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Do Calisthenics Athletes Make Good OCR Competitors?

Do Calisthenics Athletes Make Good OCR Competitors?

June 23, 2021 2 min read
Ever done an OCR? OCR events – obstacle course races – might look like some kind of jacked up cousin of the humble 10K. But they’re about as far from a running race as you can get whilst still wearing trainers.

In fact, OCR events are more like functional training than jogging. Which got us thinking – do calisthenics athletes make good OCR competitors? Let’s find out.

What are OCR events?

Tough Mudder, Spartan Race – you’ve heard of OCR. Maybe you’ve even done one. OCRs are much more than just running. They’re full of challenges where you need to move your own bodyweight up, over, or through an obstacle.

OCR events might include low crawls under something, rope climbs or cargo nets. Weighted carries, and monkey bars.

Now can you see why we think calisthenics athletes would be awesome at OCR?

5 challenges of OCR

  • Grip strength
  • Balance
  • Agility and flexibility
  • Muscular endurance
  • Full body strength

What are calisthenics athletes good at?

Functional training builds real all-round strength and body control. Calisthenic athletes have amazing strength to weight ratio. But that’s not all. They also have good grip strength, agility, muscular endurance, and conditioning. Not to mention full-body stability, speed, and balance.

It’s not difficult to see why calisthenics training carries over to OCR really well. All that functional strength will help you move through the obstacles like they’re’ your bread and butter.

Functional fitness for obstacle course races

What type of functional training should you do to prep for an OCR? Plyo jumping, pulling movements, and static holds will help you get ready for the demands of the event. Here are some calisthenic and strongman-style exercises to incorporate if you’re training for OCR.

Weighted lunges and weighted step ups

Single leg work under load will prepare your body for the running, climbing, and up-and-over obstacles of your OCR event. Use a weighted vest or unconventional load like a sandbag.

Press ups on parallettes

Training press ups and grip strength in one movement will help you prep for hoisting your body up and over uneven surfaces during the OCR.

Pull ups and muscle ups

Incorporate plenty of pull ups, kipping pulls, and muscle ups into your OCR training. You’ll need to swing your body up and hold your own weight during the event.

Bear crawls

Get used to moving fast on all fours by adding bear crawls to your OCR training. Remember to train the movement going backwards and sideways – you’re not guaranteed to have a straight path forward during the OCR.

Weighted carries and runs

Practice loaded carries with a sandbag or heavy slam ball. And get in some endurance work wearing your weighted vest. It will pay off on the day.

Bar hangs

Build your grip strength and muscle endurance by increasing the time you can hang from a pull up bar. You might be left hanging – literally – if you get stuck in an obstacle queue during the race.

Have you done an obstacle curse race? We’d love to hear how your functional training helped you prepare.