Obstacle Tips And Techniques

The Dragons Back


The Obstacle

The Dragon's Back has risen quickly in popularity the last couple years, first coming to prominence in the Toughest race series as well as the OCR World Championships.

It typically consists of 4 or 5 raised platforms, about 2-3 metres high, and a few metres apart.  The participant must climb up the first ramp, and then jump between the next platforms, making use of the horizontal bar to grab on.

It's an obstacle that requires mental fortitude rather than strength or athleticism.  You'll often see participants stuck on the first platform, paralysed with fear, unable to jump.

Key Skills

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Overall Difficulty

Tips & Techniques

1. Focus on the next bar

Don't look down, don't think about what might happen if you fall, don't worry about the person next to you.  All you want to focus on and think about is the horizontal bar of the next platform.

2. Cat Leap

When you're ready, a nice and easy two footed standing jump is all that is required.  The movement and technique you are looking for is a "Cat Leap" - a staple move from parkour / freerunning.

If you want more info about learning how to do a cat leap, check out this video.

3. Keep focus and lift your knees

Once you're in the air, keep your focus on the bar and reach out your hands to grab it.  Begin to lift your knees in order to get your legs and feet back underneath your body.  This is so that you can land feet first, and remove the risk of slamming your body or legs into the ramp.

4. Finish the Cat Leap

The finish for the cat leap is to land with your feet on the ramp at the same time as (or very slightly before) grabbing the bar.  This is so that you can absorb the force of the jump with your lower body.

You also end up in a nice and secure cat hang, making it easy and quick to climb up on to the next platform.

Exercises & Training

If you can practice cat leaps somewhere, then great.  However, ultimately there are no specific training exercises I would say are necessary for this obstacle.  It's mostly all mental, and hopefully the tips above will encourage you enough to confidently make the first leap.