21 Obstacle Race Training Tips For Beginners

You’ve been contemplating signing up for your first Obstacle Course Race for a while now, haven’t you? 

C’mon, be honest now. You’re always seeing photos on Facebook of your old friends from college…

Hoisting themselves over walls, crawling through mud, swinging across cold steel bars and jumping over fire to the finish line…

It’s that ONE THING that everyone is crossing off their bucket list.

And not just the “fitness freaks”… 

I’m talking about EVERYONE.


Because crushing an obstacle course race with a bunch of other savage mud runners (both recreational and competitive) is one of the greatest physical and mental accomplishments you’ll have in a long time.

You can’t help but pull up your first obstacle course race sign up form on the website, swirling the white arrow around the submit button… 

Everything in you wants to join in on the fun. All 206 bones in your body are dying to get down and dirty and experience the fitness adventure of a lifetime…

However, that small voice in the back of your head whispers… 

“What if I sign up and completely embarrass myself…”

“What if I don’t finish…”

“How the heck do I even start training for this thing?”

The only GOOD question of the 3 is the last one. The first two questions you’re thinking are driven by fear… the last question is a voice of preparation and commitment, regardless of the unknown…

Great news is, I’m going to give you 21 tips you have to do before your first obstacle course race. Afterall, I want you to experience the one thing that everyone else is crossing off of their bucket lists as a “must-do” before they die.

I’m not going to allow you to “contemplate” anymore.

After following this list, you’ll be more than ready to dominate your first obstacle course race:


1 Become The Burpee Champ

Obstacle course races (in this case, the Spartan Race) is known for it’s burpees. Throughout the course, if you happen to “fail” an obstacle, it’s off to the burpee zone for 30 burpees.

The good news is, you don’t have to spend your entire race trying to complete every obstacle… If you fail one, then drop down and give Sparta 30. Bad news… Burpees suck!

You’ll learn that on your first day of training. Listen, no one likes burpees… We all hate em’. And the last thing you want to do on mile 3 is a set of burpees… even more incentive to prepare for obstacle success come race day.


2 Forget Bodybuilding Exercises

Just going to the gym and doing some bench press, bicep curls and a few sets of squats are not going to get you ready for your first obstacle course race. In fact, training for “hypertrophy” (strictly muscle size) will set you back BIG time.

Hypertrophy training will limit your mobility, flexibility, and let’s face it… you just won’t be able to maneuver quickly through the course. 

Packing on tons of extra weight to your frame will make an obstacle race more challenging. 

With that said, if you think bodybuilding is the only way to “look good” then take a look at most of the obstacle course racers out there and tell me they don’t have the bodies of a Greek God…


3 Get Weird With It

I don’t want to give you a “don’t do this” and not follow it up with a “do this” tip for your training. 

Plain and simple, get creative with your training… 

Obstacle course racing is unlike any fitness event you will ever participate in… To be honest, that’s one of the big reasons why OCR is the fastest growing sport in the world. Training is a freaking blast. Yea… it’s challenging. But I can promise you it’s never boring.

Bodyweight exercises will become a staple to your training. You can also use sandbags, tires, kettlebells, dumbbells, heavy buckets, monkey bars, battle ropes… you name it and you can use it for training.


4 Become A Master Of Your Body

When gearing up for your first obstacle course race I recommend you focus primarily on body weight movements… 

You want to become a master of your own body weight. Learn how to control and balance yourself against gravity. 

An obstacle course race is going to test your physical strength, muscular endurance, balance, and stability. Prepare yourself for those variations of exertion with a high intensity bodyweight workout plan.


5 You Don’t Have To Be A Runner…

This one may create some controversy… 

Unless you plan on racing with the elite obstacle course racers and making a run for the podium – you DO NOT have to sell your soul and become a “runner” to crush an obstacle course race. 

With that said, no running at all would be a mistake. When I’m asked, “How much running do I need to do before my first race?” The answer is simple. Commit to one long distance trail run per week and crush it. That’s right, just one day per week and you’re good!


6 Become A Beast

Get off the pavement! As far as you’re concerned, pavement is nothing 

but hot lava from here on out. If you are going to run once per week it has to be “off trail.” 

I’ll tell you, no obstacle course race is going to be on a smoothly paved road without a hill in sight. Actually, you can expect the opposite. 

Expect rough terrain and hills for days. With that said, your long distance run during the week should be pumped up with inclines and be a bit “rough” around the edges.


7 Don’t Do It Alone

Bring your friends, family, and co-workers along for the journey with you. Recruit 1-4 people to sign up for an obstacle race with you. No need to hog all of the fun for yourself. 

