Therefore, practice the above plan on one of your training weeks when doing several challenging workouts back to back. Keep training and I’ll see you at the finish line!

Use ref #240887 for 15% off your first order from Hammer Nutrition (www.HammerNutrition.com)


Looking for more great tips of OCR? Pick up a copy of Strength & Speed’s Guide to Elite Obstacle Course Racing or if you plan on racing Enduro check out Mud Run Guide’s Ultra-OCR Bible which are both available in our online store.

15k Fueling with Hammer Nutrition

Posted by Strength & Speed on May 15, 2019 at 12:20 AM

It’s only 15k, why do I need fuel? Well if you are running the North American Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) Championship (NORAM) course in an hour and a half, you may not need fuel. If you are like most of the athletes on the course spending between two and six hours on the course, you are going to want to carry some fuel with you for the race.


Peaking:

REM Caps: REM Caps are a natural sleep aid we talked about last week in the “Fuel Up With Hammer Nutrition for the 3k Championships” article. Still a great product regardless of the distance you are racing.


Race Day Boost: Race Day Boost is loaded by taking pills for the four days leading up to your A race. The Sodium Phosphate contained in each pill helps buffer lactic acid buildup, the chemical correlated with fatigue in the muscles. A study reported a measurable increase in performance of 8%, making this something you may want to consider adding to your pre-race bag to ensure a successful peak.

(You can save money by picking up both Race Day Boost, Energy Surge and Anti-Fatigue Caps as part of the Race PR Kit.)


Pre-Race:

Endurolytes or Endurolytes Extreme: Regardless if the weather is hot or cool, you are going to be sweating on the course. As a safety net for my racing, I recommend an electrolyte pill. Hammer Nutrition’s Endurolytes or Endurolytes Extreme provide a full spectrum of electrolytes including sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium and chloride. They aren’t just “salt pills” but have been designed for endurance athletes by endurance athletes.


Anti-Fatigue Caps: A couple of pills pre-race are designed to reduce Ammonia in muscles and enhance blood flow via ingredients like Beet Root powder.


Heed: Finally, sipping on some Heed pre-race can quench your thirst. It also tops off your energy supplies by swishing the complex carb solution around in your mouth and swallowing some for easy access to a carbohydrate fuel source early in the race.



Intra-Race:

Gels: Fueling during a race can be tricky. You can’t nor should you try to replace all calories burned. Instead studies have shown that your body can only reasonably absorb 200-300 calories at most an hour. Hammer Nutrition recommends fueling lean with at least 120-180 calories.

At 90 calories per gel, if you are racing for three hours and following Hammer Nutrition’s recommendation of fueling lean that comes out to about 4-6 gels over the course of the entire race.

If you are the type of person who is going to use every available minute of the six hour cutoff to complete the course, you may want to consider a small water carrier. Of note, you will have to carry this across the obstacles so balance the risk vs. the reward of having constant access to water. For most athletes, I recommend leaving the water carrier in your hotel room unless the weather is unusually hot. If you decide to carry one, you are going to want to use Heed inside, Hammer Nutrition’s carbohydrate and electrolyte blend. It’s loaded with complex carbohydrates to give you that steady release of energy without a spike and crash.


Regardless of your fueling plan, make sure you practice it before hand with the same exact products to ensure you don’t get any gastro-intestinal distress. Personally, I find that I need much less fuel during a training run versus something like a race when my physical output is significantly higher so be sure to take that into account.


Check back next week, I’ll be talking about my favorite topic again, Ultra-OCR as we talk fueling for the 24 hour long OCR Enduro Championships in Australia this June. While you can get away with poor fueling for something like a 3k or 15k and still perform okay, not fueling at something as long as Enduro I guarantee will lead to disaster.

Use ref# 240887 for 15% off your first order from Hammer Nutrition (www.HammerNutrition.com)


Looking for more great tips of OCR? Pick up a copy of Strength & Speed’s Guide to Elite Obstacle Course Racing now available in our online store.

MudGear Shorts Review

Posted by Strength & Speed on May 7, 2019 at 2:05 PM

If you know Obstacle Course Racing (OCR), then you know MudGear. The brand with the best known, best performing and most stylish OCR sock recently expanded their lineup of products to include shorts. I picked up a pair for use both in the gym, on the trail and on the race course and here is what I thought:


Style: I absolutely love the style. They currently offer two color options, black or grey. Both look great but I went with the black since it tends to go better with the rest of my OCR wardrobe. I love the MudGear logo along the sides since it allows me to represent the brand associated with OCR clothing without me having to lift up my pants to show off my socks.

