One of the draws of doing a Spartan Race is the unpredictability of the challenge. Every participant knows that it’s going to be super hard, but exactly what’s in store remains part of the mystery and a big part of the intrigue.
Although Spartan racers know how many obstacles they will encounter in the race, the specific obstacles that your Spartan race will include are not disclosed prior to the event.
Knowing the different potential Spartan obstacles can help you adapt your training, devise a strategy to conquer it, and mentally prepare for what’s to come.
In this article, we will provide a comprehensive list of Spartan race obstacles to help ensure you aren’t caught completely unaware so that your obstacle course race is as successful as possible.
We will discuss:
- What Are Spartan Race Obstacles?
- A Complete List Of The 45+ Spartan Race Obstacles With Descriptions
Let’s jump in!
What Are Spartan Race Obstacles?
Spartan races are obstacle course races, which means that in addition to having to run a certain number of miles depending on the type of Spartan race you enter, you also have to tackle a given number of challenging obstacles along the way.
Examples of Spartan obstacles include crossing over a balance beam, scaling the monkey bars, crawling under barbed wire, or carrying a log for a certain distance.
The number of Spartan Race obstacles that you will have to navigate depends on the event itself. There are 20 obstacles for the Spartan Sprint, 25 for the Spartan Super, and 30 for the Spartan Beast.
The real challenge is that the race organizers do not disclose the specific obstacles you will face until the day of the event. All of the obstacles will be a surprise until you get there.
Furthermore, although some Spartan race obstacles are mainstays in that they appear season after season and are found in many of the races, some obstacles only last for one season and may only appear in a handful of Spartan obstacle races.
For this reason, it is exceedingly difficult to actually prepare yourself for every possible Spartan obstacle you may face.
Therefore, generating a definitive list of all of the Spartan obstacles is somewhat a futile exercise because new obstacles are constantly being added while others move into silent retirement, perhaps never to return or may pop up again several years down the road.
With that said, having a general understanding of the types of obstacles used in Spartan races can certainly give you a leg up in terms of how prepared you are mentally and physically, and if you are particularly crafty, you can even try to replicate your own mock-ups of the popular Spartan race obstacles and try them in training.
A Complete List Of The 45+ Spartan Race Obstacles With Descriptions
8 Foot Box
As the name describes, this is a giant 8-foot tall wooden box with a rope along the wall that you use to climb over it. There is a booster available for female competitors. Once you scale the box, there are stairs on the way down in the back.
Although you can take multiple attempts at scaling this obstacle, if you are unable to do so, the penalty is 30 burpees.
Also called the Thigh Master, this single-attempt Spartan obstacle involves scaling a row of hanging punching bags to ding the bell at the far end without touching the ground. This means that you must hold on to the bags using your thighs and arms.
This is a mandatory obstacle, which means that you must do it in order to continue on in the race. It is mainly found in the Spartan Stadion (Stadium) events.
You have to burn 10 calories before you can move on, which simply involves pedaling the fan bike as hard and fast as possible.
Much like an Atlas Carry, the Armer Spartan obstacle involves carrying a heavy concrete ball by using only the chain.
Although you get multiple attempts, if you are unable to transport the concrete ball properly, there is a penalty of 30 burpees.
This single-attempt obstacle requires climbing up a rope to reach for monkey bars 9 feet above the water. Then you must scale the monkey bars 25 feet across to ring the bell at the far side. If you fall off, you have to complete 30 burpees.
The Atlas Carry is a common Spartan Race obstacle that involves lifting and carrying a heavy concrete ball (roughly 100 pounds) about 40 feet, completing five burpees, and then carrying it back to the starting point.
You can make multiple attempts at this obstacle, but if you fail to complete it properly, you have a punishment of 30 burpees.
There are numerous balance Spartan obstacles, such as basic balance beams, walking a slackline, or doing the Log Hop.