I can promise you that completing an obstacle course race is going to be a memory you’ll share with all of the people around you… heck, you’ll form bonds with complete strangers running along the course with you.

So add to the fun. Bring your friends along with you. Train together… keep each other motivated… and help each other finish.


8 Get Your Hammer Strength Apparel Gear On

Prepare for battle between you, mud, and obstacles. You need to equip yourself with the best apparel. Be sure to wear moisture management gear up top and underneath your shorts… Hammer Strength Apparel is the most advanced sweat and moisture management technology for incredible race day performance. 

Here's what some of the world's top obstacle course racers are saying about it:

"I've never experienced a shirt that wicks moisture like Hammer Strength Apparel. Whether sweat or water... I'm feeling dry 99% of the entire race. Best shirts to race in by a long shot."

"Hammer Strength Apparel has hit it out of the park with this fabric.  I recently race in a Battlefrog  Elite race and this shirt rocked, finishing 1st in my AG. The compression was perfect and it kept me warm for the early start and kept me cool as the sun came out.  Unreal!! You gotta try this out!"

Hammer Strength Apparel will go above and beyond for you... even in the most extreme conditions.


9 Clock Some Cold Shower Minutes

You want something to build massive amounts of mental toughness? Cold showers. 

Hands down, this is one of the best mental toughness tricks you can start implementing TODAY to build up your mental grit. Let’s face it – no one likes a cold shower. However… forcing yourself to take a cold shower for 5 minutes a day will definitely take your mental game to the next level. 

So the next time you find yourself submerging under a cold water hole at your first obstacle course race… it’ll just feel like you’re taking a morning shower… 


10 The Amplified EPOX Effect

This is one of those training secrets that I usually keep within my “tribe” but I’ll explain it a little bit just so you can get an idea (It’ll take me an entire blog post or 2… or 3 to give you true superhuman effects from this one).

Let’s just say the Amplified EPOX Effect is a “blood building” trick that you add at the end (or during) your workouts to increase your oxygenated blood levels… AKA makes you an endurance machine without having to run any extra minutes throughout the week.

Add the Amplified EPOX Effect to your training >>>


11 Stretch It Out

Limber up while you can. You don’t want to walk up to the starting line of your race with tight muscles. You’re going to be jumping, pulling, crawling, hoisting, carrying, reaching… that’s a whole lot of muscle lengthening and shortening.

You want to be as loose as possible. 

Think about it… do you want to feel like a rubber band that’s been sitting in the freezer for the past 24 hours or do you want to feel comfortable, loose, and ready to dominate? 

Yea… I’ll take the ladder, too.


12 Hill Sprints… And More Hill Sprints

Just because I recommend only one long distance run per week does not mean that’s the ONLY day you should run. 

Hill sprints are one of the most effect exercises to develop cardiovascular endurance… You can actually develop 3x the results in only a third of the time.

Go find a hill near you, start at the bottom and sprint up to the top. Give your absolute best effort. 

Proceed by walking down the hill until you reach the bottom… Turn around and do it all over again. This high intensity interval relationship is going to massively increase your cardiovascular performance
without spending hours and hours of your week running.


13 Got Grip?

This is the most underestimated part of obstacle course racing… Grip strength. 

You think it’s just one of those minor skillsets, right? Hah! You’ll hate yourself for not training your forearms and finger grip before the race. In fact, you’ll probably find that out on just the first few obstacles.

So how can you go about training your grip? Let’s not over complicate it… Exercises like dead hangs, farmers walks, and bucket carries are great practice for developing a mighty grip come race day.


14 Dial In Your Nutrition

Nutrition is a staple for your recovery, performance, and if need be, for your weight loss. 

Following a well put together training plan is going to go a long way… However if your nutrition has not changed from the time you signed up for your first race to the day you step up to the starting line… Chances are you left some insane results on the table. 

If you want to crush your first obstacle race, get your nutrition together. Choose whole, nutrient rich foods that will help you lose some “baggage” around the waist and improve your recovery time between workouts. 

Do this and you won’t lack an ounce of results.


15 Have Accountability Partners

Whether you have people running your mud run with you, or not… you NEED to have an accountability partner or two. 

Accountability partners will keep you going when the going gets tough… 

Here’s some good advice… Find one or two awesome people in your life who you can trust to support you. Tell them what you want to accomplish and invite them to come into your world to help you crush your first obstacle course race… 

Again, they don’t have to be racing with you to be a massive support system. They just have to be there when you need someone to whip your butt into working out for the day.


