Channeling My Inner Amazonian. Spartan, Chin Ups and Pulls Ups

I’m not sure what I’ve just let myself in for. I’ve agreed to run the Spartan Race with the gym monitors from my gym when it comes to Barcelona in September/October this year. I do know I have a legit excuse for taking over kids playgrounds!logo-spartan

One of the few things I still want to do as I did when I was a kid is run an army assault course. That and learning to ride a motorbike. And fly a helicopter. Did I mention I wanted to be Indiana Jones growing up? Paul’s ran one year the Wolf Run and Men Health obstacle runs in the UK. To say I was green is a pushing it. I don’t exactly sound like the Amazonian, what I call girls who run Spartan races. I train in bright pink tops, bright orange headbands, eyeliner and have the sensible fear switch activated. I am however so excited that I have an opportunity to run one. I just don’t want to the be the weak link!

Training is going to be fun. My training already is much like what Men’s Health and Wolf Runs recommend. One thing I have to work on if I don’t want to the weak link is upper body strength. Running 13km I fine. I run along low walls, jump benches every now and then. 30 full burpees aka burpee with press up, I definitely have to work on. That’s the forfeit if you don’t do an obstacle! Chin up, push ups, swing monkey bars (I can’t think to the correct term just now), running with medicine balls on my shoulders are what I’m really going to have to work on.Bosu Tummy Tucks

It also provides just the right amount of motivation with a challenge I accepted from Charlotte at fromtrextotigress. We both want to do an least one unassisted pull up this year and share the know-how when we did! I can do unassisted chin ups (palms facing towards you) no problem. I average now about 4 aka to failure per set (3 sets). I’m still little stiff with them, but I only started working on them the beginning of December last year. Pull ups, palms facing away from you are harder than chin ups. The biceps and pecs do less work, meaning the lats and trapizus do the heavy lifting. There’ll probably be walls to scramble over, or ropes to pull/walk up with and me being me want to do them unassisted (okay, maybe the first one, then I’ll happily accept a hand for the rest!). I just, just managed 1 unassisted pull up twice at the weekend. Err, they look harder than the guys make them out to be! I agreed to share the know how, so here’s how:

Instead of the lat machine, I use a suspension trainer working back/lats with inverted row variations and lat pulls (video). Once a week I use the assisted pull up machine. These work differently to most other gym machines. The less weight you use, the harder it is. Right now I’m work in-between 15-10kg averaging 4, again to failure. I could up the weight and do more, but there won’t be a machine helping me over a wall (maybe a hoof up) so I need to be able to pull my own weight and get used to it! Then is just a case of what the **** I’ll try them unassisted! I like to hold for a bit at the top on the last pull up or if it’s a chin up raise my knees, just because and work isometrically. My first chin up rep is usually a jump start it’s easier with momentum to do the first initial one.

Have you ever done a Spartan or obstacle course or like too? How did you train? What’s one thing you wanted to do when you were a kid you still want to now?




  1. says:

    If anyone can do it, i know you can – my hat off to you as always 🙂 x

    1. says:

      Thank you, I’ll need your words of encouragement when the day arrives! I was full of yeah, I can do this, then I looked as some of the obstacles and I vision lots of burpees ahead! Have a great weekend xo

  2. says:

    You are so much braver than I am. I’ve looked at some of these races and immediately closed my browser window – it’s a big NOPE for me! But I’m cheering you on from the sidelines! 🙂

    1. says:

      I don’t often say LOL but that’s just what I did reading your comment. I had another peek at previous races photos. Err, what have I let myself in for? And thank you, I’ll need it when I’m covered in mud and hating the fact there’s mud in places I’d rather not discuss.

  3. says:

    Your arm are going to rock by the time race day comes along! Train for each obstacle, then slowly start to stack them into one workout. Happy training!

    1. says:

      That’s what I was thinking and the arms! I think the guys want to do the 13km option with 21 obstacles. I see lots of burpees ahead!

  4. Natalie, this is great. Never done any type of obstacle course, though I am pondering doing one.
    You have been training very hard. I know you will be great. 🙂

    1. says:

      I’m not sure what I’ve let myself in for, I’ve got 8 months to be able to side jump a wall! If you’re thinking of running one, then go for it! Not quite marathon running though!

  5. says:

    Thanks for the shout-out. I think I’m getting closer to one, but still struggle with my pull-up. Now my brother-in-law wants in on the challenge. He wants to do 20 without stopping.
    Keep us posted on the Spartan training. What a great challenge for 2015.

    1. says:

      Yay and no worries! I forgot to add not to lock arms out. When gripping the bar, shoulders back and down, arms slight bend and embrace those abs if starting with the foot plates for first rep. Well, you know you shouldn’t lock them out anyway! Basically don’t start from hanging!

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