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OCR Training at Xtreme Fitness

xtreme fitness logoXtreme Fitness Center is located in Hampton NH, and is owned by fellow Spahten Rob Gagnon.

You may remember him for his Spahten WOD posts. He has multiple credentials, with certifications in Personal Training, Kettlebells, TRX and Olympic Weightlifting. He is also working on his Spartan SGX Certification, and it was at an SGX workshop where I first got to really talk with him.

Right off the bat you can tell he is really passionate and knowledgeable about fitness and training, and particularly Obstacle Course Racing. It’s important to me that he is “one of us” (not a Spahten per se, but an OC racer) and not just an opportunist looking to cash in on the current fitness trend.

As it’s written in the bio on his site, he “can often be found running, jumping, climbing & crawling all over New England competing in Obstacle Course Races.” First-hand experience of life down in the mud can give you the best perspective on what’s really important to focus on when it comes to obstacle race training (ORT).

1495220_298640330343698_4348320835810964222_oSo why did I start with so much on Rob, and have yet to mention all the cool toys and obstacles he has?? Because cool toys only gets you so far – it’s the knowledge and effort that’s put into designing the programs and workouts that is truly worth something. The facility at Xtreme Fitness is very nice, and is perfectly sized for his needs. There are 6, 8, and 10’ walls, rings, tires, and ropes along with more normal functional gym equipment like pull-up bars, TRXs, kettlebells, barbells etc. (and now spin too for those looking for great crosstraining). There is also a small outdoor section that’s used in warmer weather, with miles of trails nearby that they will sometimes incorporate into their workouts. Normal gym routine at Xtreme Fitness revolves around 6-week strength and conditioning programs, including a bootcamp-style class called Xtreme Octane. Xtreme 10700290_298640387010359_3325176145296339030_oFitness also has Open Gym time when you can come in and practice obstacles or get in the WOD. While not OCR specific, Rob does include the use of obstacles in his classes, and focuses on many of the movement patterns needed to build strength for the obstacles (i.e. training grip and pull-up movements in order to succeed at monkey bars). While training on obstacles is fun, unless you are already good at them and are looking to perfect form, it’s the strengthening of movement patterns that will really get you long-term success at those obstacles. In other words, what’s the point of practicing monkey bars if you can’t even get to the second bar? You need to take a step back and build up specific strength first, and this is what Rob’s classes can really offer.

1795685_327021774172220_7521080291978042090_nOne Saturday morning, with a couple Spahten friends, I attended one of his Xtreme Fitness classes. Pre-workout, Rob led us through a thorough warmup and mobility session, which is a nice (and important) touch you don’t always find in bootcamps, too many of which are only designed to make you sweaty and sore. The workout itself consisted of about 8 stations that we rotated through 3 times, and included such exercises as tire flips, bear-to-crab crawls, TRX rows, sledgehammers, and the quad-burning plate pushes. Class then finished off with a core-busting circuit. It was a well-designed class, with all major muscle groups worked and many OCR movement patterns targeted. It was obvious the workout was created with a purpose in mind, which is necessary if long-term effects want to be achieved, and wasn’t just a random bunch of exercises thrown together.

Overall, Xtreme Fitness is an excellent facility with a highly knowledgeable owner, with great offerings for OC racers looking for a better alternative than their normal big-box gym, or those looking to make a field trip in order to get some OCR specific training in. There are plans for more OCR-specific classes and programs coming under the SGX banner, and I’m excited to see what Xtreme Fitness has in store!

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