16 Include The Miscellaneous Stuff…

What do I mean by that? Spartan Racing has some obstacles that will require a bit of practice and skill. The one that comes to mind immediately is the spear throw. You can easily put a homemade Spartan spear together and practice your throws out in the back yard. 

It’s one of those obstacles that may not be physically exhausting but they sure can send you right to the burpee station if you’re not careful.

Another misc option includes balance resistant obstacles such as log crossing or thin beam crossing (don’t worry, it’s only elevated about 8 inches off the ground).


17 Find A Balance

Gearing up for your first mud run does not mean dismissing your priorities. Keep your family #1, keep focus at your job, have a social life… 

If you choose the BEST training strategy then you won’t miss out on any of those things. 

Don’t exhaust yourself mentally. Being a true obstacle course dominator a lifestyle. Don’t let training for an obstacle course race control you. You control it. All you need is a dominant training plan.


18 Realize What Fear Is…

This one is a bit deep… In my life I’ve realized this to be true EVERY time. 

Fear is the one thing that will keep you from experiencing the great opportunities and adventures life has to offer. Fear will creep in when you are on the verge of doing something great 100% of the time. Never fails. 

Finishing an obstacle course race… that is something great… 

It’s admirable, it’s challenging, it’s rewarding and exciting… 

Fear is nothing but vampire that wants to suck the thrill right out of your life. 

The question is… Will you let it? I sure as heck pray you don’t.


19 Never Train “Just To Finish”

Always aim high… If you train with the attitude of, “well, I just want to finish…” then you’ll be doing yourself a huge disservice. 

Train to dominate. Train to be unstoppable. Train to conquer this race. 

Don’t settle for “just crossing the finish line.” I can promise you that if you train with that attitude, the race will be exceedingly harder.


20 The Secret Weapon

Everything I’ve shared with you… All 19 previous training, nutrition, and mental toughness strategies are packed together for you in the 6 Week Obstacle Overtake System.

It’s the one training program that is turning “average” Joe and Joanne’s into weekend obstacle dominators.
Go see for yourself >>>

Even the Elite OCR athletes say this is the best plan for beginner/intermediate obstacle course racers… (not kidding – check it out)

21 What Are You Waiting For?

Well, you’ve made it to #21. That means you are legitimately serious about running conquering your next mud run. 

So I’m going to leave you with this… YOU CAN FREAKING DO IT!!! 

Don’t wait any longer, give the middle finger to fear, it’s go-time, baby! Time to become an obstacle course racer.

If you’ve decided to run your first obstacle race… then I want to give you a great big muddy “slow clap”… YOU are about to have the time of your life.

You ready to crush your first obstacle course race? 

I know you are.

Way to choose adventure over average.

Joe LoGalbo
Contributing Writer for Hammer Strength Apparel
Obstacle Race Trainer & Athlete

OCR Competitor Reveals Why Hammer Strength Apparel is the World's Best Performance Apparel


When it comes to race day, you want to make sure you are feeling and performing your best. Your long training sessions, disciplined nutrition, hydration and apparel comes together on race day so you can have the run of your life.


No other apparel compares to Hammer Strength® Apparel, the world's best moisture management technology. Paul Ten Haken, elite OCR competitor will show you why Hammer Strength® Apparel is his training and race day apparel. 



Want the same shirt as Paul? Click the link Here: HAMMER STRENGTH APPAREL and get 10% off using coupon code: SpartanPaul (case sensitive)

OCR Competitor Antonio Pusateri on Training, Passion, and Performance


Hammer Strength® Apparel had the pleasure of meeting OCR elite competitor Antonio Pusateri at the Wisconsin Rugged Maniac event this past weekend. After watching him compete, we just had to ask him a few questions about training, passion, and performance: 


Antonio, tell me a little bit about what got you started in OCR: 

Well Joe, I have always been a competitive individual and I have always looked for anyway for myself to stay physically active. I was always in sports in high school and I even ended up playing a couple years of semi-pro football about 5 years ago. I saw OCR as that opportunity to push myself, to try something different, and also see how I physically perform. I had been interested in OCR for a few years before I finally pulled the trigger and competed in the Milwaukee Spartan Sprint open heat in November of 2014.

What are your race plans for the rest of the 2015 schedule? 

