spartan race

Synergy Rope Climb Challenge

Peak Obstacle Course Racing, aka OCR, season is quickly approaching and now is the time to start working on and refining your rope climb technique. Even an OCR isn't your thing... we designed this challenge for Beginners, Intermediates, and Veterans in mind so everyone benefits.

All month long, we’re challenging ourselves to get stronger and more confident climbing up the rope!



Of course modifications are absolutely allowed and there are various climbing techniques you can use. See the chart below showcasing just a few variations of rope climb positioning. With any technique, the goal should be to use your legs as much as possible to get up the rope without depending on upper body strength.




Here are climbing examples of each technique:






Choose which level to start at according to your fitness ability. Each day you are at the gym or have access to a rope, complete the exercises listed in the chart for that corresponding week. Every week the exercises will progress in difficulty to help build strength and confidence for your rope climbs.

BEGINNER: Start at this level if you are new to working out and have limited upper body strength. This progression is great for beginners and because your feet never leave the floor.  Week 4 DOES NOT finish with a complete rope climb. 

INTERMEDIATE: Start at this level if you have decent upper body strength and coordination, but are limited due to fear of heights, shoulder injuries or other limiting circumstances. This progression DOES NOT finish with a complete rope climb in Week 4.

VETERAN: Start at this level if you have good upper body strength and coordination, exercise regularly, but have not yet learned how to climb a rope or are a beginning climber. Even if you can already climb a rope successfully, these exercises will help strengthen and master your skill. This progression DOES finish with a complete rope climb in Week 4.



Lay to Stand Climbs: Start laying on the floor, legs straight out in front of you, rope hanging between your legs. Pull yourself up the rope to a standing position, trying to keep your legs as straight as possible. Lower yourself down, hand over hand, with the same straight leg posture. Ex.


Leg Wraps/Leg Positioning: Practicing this exercise will help develop the muscle memory for the actual rope climb. Stand behind (or next to if practicing the j-hook) the rope, lift your dominant leg up high like a tuck and practice your preferred rope positioning while keeping non-dominant foot on the floor.


Hanging Rope Tucks: Standing behind the rope, reach as high as possible and grab onto the rope. Let your feet leave the floor and pull your knees to your chest like a hanging knee to elbow exercise.


Rope Pull-ups: Standing behind the rope, reach as high as possible and grab onto the rope, making sure your palms and insides of your wrists are facing toward you. Pull yourself up like you would for a close grip chin up on a bar.


Hanging Leg Wraps: Standing behind the rope, reach as high as possible and grab onto the rope, release your legs from the floor, tuck your dominant leg to your chest and proceed to practice your preferred wrap/clamp technique with that same leg while hanging.


Rope Clamp & Stand: Immediately following 1 rep of “hanging leg wrap” exercise, before coming off the rope, complete the move by taking your non-dominant foot and clamping the rope between your feet securely enough so that you are able to stand up on the rope. You should now be hanging about a foot or so above the ground.

4 Race Day Tips When Running An Obstacle Course Race or Mud Run

Bob Garon Indy Spartan Sprint 2014 Every weekend somewhere there is an obstacle course race going on and thousands upon thousands will run the race and overcome the obstacles. While prepping for the race we can get all excited and forget some pretty important post-race things to do. I have a quick checklist for you so you will go home like a champ.


1) Bring a change of clothes, flip flops, 1 trash bag, damp wash clothes in plastic baggies, and 2 towels with you in your car to the race. One towel is to take off excess dirt and water from you post race. The other towel is to put on the seat for when you drive home. The trash bag is to put your dirty clothes and shoes in post race back at the car when you are changing.

2) Use the damp wash clothes to clean off your face, hands, and any other body parts still needing attention. Change by the car with the door open. While one of you is changing a friend (gotta be a really good friend LOL) can hold a towel up so no one sees your diddy doos. LOL!

3) Have coconut water or regular water, and some fruit in the car for you to eat on the way home. Gotta get that energy back up!

4) Have a spray bottle of peroxide ready to go when you get home. Have someone, your spouse or significant other is probably best, to spray you down head to toe, in the nude, with peroxide and GET IN ALL CRACKS N CREVICES. Just stand there and let that sit for 5 minutes like that. This will ensure any potential poison ivy gets neutralized right away. The oil in poison ivy will be deactivated by the peroxide. You will also KNOW where all your cuts and scrapes are too. Ha ha!! Shower after that with strong anti-bacterial soap so any debris gets off.

Please share the link to my article here along to anyone you know will benefit and leave me a comment to me know how you do at your race! -Bob, Girya Warrior

Bob Garon has both participated in and prepared people for Tough Mudder events, Spartan Race events, Warrior Dash events, Skyrise Chicago Willis Tower 103 Floor Climb, 5k, 10k, 15k, triathlon, marathon, cycling (crits and century ride) events to successfully complete each one with great results. If you would like a custom program for your event contact him below and he will design one for you.

