Alpha Warrior obstacle race
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Credit: Megan Nolan / Alpha Warrior

Alpha Warrior obstacle race

Tough Mudder, Spartan Race, and Warrior Dash are highly demanding challenges for the average informed athlete – someone who spends a lot of time on treadmills at the gym and knows the benefits of interval training, plyometrics, and proper rowing technique. But for those who live above the barbell and beneath the pull-up bar, there's the super-competitive and exclusive CrossFit Games or little else. Alpha Warrior aims to change that with a race targeting upper-body strength and all-or-nothing agility. Its motto: "No mud. No Miles. No Mercy." We can attest that it's anaerobic hell.

At the starting line, the difference between Alpha Warrior and your everyday mudder is clear: The racers are sculpted, muscled, and shaking out quadriceps that have seen the squat-rack far more than the dirt trail. 30 obstacles snake through a parking lot about the size of a football field; some of the cargo-netted constructions are several stories tall. But the distance to be covered is short and there's almost no running.

Upper-body strength, of course, is a requirement. The thick fields of swinging rings and vertically hanging monkey bars will tax your deltoids. And dragging your body over dozens of walls and through a three-story structure of tight cargo-net tunnels will make your lats scream.

The fire of your upper body will cool as you tap into your legs for a sprint and vault over 6-foot-high black barrels and a structure in which you bounce from platform to platform via trampolines. Our favorite obstacle also involved aerial acrobatics. The "spider wall" had us jumping from a platform onto a trampoline and into the air. At the zenith of the bounce, you must forcefully extend your arms and legs to "stick" in between two parallel walls. Suspending yourself with outward pressure, you jump forward and stick, jump forward and stick, until you reach the other side of a gap. It's as hard – and fun – as it sounds.

While the course was brutal, it was quick for us: about 14 minutes. However, according to Alpha Warrior, the average time for a general wave participant is 51 minutes. That may sound a bit short for the $75 price tag ($105 for the elite wave), but we realistically wouldn't have been able to handle a few more minutes – at least at the intensity with which we were moving. Overall, it was completely worth it.

More information: Check out alphawarrior.com over the coming weeks to see if Alpha Warrior will be arriving in your town. If so, we suggest you start training now.