Currently, I have the Tough Mudder on September 12th. Followed by the Vermont Spartan Beast September 19th. Then I have two championship runs in October. The first one is Warrior Dash World Championship October 10thand then the OCR World Championship October 17th.
Give us a glimpse of your OCR training regimen on a day to day basis:

Considering that I do have a full time job where I am up at 4:30 am and don't get home until 4:30 pm, I mix up my routines often. Typically, I try to get a little extra work in while doing construction by running up stairs or carrying heavy objects around as well. When I get to go to the gym or my Fitness boot camps I host, I typically do a mix of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and weight training. Every other day when I don't lift or do HIIT, I try to run a few miles or do a trail run. Right now I am pushing to consistently run 6 plus miles every other lifting/HIIT day!
At what point did you decide to take your racing to the next level? 

I would say after my second OCR ever which was the Milwaukee Spartan Sprint on May 2015. I was 43rd overall and I only failed a spear throw. 6 months prior, I was 510th! Considering I had only been training hardcore for two months prior to the 2015 Sprint, I saw the potential to compete elites for the following year. However, after my performance at Edge of The Ledge where I took second place, I finally made the decision to compete in as many Elite heats as I could, outside of doing Spartan races. I believed (at the time) signing up for those earlier in the year wouldn't of been worth the extra money. Of course that was before I gained the confidence to take the chance.
What is the hardest event you've competed in to date?
That is a very good question. I personally believe they are all difficult but I would have to say it was doing the Rugged Maniac after running the Badass Dash a few hours earlier. Those hills were brutal on my legs, but I still made a killer time! Even though it was in an open heat and I had to cut in front of people to keep my time from being slowed too much, I would of placed Top 3 had I been able to do it competitive. I signed up too late for competitive Rugged Maniac, being still really new to the sport and I had only recently discovered how many races were out there around May of this year.
What is the best advice you can give to someone just starting in OCR?
I would tell them, do not hesitate to try to push your limits. I didn't realize how much progress I would make in such a short amount of time. Also, getting that first race in will give you an idea on how to prepare for the next ones. That first Spartan Sprint in 2014 was the best gauge of my physical abilities at the time. I came out of that knowing what I needed to work on and had more confidence to face another one right away! I also was sore for a week because I wasn't in the greatest shape for it!
Share your experience training in Hammer Strength® Apparel

I couldn't be happier wearing the Hammer Strength® Apparel. I have worn many different products over the years. Those products are not even in the same league when it comes to comfort and moisture wicking ability as Hammer Strength® Apparel. I leave the gym almost completely bone dry and my shirts are effective at evaporating the moisture. I have been really impressed!
How does Hammer Strength® Apparel improve your training and performance? 

The comfort alone is the best. I can effectively move, jump, press, turn and not have my clothing sticking to me, especially if it is warm outside! Being able to focus on what I am working on instead of how my clothes are bothering me is a big plus. They keep me cooler than anything I have worn before. I work in the heating and air conditioning field, evaporation is what removes heat. So the shirts wicking and evaporating quickly, does keep you cooler and dryer! I actually had someone ask me today at the gym, "How are those shirts?". I told him what I am telling you, and he was like "Yeah I need something better than this cotton shirt that I am wearing. Gets uncomfortable after awhile."
Be sure to keep an eye out for Antonio in September and October as he competes in some of OCR's most intense courses including the Vermont Spartan Ultra Beast, the Warrior Dash World Championships, and the OCR World Championship in Ohio.
Be sure to use coupon code ocrantonio to get 10% off any Hammer Strength Apparel products. CLICK HERE TO SHOP NOW


OCR Nutrition Blueprint: Eat to Dominate


The fall months are here and some of obstacle course racing's biggest events are just around the corner, including the Spartan Beast, Ultra Beast as well as the OCR World Championships. You've trained all year for these events. Carefully periodizing your training for the big race day, competing in event after event to become more skilled in your craft, body composition is in a solid place and finally, tomorrow is race day, and you ask yourself, "what do I need to eat tonight and tomorrow to dominate my event?"


I have here, the OCR Nutrition Blueprint. Literally, every single nutrient you put in your body from this blueprint will be used to fuel you on race day and assist you in your most epic performance yet. 


Follow along with me.


The Night Before the Big Race:


Complex carbs and protein. These are necessities the night before the big race. Complex carbohydrates are going to fill up your liver's glycogen storehouse to be released on the sound of the starting gun. The best complex carbohydrate sources include, sweet potato, vegetables, brown rice, and whole grain pasta. These carbohydrates are slower digesting and will take a longer time to burn compared to fruit, white breads, or sugary treats. Save those foods for after the race. Be sure to eat carbohydrates that do not upset your stomach. For example, if pasta is too heavy the night before your race, then you may consider a bowl of brown rice filled with fresh vegetables, and grilled shrimp.


