Strength Training For Spartan Race

Strength Training For Spartan Race

Strength Training Introduction

There are many benefits to strength training, ranging from an increase of bone density, prevent muscular degeneration to a better quality of life, and of course, help us in Spartan Race!

But more importantly, for us obstacle racers, it’s going to help reduce our risk of injury and make those obstacles a hell lot more comfortable to complete.

Table of content

  • What Is Strength Training?
  • Best Rep Range For Strength
  • Strength Training For Spartan Race
  • How To Build Relative Strength
  • How Often Should We Perform Strength Training
  • Conclusion

What Is Strength Training?

Strength training refers to the use of resistance to induce muscular contraction to build strength.

When we exercise, we are stressing our muscles, and through physical adaptations, we get stronger. The more stress that’s applied, the greater the adaptation. Provided we can recover from it.

Overloading Principle
Overloading Principle

Strength training can be in the form of external weight such as dumbbell, barbell, or kettlebell. But it can also be bodyweight exercises like push-ups and pull-ups.

Best Rep Range For Strength?

Rep Range For Strength Gains!
Rep Range For Strength Gains!

Research [1] shows that maximal strength improved significantly more for the low rep group compared to the other training groups (mid-rep & high-rep).

Strength Training for Spartan Race

There are two measurements to benchmark one’s strength, absolute strength, and relative strength.

Absolute strength means how much weight you can lift regardless of how heavy you are.

Relative strength, on the other hand, is how strong you are for your size.

For example, Tim weighs 75kg, and he can deadlift 150kg. Leon, on the other hand, weighs 60kg, and he can lift 130kg. Who is stronger?

If we look at absolute strength, Tim is stronger, because he can outlift Leon by 10kg. However, if we look at relative strength, Leon is stronger because he’s able to lift over 2.1x his body weight, whereas Tim is only able to lift 2x his body weight.

So, how is this relevant to us obstacle racer?

Firstly, which area do you think we should focus on?

If you say relative strength, you are correct!

Strength Training For Spartan Race
Relative Strength > Absolute Strength

We want to get stronger without putting on too much muscle mass, as this can affect our run performance.

Now that we know relative strength is more important for Spartan Race, this leads us to the next question.

How To Build Relative Strength?

To best way to build relative strength is to perform each exercise at a higher intensity, with lower volume to stimulate strength adaptation, and with minimal hypertrophy effects.

The ideal rep range for strength is between 1-5 Rep with roughly 3min rest interval, and up to 5min for high-percentage of 1-rep max lift.

An example of a strength exercise should look like this:

Deadlift: 5 Set x 5 Rep @ 80-85% of 1-Rep Max with 3-5min rest interval.

Work to Rest Ratio
Work to Rest Ratio

How Often Should We Do Strength Training?

Since the majority of our training should be focusing on aerobic capacity, having two strength sessions a week would be ideal for most of us.

If you wish to do more, I highly recommend doing a split workout, this will allow a part of your body to recover, as you work on other areas.

Just make sure you increase the intensity as you progress so that you continuously challenge your body.


Focus on intensity rather than volume.

If you can lift or run at a rep/pace which you can sustain for more than 15 Second or 6 Rep for your main set, you might want to change your workout to achieve better results.

Find this helpful? Check out what supplements are best for Spartan Race!


  • Campos, G. E., Luecke, T. J., Wendeln, H. K., Toma, K., Hagerman, F. C., Murray, T. F., … & Staron, R. S. (2002). Muscular adaptations in response to three different resistance-training regimens: specificity of repetition maximum training zones. European journal of applied physiology88(1-2), 50-60.

Coach Justin

- Certified Personal Trainer | Obstacle Racing Specialist | Sports Science <3

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