Contact Bob Garon by email here:

OCR Workout 041614 (Obstacle Course Race Training)

Bob Garon has both participated in and prepared people for Tough Mudder events, Spartan Race events, Warrior Dash events, Skyrise Chicago Willis Tower 103 Floor Climb, 5k, 10k, 15k, triathlon, marathon, cycling (crits and century ride) events to successfully complete each one with great results. If you would like a custom program for your event contact him below and he will design one for you.

Contact Bob Garon by email here:


IMG_1708 My article has been published and is now live for your reading pleasure on the My Mad Methods website.

If you're ready to hit a Spartan Race, but don't know how to train for it, this article is for you. Learn the 5 stages of training you need to work up to, and recover from, your next Spartan Race competition.


Spartan Race Workouts Are A Bad Program & Can Kill You!

  Team Synergy Life 2I love competitive events. I love to run. I also love obstacles and challenges. Put those together and you have Spartan Race. I have ran my share of Spartan Race events and plan to continue to in the future. I thoroughly enjoy their events and also enjoy the goal they give me to train hard in preparation.

I've been asked me recently by a few people what I thought about the Spartan Race workouts of the day ("WODs") and if they are any good.


No, no, no I do NOT think they are good and in my professional opinion they are some of THE WORST program design of any recommended workout I have ever seen. I am not sure who is writing their programs, but just because a few challenging exercises are tossed together with a few distance run intervals does not make it an acceptably competent program. Honestly I personally feel the programs they are publishing publicly is quite irresponsible of them.


Here is a recent Spartan Race WOD (workout of the day).

Spartan Abs 2 workout of the day

Allow me to break it down for you. In case you have not yet ran a Spartan Race, or are unfamiliar with their race distance lengths, here is the breakdown.

Spartan Sprint- 3+ MILES / 15+ OBSTACLES Super Spartan- 8+ MILES / 20+ OBSTACLES Spartan Beast- 12+ MILES / 25+ OBSTACLES Source:

So in the above Spartan Race WOD, if you intend to train for and run the Spartan Sprint race you should perform this particular workout 1-2 times through. If you are intending to train for the Spartan Super race you should perform it 2-3x and if you are intending to train for the Spartan Beast race you should perform it 4-8x.

Seems legit right? The longer and tougher the Spartan Race event the more you have to train above and beyond it correct?

1) Someone who is training for the Spartan Sprint would then be performing up to 60 crunches, 30 hanging knee raises, 8 minutes of planks, and 4 miles during their workout. Not too bad right?

2) Spartan Super racers would need to perform 90 crunches, 45 hanging knee raises, 12 minutes of planks, and 6 miles.

3) Training for a Spartan Beast? Good luck because you will need to perform up to 240 crunches, 120 hangining knee raises, 32 minutes of planks, and run 16 miles. Oh and don't forget to stretch at the end BECAUSE you are going to need it!

Here is another one of their recent WODs.

The Spartan 100

Usain_Bolt_2012_Olympics_1Do you see those numbers?! At a minimum Spartan Sprint race level of 8 times through you would have to perform 80 pushups, 80 jumping lunges, 80 pullups, 80 burpees, 80 squats, and 240 crunches. Plus on top of that you would have to perform the 3,000 meters of sprints. That equals to just under 2 miles of sprinting. If you are training for the Spartan Beast you will need to say some prayers in order to get through your 16 rounds of pure Spartan hell. WOW!! Good luck performing 160 pushups, 160 jumping lunges, 160 pullups (are you insane?!!), 160 burpees, 160 squats, and 480 crunches. Plus on top of that you would have to perform the 9,600 meters of sprints. That equals to just under 6 miles of sprinting. 6 miles of sprinting... ummm... not sure Usain Bolt does that much during his workouts!!

In my professional opinion, twice through this workout should be the Max and anything more than that is just over-training and plain stupid. Yes and then definitely do the cool-down stretching because you will certainly need all that you can get to help you cope with your next 2 months of soreness.

Illogical Design

spock logicSpartan Race's logic seems to be to do much more than what's expected during their races, so that when you are actually there running the race, it will be easier. Makes sense right?  Well... not exactly and it doesn't translate from training to event performance as you might think.

What they fail to see is every single one of their workouts suggest that each workout will compound upon the last. Sorry to say then the people who are blindly following their daily workouts believe they will improve. Think about the sorest you have ever been from any workout and then continue working out and still training like that each day. Your body will not have time to recover, to heal and catch up, and your immune system, nervous system, and hormones will greatly greatly be effected in a drastic way.

Fitness Experts or Fitness Farce?