The choice is yours. You will want your stomach to be as comfortable (other than maybe a few nerves) the night before and morning of your competition as possible.


Be sure to have a moderate portion of protein as well. Protein slows down the digestion process of carbohydrates and will be vital for repair of any broken down muscle tissue from previous training sessions leading up to the pre-race evening. Be sure to stick to lean protein sources such as shrimp, egg whites, bonless, skinless, chicken breast, or even a protein shake supplement.


And please, don't skip out on the water. We have plenty of blog posts written on the importance of hydration for competitive performance. Drink at least a gallon of water before race day... DO NOT consume it all within one hour before bed time. Continually drink throughout the day.


Race Day Nutrition


2-3 hours before competition:


You know how the timing of your meals affect your training on a daily basis. Don't mix anythin up here. If you perform better with your training eating two hours before a race, then eat two hours before a race. Don't mix it up on race day. However, be sure to eat more carbohydrates and protein for breakfast. Nothing fried in oil. Keep the food selections as basic, but filling as possible to avoid gastrointestinal distress. Some great examples of meal selections include:


  • Bowl of mixed berries, 3/4 cup of oatmeal, handful of pecans, and a protein shake
  • Greek yogurt with mixed pineapple and a 1/2 cup of granolla
  • Whole grain bagel, natural peanut butter, banana chunks


These meals are light on the stomach but provide long lasting energy come race time. 


Be sure to start consuming water upon waking to keep yourself hydrated and well prepared for the race. If you find yourelf needing another snack before the race begins, look into a fruit yogurt, protein bar, or gatorade.


During Race Nutrition


Be sure to have a pack filled with fluids if your race will take longer than 60 minutes. This way you can hydrate throughout the race.  You can also pack a sports drink and have bananas or gel yogurts for a quick dose of fuel to keep you going. Make sure these snacks are easily accessable and do not slow you down in the least. Having these nutrients on hand will keep you from cramping up and will continue to fuel your muscles throughout your performance. 


This blueprint will guide you to race day success with your nutrition and ultimately tie all of your training together for an exceptional outing and personal best. DO NOT overlook the importance of nutrition on race day. Be sure to test this nutrition blueprint out before some of your longer, more intense training sessions so you can know for sure what works best for you come race day. We understand all competitors are unique in their own way, so some trail may be necessary. 


With that said, good luck on race day! You've put in your training, you're equipped with the best apparel (or have you? click here to find out), you ate to fuel the machine you are... now go out and CRUSH IT!


Are You Prepared For Your First Obstacle Course Racing Event?


OCR (Obstacle Course Racing) is becoming more and more popular among the masses. Not only are these events challenging and competitive, but they are also done in a fun environment with passionate racers and workout nuts. These people are the real deal when it comes to fitness!

Because of the rising popularity of obstacle course racing, it is important to understand exactly what you need to do to have a great race day debut which will keep you coming back for more. Although learing from experience is the best way to prepare for your next race, we thought we would save you some trouble and give you a few pointers leading into your first race.


Take a look at these three tips for a successful OCR debut:


1) Don't neglect long distance training


Remember, this is obstacle course racing  it is not an obstacle course workout or WAD that will be done in half an hour. Most newbies focus their training on the obstacle part of the race and not the long distance running required to complete the race. Training for the obstacles, yes, is important. However, if your cardiovascular system is taxed well before some of the obstacles presented to you in your competition then you will have an even greater challenge completing them. 


Some obstacle course races stretch to be as long as half a marathon (that is 13.1 miles)! 13.1 miles is a challenge in itself. Be sure to progress your long distance training strategically throughout your training. Select a race that is far enough out where you can build your endurance and be ready for race day.


Finally, be sure to pace yourself. Remember, this is a long distance race. Run with long strides, take deep breathes, pace yourself, and you will be able to tackle each obstacle with maximum energy at each station. Don't let a poor long distance training and racing strategy keep you from having a fun and successful race day.


2) Be Ready to Carry a Few Things...



If you think you'll be racing with your own body weight, think again. Obstacle course races are known to have plenty obstacles throughout the race peppered with sandbag carries, buckets filled with rice, and even deadballs weighing all the way up into the hundreds. Key here is to add resistance training into your regimen leading up to the race. Throw on a weighted vest or add in farmers walks with some heavy dumbbells. If you have a couple of buckets, fill them up with rice or sand and take off running!


These are all good strategies to get you ready for race day. The more you train with added resistance leading up to your first obstacle course race, the better prepared you will be to dominate.


