Getting ready to run your first Spartan race? Then you’ve come to the right place. It’s okay if you’re nervous, it means you made the right decision signing up. Thankfully, you need only a handful of exercises to get you on the right path to succeed. You don’t need to train as hard as you can every day. Listen to your body, vary the sets and reps of the following exercises, and you’ll be well on your way to conquering your first race.

If you can do these exercises, you can complete a Spartan race. If you have a body, you can complete a Spartan race. Don’t overthink it, go out, give it your best, and have fun. There will be plenty of fellow Spartans ready to lend a hand.

Becoming Spartan

1. Burpee
The king of Spartan exercises. The burpee combines a push-up, a squat, and a jump. They are a perfect total body conditioner and are great practice should you ever fail an obstacle. That will give you 30 burpees. Combining a push up, a squat, and a jump, the burpee has the unique ability to be used as a strength building exercise, or a conditioning finisher.

2. Squat
The ultimate functional lower body exercise, squats can work as a strength, power, or conditioning exercise, and will build your legs to conquer the miles of terrain at a Spartan race. A functional movement pattern that we tend to lose as we get older, building upon your squats is wise to prepare for the hills at your next race. Variations include:

1. Bulgarian Split Squats
2. Split Squats
3. Jumping Squats

3. Push up
Successfully completing a Spartan race isn’t just about having the leg strength; you will be using your upper body just as much. Push ups, or “bench pressing the earth” to some, build your chest and shoulders for a great upper body bodyweight exercise. Some variations include:

1. Plyometric push ups
2. Feet elevated push ups

4. Pull up
The ability to hang and pull your bodyweight up is a surprisingly undervalued skill. Working your back, shoulders, and grip, the pull up can be a challenge for many people, but is an incredible strength builder. You’ll need to pull yourself up and over some big walls come race day. If pull ups are too tough for you to do, here are some hanging variations:

1. Dead hangs: Hang from a pull up bar. Try to accumulate 2-3 minutes per day.
2. Jumping pull ups: Jump up to the bar and slowly lower yourself.

5. Walking Lunge
A mainstay at many races are climbing up, down, and around grueling hills. For those that don’t easily have access to a hill, a walking lunge is a great way to prepare for these climbs. Keep your core engaged throughout the exercise, and make sure you fire your hips and glutes through upon completing each rep.

6. Loaded Carry
Simplistic in nature, sinister, and incredibly effective, is the loaded carry. What seems more straightforward than picking up something heavy and walking with it? You would be wise to train for the bucket carry and atlas carry, and one of the best strategies incorporates loaded carries into your training. Even better? Fill a bucket with gravel and walk down the road, up a hill, or around a track. Some variations include:

1. Overhead (single or double arm)
2. Farmer’s (two arms)
3. Suitcase (one arm at a time)
4. Front rack carry

All of these can be done with a kettlebell or dumbbell, or simply carry a heavy log or rock around.

The only limits are the ones we place on ourselves. Find your race today.