These are always single-attempt obstacles, where you are not allowed to use your arms or touch the ground to regain stability should you lose your balance. They are usually about 15 to 25 feet long and no more than a foot off the ground.
Barbed Wire Crawl
The barbed wire crawl or low crawl is one of the most common Spartan obstacles and certainly one you should prepare for. It is mandatory, meaning that you will get disqualified if you skip it or do not do it properly.
You might have to crawl uphill or downhill, depending on how the barbed wire is situated on the course, and the distance that you traverse is usually somewhere between 10-20 feet.
The height between the barbed wire in the ground is usually quite low, sometimes as little as 1 foot off the ground, so you will have to get adept at slithering along the grass.
This single-attempt obstacle is like monkey bars, except it is more difficult because the bars pivot like an egg beater, and you have to traverse about 20 feet before hitting the bell on the other side. The bars are about nine feet off the ground.
This Spartan obstacle allows you to take multiple attempts, but if you fail to complete it, you have a penalty of 30 burpees.
The Bender is essentially a metal ladder that is leaning towards you rather than away from you.
It is about 10 feet high, but the first bar is located almost 6 feet off the ground, making it difficult to get started.
This is an easy exercise to practice in your Spartan race training because it just involves basic box jumps that you might perform in any plyometric workout.
You usually have to do 15 jumps as fast as possible, and the box is typically 20 to 30 inches high. This is a mandatory obstacle, but it is usually only seen in the Spartan Stadium events.
The Bucket Brigade is often considered to be the hardest Spartan obstacle. It is also mandatory, so although you can restart the obstacle, you must complete it or withdraw from the race.
You have to carry a 5-liter bucket filled with rocks and gravel (which you may have to fill yourself), usually over a distance of 600 to 900 feet, depending on the race, some or all of which may be uphill.
The weight of the bucket depends on your sex. It is usually between 70 to 100 pounds for men and 50 to 80 pounds for women.
Cargo Net Climb
Also called the A-Frame, this multi-attempt obstacle involves climbing over a wobbly cargo net that is shaped like an A-frame and is usually 30 feet high. Participants who do not perform it properly are subject to the mandatory 30 burpees penalty.
During your Spartan race, there will be at least one obstacle that involves carrying a heavy object over a prescribed distance, often much of which involves hiking uphill with the obstacle. Whether a sandbag, “pancake,“ Jerry Can, Deadball, etc., depends on the race itself.
The weight of the object is usually 35 to 40 pounds, though the Spartan Deadball is 70 pounds for women and 100 pounds for men.
This is technically considered one of the easiest Spartan obstacles from a physical standpoint, although it can certainly be unappealing. You have to jump into a big pool of murky water, submerge yourself completely, and cross under a wall inside the pool to the other side of the fence.
You are given multiple attempts, but if you fail to complete the obstacle, you are given the normal penalty of 30 burpees.
This is typically the last obstacle in a Spartan race. Jump over the flames, or you must complete 30 burpees as a penalty.
This is one of the easiest Spartan obstacles and just involves running through hanging punching bags across a water puddle.
This single-attempt obstacle involves navigating over a structure that looks like a giant X using different hand holes and footholds, but there is plastic covering up some of the holes, making it more difficult. The total distance to the bell is usually about 20 feet, and the walls are angled at 70° and 110°.
This tough strength obstacle involves using a pulley to lift a heavy sandbag (90 pounds for men and 70 pounds for women) up the side of a structure that’s about 20 to 25 feet tall. There is a penalty of 30 burpees if you are unable to complete it after multiple attempts or give up.
Navigating this obstacle involves scaling a wall that is slanted towards you at about 70°, and the wall is typically 7 feet high.
Some Spartan Stadium events include a jump rope obstacle, which is quite straightforward.
This single-attempt obstacle involves navigating across a series of swinging ropes and footholds to ring the bell on the other side.