3) Don't Forget the Grip


One of the smallest muscles throughout your body comes from your forearms. This means your forearm muscles will fill with lactic acid and become plenty more fatigued before the rest of your body does. Forearms are key players in controlling grip strength and endurance, which come in huge on race day.


Think about it... You are carrying, pulling, swinging, and throwing... all of these movements require some serious grip strength and if you haven't trained your forearm muscles to become stronger then they will be burning on race day. You fingers will feel like they can't wrap around and hold even a monkey bar. Keep this training strategy in mind moving forward with your training. Grip training is one of those essentials that are often overlooked for the first race. But if you can improve your grip endurance, then look out! You are one step ahead of many of your competitors.


Be sure to add these three key components to your obstacle course race training to put yourself one step ahead of your competition and have the best racing debut you can have. Prepare with your training. Pace yourself come race time. And have fun competing alongside hundreds of fun and passionate individuals.


Good Luck!

3 Things All Athletes Need From Their Sports Apparel


If you are a Hammer Strength Apparel athlete then you are someone who will do anything they can to have an edge on the competition. No matter what position you play, your goals is to be the absolute best and when it comes game day, let nothing hold you back from bringing your team a win.


The elite athletes know how important underlayer apparel is to maximize sports performance. If you want to learn more about how apparel affects athletic performance then take a look at our previous blog HERE.


So what kind of traits does your performance apparel need to pass the test and show up big for you on gameday? Take a look at the 4 traits below:


1. Comfort - Be sure to stay away from any rough fabrics that will cause skin irritation and chafing during repetitive movements. Be sure that your apparel is made with high quality comfort fabrics such as olefin and polyester. Ideally, 52% olefin to 48% polyester ratio is optimal for maximum comfort and performance. Be sure to purchase your apparel in a size that is not restrictive but allows you to move freely throughout any range of motion. The purpose of pre-game and practice stretches are to improve range of motion for activity. Don't let your apparel limit you.


2. Technologically Advanced - Technology is always advancing and producing greater and greater products. Look at the first iPod compared to the iPod of 2015. It is far more advanced and provides a far more enjoyable experience for the listener. Would you rather walk around with a bulky iPod that can only hold 1,000 songs or a thinner, more stylish looking iPod that can hold 20,000 songs? The answer is a no-brainer. Selecting apparel is no different for the elite athlete. Wear the best and have a step up on your competition even with the underlayer of your jersey.


Be sure to avoid apprel that will hold onto sweat. If you can wring your shirt out after practice with sweat dripping out, then it's time for an upgrade. Not only does sweat bog down athletes but it also interferes with your body's ability to cool off through the process of evaporation. What kind of apparel would you look for then? 


You will want performance apparel that will remove sweat from your skin layer and displace the sweat to the top layer of your apparel where it can easily be evaporated. This moisture management technology causes a cooling effect for the athlete and doesn't slow the athlete down with soaked fabric. This technology is only found in Hammer Strength® Apparel and is known as the world's best moisture management technology. 


3. Quality - Chances are, you want the quality of your apparel to keep up with you even after a few washes, am I right? Do not overlook the importance of high integrity products that will last you a long time. You want your apprel to be trusted and consitently perform for you, practice to practice, game to game. Check the tag before purchasing your apparel and be sure to research the guarantee of the company you choose.


MADE IN THE USA products have always proven to be the highest quality grade in performance apparel and is something worth researching before making your selection. Be sure to look for a lifetime quality guarantee as well.


Do not overlook the importance of dressing yourself with the best apparel you can find. Elite athletes will not let anything hold them back... Not their opponent, not sweat, not even comfort. Be sure to follow these 3 tips before purchasing your next batch of sports performance apparel. It will be worth more than just money in your wallet. It's worth you being the best you come game time!


5 Of The Best Exercises To Improve Overall Performance


In order to improve strength, speed, power, and overal sports performance, you need to be spending 3-5 days per week strength training in the weight room. And when you're in there, not a single exercise should be wasted. Everything you do should serve a purpose for success on the field or on the court. 


With so many exercises to choose from, which exercises are the most effective to improve your performance as an athlete? We have them listed below. Be sure to revolve your strength training regiment around these five different exercises. Each exercise should be performed on a seperate day:


1) Squat - This exercise is arguably the king of all lower body strrength training movements... and it should be. The squat is an exercise that focuses on speed, power, and strength. Every muscle group from the lower body is being worked upon each rep, starting from the muscles in your calves all the way up, through your hips. 


Have you ever seen that running back in the backfield whose legs are too big for most guys to wrap their arms around? That guy does not skip a single squat session in the gym. Ever wonder why he is so fast and takes three or four tacklers to bring him down? You guessed it... squats. This power movement is the ultimate lower body exercise to improve sports performance and make you a force on the field.


