Earlier this year I vented frustration over OCR enthusiasts focussing too much on body building and not enough on running. They expect their strength will help them beat all the skinny runners.

Ain’t gonna happen, brother…

It’s not a secret that to master obstacle course racing your primary focus has to be your running game. OCR is an endurance sport and, next to running, strength training is just a nice-to-have.

When you do strength train, you should go for a pair of kettlebells. Period. In fact, I think you can get ready to race and compete with just 2 kettlebells and a good running routine. You could become strong enough to dominate a race without leaving your bedroom.

Here’s one such kettlebell workout to help you out. Today I’m focusing on shoulder and upper body strength training with a minimalist protocol of just 3 exercises, using nothing but a 20kg kettlebell.

Quick demo:

The basic protocol I’m following:

  • One arm, kettlebell clean and jerk – 5×5. Each arm.
  • One arm, kettlebell shoulder press – 5×5. Each arm.
  • One arm, kettlebell swings up to shoulder level – Pavel’s variant (see pic below). This is different from American/Crossfit bollocks where you raise the kettlebell over your head. Unless of course, you want some danger and risk of injury…  5×20

Proper swing demo by Pavel Tsatsouline. Strongfirst.


Once weekly. That’s all it takes.


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