So after doing the Beast a week ago, I found that the Spartan Race had put up several new obstacles that I want to take you through because I had the “pleasure” of testing a bunch of them. So here they are:
1) Monkey bar (advanced):
Normally this challenge is either a normal monkey bar, or in my last big race, it was in mixed levels meaning the bars themselves were either elevated high or higher and you had to go up and down as you swung across the bars.
The new one on the Spartan Beast I did had 3 different levels of height and distance between them. So in addition to them being in different levels of height, the distance between the bars was at time either short or longer so sometimes I had to swing twice before reaching for the next bar:
If you’re used to doing regular monkey bars, this challenge shouldn’t be too difficult for you!
2) There’s this new obstacle called “Olympus”.
I liked the creativity of this one but man, it’s a tough one. Basically, it’s a slanted wall with 3 different props to hold onto: A chain, a hole and a red prop you can hand onto:
The wall itself is far too slippery to use for balance so you’re relying on nothing but your upper body and grip to get through this.
However, the catch is that these 3 different props are in different levels of the wall so you have to grab onto them and sometimes either swing up or down, but doing this each time makes it risky to touch the ground, which if you do, you lose.
My first attempt at doing Olympus didn’t end well as I only used the red prop and chain, but this proved wrong. My friend on the other hand went after me and decided to use the holes and that proved to be the right decision as he made it through, with a lot of difficulty, but it worked.
I attempted to complete Olympus again and managed to get through 80% of it, but ended up falling down at the end.
So the tip is: use the holes, they are the EASIEST to hold onto. Also you should try and maintain a steady motion from one end of the wall to the other, to keep a momentum going, while your stamina and grip is still there.
3) Slippery wall.
Nothing crazy about this. It’s just a diagonal wall that’s wet and has a rope you use to climb up and over. If you have good shoes like these, then all you have to do is grab onto the rope, pull back your body so you’re basically “standing” in a vertical angle to the wall. This helps you have a good, strong grip with your feet on the wall and allows you to easily move upwards on the rope and over the wall.
4) Spartan Ladder.
Ok so this particular obstacle was NOT on the event I did, however I discovered this was a possible one to encounter in the future when I looked at the list of challenges the official site put up.
Now I have to pause for a second on this topic and mention that one of the things I absolutely do not like about this event is that they do NOT label all of their obstacles. I think in my last event, I managed to read the names of less than half of them and the site above I linked that shows them, only shows a few, not all of them, which is a huge let down for me…
But anyway, back to the “ladder”, this is actually a pretty innovative challenge, you have to climb up a triangular metallic pole, but backwards, using your hands and feet. At the top, you have to smack a cow bell, then go down the other side of this thing and ring a second cow bell with your feet. I’m disappointed I didn’t see this, but really hope to try it out in the future.
5) The “Bender”.
Well I have no idea what the name of this thing was (back to that lack of naming), but I looked at a bunch of places and finally found out it’s called Bender. I also like to call this the half ladder because it does look like the #4 obstacle, but only 1 part of it.
Here’s what THIS one looks like:
As long as you can pull up pretty well, this isn’t a big deal. When you get to the second or third pole, you can use your feet to help you move up farther if you’re struggling or if you’re good with your upper body, just get to the top pole, then pull yourself up, then over.
Alright, monkey bar people will either love or hate this. It’s a single pole with handles surrounding it and the catch is that the pole turns downward or whichever way you’re hanging and pulling on it which re-arranges the bars and forces you to hold on as tight as you can while also turning the pole such that you can reach the bars.
I didn’t make it through this obstacle but it left me with a good lesson.
While my grip was actually quite prepared for this challenge, both my resilience and stamina were drained as this was one of the last challenges we had to pass and we’re talking 13 miles in!
It’s not an excuse though, I honestly think even if I was fresh, I still wouldn’t make it because there is a technique to doing it.
I was looking at some videos and apparently one of the better ways of going about this thing is to go sideways like I did, but with each new bar you’re reaching for to pull it towards you so you don’t have to reach too far for it.
When it’s hanging at the bottom, it takes less energy to reach for it and makes it easier to continue forward, but be warned, even at a fast pace, this thing will require you hang on for at least 40 seconds!
7) Ape Hanger.
Another look alike to the monkey bars, but much more creative. This is a challenge I didn’t see on my event BUT it’s also a new one.
So there’s several ropes representing lanes, at the start of the challenge are ropes, you jump, reach for, and grab the rope, pull yourself up, then either backwards, or forwards, scale a monkey ladder the same way you’d scale monkey bars, which is basically the type of ladder that people use to climb up helicopters and make your way to the other end.
So this is another highly challenging upper body test.
In this one, you first have to scale a pole with nothing but your hands, and it swings while you try this, then you have a ring to grab onto, followed by a rope that has a tennis ball hanging at the bottom of it, then from there, a rope, and if you can manage to pass that, then you have 3 more rings to get across before hitting the bell.
I tried this twice and failed twice, both times around the halfway area when I had to grab onto the rope.
Now technically multi rig isn’t a new challenge, BUT they keep changing it up and in my case, it had new things on it.
When you do the multi rig, odds are, it’ll have different props hanging off it for you to grab onto, or the order might be different, but it still counts as the basic multi rig challenge, although there’s nothing basic about it in terms of how difficult it is…
Insane upper body and grip strength required, you’ve been warned!
Is this all?
No, as I found out, there’s other challenges happening in different venues where these events happen and sometimes they just mix it around. These 7 are not all of the new ones and if you know of one I didn’t include, do let me know!
Overall, the 3 big things you really need to have for just about all of these obstacles is upper body strength, great grip strength and stamina to maintain those 2 things for as long as possible. One cool way of practicing this if you live in a city is just using the playground that kids play on, they make for great simulators to these things and you don’t even have to go to a gym!
But, don’t focus too much on these, there’s bigger parts of this event you need to prepare for!
There’s a bunch of other traditional obstacles you’ll run into on this event that you need to prepare for and here they are. And they include things like: