Exercises to overcome the Wall of Fame


We are fast approaching the final two ‘Survival of the Fittest’ rat races, where some of our fastest and fittest from around the country will be jumping over water, industrial zones, containers and nets in the UK’s most exciting 10k adventure race series.

The 7th of October will see racers hit the tarmac in Nottingham, whilst 28th of October promises to be ‘the muddy one’ on the streets of Manchester.

In fact, Survival of the Fittest is open to anyone of any age - whether you’re a regular gym bunny, or a workout novice.

The course consists of a range of urban landscape inspired obstacles over a distance of 10k, ending at the ‘Wall of Fame’ - often considered to be the most difficult obstacle. So with that in mind, we thought we would give you a head start on what to expect from the gruelling end of the race, and how best to prepare for it.

Why is the Wall of Fame so notorious?

Standing at a sheer 8 foot tall, blocking your clear route to the finish, The Wall of Fame can be pretty daunting. Fighting exhaustion as you tackle the last slog before the finish line, the wall appears, so how are you going to get over it?

Step 1: Ask for a leg up!

There are no hard and fast rules about how you get over the wall, so one of the easier ways to get over that final hurdle is to ask someone to help you out! You can either plan this with a race partner beforehand, or hope that one of your fellow runners will help you out when the time comes. (Just remember to ask nicely or offer when you see someone struggling!)

Step 2: Pull yourself over!

Once you’ve got your new friend to lift you in a position where you can reach the top, you have to pull yourself over. At 8 foot tall, you’re going to need to pull yourself up the wall from a hanging position. This is going to take strength in your arms, and power in your legs. You will also need to grip onto the lip on the far side of the wall to give you the hook to haul yourself over - this takes strength in your fingers.

When training try some of these exercises to give you that ‘edge’ over the other racers, and make sure you catapult over that wall with grace and finesse.

Exercise 1: Squat Pull Ups

Building:  Strength in arms

Reason: Pulling your entire bodyweight up an 8 foot wall isn’t going to be easy! Give yourself an advantage by practicing at home or in the gym. Building strength in your arms to lift yourself effortlessly over that wall when the time comes.


  • Train with a bar at least a metre above your head
  • Start in a full squat position
  • Jump up to catch the bar palms facing away
  • Pull yourself up

Pro Tip: To build further strength, lower yourself back down to the count of 8. Repeat 8 times for one set. This increases your overall pull up strength.

Exercise 2: Endurance Training

Building: Stamina and strength in the legs

Reason: Whilst the obstacles themselves can be difficult to conquer, it is stamina you’re going to need to make that final push over the wall and run to victory. You can start building up your stamina in the months or weeks leading up to the event, so when fellow runners are collapsing in heaps next to you, you’ve got it in you to run that extra mile (or 100 metres).

Technique :

  1. Combine Strength and Cardio: Focus on building strength, especially in the legs. Rather than focusing on cardio-only workouts, make sure that you build strength days into your training. Building strength in your legs will give you the power you need to propel you towards the finish line, and the propulsion you need to clamber over that infamous wall.

Exercise: Bench press for 15 reps – Pull ups 15 reps – Run for 1 Mile.

  1. Compound Movements Reducing time between sets: The goal when building endurance is to slowly reduce your resting interval time between sets. Start by giving yourself 90 seconds resting and then bring it down slowly to 30, or increase the number of sets you do before resting. Compound exercises such as pull ups, push ups, squats and sit ups are perfect for building strength.

Exercise: 10 pull ups – 10 squats  - 10 push ups  - 10 sit ups x 3 rounds with a 30-90 second break, then repeat.

With 4 weeks still left before the Survival of the Fittest Manchester event, there’s still plenty of time to build up the stamina ready to tackle the Barracks, Waterworks, Washing Machine, and make that final leap of glory over the Wall of Fame. Happy Racing!


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