Skip to main content
« What are Shin Splints and how can you avoid them? Why Are Glutes So Important To Runners? »

Should there be different Obstacles for Men and Women?

Categories: Exercise

This is often a hot topic in the OCR world and like anything there are pros and cons for everything.

I've had this chat with many of my clients and some race directors and as always opinions differ.

Women and Men are physiologically different, height, size and strength will always play a part in how you tackle your training and therefore how you approach the obstacles.

Now it wouldn't be the first time to have men and women taking part in different events in the same sport, take gymnastics for example, the same sport yet the different sexes take part in different events on the same stage. Or in athletics, women compete in the Heptathlon and men the Decathlon. Now you wouldn't say that Jessica Ennis Hill isn't strong or lacks the technique to take part in multiple events.

So could the same happen in  OCR?

I have coached men and women to improve their fitness for the events and there is always a mix in ability. I have found those that are able to grasp the technique of an obstacle always do much better than those that reply on brute strength to get themselves over and more often than not have less bruises and recover quicker for the next obstacle.

The biggest factor talking to most people is height.

And this comes for both men and women. If you are smaller you are always going to struggle when it comes to tall rigs and giant walls over somebody who is much bigger than you, purely because their reach is going to be greater. Therefore should there be an alternative obstacle or a box to start on initially for those who are under a certain height?

Most recently at Tough Mudder on their massive 10-12ft walls, I have seen guys who were 6ft + and have a massive height advantage to me struggle to get over the wall on their own, but knowing the techniques and tricks to get over the walls I got over and so did my clients. which goes back to its technique and training over height.

But you could say so many obstacles also test your mind, and it isn't about strength and the size of you. I have seen people frozen with fear at the top of a dragons back as they are attempting to make the small step which seems like a leap of a massive crater when your'e standing at the top.

Events are set to be challenging, which is why so many of us love the sport.

My final thoughts are anybody can get stronger with the right training and learn how to get the right techniques to tackle each obstacle, but to get things equal maybe there should be an option for you to sign on your entry to a race saying you want to us a height box at certain obstacles and wear a band to highlight this to the marshals so we are still differentiating the race for everybody to get the most out of it.


Gemma 'men vs. women' Spackman

PS. What are your thoughts on this, do you think there should be different obstacles for men and women to take part in?