How to Slay a Beast!

Published 09/26/2014

Spartan Beast was one of the most hardcore badass events I’ve ever done!  If you want to read about how tough it was, check out this gal’s review.

I’m going about this in a different way.  I know I talk about MovNat a lot, but I have to highlight it again.  I saw so many people struggle with obstacles that I found relatively easy; and not just because of strength, but also skill and strategy.

So how do you dominate a super badass hardcore event?  The short answer is learn MovNat!  For a detailed breakdown, keep reading…

I’d argue that to survive an event like this, the most important tool you need is mental grit.  For a primer on that, check out this article.

On the non-physical side, important principles to bring with you are awareness and efficiency.  I bet there were hundreds of sprained ankles on the course (my cousin’s included) from the sketchy terrain.  There were probably thousands of crampy/spasmy muscles from lack of efficiency, improper pacing and/or nutrition strategy.

On the physical side, trail running and hill climbing/descending (often overlooked but a huge part of our Tough Mudder Training) are the most important skills to have.  If you are a mule or a gazelle then you’ll be fine.  If you’re also part monkey, then you’ll get to avoid burpees!  Below is the list of MovNat skills that I used on this EPIC course.  I highly recommend checking out their YouTube channel and practicing these skills!

  • Efficient running uphill and downhill (aka trotting).
  • Perception walking – used in thick mud, or when wading through water to avoid slips, falls, foot entrapment, etc.
  • Hinged walk, stepping over, ducking under – used to deal with fallen trees in the woods.
  • Inverted crawl and tripod transitions – used in the rocky, muddy downhill sections of the trails.
  • Shoulder crawl and push-pull crawl for going under barbed wire/nets/etc.
  • Deadlift, lapping, and shouldering – sets you up for carrying, switching shoulders, and lapping gives your arms a break instead of putting the object on the ground.
  • Chest carry and shoulder carry – it’d be impossible to do “too much carrying” in your training for this event.  Use the interlock grip and wrist grip whenever possible.
  • Side stroke swimming – freestyle/crawling is tough with a hydration pack and doggy-paddling looks silly.
  • Front and lateral swing traverse – when you can’t/don’t need to power through and you have a sold grip (i.e. rings, pipe traverse, tarzan swing).
  • Front and lateral power traverse – used at monkey bars, pipe traverse, and a little on the tarzan swing.
  • Balancing walk and leg swing jumps at balance obstacles
  • Climbup and muscle up – used on the walls and cargo nets
  • Depth jumps – used to land safely from the walls
  • Spear throw
  • Hook traverse – used on the rope over the pond.
  • Backward sprawls are way better than burpees!

Other Skills used:

  • Tootsie rolls (that’s what we call the lateral roll under the barbed wire).
  • Rope climbing – if you have a strong grip, you can get away with a little inefficiency.

Overall, I’m very happy with how I performed at the Beast!  My goal was to have fun and do zero burpees.  I definitely had a blast!  In fact, I’m still high!  Unfortunately I came up short on the 2nd spear throw…burpee total = 35 (5 were mandatory at the Atlas Stone carry).

Here’s what slaying the Beast looks like from a GoPro:


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