There's a tired metaphor that we almost started this article with:
“Life is a series of challenges, we all have our walls to get over… “
blah, blah, blah – duh!
You're here because you're not the type of individual to be penned in by 4 walls, a cubicle or stopped by anyone telling you that you can't do something. Instead, you search for obstacles just so you can conquer them: ropes, cargo nets, bars, mud pits… and of course, walls!
Obstacle Races and Mud Runs are famous for their strategic use of walls – from the Berlin Walls of Tough Mudder to the Immense Fence at VictoryQuest – there are so many different varieties and you'll need to develop your plan of attack differently for each. In this tutorial Brett Stewart from 7 Weeks to Fitness will describe and demonstrate in photos on an 8-foot wall (normally, the largest you'd have to deal with on a course) and then Doug Barry from VictoryQuest will give a video lesson on an 6′ version. With a “fixed span” wall, the plan is the same no matter the size (as long as you can jump up and reach the top!) and the whole goal is getting over in the fastest, easiest manner and continuing the race.
The PRO Method
The fastest, easiest way to get over a wall is to jump straight up and grasp the top of the wall with both hands, pull your waist up to the top of the wall, place your belly on the wall and spin 180 degrees to swing your legs over to the other side and continue to hold the wall as you lower yourself on the back side.
Sounds easy, right? Here it is step-by-step:
Can't jump up and reach the top of the wall? Not able to pull your waist up to the top? No worry – you can use the entire obstacle to get you over the top. Many walls have a “safety step” to give you a boost so you can reach the top and nearly every wall has braces or supports along the side on an angle that you can grab on to. Is it “cheating” to use these? NO! These things are called obstacles or a reason; it's up to you to figure out how to get over 'em and it's smart to use all the methods that are available to you!
Before you attack the wall, walk up and scope out the hand/foot positions you plan on using. The method of getting over the wall is very similar to the “PRO” description and photos, you'll just be starting with different hand & foot positions before you get your hands up top.
Approach the wall with some momentum (not a sprint, but enough speed that you can transfer your momentum upwards) and place your foot securely on the safety step or the support and push off to get your hands on top of the wall (you can also start with a push-up from a friend!). Once you have your hands firmly on the top of the wall, use your momentum to get your waist up to the top of the wall and place your belly on top. Keeping your hands on top of the wall, spin 180 degrees and get your feet on the opposite side of the wall. Some folks “throw” their feet over, but whatever method you use it is important that you stay low on the wall and stable with both hands holding firmly grasping the wall. Do NOT stand up or place your feet on top of the wall, the higher your center of gravity is up there the less stable you are. Once you've rotated your feet to the other side, keep your hands on the wall and lower yourself down to your feet slowly.
There, you did it!
Here, Doug Barry from VictoryQuest talks through and shows you proper technique: