If you’ve had some training in sports, martial arts, weightlifting, running, cycling or any physically demanding activity, functional fitness will feel terrible at the beginning. Doing functional fitness exercises will make you realize how unfit you are at many tasks. Working on one particular discipline will often enable you to do well at one or two aspects of your fitness, but the specialization limits your ability to train yourself in other functions that are “unimportant” to your specific sport.
CrossFit founder Greg Glassman tells a story of how he worked out with the fittest guys he knows but he noticed that they could all beat him at one thing but noticed that he could easily beat others at other fitness activities. As you begin functional fitness exercises, you’ll feel a combination of discomfort and pain. You have nothing to worry about though. You are simply using muscles that you haven’t used before. Over time you will notice that you are stronger, faster and more comfortable in each of the movements. You’ll have a feeling that you’ll be more physically capable to do certain things compared to when you’ve only focused on one or two disciplines.
Obstacle Course Races require you to be prepared for anything. Some of the obstacles include, but are not limited to climbing over walls, carrying heavy objects, traversing bodies of water, crawling under barbed wire and jumping through fire. These activities will test your endurance, strength, speed, dexterity and mental toughness. Many movements in obstacle course races are not the type of movements that you get to prepare for in every day gym or sports practice.
That said, being a little more prepared for these movements can mean a world of difference. Functional movement and total body exercises work more effectively than isometric or concentration exercises. Most CrossFit movements are actually perfect if you want to take Obstacle Course Racing seriously. A burpee, for example, is a favorite exercise among OCR enthusiasts. It’s a total body movement that would improve your upper body strength as well as your explosiveness. Some workouts even feature the actual movements featured the Spartan Race and Tough Mudder such as the sand bag carry and rope climbs. Event some events in the CrossFit Games feature elements of OCR challenges.
There’s no arguing that Functional Fitness and OCR go hand in hand. If you’re an avid CrossFitter who wants to try OCR for the first time, then go for it! It’s good to mix things up a bit. If you want to try OCR but don’t know how to train for it, try dropping by a CrossFit box and tell the coaches that you specifically want to prepare for it.