I Support Women In Sport
Obstacle-course racing is a huge sport internationally and it’s growing exponentially in South Africa. Meet Dominique D’Oliveira, one of the women leading the charge – and why you should follow her lead
The pro’s guide to smashing an obstacle race
One of the main reasons OCR has become so popular, says Dominique, is because it’s an amazing discipline for overall fitness. Before she started competing, Dominique was a gymnast, then moved on to triathlons. But she found her niche in the gauntlet. “It’s definitely well-rounded in terms of needing strength and power, but also needing speed and endurance,” she says. Training for a race involves upper-body and lower-body conditioning, focusing on your stabiliser muscles – including your glutes, core, and shoulders. Add running into the mix and it’s a recipe for lean, toned muscle.
Make yourself proud
Plus, that sense of accomplishment when you manage to climb up a five-metre rope or scale a wall? It’s an addictive feeling. At her first race, Dominique was fatigued towards the end and didn’t think she’d make it. “I just had a sense of ‘I have to get this done’,” she says. “That’s the beauty of humans; the mind is so strong – you can actually achieve more with your body than you think you can.”
Ace your race
Looking to join in the fun? “You should have the fitness to cover the distance you want to do,” says Dominique. Most OC races start at 5km, so make sure you can run that distance. “If you’ve never done something like that before, you might get injured or end up feeling really tired.” Next, you should work on strengthening your core, which will help you through slacklines
and water traverses. “I’m not talking about your abs,” says Dominique. “I’m talking about your stabilisers, from your hips to your shoulders. If you’ve got that foundation, then you can add anything onto that.” Good arm strength is essential because most obstacles involve climbing. “You don’t have to be able to do a pull-up to do your first race, but it does help,” says Dominique. If you’re not there yet, strengthen your muscles by hanging on the bar (to improve grip strength) or doing assisted pull-ups.