Book Review – Obstacle Race Training Bible
“Like a spark hitting a drought-stricken forest floor on a breezy day, obstacle races and similar challenges have taken off like wildfire”.
Ah, yes. With an original first sentence like that, we are off to a good start. And, of course, I love me a book with the word “Bible” in the title.
James Villepigue is a well known personal trainer, writer for many websites, including Bodybuilding.com, and an author of a number of fitness books. Here he is:
I put this picture on my fridge (if you were wondering).
While I do not doubt James’ expertise in all things personal training, The Obstacle Race Training Bible seems like an attempt to jump onto the OCR bandwagon by someone who has been in the industry for a while. You know… whatever is hot.
And I doubt James has ever run an obstacle race. I am not saying that, in order to train someone else to run an obstacle race, you have to run one yourself – but I do find such books questionable, as they seem to be riding “the fad” more than anything else. [Unfortunately, this also seems to be descriptive of most books on the sport].
Added after publishing the post:
It’s very possible that if James ever reads this post, I’d stand corrected as he might have done dozens of OCRs, BUT… this does bring up an interesting point. Can someone who has never done event X successfully coach someone else for that event? I’d love your thoughts.
The bulk of the book comprises of descriptions of fairly typical run-of-the-mill exercises (chest dips, tricep dips, push-ups, lunges, TRX exercises). [I found the black and white photos accompanying each exercise pretty underwhelming.]
You can see in the Table of Contents below, at least six of the chapters are simply listing the exercises.
The focus seems to be on bodyweight and compound exercises, as well as running.
If you have to pare down your obstacle race training to the absolute minimum, cardio training should be the last thing to go. If you think of an obstacle race as a pie, the running component comprises the biggest single slice of that pie, so cardio must be the biggest part of your training.
I definitely agree with that emphasis!
I loved the Expert Advice and the Tip sections of the book (see Chapter 3). For example:
Junyong notes that races often have obstacles requiring grip strength right after a mud or water obstacle, which makes the grips incredibly slippery. To practice, he recommends hanging off a pull-up bar with wet hands.
Obstacle-specific training exercises were also helpful. For example, the incline wall obstacle is broken down by specific muscles used; and exercises are given for each. E.g. hands and fingers – tennis ball squeezes, etc.
The book also includes detailed beginner, intermediate and advanced training programs (combining all the exercises listed), as well as training sheets (that I assume one can photocopy and take with them to the gym).
Title: Obstacle Race Training Bible: The #1 Resource To Prepare For And Conquer Any Course!
Authors: James Villepigue
My Rating: 2.5 stars (out of 5)
YOUR TURN: What is your favorite book on obstacle racing? Perhaps, the book that you found the most relevant is not about OCR at all?
Liked this post? Check out my recent interview on Obstacle Dominator for another book recommendation!