Using Obstacles to Improve Workouts

There are plenty of obstacles in our everyday life as well as in regards to our fitness lifestyle. Roadblocks and barriers are lurking around every corner trying to prevent us from reaching our goals. It may be fast food, or sweets, or TV, or anything else distracting us from what it takes to reach our destination. But are there other forms of obstacles that we can use to our advantage?

In the gym environment, think of objects like agility boxes or sports hurdles. Outside of the gym can open an even larger spectrum. Think about lakes, rivers, fallen trees, benches, or hills. All of which can be used as an obstacle to increase the intensity of our exercise and help us maximize our workout so that we may avoid those detours we spoke about earlier.

Agility Box

Most of our local gyms have some agility or plyometric box. They can be used for a multitude of exercises such as step ups, squats or a more dynamic box jump. Using them as obstacles to incorporate dynamic movements like high knees or quick agility box step up, and overs can help elevate our heart rate while keeping our exercise plan fresh and exciting.


Depending on the height of the hurdles we can get our hands on, both dynamic and static exercises can be accomplished. Using them to encourage explosive movements either up or laterally as well as speed and quick reactions can give our workouts a different spin. Also using track hurdles that we can squat and duck under or slowly lift our legs and stretch over the top can be great additions to our stretching routines.


For those who have spent any time trail running, you know all about nature’s obstacles. If you have not experimented with trail running and are interested in a new take on running outside, be on the lookout for fallen trees throughout your run. These can provide a valuable break up to standard running and allow us to keep a dynamic aspect to our run by exploding up and over fallen trees.


Using another one of nature’s obstacles, hills, can provide extra resistance and increase the intensity of our training. Hill running can also increase the focus on different aspects of our lower body muscles, some that may get overlooked during a typical leg day. Going from flat to incline, to decline to flat and so on can create a nice interval training session that can help burn a large sum of calories.


We do not have to be triathlon runners to incorporate bodies of water as obstacles into our exercise. Outside of the obvious change in environment, the water can change the resistance to increase the intensity of the exercise. Also incorporating swimming while running will target different muscle groups and create a full body burn that can produce some serious results.

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