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Vanessa Gebhardt’s Go-to Bodyweight Workout for OCR Training

When she's training for grueling endurance events, the adventure-racing champion often turns to the "Persephone" workout.

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Vanessa Gebhardt
Courtesy of Freeletics
Vanessa Gebhardt
Courtesy of Freeletics

Vanessa Gebhardt’s training is no joke. It couldn’t be, because participating in Spartan Ultras and Survival Runs is a taxing hobby that demands unique skillsets on top of nearly superhuman endurance. 

In fact, Survival Runs are her specialty. Whereas an obstacle-course race (OCR) typically features a familiar set of tasks—rope-climbing, monkey bars, and the like—Survival Runs feature a far greater range of challenges. At the Nicaragua 2018 Survival Run, Gebhardt had to tackle day-to-day tasks that Nicaraguan natives do every day, Gebhardt told M&F Hers—”things like climbing a coconut tree, chopping wood, or swimming through lakes.”

“That’s more exciting and adventurous for me, which is why I really like them and why you can’t really prepare, she says. “Of course, you can prepare by working on your fitness, but you can’t prepare for any special challenges because you never know what’s coming.”

And because of those random tasks, it’s especially important to be in the best shape possible come race day. Gebhardt does lots of bodyweight training, mobility work, and a fair amount of lifting and running to stay in top shape for whatever the next unexpected task may be.

“There’s not just one exercise that will prepare you for this, but the most important is always the burpee because you’ll use your whole body during the movement,” Gebhardt says. “You have to prepare your entire body, but the burpee is good for endurance, for strength, and also will help you with a lot of other tough exercises. Burpees are tough, and pushing through them will ensure that your mind is as prepared as your body.” 

One of Gebhardt’s go-to bodyweight workouts is from the Freeletics app, a training and nutrition app that focuses on bodyweight movement and HIIT training. Check it out below, and follow Vanessa on Instagram at @for_the_life_of_me to keep up with her latest training and races. 

 

Routine

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The Persephone Workout

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 1 of 3

Bodyweight Lunge

Equipment
Sets
--
Reps
30
Rest
--
Exercise 3 of 3

Leg Raise

Equipment
Bench
Sets
--
Reps
30
Rest
30 sec.
Exercise 4 of 3

Bodyweight Lunge

Equipment
Sets
--
Reps
20
Rest
--
Exercise 6 of 3

Leg Raise

Equipment
Bench
Sets
--
Reps
20
Rest
--
20 sec.
Exercise 7 of 3

Bodyweight Lunge

Equipment
Sets
--
Reps
10
Rest
--
Exercise 9 of 3

Leg Raise

Equipment
Bench
Sets
--
Reps
10
Rest
--
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