OCR Training Tips from Reebok Spartan Race Athlete April Luu

June 28th, 2013

Obstacle Race Training with Weighted Vests and SandBells by Reebok Spartan Race Athlete April Luu

Obstacle race training is part of my passion to win. I have always been a fierce competitor, and an example to my female companions in every aspect of my life.

As a member of the U.S Army, I served on active duty from 1998-2003 in the 82nd Airborne Division and later the 10th Special Forces Group at Ft. Carson. I was the first female to participate with L.I.N.E. (hand to hand combat training) with the men and later became an instructor.

In a male dominant profession, I realized I always had to prove myself and hold my own. I think that is what gave me the discipline, drive, and determination to train the way that I do. After my daughter was born in 2003, I got out of the military and we stayed in the beautiful State of Colorado!

Due in large part to my love of fitness, I decided become a fitness instructor and study to receive my personal training certification. On this journey I decided I wanted to compete in some local obstacle course races to build up my name and my client base.

I started in August 2010 at Warrior Dash. On that beautiful Colorado morning I made the podium and landed 1st in my age group and 3rd overall! Not bad for my first race. I thought: “I can do this!” As I continued to compete in local obstacle course races I managed to find my way to the podium every time.

In May 2011, I competed in my first Spartan Race. It was a military sprint here at Ft. Carson. How appropriate! When I took first that day I got to take home that bad ass Spartan helmet. I was hooked!

The physical and mental challenge of that race compelled me to further test my limits in obstacle course racing. I decided to compete in the Spartan circuit the following year.  Which leads to the journey I am on now, to win the circuit.

As of April 6, 2013 I am currently ranked #1 female in the circuit and #2 athlete male and female. I also signed a contract in March 2013 with Spartan Race to be one of their pro racers.

obstacle race training

Fitness is a family affair

So, let’s talk about how I got here: training, training, and more training.

I can’t say enough about Hyperwear products like the Hyper Vest weighted vests, SandBell and SteelBell and how great they have been for my training. The Hyper Vest SXY weight vest is my favorite piece of equipment. For a weighted vest it is so light-weight, durable, and breathable. I wear the SXY weight vest almost every time I train and have found no other like it.

I also train with the SandBell workout sandbag (which is used by Spartan Race as their sandbag obstacle they call the Spartan Pancake) and have incorporated them into my group classes and my personal training clients. They are so unique because the shifting movement challenges you to stabilize through your core, hips, and shoulders. Additionally, the SandBell engages my hand and wrist gripping muscles to increase grip strength, which is so important in obstacle course racing. In any adventure or obstacle race I have to climb ropes, traverse walls, lifts with pulley systems, and climb walls.

I am a mother of two; Leilani 9, and Koa 5. The best part is my 9 year old loves to race in the Reebok Spartan Kids races now and I have been training her. She uses the 6lb and 8lb SandBell for her exercises.

The products are so dynamic and versatile they are perfect for all kinds of functional fitness high intensity training I am so excited to be sponsored by such an amazing company that provides everyone such amazing fitness equipment for OCR training.

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