Hobie Call’s Upper Body Challenge

All right, here’s the deal. I’ve heard hundreds of comments suggesting that I dominate obstacle racing simply because of my running skills. While being an exceptional runner is necessary, I contend that having phenomenal upper body stamina is also very important, and my training reflects that. I train legs 3 days a week and upper body 3 days a week. So, for those of you who think I’m just a skinny runner or anyone else looking to test their upper body stamina, I offer this challenge. Here is a portion of the upper body workout that I do, taken from my “How to train for obstacle course racing” DVD. Anyone who can do this work out, and keep pace with me, I will give $100.

Upper Body Challenge Official Rules:

  1. Weight vest must weigh 10 lbs. (Needs to be weighed on scale before you put it on)
  2. First round, 10 lb. dumbbells
  3. Second round, 15 lb. dumbbells
  4. Barbell weighs 55 lbs
  5. Challenge starts where I put the weight vest on, and ends where I take the vest off
  6. You must do the 1st and last pull-up in each set in a slow controlled manner as I do. As you can see, I don’t do strict dead hang pull-ups, but they definitely aren’t “crossfit” pull-ups either. Your arms must go straight when you go down, and chin above the bar when you go up
  7. Generally speaking, you must hold my pace throughout the whole workout. (Meaning that you do the workout as if we were doing it together. No getting more than a few reps ahead or behind)
  8. You must video the workout and post it on youtube for me to judge
  9. I have the final say on whether you completed the exercises properly or quickly enough. (It’s not my intent to be super strict, but if you’re obviously doing an exercise incorrectly or blatantly cheating, I have the right to reject your submission)
  10. This challenge starts on March 20th, 2012 and ends June 20th, 2012
  11. If 10 people manage to win the challenge, I have the right to end the challenge at that time to keep me from having to take out a loan to pay off the winnings


  1. Michael Braniff May 19, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    Hi Hobie, Congrats on your win in Texas. I will be doing my first spartan race this September , the beast in VT. I need a good start on my training. I would like to do 3 days upper body & 3 days of lower body. I like your workout from above. How many times a week should do this workout a week. Thank you

    • Hobie Call May 24, 2012 at 10:19 pm

      I train upper body 3X a week and lower 3X a week. I do that workout all 3 times. Although I don’t show the entire workout on the challenge. There are other great workouts you can do also if that one becomes boringly redundant. Also for some great lower body workouts, check out the VIP page of conqueranycourse.com

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