On Wednesday of this week I signed up for an event called “Hell and Back Apollo”. It will take place on Sunday 26th June in Killruddery Estate, Bray, Co. Wicklow and I can’t wait.

HELL & BACK, Ireland’s Toughest Mental & Physical Endurance Challenge.

The HELL & BACK Apollo course will take in all of the varied natural obstacles that Killruddery Estate has to offer: Rivers, Mountains, Bogs, Parkland and Forests. HELL & BACK Apollo is a gruelling off-road 7 kilometre course along man-made trail runs and mountain paths. You have to progress over, under, around and through the infamous HELL & BACK obstacles, including the 2FM Wall, Hell on Earth, Satan’s Pit, Nightmare on Hell St and The Swamp – SOUNDS EASY Right?



I’ve decided to write a weekly Blog covering my training and the build up to the event, it’s been a very long time since I’ve had to train for something like this so I thought why not document my experience and also throw some accountability into the mix. Plus, my training hasn’t been very consistent over the past 5-6 months so it gives me a chance to set out my Physical and Mental goals.



The Main Goal is obviously to complete the course and also have an awesome time doing it. I am not looking to break any records but rather work on my entire body both Physically and Mentally throughout the 15 weeks of training, working on any weaknesses I may have (there are plenty as I have found out this week but more on that later). I also want to increase my strength, fitness, mobility, endurance and decrease my body fat percentage(this has been up and down like a Yo-Yo this past few years but it’s time to finally get a grip on it)

Body Fat% – 29.4% (This was 20.4% in October) – I did originally go from 34.4% at my worst point to 20.2% in a 4 month time gap so I know this won’t be an issue but it was the kick up the ass I needed.

Weight – 14 Stone 6lbs (This was 14 Stone in October)

Lean Mass – 70.6% (This was 79.6% in October)

So, overall I have put on 9% Body Fat from October however I have only added 6lbs in weight. I have lost a lot of lean mass therefore this tells me that since I have stopped strength training in October time my muscle mass has decreased at a rapid weight.

There may be a main goal to this event but there are now a lot of other goals to aim for also.

Anyway, Let’s get to it.



I started on Wednesday and had 5 Full Days of Training but I decided to use this week as the time to check for weaknesses and to see what I needed to work on (My eyes were seriously opened). I never thought for one second that my fitness level, mobility, strength and endurance levels would be as low as they are. It just proves that if I stop training for any period of time that these areas decrease at an alarming rate.


Wednesday 9th March

Morning Session – In Solitude Park Banbridge

3 Laps of the Park – Walking and Running when I felt able to do both – Total 2.1km

Step Work – 7 Laps of the Steps including Sprints, 2 Steps at a time, 3 Steps at a time, Box Jumps

10 Incline Push Ups, 10 Inverted Rows


Evening Session – Knowledge Fitness

Front Squats – 5×5 – 30kg

Military Press – 5×5 – 30kg

Clean – 5×5 – 30kg

Squat Bar Jumps – 1×10 – 30kg


Throughout the Day – Squat Holds, Handstand, Grounding and Meditating(Focusing mostly on my breathing)


Thursday 10th March

Morning Session – Banbridge Leisure Centre –

Swimming – 10 Laps of the Pool including 5 Front Crawl and 5 Breast Stroke


Evening Session – Primal Strength and Movement Lisburn

This was a 1hr Mobility Session basically testing all of my joints and muscles and to be honest this was the hardest, most painful, most eye opening session I’ve had for a very long time.


Throughout the Day – Squat Holds, Handstands


Friday 11th March

Morning Session – In Solitude Park Banbridge

3 Laps of the Park – Walking and Running when I felt able to do both, trying to run further – Total 2.1km

Step Work – 8 Laps of the Steps including Sprints, 2 Steps at a time, 3 Steps at a time, Box Jumps

15 Incline Push Ups, 11 Inverted Rows, 5 Dips, Lizard Walk, L Sit



Evening Session – Knowledge Fitness

Bent Over Row – 5×5 – 60kg

Clean and Press – 5×5 – 40kg

Band Pull Ups – 3xMax (5/4/4)

Cable Front Raise and Lat Raise Hold – 1xAs Long as possible

Chinese Push Ups – 1×10


Throughout the Day – Handstand


Saturday 12th March

Only Session – Solitude Park

Walk 3 Laps of the Park – Total 2.1km

16 Incline Push Ups, 12 Inverted Rows, 6 Dips, L Sit


Throughout the Day



Sunday 13th March 

Mountain Walk – Slieve Croob

30 Minutes Walking followed by Meditating at the top(once again focusing on breathing)



There you have it, My first week of training for Hell and Back.

This was possibly the best week that could of happened as I have realised that I have a lot of work to do and I now know what my weaknesses are. Mobility is the biggest challenge ahead but that is why I am Squat Holding everyday, working on Handstands/L Sits etc. Also I have always had a weak shoulder, that is why this will be the only Isolation style exercise that I will be doing. Everything else will be Compound Movements using multiple muscle groups.

Also there are a few exercises where I could have lifted heavier but I have decided to start at a lower weight in order to work on the movement properly and gradually progressing each week. There is no point in lifting huge weights if you can’t lift your body properly, this is the biggest piece of advice I have for myself and anyone else beginning to train.


Thanks very much much for reading this 1st Week of My Training for Hell and Back, I will be updating it every Monday right the way up to the event so make sure to stay tuned.


Lee Havern

PTI Co-Founder