Each pair of shorts has three pockets: the two normal side ones and one in the back. I love this because it brings out the shorts versatility. If I’m running errands, or not using them for training, the side pockets are great for holding things like my wallet or my phone. If I want to take them on a long run, the back pocket has a zipper closure allowing you to carry several gels to fuel your training as well as my house/car key.


Fit: I normally wear size medium in most things and usually buy my pants in around a 32 inch waist despite my actual waist being smaller (I like a little extra room). I actually own two pairs of the MudGear shorts, a small and a medium. I fit into both comfortably without issue. The drawstring closure system on each pair allows them to fit a wide range of waists. I suspect even if I packed on a little bit of off-season/winter/bulking weight the shorts would still fit great.

Personally, the only difference I could see between the small and medium is the mobility in the legs. The mediums allow me to take long deep lunges easily without adjusting my shorts. I found the smalls a little more restrictive requiring me to pull up my shorts slightly. So if you are between sizes, I would go with the larger or if you are concerned about leg mobility. That being said, I still wear and train in the small shorts but if going for a long run, I make sure to put on the mediums pair.


Durability: I’ve only had the shorts for a couple of months. So they’ve only got a limited number of miles and wear on them. That being said I did use them for OCRmill 24 (a 24 hour treadmill run doing four obstacles at the end of every mile) and they still look brand new. I had no chaffing from them despite long hours of repetitive movement. The built in lining still fits and feels great.

It is rare to find my low cut MudGear socks or shorts in my house in the clean pile because it is the first thing I grab out of the laundry. Even with weekly use for the last couple of months the shorts still look brand new. I’ve had other shorts that I put through similar wear and tear and sometimes the brand logo wears off quickly. So far, so good with MudGear.


Price: As I write this, they are currently on sale for $33 making them a great pair of shorts for their price that is comparable to other big fitness brands. As with everything in life, you “vote” with your money. When given a choice, I like to support the brands that support my sport…and no one does that more than MudGear.


Performance: I typically only wear spandex/compression material for races, so I haven’t had the full pleasure of racing in these shorts. However, I have taken them through some rainy trail runs that are comparable to OCRs. They wick away moisture well and don’t absorb water weight even when it is raining. If you aren’t a spandex type of guy, I would put these at the top of your list for racing. The built in liner, the pockets for fuel, the moisture wicking and the overall comfort give you everything you need.

With the addition of shorts, you can now race in full MudGear from head to toe including socks, shorts, shirt, sleeves and even a hat. (Don’t forget to check out their race jerseys, which are the perfect thickness in my opinion. Thin enough to allow for ventilation and coverage of skin but still providing protection without causing overheating.)


Overall Review: Overall, I love the MudGear shorts. They are versatile enough to wear around the house, out for a day with the family, training at the gym, going for a run or running through an OCR. When a brand is focused on your sport the products are better suited for your needs. You’ll see me in them after every race once I change out of my wet race clothing. Join the MudGear movement and pick up a pair of MudGear shorts today!

Now available at www.MudGear.com

5/5 Stars

Fuel Up With Hammer Nutrition for the 3k Championships

Posted by Strength & Speed on May 1, 2019 at 12:15 AM

Adventurey is proud to have Hammer Nutrition back as the leading nutritional sponsor for 2019’s North American Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) Championships (NORAM). Whether you are headed to OCR World Championships (OCRWC) or NORAM you’re fueling for each event will look pretty similar. Here’s a complete rundown of what you may want to purchase so you are race day ready:



Peaking: Before you show up to the start line, Hammer Nutrition has full line of options so you show up at your peak potential.

REM Caps: REM Caps are a natural sleep aide that allow you to sleep deeply and thus recover better leading up to your race. While I think they are great year round, especially during heavy training, you are absolutely going to want them for your final taper. This is especially true if you are traveling across time zones for OCRWC. Don’t spend all that money and travel and try to save a couple of dollars by skimping on a sleep aid. Sleep deeper and recover faster.

Energy Surge: Energy Surge is made of consumable Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP), a complex chemical that is used to power things like muscle contractions. The logic is that by consuming some immediately before exercise you will have more available to be used while expending energy…like you will during the short and fast 3k. Try energy surge in the final thirty minutes before the start to make sure you are topped off and ready to go on race morning.

(You can save money by picking up both Race Day Boost and Energy Surge (along with Anti-Fatigue Caps) as part of the Race PR Kit. The entire line-up can help you peak for the 3k, but for brevity purposes I will focus on the one that is most applicable to this distance.)



