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Other/Mixed Thought Experiment: Programming for OCR

Other strength modalities (e.g., Clubs), mixed strength modalities (e.g., combined kettlebell and barbell), other goals (flexibility)

Georgiaoutdoors

Level 2 Valued Member
Was wondering how people on here would use StrongFirst principles and other approaches to program for obstacle course racing. This was something I did years ago, with some moderate success (top 20 placing in shorter races and completion of OCR lengths all the way up to Spartan Ultra). But I didn’t really know what I was doing then, I just knew how to train hard and I tried different ideas that seemed to fit together then.
 

Marty

Level 6 Valued Member
I was reading a Strongfirst newsletter from October 2020 (I think) that spelled out the plan I’d most likely use. It was designed by Derek Toshner. 4-6 weeks of 033, 4-6 weeks of 044, 3-4 phases of plan 060, then a few weeks of 30-60 minutes of snatch walking. I think he used this plan for some of his ultra endurance athletes with great success. Maybe add in some carries, pull ups, and zone 2 work. Maybe substitute some double jerks and LCCJ somewhere in there (in place of a day of snatches). That’s the route I’d take.
 

Georgiaoutdoors

Level 2 Valued Member
I was reading a Strongfirst newsletter from October 2020 (I think) that spelled out the plan I’d most likely use. It was designed by Derek Toshner. 4-6 weeks of 033, 4-6 weeks of 044, 3-4 phases of plan 060, then a few weeks of 30-60 minutes of snatch walking. I think he used this plan for some of his ultra endurance athletes with great success. Maybe add in some carries, pull ups, and zone 2 work. Maybe substitute some double jerks and LCCJ somewhere in there (in place of a day of snatches). That’s the route I’d take.
Wish there was an archive of past newsletters.
 

Marty

Level 6 Valued Member
O
Wish there was an archive of past newsletters.
I copied and pasted the text from the email.

Kettlebell Snatch Training for Any Event,
from TSC to Ultra-Endurance Sports

By Derek Toshner, StrongFirst Certified Senior Instructor​
8e020a2c-5221-4124-b946-b2f9efb74de1.jpeg
Derek on top of a mountain with his daughter Lydia,
a track athlete, climber, and future SFG instructor​
With the TSC always looming, I wanted to share a plan my students and I have been using for smashing our 5min snatch test. We have taken protocols from Strong Endurance (SE) and pieced them together in a progressive plan geared for all-terrain ultra-endurance athletes.

We started with the heaviest, most explosive protocols, then switched to longer duration protocols with slightly lighter weights. In all plans we stopped if we could not pass a talk test, built up too much lactic acid, or felt our power decrease.

We slowly increased the volume in a given training plan, then chose a different plan with a higher density, but started with a drastically decreased volume.

Phase I

Begin with SE Plan 033 (the swing and pushup protocol from The Quick & the Dead) for 4-6 weeks.

Phase II

4-6 weeks of SE Plan 044C (the snatch protocol from The Quick & the Dead).

Phase III

Switch to snatching a kettlebell 2 sizes lighter for 5 repetitions every 30 seconds, alternating hands every 5 reps (SE Plan 060).

Using the high, medium, and low volume variability within a week, slowly build up to 60min on the heavy day. As the sessions increase in duration, reduce their number to 1-2/week. This will also allow you to begin training other movements during the week. For my climbers, this meant starting a super slow protocol (SE template #18). For TSC competitors, this can mean adding a Plan Strong deadlift plan.

Once snatching 5 reps every 30sec for 60min feels comfortable, shorten each of your snatch days by 20min and begin snatching 5 reps every 20sec. Build up to comfortable 60min on the high volume day.

(In a later training cycle you might build up to snatching 5 reps every 15sec.)​
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Phase IV

Progress to snatch walking (SE template #12). Perform 1 snatch and take 1 step forward. Switch hands as often as necessary.

Use a bell 1-2 sizes lighter than the previous protocol. Begin snatch walking for 30min and measure your distance. Do not increase the session’s duration until you cover a much greater distance within that time, indicating that you are snatching faster.

Then take a drastic jump to 45min and keep measuring your distance. Again, once the distance you cover in 45min increases a lot, jump to 60min and repeat the process.

When you have achieved comfortable 60min of snatch walking, take 2 weeks to rest, then start over with Plan 033… I will be sharing more details about performances in a later article that gives more detail about our other weekly sessions.

You may be thinking an hour of snatching is crazy. However, the duration of these sessions is fairly insignificant compared to what ultra-endurance athletes are doing. Yet, they are helping my students perform multi-day, epic trips into the mountains, and are preparing us for a 64-mile ultra-race in the middle of winter. I believe this plan will save ultra-athletes a massive amount of time and mileage on their bodies. At the same time, it will make your 5min snatch test feel like a warm-up.​
 

Dayz

Level 7 Valued Member
The best thing for ORCs is really just zone 2 running, combined with some basic strength programming and even event practice (e.g. rope climbing etc).

They really are endurance events, so usually the best runner wins.

Edit: my advice for an ultra simple plan: follow a running program for half marathon, including base building phase. Do a program like S&S 2-3 days per week. GTG pullups a few days a week.
 
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