Rather than being a physical obstacle, this is a memory exercise sometimes seen in Spartan Beast races that involve memorizing 5-6 numbers or phrases on a chart and then reciting them later on in the race without being able to take a picture of the material.
Like playground monkey bars, this obstacle involves getting from one side to the other, swinging with your arms, and ringing a bell once you get to the other side. Your feet cannot touch the ground, and the total distance is usually about 20 feet, with the bars 1 1/2 to 2 feet apart.
This is a slippery wooden wall that is approximately 7 feet tall and angled at 70°. You must navigate up the wall using three different types of holds: holes, chains, and climbing grips.
The tricky part is once you choose the lane that you are going to navigate, you are committed to that very path. Failure to complete the obstacle or deviating from a different set of holds results in a penalty of 30 burpees.
Over Under Through
Also called O-U-T, this is a 3-part obstacle that involves first climbing over a 5-wall, then crawling under a second wall 1.5 feet off the ground, and then squeezing through a window in the final structure or doing 30 burpees.
Some Spartan Stadium events require doing a certain number of push-ups as a mandatory obstacle.
Only seen in Spartan Stadium events, this involves placing your feet on a small skateboard and the rest of your body in a plank position as you travel about 25 feet.
This straightforward Spartan obstacle requires climbing a 15 to 20-foot rope, although it is often wet and muddy, making it more difficult
You can take multiple attempts, but there is a penalty of 30 burpees should you fail.
This difficult Spartan Race obstacle is a 15-foot tall wall angled at 45 degrees that is slippery with mud and water. There is a cable to help you scale the wall, but if you fail to do so, you are subject to the normal penalty of 30 burpees.
This is a metallic triangular structure that is about 15 feet tall. You must climb over and bring a bow to the other side and then go back.
This common Spartan Race obstacle is essentially the same as monkey bars, but the holes are usually rings, ropes, nuts, or nunchucks, and there is usually a wall on the other side to climb over.
The total distance is usually about 20 feet across, and your feet cannot touch the ground or the structure.
This is one of the most popular Spartan race obstacles. It involves throwing a spear and sticking it into a target that is about 20 to 30 feet away from you.
The spear is attached to a rope. If you miss the target, you have to pay the 30-burpee penalty.
Stairway to Sparta
This obstacle involves navigating a stairway that is about an 8-foot wall with different steps to help you climb to the top.
Very rarely, some Spartan races will involve some type of deep-water swimming.
This obstacle involves using a rope to swing across a pool of water to the other side.
This Spartan race obstacle involves flipping a heavy tractor tire that might weigh as much as 250 to 300 pounds. Although you get multiple attempts, you are subject to the penalty of 30 burpees should you fail.
One of the more common Spartan race obstacles is a tire pull or plate pull in which you must pull a heavy tire or plate (using a cable) that weighs about 70 or 100 pounds over a certain distance and then back to the starting point.
In this Spartan race obstacle, you drag a 30-pound cement block on a metal chain about 350 yards, or you receive a 30-burpee penalty.
The Traverse Wall or Z-Wall obstacles in Spartan races involve using your hands and feet to traverse a wall that is about 18 feet long and 8 feet high.
This is a 20-foot structure that is somewhat similar to monkey bars, except that the handles go lengthwise and are attached to a rotating pole. You only get one attempt at this obstacle.
This challenging Spartan race obstacle involves navigating about 20 feet across a rope that is above the water. You might be able to crawl along the rope or swim along it.
Vertical Cargo Net
This is one of the more common Spartan race obstacles and involves scaling a wall about 10 feet high that is made of a cargo net.
Almost every Spartan race has a wall jump that you must jump or climb over, or you are required to perform 30 burpees. The height of the wall is anywhere from 3 to 10 feet.
Some Spartan races have different water trenches, mud trenches, or snow trenches to navigate.
Which Spartan Race obstacles are most daunting for you?
For information on how to train properly for a Spartan race, check out our guide here.