Pre-Race: The 3k is so short that you will not need to fuel mid-race. Instead we will focus on what you may want to take in the final hour before the race:

Fully Charged: Fully charged is truly a pre-workout product that is good for aerobic, strength or obstacle training. Unlike other “pre-workouts” the product is focused on active ingredients to help you perform better aerobically and doesn’t just load your body up with caffeine. At only 15mg of caffeine the product gives you just a little bit to get you race ready and focuses the rest of their ingredients on products that enhance blood flow and buffers lactic acid.

If you want your pre-workout to be convenient for racing and traveling, order the “stick packs”. Instead of lugging around the whole container you can just throw a couple of stick packs in your bag and be good to go.

Frequency: One stick pack mixed with 5 oz. of water in the final 30 minutes before the race.

Heed: A final small influx of carbs can help your body access more energy when racing something as short as a 3k OCR. While some like to have a gel in the last 15 minutes before the race starts, I like Heed. It is made of high glycemic complex carbohydrates providing you quick access to energy. I’ve used gels in the past but you are going to want to wash it down with some carbohydrates last minute.

Frequency: Sip on a bottle of Heed to desired thirst in the final 15 minutes before the start of the race.


With every athlete being different, be sure to test out any of these fueling plans prior to race day to ensure they work for your individualized needs. The longer the race, the more important fueling starts to become. With the majority of the athletes coming to NORAM or OCRWC to run the main event, the 15k, we will explore fueling for that distance next week. Keep training and make sure you fuel right, so you feel great.

Head over to Hammer Nutrition (www.HammerNutrition.com) and use ref#240887 for 15% off your first order.


Looking for more great tips of OCR? Pick up a copy of Strength & Speed’s Guide to Elite Obstacle Course Racing available in the online store of Strength & Speed


MRG Ultra-OCR Bible is now digital!!!

Posted by Strength & Speed on April 21, 2019 at 10:30 PM

Mud Run Guide's Ultra-OCR Bible is now available on digital download for Kindle only.  If you want a hard copy, please head to the online S&S store.  If you want the digital download you can find it exclusively on Amazon via the link below.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07QZLZJFQ/ref=as_li_qf_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=strspe-20&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=B07QZLZJFQ&linkId=f20156249a0d2c89c57fcddca1e4b3fe



Gear Review: Atomik Balance

Posted by Strength & Speed on January 15, 2019 at 10:25 AM


Atomik Climbing Holds is a known leader in the world of Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) holds and climbing. However, they recently expanded their line of products to include balance products. As someone who previously had balance issues in OCR (2016s inclusion of Z beam at Conquer The Gauntlet Wichita knocked me back into the middle of the elite field), I was curious to see what they had to offer. Atomik has two different versions with several difficulty levels for each.


The two versions are:

1) Two footed version

2) Single foot version

The two footed version comes in three difficulty levels (Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced). The single foot version only comes in two difficulty versions (Beginner and Advanced). I decided to go with the two footed Beginner, two footed Advanced and the single foot advanced. Design: The design is simple but clever. A flat top and a bulge at the bottom make them look like an upside down Bosu ball.


Durability: Atomik always has amazing durability. I've had many of my holds for years and treat them very poorly often dropping them from heights when changing out the holds on my rig (something I don't recommend doing). However, even with my poor treatment I've never had one break or crack. These balance trainers are made out of the same high quality material and still look brand new despite frequent use at home and in a Conquer Fitness ninja competition.


Choices: Atomik offers their full line of colors to choose from with an almost overwhelming number of options. Seriously, take a look at these color choices. Use: While I got them for myself, the person in my house that loves them the most is my four year old daughter. She calls them lily pads (I got green versions) and we will spend an hour crossing them, walking in a circle or trying to change positions without falling. They are so much fun and you can tell your spouse you bought them for the kids. (You're welcome.) We also used them as part of the Conquer The Gauntlet Pro Team takeover at the December event. They provided a nice change of pace and something different to members of the gym. The balance required to cross helped test full body instead of just grip strength.


Overall: The advanced models I am going to give a 5/5 stars. I love the challenge they present and the single foot/two foot variation make for different challenges. I've seen people use other homemade products for balance that are similar but I have also seen people roll their ankles badly on those homemade or lower cost solutions. Despite hours of playtime on these Atomik balance trainers, I've never rolled my ankle. I want to say the design makes it impossible, but I feel like someone will take that as a challenge. Regardless, I can't figure out how you would roll an ankle on these trainers. The beginner model was great for kids, people with very poor balance or if you were going to do other exercises on the trainer besides just walking across it.