Spartan Race's subscribers believe in them as "fitness experts", when they are most certainly not, simply because they can throw together some burpees, crunches, and a run fabricated into a WOD, posted on their Facebook, Instagram, website, and email blast list. These "workouts" will directly lead to over-training within the first week or two and then, if continued, the body will never catch up.Trail-Running-vs-Road-Running

Authentic Program Design

Most all the other sport performance and fitness performance training programs suggest a much different program design than Spartan Race. I'm sure they will have you believe that they are attempting to storm the market with their elite level force to blast through races with superhuman-like participants. I think not! The human body responds to certain types of training and their's is an excessive extreme that will quickly hurt somebody and regress them rather than progress.

Think about it like this, when a runner trains for a marathon, how often do they ever run 26 miles or more during their training? Typically that's not at all. What they will do is they will get close with a 20 or 22 miler, but very rarely or never the full distance depending on the program design. During the training process the human body does not need to go the full distance because it will have been conditioned enough to run it at a faster pace with a spartan_race_slapshorter distance trained. If it is a good program even intervals, short distance with a higher intensity, will be part of the process.

This is the same exercise and training science for other sporting events where fitness is involved. When I train for Kettlebell Sport events we very rarely performed during training what we were going to be doing on the platform in competition. We built up to it and got close for the sake of conditioning and confidence. This is so that the body does not over-train, is able to recover, and to continue progressing directly due to the workout setting the body up for progressive recovery.

My Final Thoughts & Advice

Spartan Race doesn't seem to pick up on a sort of logical program design that is conducive to the way the human body responds to training, recovery, and progress. I personally do not advocate following any of their workouts until they do. Yes I personally will continue to participate at their events, bring my Spartan Life team to their events, promote their events at my Synergy Kettlebell Training gyms, talk about their events on social media because I thoroughly enjoy the events themselves; however I will not participate in or support their daily workouts whatsoever.


I am a Super Spartan and a Tough Mudder!

Well glad that's over! This weekend I finished the Super Spartan race still standing, but a bit more wet, muddy, and soooooooo cold. LOL! Wet I can handle. Muddy okay... but add cold on top of that and we've got a whole new level of discomfort! This was twice as hard as the Tough Mudder that I completed 6 weeks prior, but I did it and will forever enjoy the experience. This is me BEFORE getting all wet, muddy, and freezing cold!

CONTRASTING SUPER SPARTAN AND TOUGH MUDDER EVENTS The obstacles at the Super Spartan were so much more challenging, but at Tough Mudder it was the length of the run that was the more challenging part. At the Super Spartan they tried to psych you out like a drill sargent and people helped each other; however it felt more like every man for themselves moreover.

At Tough Mudder it was more about psyching you up and about the camaraderie feature above all else. Super Spartan times the race, but Tough Mudder does not and tells all participants that it is a challenge moreover a competition. They want you to finish irregardless of your time. Personally I like being timed and knowing where I stand among my peers as well as have a goal to beat for the next time I run the event.

To show you just how challenging the Super Spartan was over the Tough Mudder, I finished the Spartan in 1 hour and 55 minutes. It was an 8 mile race with 25+ obstacles. When I performed the Tough Mudder I finished in 1 hour 44 minutes and it was a 12 mile course with 21+ obstacles. So with 4 miles less, but 4 more obstacles I finished 11 minutes after my Tough Mudder time. I am overall happy with my times and it was such a great experience participating in both events. I'm going to do them again and am already registered to do so.

WHAT I HAD TO DO AT THE SUPER SPARTAN I had to drag around a 60 or 70lb. concrete block attached to a chain for about a quarter-mile, then ran for about a quarter mile to the next station where I then had to toss a 40 or 50lb. sandbag over my shoulder for another quarter-mile. We had to do a lot of climbing up and over things and we also had to flip tires to which was cool because I love doing that type of training. We had to Army crawl on our bellies through tunnels, down hill in tunnels, and under barbed wire through the slippery, cold mud. What a blast!! I tell ya!!

This is me AFTER getting all wet, muddy, and freezing cold!! LOL!

TRAINING FOR EVENTS LIKE THIS Definitely train a lot of hill runs because I tell you this whole course felt like it was uphill the entire time. LOL! I also recommend cross training with Kettlebells, tires, ropes, sandbags, and lots and lots of pulling movements such as with pullups, Jungle Gym XTs or the TRX.

When I perform my weight resistance workouts I do not run on those days so I can give my workouts 100% and keep my intensity as high as possible. I train weight resistance, as mentioned above with mainly Kettlebells & odd objects, 3 times a week and I run only twice a week. I have a long run and then on my second running day it is typically a shorter run with a much faster pace to push both my cardio and my body to increase my overall speed over the long distance runs.

Many people run too much or workout too frequently for their bodies to recover well and give them a higher level of fitness. Proper intensity and recovery are vital for fitness success. I want my body to recover the best it can and so far, have not had any injuries training like this.

If you would like a custom program written for you, to train for an event such as these, contact me and I will design one for you. I have prepared others, as well as myself, very successfully and it's a lot of fun! Contact me here:


More pictures here: Bob Garon Super Spartan 2012