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

Get buff

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.

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