The definition of adrenaline rush for more than five million endurance athletes is rope climbing, Atlas stone carrying, and pumping out burpees over long and rough terrain.
The definition of ingenuity is trying to replicate the adventures of Spartan racing on a phone app.
The OG’s of OCR had to face that reality back in March when it became clear that there would be no Spartan Race season thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. After throwing in the towel and canceling the remainder the season in late July, owner Joe De Sena and his team switched their focus to creating a digital app, named Spartan Fit, broad enough to satisfy the physical requirements of both the devoted hardcore athletes and those wanting to simply become “Spartan Fit.”
“COVID allowed us to basically focus on this project,” says VP of marketing and Spartan athlete Donny Jenson. ”This has been a big priority project for like the past five months.”
Whether you’re a Spartan athlete already preparing for the 2021 season or a muscular masochist looking for a supplemental solution for extreme training during these times, Jenson says many of Spartan’s top-level training programs have been created by some of the biggest names in endurance events. That includes Chris Hinshaw, who’s worked with CrossFit champions Mat Fraser and Rich Froning.
“We want CrossFitters, Brazilian jiu-jitsu athletes, Muay Thai, functional fitness, endurance athletes,” Jensen says. “The rallying cry around the app is train to be unbreakable. And so the idea is for someone that is interested in the tough fitness space, you know, someone who may be slightly competitive.”
But despite Spartan’s reputation among endurance outsiders as an activity not quite for the physically faint of heart, Jensen emphasizes a vast number of Spartan Fit’s 700-plus workouts are also designed for a variety physical skill levels, not just those willing to crawl under barbed wire to get jacked.
“The No. 1 misconception for Spartan is that it’s too hard and extreme and that you’re not tough enough,” Jenson says. “But with the app, we developed a range of workouts for everybody, from beginner to the expert who trains seven days a week.”
Realizing that during these times, and depending on your region, some people are forced to work out at home, Spartan Fit designed programs that can be complete in your living room or garage—from body-weight moves to a few kettlebells to even adding an AirDyne bike on occasion. Or you can lace up your running shoes and take the workout outdoors with any number of running workouts.
“Everyone can get a workout or run in,” Jenson says. “You can scale your runs from five miles to even 20. There are also programs to help you recover.”
Although oftentimes the traditional Spartan obstacles may be missing from these workouts—try tossing a spear in the backyard—every athlete will get to at least feel some of what a Spartan race entails. So, yes, get ready for burpees.
“They’re not in every workout, but there’s plenty of burpee content in there,” Jensen says. “I think we would drive people crazy if we put them in every program.”
The Spartan Power Push Workout
Try this circuit workout from the Spartan Fit app set to improve total-body strength, power output, and core strength.
This time-based circuit training is a full body workout incorporating strength, power, and core exercises. There are three circuits, so the overall intensity is increased.
WARMUPOne round total. 30 seconds on, 10 seconds off (rest).
Overhead Toe Touch to Squat
Reverse Lunge to Knee Extension
CIRCUITSThree total circuits. Three rounds each of 40 seconds on, 20 seconds off. Look to complete as many quality reps as possible for each exercise, during the work phase.
Bodyweight Squat to Knee Drive
Knee Slap Mountain Climbers
Straight Leg Sit-up