May 26, 2015

Train Your Grip Strength to Conquer More Obstacles

Post by Alex Brown

Endurance training is a huge part of preparing for a mud run, and so is general strength training. But one thing that you don’t want to neglect is training your grip!

Picture this: You’re cruising right along at Savage Race. You conquer some obstacles. You get a little (or a lot) muddy, and you’re soaked from head to toe. You’re feeling pretty confident. Suddenly, you round the bend and there looms Sawtooth. It’s a 35-foot span of monkey bars with a gnarly tooth in the center, and failure means a 10 foot drop into muddy water below. Are you ready?

You step up on to the platform and choose your lane. You start working your way across the monkey bars, and quickly realize that it’s not your back or shoulders that are already on fire – it’s your forearms. The mud and water have made your hands super slippery, and you can feel your fingers slowly peeling open as you scramble to get across in time…

With only a 20% completion rate, Sawtooth taxes your grip more than any other obstacle at Savage Race. But it’s not the only spot that will require those little muscles in your forearms and fingers to work extra hard. (Pipe Dreams and Kiss My Walls will also tax your grip like crazy. Visit our obstacles page to learn more about them.)

The moral of the story? Don’t neglect your grip.


Read on for three fun ways to work on your grip strength as you train for your next obstacle course race or mud run.

Grip2Monkey Around

Find some monkey bars at your local playground and have some fun. Practice swinging down and back as many times as you can without dropping to the ground. Rest 5 minutes, and then go again. Complete this circuit 5 times for a ridiculously tough grip training session.

Climb On

Visit your local indoor rock climbing gym and learn how to maneuver on small foot “chips” (tiny footholds) and “crimpy” (also tiny) handholds. Look for walls that are slightly overhung to simulate Kiss My Walls, or work on your technique and balance on more vertical or even “slabby” (less than vertical) faces. Choose top roping to help you train endurance, or try out bouldering to improve your power and strength.

Grip3Hang Ten

Find a pull-up bar (or go back to those monkey bars at the park) and do a “dead hang” – just jump up, grab the bar, and hang on for as long as you can. Rest and repeat. For a greater challenge, get your hands wet and muddy before you start. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you fatigue, but with practice you’ll also see significant improvements in your grip strength.

Training your grip may seem like a small task compared to building the overall strength and endurance needed for obstacle course racing, but we can guarantee that focusing on it will help you significantly.

Will YOU be one of the 20% who successfully completes Sawtooth at your next Savage Race?

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