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