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Adventure Race Training: Week 2

Train with The Team: Part 3
As week three of the Ultimate Mud Run Training plan begins, I keep trying to choose a winner for “toughest workout so far,” but I honestly can’t—they all had their own unique challenges. I worked out six times since my last post, one of which was a fitness class. Here are workout results and analysis for weeks two and three of training. 

WORKOUT “B” Option 1
Barbell Back Squat
Sets: 5
Reps: 5
Weight (lbs): 135, 205, 225, 250, 265

Push Press 
Sets: 5
Reps: 5
Weight: 95, 135, 155, 175, 175

Sets: 5
Reps: 5
Weight: 135, 185, 225, 275, 315

The barbell placement on my back during the squat would be considered mid to low. I definitely didn’t do high bar squats. I learned the low bar squat from Mark Rippetoe at a Starting Strength Seminar and have stuck with the bar technique since. I was able to complete the five sets of reps with good form, and it definitely helps to use weightlifting shoes. 

I’m not exactly sure of the “best” push press technique, since I’m not aware of any international push pressing competitions. It’s a move for increasing power and not inducing hypertrophy. I may lighten the load next time on these since I was unable to get past 175 pounds on my last set. My shoulders took a few days to fully recover from the stress of those presses. 

As for deadlift technique, I also learned that from Mark Rippetoe. On this workout day, I’d love to make my current 1RM my 5RM by the end of the training plan. I don’t use straps or a belt in any exercises I do, although I may try straps for the deadlift in the future. 

WORKOUT “C” Option 1
400 meter sprint (9 mph on treadmill)
21 Kettlebell Swings (25 pounds)
12 Pullups
Time: 14 minutes 38 seconds

Since I was unaware this workout, the CrossFit “Helen” WOD, calls for a 24kg kettlebell, I used a 25-pound kettlebell for the swings. Next time, I’ll to use a 24kg kettlebell if I can find one. I’ll have to do this workout indoors because I don’t have a kettlebell or access to a pullup bar outdoors. This was a fun workout and after realizing how bad my time is, I will do what I can to lower it. 

WORKOUT “A” Option 2
1000 meter sprint
Rest: 2 min.
800 meter sprint
Rest: 90 sec. 
600 meter sprint
Rest: 90 sec. 
400 meter sprint
Rest: 30 sec.
200 meter sprint

This workout was done on the treadmill with a speed of 9 mph and incline 2% incline. Some athletes might not consider that a sprint but for me, I can’t go much faster on the treadmill without feeling a bit uncomfortable. I’m so glad there is just a straight up sprint workout in the training plan—aerobic conditioning and speed are weaknesses of mine!

WORKOUT “B” Option 2
Done every minute:

Barbell Thruster (95 pounds)
Reps: 5

Reps: 10

Total workout time: 30 minutes

Instead of doing the exercises for time like in the actual “Fran,” this workout calls for a predetermined time of 20-30 minutes. Also, instead of the 21-15-9 structure, the rep scheme is 5 and 10. In this workout, I had to take short rest breaks (30 sec-1 min) between rounds and even after the thrusters because I was just getting gassed towards the end. I’ll try to use a 135-pound barbell in a couple of sessions. 

I lost count of how many rounds I did but I know that it didn’t take more than 1:15 to complete a round. Each round took about 45 seconds-a minute to a minute. I have nothing against the kipping pullup, I just don’t know how to do it so I did strict pullups. My form was breaking down on some reps and I used my legs for momentum on a few reps. Overall, this workout is big shoulder worker. 

WORKOUT “C” Option 2
Five Rounds
Row 500 meters
Bench Press Your Bodyweight
Reps: 10

I weigh about 195 pounds so that’s the weight I bench pressed. I used a rowing machine rather than you know, a canoe or kayak, to row 500 meters. Sorry, I won’t be rowing in the Hudson River, Jersey Shore, or anywhere else throughout this training plan. I’m not very well versed with the “erg” but I’ve taken City Row and Orange Theory, fitness classes in which instructors provide instructions on proper rowing technique. 

The rowing portion took me 10-11 minutes per round so this was actually a pretty long workout-it totaled more than an hour. I wasn’t particularly out of breath during the row, but that’s because rowing is so new to me, I’m still trying to my groove with it. 

I took Obstacle Course Race Training at New York Health & Racquet Club on 50th street in New York City at 10 am. It was nice to be in a gym that early. I couldn’t tell you how many reps I did of each exercise but here is how the workout went. It was a circuit done for about 30 minutes followed by a treadmill jog/walk. The plyo pushups are actually an obstacle in the Spartan Race but it was the battling ropes that really burned me out. There was also rowing interspersed for each member. 

Agility Ladder Footwork Drill/Plyometric Pushups
Bear Crawl Under Hurdles
Battling Rope (up and down and crossover across chest)
Dynamax Medicine Ball Slams
Sandbag Squat (squat with sandbag across bag)
Sandbag Lunge (lunge with sandbag across chest)

I know this was supposed to be a jog/walk interval session but my legs randomly got sore as I started jogging so I decided to just walk on the treadmill with an incline. This was the only workout in the last two weeks that I couldn’t complete. 

I went to the Cliffs at LIC, a rock climbing gym with a strength and conditioning gym called First Ascent Fitness, to practice for the Traverse Wall, the obstacle that I could never understand or make any progress in. The bouldering routes were all vertical but the Traverse Wall is a horizontal climb so I climbed vertically up a few routes then decided to try to climb across an inverted rock wall.

Climbing across an inverted rock wall was the closest thing I could get to Traverse Wall since I didn’t want to boulder horizontally while everyone else was bouldering vertically, thus causing fewer people to get their climbing sessions in. I thought I made some grip strength improvements and I love the atmosphere of this climbing gym. It’s a real fitness hotspot. 

I plan to go boulder again in week 3 of the plan to practice for the Traverse Wall. I also need to incorporate box jumps, farmer’s walks, and monkey bars into my routine somewhere during the plan because those are all obstacles too. My goal in week 3 is to crank up the intensity of my training while not forgetting to back off when necessary in the 5RM lifting day. Next week, I will discuss how I’ve been eating lately. Hint: it’s healthy. 

Mark Barroso is a contributing writer for Men’s Fitness, an assistant editor at Muscle & Fitness and an associate editor of FLEX. Follow him @Mark_Barroso.

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