Obstacle Rules

Spartan Race obstacles strike fear into the hearts of many who battle with the course. Race after race, our obstacles continue to taunt even the most seasoned racers. Take the Rope Climb, for example. If you don’t have the upper body strength, or know how to employ hook holds with your feet, it may be 30 burpees for you. Another obstacle racers love to hate is the Spear Throw. How many times have you seen people fail this obstacle, while others make it look so effortless?

Many obstacles will confront you on your path to Spartan victory, and it is here that we will begin to introduce you some of our signature ones, and what you can do to prepare for them.

Standard Obstacle Specific Rules/Instructions:

General Instructions

It is the responsibility of each racer to know and understand the rules for the event and for each specific obstacle. If you do not understand a specific rule it is up to you to ask the race director or volunteer at the obstacle before attempting to complete it.
Race rules can be modified any time depends on country, type of race, amount of racers, weather and season.
Specific instructions of the most common used obstacles can be seen on right side of this web page. Complete Manual can be downloaded here.

Verbal Instructions

Instructions given verbally during pre-race briefing by the Race Director, given verbally at a specific obstacle, or in written-event specific instructions, take precedence over rules below. Some obstacles may, at certain events, be modified to be more challenging or have variations in their proper execution. Instructions given at the obstacle must be followed. It is quite common for a obstacle to have modified instructions for various environmental, logistical or creative reasons.

Definition of obstacles

The obstacles of the Spartan Race are divided by three different criteria.

1. The first criterion of dividing obstacles is by necessity. Here, obstacles are divided into two basic groups: mandatory and non-mandatory/optional.

2. The second criterion of dividing of obstacles is the number of attempts to complete them. Here we break the obstacles to the obstacles that are just one attempt, or the obstacles that can be overcome by more attempts.

3. The third criterion according to which we divide the obstacles is the possibility to use help. Here are two sets of obstacles. One group creates obstacles that must be overcome without help, ie each competitor himself and the other group create obstacles on which competitors can help each other. Here is one exception. Elite and Age Group runners can not help at all.

Mandatory obstacles can be completed:
• for any number of attempts
• without any time limit
• without possibility to take a penalty
• if the competitor did not finish the obstacle, he must repeat it
• if a competitor is unable to complete the obstacle, he must return the chip and is disqualified

Examples of mandatory obstacles include, but are not limited to:
Tire Carry
Sand Bag Carry
Log Carry
Chain Carry
Bucket Carry
Carry of other weights
Tractor pull = concrete, metal, wood or other weights
Barbed Wire Crawl
Rolling Mud
Fire Jump
Water Pits
Spider Web
Farmers Carry
Jump Rope
Push Ups
Box Jumps
Jerry Can Carry
Weighted Low Crawl
Lily Pads
Cliff Climb
Cargo NEt Ground Crawl
Dunk Wall

Non-mandatory, Optional obstacles

Each obstacle must be attempt to be completed. This means runner must at least to touch the obstacle, to pass through water or heavy terrain before the practice of penalty begins.

The only exception where it is unnecessary to touch the obstacle to the practice is the obstacle Swimming. Here the non-swimmers notifies the Obstacle volunteer that they can not / can not swim and receive a penalty.
Some optional obstacles have only one attempt to conquer.

• usually with one attempt only
• without any time limit
• with possibility to take a penalty
• if the competitor did not finish the obstacle, he must take penalty
• usually obstacles where help is not allowed

List of non-mandatory obstacles:
In this category are included all obstacles which are not on the list of mandatory obstacles.
Monkey Bar/ T-bar
Log Hop
Traverse Wall/ “Z” Traverse Wall
Tyrolean Traverse
Slip and Slide
Memorization test
Dip Walk
Ball throw
Slack line
Tarzan Swing
Spartan Ladder
Ape Hanger

Help on the obstacles

For all Open Heats some obstacles can be complete with help of other runners and some obstacles not and must be completed individually. Elite and Age Group racers are not allowed to help each other to complete obstacles.

List of obstacles where you can get or provide help among runners:
Slippery Wall
Reverse Wall
Rolling mud
Walls all hights
Cargo Net

List of obstacles where you can not get or provide help:
Traverse wall
Monkey bar
T bar
Multi rig
Hercules hoist
Atlas carry
Slack Line
Rope climb
Log hop
Bucket carry
Tractor pull
Sand bag carry
Spear man

Number of attempts

All obstacles must be attempted. An “attempt” is defined, at a minimum, as touching the obstacle. In some cases this
may involve entering water (rope climb) or other challenging terrain to get to the obstacle itself.
Some obstacles can be attempted with no limit to be completed (slippery wall, other walls). If an runner try more attempts than once, may not prevent another incoming competitors to overcome. Some obstacles have allowed just one attempt (spear man, traverse wall).

The only exception for not doing any attempt is swimming obstacle. In this case non-swimmers must report to obstacle referee they are not able to swim and they will get special amount of burpees. Non-swimmers will get definitely more then 30 burpees.

Obstacles with one attempt:
• such obstacles can be completed just with one attempt
• if you do not complete obstacle you have to do penalty 30 burpees
• Once you have started, you must complete or follow the penalty

Monkey Bar/ T-bar
Spear Throw
Log Hop
Traverse Wall/ “Z” Traverse Wall
Tyrolean Traverse
Slip and Slide
Memory Test
Dip Walk
Ball throw
Slack Line
Tarzan Swing
Spartan Ladder
Ape Hanger
Pipe Lair
Monkey in the middle
Low Rider

Obstacles with multi play attempts:
• these obstacles can be completed by the competitor more than once until the obstacle is completed
• if a competitor has difficulty trying multiple times, he must not prevent any other incoming runners from being overtaken

Walls all hights
Inverted Wall
Atlas Carry
Tire or Log Flip
Plate Drag
Spartan Sled
Rolling mud, Trenches
Over – Under – Through
Slip Wall
A-Frame Cargo
Vertical Cargo
Dunk Wall
Stairway to Sparta
Fire Jump
Hercules Hoist
Rope Climb
Air Bike
Hay Wall
Spartan Columns
Slam Balls
Irish Table
Weighted Burpee
Spartan Ladder
Box Jumps
Jump Rope
Push Ups

Burpee Zone

Obstacles may have a “Burpee Zone or Burpee Area.” Athletes are required to complete their penalty burpees within the designated zone or area, as burpees are monitored by Course Officials and/or video cameras. Course officials will review video to ensure proper form is used and the athlete has completed the burpee penalty. Burpee zones are there for safety and to allow for athlete flow on course. Blocking another athlete’s progress by doing penalty burpees in an athlete’s path falls under the rules of “unsportsmanlike conduct.”

Camera Review

Camera review can change the outcome of the race, and results are not final until camera review and field officials have approved the results and assessed penalties.

Spartan Burpee Definition

A burpee consists of a two components. At the “bottom” of the burpee, the body and legs are straight and parallel to the ground, with a full push-up with chest touching the ground. At the “top” of the burpee the body and legs are straight and perpendicular to the ground, with hands above head, and a jump with feet leaving the ground. Detailed info how to perform proper Burpees can be read here.