10 Mildly Insane Obstacle Training Workouts From The Twisted Minds Of Ben Greenfield And Hunter McIntyre


In this article, you’re going to get 10 slightly insane obstacle training workouts that will spice up your workouts like nothing else, and completely redefine the way you train. You don’t need much equipment for these – just some heavy stuff and the willingness to tolerate physical discomfort. Ready? Let’s jump right in. If you can tackle a few of these a week, we cannot guarantee that you will still not fall off the zig-zag wall, but at least you’ll have a huge cardiovascular engine and some serious tolerance to musculoskeletal discomfort.

Obstacle Course Workout #1: Butt Burner

A “simple” workout that Jane Fonda would love. It requires just you and your body…and of course, your butt.

400M walking lunges
Run max distance for 5 minutes
400M walking lunges
Run max distance for 4 minutes
400M walking lunges
Run max distance for 3 minutes
400M walking lunges
Run max distance 2 minutes
400M walking lunges
Max distance run for 1 minutes

Obstacle Course Workout #2: Battle Rounds
Perfect when you have one set of dumbbells and you want a lung-sucking workout that includes some significant load lifting.

Preferably wearing an Elevation Training Mask because it looks bad-ass and makes your lungs hurt, do 3-5 rounds for time of:

50 leg levers
40 mountain climbers
30 burpees
20 kettlebell or dumbbell swings
10 dumbbell manmakers (40lb men/25lb women)

Obstacle Course Workout #3: The Running Bear

It’s called the bear not because it has any to do with Matt Novakovich, but because it feels like you literally have a bear on your back. Enjoy that feeling.

The Bear is a deadly five-lift complex consisting of a power clean, front squat, push press, back squat, and second push press. Completion of all five lifts counts as one rep.

Do 10 Bear complex using 95lbs for females or 135lbs for males. Then run 1 Mile.

Then 8 Bear Complex, followed by running 800M.

Then 6 Bear complex, followed by running 400M.

And finally 4 Bear Complex followed by 200M and a final 2 Bear Complex.

Obstacle Course Workout #4: Sandy Stairs

All you need for this is something heavy to carry and a flight of stairs. You get to work your core during your “rest periods”.

Find a flight of stairs, preferably 3-5 flights

At bottom of stairs, do 5-10 sandbag, rock or dumbbell clean and jerks (here’s how to make your own sandbag)

Carry sandbag to top of stairs. Carry sandbag back down stairs.

Set sandbag down and hold plank position for 60 seconds.

Repeat for as many rounds as possible in available time.

Obstacle Course Workout #5: Row Your Boat

Don’t have a rowing machine? Then use a bike. But double the distance if done on a stationary bike.

Row 1000m, rest 2 minutes, row 800m, rest 90 seconds, row 600m, rest 60 seconds, row 400m, rest 30 seconds, and finally row 200m for an all out effort. Finish by hopping off the rowing machine for 30 burpees.

Obstacle Course Workout #6: Hotel Room Workout

Ben travels a ton and does body weight workouts like this quite a bit. He’s also done similar workouts (without the cold shower of course) in airport terminals, parks, etc.

As many rounds as possible of:

10 lunge jumps per side
15 burpees
20 box jumps onto bed
25 chair dips
30 jumping jacks
Finish with a 2-5 minute cold shower

Obstacle Course Workout #7: The Wrestler

You’ll feel like you’ve been in a wrestling match after this one.

Complete 3 rounds of:

75 burpees
30 squat tosses with sandbag
10-30 pistol squats each leg
10-30 pull-ups
5 rope climbs

Obstacle Course Workout #8: 5×5 With Sprint Finisher

Gives you a pleasant little combination of strength, speed and muscular endurance.

5 sets of 5 reps of:

Shoulder Press
Power clean
Finisher: 10×30 second sprint at 8-10mph on 8-10% incline

Obstacle Course Workout #9: Hotel / Stairs Workout

This one is a very good option for when the hotel gym is crappy or stinky or sucks.

Run one flight of stairs one step at a time. Stop on landing for 20 second isometric squat.

Run next flight of stairs two steps at a time. Stop on landing for 20 push-ups.

Run next flight of stairs by box jumping as many steps at a time. Stop on landing for 20 mountain climbers.

Repeat for as many flights as possible.


Obstacle Course Workout #10: The Stairmaster
If you really fancy yourself as fit, try going from 5 to 1 minute, and then back up.

5 minutes hard stair climb, 100m walking lunges with 40lb dumbbells

4 minutes hard stair climb, 100m walking lunges with 40lb dumbbells

3 minutes hard stair climb, 100m walking lunges with 40lb dumbbells

2 minutes hard stair climb, 100m walking lunges with 40lb dumbbells

1 minutes hard stair climb, 100m walking lunges with 40lb dumbbells

Want over a hundred more workouts just like this? You can get them, along with the Unconventional Guide To Obstacle Course Training, a complete 12 week nutrition plan from Ben, obstacle how-to training videos with Hunter and Ben, a guide to making your own backyard obstacles, top-secret interviews with the world’s top obstacle racing athletes and much more! Just head over to http://www.ObstacleDominator.com.

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Ben Greenfield
Ben Greenfield is an ex-bodybuilder, Ironman triathlete, Spartan racer, coach, speaker and author of the New York Times Bestseller “Beyond Training: Mastering Endurance, Health and Life” (http://www.BeyondTrainingBook.com). In 2008, Ben was voted as NSCA’s Personal Trainer of the year and in 2013 and 2014 was named by Greatist as one of the top 100 Most Influential People In Health And Fitness. Ben blogs and podcasts at http://www.BenGreenfieldFitness.com, and resides in Spokane, WA with his wife and twin boys.


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