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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

An obstacle course is a series of challenging physical obstacles an individual or team must navigate usually while being timed. Obstacle courses can include running, climbing, jumping, crawling and balancing elements with the aim of testing endurance; sometimes a course involves mental tests.


Types of courses



Military training exercise at Camp Edwards, Massachusetts, circa 1942. Soldiers climb a five foot tall fence in an obstacle course. Par for the course is 3.5 minutes.

The military obstacle course is used (mostly in recruit training) as a way to familiarize recruits with the kind of tactical movement they will use in combat, as well as for physical training, building teamwork, and evaluating problem solving skills. Typical courses involve obstacles the participants must climb over, crawl under, balance, hang, jump, etc. Puddles of muddy water, ropes/nets, and "no touch" restrictions are often used to make the course more difficult. They tend to be outdoors. Often, specialized courses are made to focus on specific needs, such as night movement, assault, and bayonet training. Military courses can also contain climbing walls and rappelling walls.

At the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario, officer cadets in first year participate in an obstacle course, which is designed by senior cadets. The obstacle course lasts a little over an hour, consists of thirteen obstacles built by each squadron located around the RMC grounds. Obstacles such as a 12-foot wall and truck pulling are designed to test teamwork and physical fitness of First Years. The First Year flights are judged on the time it takes to complete each obstacle. The annual obstacle course race is memorialized by a sculpture by John Boxtel, "To Overcome", which was a gift of the class of 1991. Officer Cadets in third year take a physical education courses Obstacle Course and Water Borne Training. In the Obstacle course, cadets design obstacles with the available equipment and are evaluated on their leadership and innovation in the design of an obstacle course for their classmates. In the Water Borne training, cadets learn about aquatic obstacle courses training and improve their basic swimming skills.[1]

Obstacle-course training at the Royal Military College of Canada circa 1917


At the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY, Cadets must take and pass the Indoor Obstacle Course Test (IOCT). The test consists of 11 obstacles that must be navigated sequentially and is a vigorous test of total body fitness and high intensity cardio-vascular capacity.[2] First year Cadets take the IOCT as part of mandatory gymnastics training, while Third Year Cadets must pass the IOCT as a stand-alone test of fitness.


Fort Pickett, VA "stairs" obstacle

Inflatable (air filled) obstacle courses can have participants go through a variety of areas like the Bish Bash, a tall loose structure to push or wade through, nets to crawl under, walls to climb over and holes to jump through. Some larger inflatables have even more areas.


An assault obstacle course can be done inside or outside. The outside course is usually messy and filled with mud and muddy water. An inside course is similar to an inflatable course, but it is used in physical education lessons or holiday camps, using gym equipment or whatever is at hand.


Crufts is a dog show in the UK and includes a competitive category for agility. (See also: dog agility)

Popular culture

  • The Superstars featured an obstacle course, usually featured as the final event.
  • Battle of the Network Stars featured an obstacle course as one of its many events.
  • Survivor makes extensive use of obstacle courses for their challenges.
  • Gladiators had an indoor obstacle course called "The Eliminator" at the end of each episode.
  • The Peruvian children's series Nubeluz featured a mini-obstacle course called "El Circuito Glufico" as one of its many games in rotation.
  • Viking: The Ultimate Obstacle Course is a Japanese endurance game show.
  • Show jumping is an obstacle course for horse riding.
  • Nickelodeon's Double Dare bonus round is an obstacle course.
  • Sasuke (TV series), otherwise known as Ninja Warrior, is a Japanese obstacle course show aired on G4.
  • On an episode of Total Drama Island, the campers build bikes and then use them to compete in an obstacle course.
  • The Nickelodeon TV show GUTS used obstacle courses for most of their challenges, including the final, the Aggro Crag.
  • The Disney Channel Games use obstacle courses often to determine the winner of their weekly competitions.
  • The show Wipeout on ABC revolves around the objective of completing obstacle courses.


  1. ^ Athletics Department - Royal Military College of Canada
  2. ^

See also


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