They would be a 5/5 stars but for most of the people who read my website, they are probably more of a 3.5/5 stars, because you will find them too easy. I didn't get to test the intermediate model but I suspect based off the beginner and advanced that it works pretty well. However, my recommendation is to go with the two footed advanced, single foot advanced and if you want some more options pickup more single foot advanced models or a two footed intermediate. Every year watching ninja warrior many of the top athletes get knocked out early because of balance obstacles. Balance is just like any other skill, if you don't practice you won't get better at it. I'm just glad we have companies like Atomik to help us to continue to push our limits.

Did you lose? Blame it on the booze. Race loss? Blame in on the sauce. Patron won't put you in the zone

Posted by Strength & Speed on January 7, 2019 at 6:05 AM

OCR has maintained the reputation of the party boy/girl lifestyle since the inception of the sport. And let’s face it, after a hard fought race who doesn’t want to celebrate with a few brews and good company in the festival area? Although the occasional post-race splurge is unlikely to dramatically affect performance, drinking in the days leading up to the race may be a concern. Research provided by the US Olympic Committee (USOC) indicates that binge drinking can decrease athletic performance by up to approximately 11.4% for up to 72 hours. This is particularly important for championship race series (example: OCR World Championships) that have three days of events or the ultra-endurance races (WTM, Toughest Mudder, Bonefrog Endurance, etc.) that last several hours. Alcohol consumption can affect performance through many mechanisms which include:


● Diminished motor skills, balance, coordination, and reaction time

● Poor circulation to muscle tissue and significant reduced strength/power output

● Increased risk of injury in athletes who drink vs those who do not

● Impaired use of carbohydrate and fat for exercise

● Increased rate of perceived exertion during exercise

● Imbalances of testosterone and estrogen which may contribute to a less than ideal body composition

● Disruption in sleep cycles which can inhibit physical and cognitive recovery from exercise

● Fluid losses and imbalanced electrolytes through diuretic effects

● Increased energy intake from nutritionally sparse sources that include the alcoholic beverages themselves and associated poor dietary choices while inebriated


How much is too much? Binge drinking is categorized as more than two alcoholic beverages per two hours. But how much is considered “one” drink? Generally, one drink is 12 ounces of a beer/cider/cooler with 5% alcohol content, 5 ounces of wine with 12% alcohol content, or 1.5 ounces of liquor with 40% alcohol content. Regardless athletes are encouraged to restrict their daily alcohol consumption to <2 drinks per day and it would be optimal to omit regular alcohol use.


Diagram and content courtesy of the USOC Sport Nutrition Team


With all of this being said, if you are an individual who races in open heats or non-competitively with no goals other than to finish a race -- a couple of drinks with your buddies the night before isn’t going to make a large impact….. BUT if you are A.) An athlete who takes performance seriously or B.) Racing a more demanding event (multiple day series or ultra-endurance race) it is highly advisable to avoid alcohol consumption at least 48 hours prior to competition.


---------------------------------------

Luc is a registered dietitian with his M.S. in Nutrition and certifications in personal training and wellness coaching. Luc hones his professional skills through counseling athletes/fitness enthusiasts and through his career as a clinical dietitian at East Carolina University. As a member of the Strength & Speed Development Team, his main hobby is competitive obstacle course racing with notable appearances at Obstacle Racing World Championships (2014-16) and a 50 mile completion at Worlds Toughest Mudder 2013. Luc can be followed through his facebook (www.facebook.com/lrlabonte) and Instagram (www.instagram.com/lrlabonte_ms_rd_ld/) accounts.

 

4th S&S Development Team Window Now Open

Posted by Strength & Speed on December 6, 2018 at 8:05 PM


Strength & Speed is opening the application window for their 4th S&S Developtment Team. Each year has brought success to our athletes with a list of different benefits that change but also expand slightly every year.  2018 included athletes getting their first sponsors, several becoming ambassadors for brands and many hitting new PRs including first Ultra-OCR win, first win, first cash podium, most podiums in a year and more. To check out some of the athletes from the last three years, check out the Teams page.

 

Unlike Pro Teams which often provide larger benefits like free access into races spanning multiple states and other perks, the biggest benefit of this team is access to knowledge for improvement not published elsewhere. Upon entrance into the team you will have small group access to personal trainers, a nutritionist, physical therapist, OCR professionals and other sponsored athletes. As part of the Development Team, you will get unprecedented access to knowledge includes training information, workout templates and guidance when applying for sponsorship.