2) Deadlift - The deadlift would be considered as the all-around, full body exercise. When pulling a plate-loaded bar off of the floor your body is activating every muscle fiber from the calves, through the quads, to the lower back and all the way up through the upper traps. Talk about covering nearly every muscle group. This exercise is an all around strength builder. It's short range of motion allows you to move massive amounts of weight and develop mighty amounts of strength.


3) Hang Clean - Do you want to build speed? This movement is going to require a deadlift motion (to start) and lead into a small jump and catch of the bar with your hands, just above the top of the chest. Not only will this movement build speed but will also improve your vertical leap. This movement is great for defensive backs, wide recievers, basketball players, and other positions that require jumping on game day.


4) Push Press - If you are wanting to increase shoulder, tricep, and core strength then this exercise is for you. Your shoulders play an important role in the power of your baseball swing and the power of you volleyball spikes. To perfect this movement you will start with the bar resting on your chest from an upright standing position and press the bar over your head. You will quickly feel the tightness in your core as you stabilize the bar overhead.


5) Bench Press - Your chest controls the movement of your arms across and in front of your body. Football players will find tremendous value in this movement, epecially offensive and defensive lineman who are pushing their opponent away from them on every play. You want to be strong and control your opponents, don't let them control you. Your strength on bench press will be an important factor in your ability to shed blocks or defend your quarterback on the field.


Be sure to add these five power and speed building exercises so you can perform on the field with confidence and dominance!

3 Tips To Go From Benchwarmer to Starter

So you want to get some more playing this season?


If you're reading this, chances are you are one of the few looking for more ways to become a better athlete, get as much playing time on the field as possible this year, and dominate your competition (both for the starting spot and for in-game play).


You've come to the right place. These three tips will seperate you from other competitors fighting for the same starting spot as you. Take these tips to practice and stand out amongst your teamates. 


Tip #1: Volunteer for absolutely everything


Whether it's a drill, 7 on 7, or full scrimmage, if the coach need bodies out on the field, you be the first one running out there. Show that you are willing to put in the work and seize every opportunity that comes your way. Coaches are looking for great athletes, yes. But they are also looking for high quality athletes who are teachable, and action takers. Is that you? Be sure to take every opportunity to participate in a drill and make your presence known. The more your coaches see your ability on the field, the more likely they are to remember you and give you more playing time.


Tip #2: Boost of self confidence


Confidence develops after hours and hours of practice, training, and reps (as in tip #1). You need to put in the work to build confidence in your abilities. Let me give you an example. Say you are about to perform a set of bench press. You have never lifted weights before yet your friend wants you to try and lift 135 pounds right from the beginning.


Not only do you have a poor friend... but chances are, you will not have much confidence when getting under the bar with some big plates attached to it... 


So you give it a try... the bar doesn't come an inch off of your chest.


Compare this story to someone who has been training for several months, has maxed out at ten repetitions with 95 pounds and 120 pounds for four repetitions... do you think this guy has a bit more confidence getting under the bar of 135 pounds and pressing up a one rep max? I think so...


What is the difference of the two? Confidence that comes from practice and training. Don't expect to have confodence on the field, if you are not willing to put in the effort outside of practice.


Tip #3: Build Up Your Teammates


Do you want to play a significant role on your team this season? Be this guy. The one who is always pulling out good qualitites and skills from his teammates. Be an encouragement and someone who spreads confidence to the rest of your team. Not only will you be your teammates go-to when they need that mental boost, but your coaches will see you as valuable component to the values of the team which will give you more opportunites to prove your talent.


Too often, good athletes don't become great because of the lack of chances they take to stand out on the practice field and take ownership of their position on game day. Don't be that guy. Take every opportunity to showcase your talent, boost your self-confidence, and build up your teammates... these three tips will set you up to be the starter and game changer on your team this year. 

3 Hacks to Better Performance in the Heat

It's mid Summer...


Temperatures are only rising and the sun isn't setting any earlier. What are 3 simple hacks you can implement today to perform better in the Summer heat?


Hack #1


Choose sports drinks over water. Leading up to practice, workouts, and games, be sure to hydrate with water. Consume roughly half a gallon of water leading up to your athletic activity. During physical activity, especially in the heat, be sure to replensh and quench your thirst with some type of sports drink. Sports drinks will do more than just hydrate your body; they will also fill you with a fresh amount of energy produced from the sugary carbohydrates in the  drink. No need to drink the zero calorie sports drinks during these hot events or practices. You want to replenish your energy through simple, fast acting carbohydrates. 


