• Anthony Matt

Ultra Strength Training

Strength training for endurance events can be tricky to say the least. This is especially true for someone like myself who loves to lift heavy weights. I constantly have to remind myself that the goal is to complete a Spartan Ultra, that is 30 miles of trail running with 60+ obstacles. So what is important when strength training? First, keep the joints happy! if I put unneeded stress on my joints or ignore mobility work I risk joint pain and that is definitely a killer during Ultras. Second, grip strength, most obstacles are grip heavy so this has a high priority. Third, carrying heavy stuff, the more comfortable I can be carrying heavier stuff the easier that "bucket brigade" and other heavy carries will be. Optimizing heavy carries will be a real energy saver and time saver on the course. Finally I need to work on power for jumping and climbing over things like walls


The current program I have designed for myself addresses all of this and I am pretty happy with my progress. Here is what my weekly break down looks like.

Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 5:30 am strength session

Warm Up

-Breathing Drills (control your breathing, maximize your efficiency)

-Crawling Drills (warms up body and helps during barbed wire crawl and any o.u.t. type obstacles)

-Shoulder Mobility Drills with a RMT Club (gets the shoulders ready for pull ups and grip work)

Main Workout

-Leg Activation Drill Like a Compression Squat

-Squat or Deadlift (I prefer to use a transformer bar for squats or trap bar for deadlifts)

-Medball Throw or Compression Push Ups (can be overhead, chest pass, or rotational)

-Push Exercise (I tend to use floor press, landmine presses, or handstand pushups)

-Grip Wheel or Wall Jumps (I tend to go longer sets on these usually 1 set of 40-50)

-140lb Sandbag 100 yards (I have been adding 5 yards every week)

-35 Burpees (I have been adding 5 burpees every week)

Cool Down

-Box Breathing (helps kickstart recovery by turning off the sympathetic nervous system)

Tuesday, Thursday

Mobility Drills

-I address anything that needs addressed

Skill Work (the rule with skill work is only do it while rested and capable of good form)

-RMT Rope Drills

-Footwork Drills

-Rope Climb Techniques

-Monkey Bar Techniques

-Wall Jump Techniques

This split seems to have me moving in the correct direction. I am following a periodization method which means I am manipulating sets and reps every 4 weeks. I am just keeping in mind that the goal is endurance and lean muscle mass so I am avoiding anything that would add unneeded mass.

My next post will address what I do for recovery and how I track my training load and progress. As I progress through my program I will continue updating on specific techniques I am using and my favorite training tools.

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