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Spartan Endurance and Strength Training

Brian Kondas Spartan Beast Florida 2022 medal training

Discover the endurance and strength training plans to complete a Spartan Beast in under 3 hours

Spartan races involve running on trails (grass, dirt, sand) and completing obstacles. The race terrain can include wading through water. For example, the 2022 Spartan Beast in Sebring, Florida, is 13.1 miles (21 kilometers) with 35 obstacles and long stretches through muddy swamps. 

I purchased the 80/20 Half Marathon Level 2 heart rate training plan to improve my endurance. If you have never run a 13.1 miles race, I recommend you buy the Level 1 training plan. 

Having completed the 80/20 endurance training plan, I ran strong, passing many weaker Spartans. My finishing time of 2:51:44 placed me 154 out of 451 Spartan racers (in the top 34%). 

Spartan Endurance Training

If you want to finish a sub-3-hour Spartan Beast, you better have the endurance to run non-stop for about 3 hours. The average female half marathon performance is 2 hours and 30 minutes to 2 hours and 18 minutes. In comparison, the average male half marathon performance is 2 hours and 10 minutes to 1 hour and 59 minutes. Thus, you will need more than half-marathon training plans to prepare for a 3-hour obstacle course race.

After completing a 15-week 80/20 half marathon training plan and achieving a new PR at the St Pete Run Fest, I ran a 2-hour 56-minute long run five days before the Spartan Beast. Then, I rested three days before the event and did no training. 

Spartan Strength Training

Most obstacles require you to lift your body weight – for example, wall climbing and burpees. Other obstacles that test your strength include:

  • Sandbag carry – a 60-pound sandbag carry
  • Bucket carry – 5-gallon bucket carry (filled with rocks)
  • Armer carry – lift a heavy atlas stone attached to a chain with a handle
  • Hercules hoist – lift a heavy sand bag using rope and pulley
  • Plate drag – pull a heavy sled on uneven ground using a rope, then drag it back to the beginning 

You may also encounter a tire flip obstacle that weighs 400 lbs for men and 200 lbs for women. In addition, there’s also the tire drag obstacle. 

Many other obstacles require hand grip strength – for example, monkey bars, bender, beater, olympus, rope climb, and multi-rig. So, hanging grip strength is crucial. 

With these Spartan obstacles in mind, I recommend the following exercises: 

7 Strength Training Exercises

  • Bar pull-ups and bar hanging
  • Push-ups and dumbbell bench press
  • Deadlifts (barbell and dumbbell)
  • Farmers carry with dumbbells 50 pounds or more for each hand

You will also need core strength. My go-to core exercises:

  • Forearm plank
  • Side plank rotating from left and right forearms
  • Hollow – legs and arms extended and lifted off the ground

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