Another significant benefit of choosing a sports drink over water during game day is this... electrolyes. Electrolytes will assist in replenishing your muscles, assisting in brain control, and also help you maintain a proper whatever balance when performing under extremely hot conditions. Ten times out of ten, chose a sports drink for in game or in practice nutrition.


Hack #2


Train outdoors. Especially in the heat, training outdoors is never the first choice. Instead, most athletes choose to run routes and practice plays in an indoor facility. To prepare yourself for the heat, be sure to safely practice outdoors while properly protecting yourself from the sun and hydrating (as mentioned above in hack #1). You may even choose to run sprints or perform outdoor circuit training on days off from your regular practice schedule.


Hack #3

Choose the right apparel. Athletic apparel can make or break your performance in practice and on game days. Obviously, heavy cotton shirts will not do in temperatures like this... but what about traditional moisture management apparel? Here's a hint; if you are soaking with sweat underneath your apparel, chances are your body is not cooling off as optimally as it could be... therefore, your performance will be affected. 


You will want performance apparel that will remove sweat from your skin and displace the sweat to the top layer of your apparel where it can easily be evaporated. This moisture management technology causes a cooling effect for the athlete and doesn't slow the athlete down with soaked fabric. This technology is only found in Hammer Strength® Apparel - the world's best moisture management technology in the world. 


Be sure to follow these three hacks to better performance in the heat. Hydrate properly, train outdoors, and equip youself with the best apparel for athetes and be expectant of great performances this Summer in practice and in games.

Finding The Right Trainer for Young Athletes


In one of our previous blog posts, we talked about the right age for young athletes to begin a strength training regiment. You can view that blog HERE for any reference you may need to the topic.


In the blog post, how young is too young to begin strength training, we discuss the importance of a young athlete having a trainer to educate and provide practical feedback that is relateable and helpful for the youth to become strong, and more athletically fit. We are going to expand on the importance of a trainer and how to sift through the "okay" ones to find the perfect trainer for your young athlete.


When first beginning a strength training regiment, it is important to always have a trainer.


A trainer for an athlete is parallel to a guitar instructor. When a student wants to learn how to play guitar they find an instructor to teach the student fundamentals of the instrument, give expert level coaching and oversight when performing exercises, and connect with the student, relating to them in a way he or she will understand.


Finding a trainer for your athlete's strength training is the same concept. No athlete needs to figure out the right way to perform exercises on their own. And in most all cases, students should not be trained by their parents or older brothers or sisters. A trainer who is highly experienced in his/her field of training should be the one teaching your athlete, especially at a young age.


So what are the qualities every parent should look for when seeking out a trainer for their child? Take a look below:


1. Trainer must be certified and continuing education


Education is a must. Personal trainers should be certified by a credible certification organization and have experience under their belt working with other individuals.  Having a trainer who has worked with other young athletes before is a bonus. Without quality education, your student athlete will not be given credible information. 


Here are some good questions to ask a trainer to discover more about their certification history:


1) Ask to see their certification I.D. card. Every trainer will have one of these upon completion and passing of their exam.

2) What kind of formal education background do you have in regard to health, wellness, personal training, and working with youth?

3) Are you currently CPR certified? If they are not, then their certification is expired or on hold.


2. Trainer must look the part


There is a reason for this. A trainer who looks the part are most likely to have experience in the weight room. These trainers are more knowledgeable in regard to how the machines in your gym work and feel. Because of this, the trainer will better be able to design a proper program for your athlete. Remember, they must have the education to match the muscle.


Some great questions to ask these trainers include:


1) Do you train on the equipment here at the gym?

2) How comfortable are you training others on the equipment in the gym?

3) Do you think the equipment in the gym is suitable for my young athlete?


3. Trainer must have trust with parent and great interaction with the student.


This is vitally important for confidence for the parent and enjoyment for the athlete. The primary goal of enrolling your young athlete into a strength training program is to develop them athletically and physically all while the student is having fun and being educated. Some questions to ask the trainer before signing your athlete up for a program are:


1) Do you offer one free sample session? I would like to see how you and my athlete interact in your session.

2) Have you trained young athletes before and if so how was your experience training them?

3) Have you done any coaching, after school programs, or volunteer work with kids?


All of the above is great criteria for finding the right trainer for your young ahtlete. We want your athlete to come away with a great experience, feel the difference in their performance, and ultimately, continue to cultivate a passion for sports and good health. 


If you have any additional questions on how to find the right trainer for your young athlete, please leave a comment below.