Additional benefits of the team include name/S&S score on the website, a couple of items of free apparel, marketing support, discounts not available to non-team members and the opportunity to expand you influence in the OCR world. As S&S gets perks they are allowed to share, those discounts, free items and free entries are passed along to the team. Companies want athletes that not only provide them quality finishing results but also have an outlet for spreading their message. Being a part of Strength & Speed gives you an established platform to spread your desired message to a larger audience rather than trying to build something on your own from the ground up.

 

Getting sponsored by a larger company is not an easy task and it requires significant work. The athletes at Strength & Speed have already solved a lot of the challenges associated with this process. If you do not need training advice but just knowledge on how to get sponsored, the Development Team will also help you with that.

 

Apply today by filling out the information below and sending it to Evan@TeamStrengthSpeed.com as AN ATTACHED WORD DOCUMENT if you are interested. We are not necessarily looking for the best athletes, just those with a strong desire to succeed. Application window closes on January 15, 2019:

(Cut and paste the below into a word document and fill out) 

Name: 

Is this your first year applying?: 

Major Goal for 2019: 

Minor Goals for 2019:

Races for 2019: 

2018 Race Results: 

Race Highlights from 2017 or Earlier:

Social Media Sites (Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/YouTube/etc.):

Other Relevant Information You Think We Should Know:

Other Sponsors (if applicable):

Possible Interests in Expanding Influence (interested in writing articles, reviews, videos or other ideas?):

(Reference Criteria section of the website for below information. Proof of score not required at the time of applying.)

Strength Score:

Speed Score:


Ultra-Strength with Harbinger

Posted by Strength & Speed on November 19, 2018 at 5:50 PM


When I say the word ultra-endurance to people they typically think skinny runner logging a ton of miles that probably can’t do a single pull-up. However, there is a world where you need ultra-endurance running capability combined with ultra-strength in your upper body, it is called Ultra-Obstacle Course Racing (Ultra-OCR). This is the world I train for, enjoy and thrive in.

Ultra-OCR usually involves running for a set period of time (usually 6, 8, 12 or 24 hours) on a course that is around five miles in length with around 20 obstacles. It is the big brother of OCR which usually runs between one and 13 miles of obstacles on a single lap course. In OCR and Ultra-OCR, sometimes the obstacles are very easy like crawling through this pipe, swimming across the body of water or going over a five foot wall. Other times the obstacles look like something out of ninja warrior with monkey bars, rotating wheels and hanging grips. Sometimes it involves strength like carrying a sandbag or turning a heavy crank attached to a several hundred pound sled, yet other times it tests your fears through things like ice baths, electricity and 40 foot cliff jumps.


These are the races I run and to prepare for them I train with weights. To effectively do obstacles for 8 or 24 hours, you need to overload your body with the progressive stress of weights. I use three main products in my training and used these extensively as I prepared for then completed the record setting 48 hour Ultra-OCR Endure The Gauntlet, a charity event that raised money for Folds of Honor (scholarship money for children whose parents were killed or wounded in US Military service).


1) Harbinger Big Grip Bar Grips: Grip strength is of paramount importance in OCR and Ultra-OCR so there is no better tool than Big Grip Bar Grips so you are working on grip strength with every single exercise. Anytime I touch a bar, my grips go on them. It ensures I am constantly stressing grip regardless of the exercise.


2) Harbinger Dip Belt: Too often athletes I train and work with will focus on bodyweight only exercises. While can be great for sport specific movements, it often leads to a plateau. Athletes will get better and once they reach a certain level they no longer have to adapt to get stronger. This is where the dip belt comes in and is great for things like dips or weighted pull-ups. The ability to add insane weights lets you overload the muscle. This is a feeling I know all too well after trying to cross a set of monkey bars for the 15th time after 18 hours of running/walking.


3) Harbinger Weight Vest: Besides the Big Grip Bar Grips, this is a staple of Ultra-OCR training. The extreme races require you to wear a wetsuit to prevent hypothermia. It is unfeasible to train in a wetsuit in most conditions. However, you can wear a weight vest for practicing obstacles with a similar amount of additional weight on your body. Whether you are doing hill repeats to strengthen the legs, climbing over a wall or crossing a rig, Harbinger’s weight vest with adjustable weights gives you the tools you need for success.


Strength training is not just for bodybuilders, powerlifters or strength athletes. It isn’t even just for Ultra-OCR athletes. Strength training is for all athletes. The strength and power developed from working with weights can fix imbalances, build bone density, increase testosterone and make you a better athlete in your chosen sport. Train hard and go out and crush your goals


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