I like a few good challenges, something to make me work a little harder and push my limits a little further back. I love training, gradual but consistent increases in load and volume to get stronger every week, but sometimes you just want to see what you are capable of with this stronger body that you’ve made!
I’ve picked 5 challenges that I have tested myself with and that you can use to mix up training or test yourself with.
1. Dan Johns 310 lb deadlift challenge.
Really, brutally simple. Load the bar with 310 lbs (140kg), set a timer to 30 mins and see how many reps you can do.
My advice is pace yourself, it’s easy early on to get lulled into a false sense of security at how easy it feels and try to crunch out big sets, but trust me, that will come back to bite you in the ass! Last time I did this one I did 3-6 reps every minute then rested for the remainder of the minute. My total was 110 reps.
If you can’t comfortably lift 140kg for 10-12 reps, pick a weight that is around 65-70% of your 1 rep max.
2. Never ending pushups…
For bodyweight exercises you can’t go wrong with push ups. This challenge is simple. Start off standing up, then drop down and do a single pushup. Stand back up, then back down for 2 pushups, back up to standing and down again for 3 reps. Keep going, increasing the reps each set until you can’t get a full set out. And, no, you can’t have a long rest! Your “rest” is standing up and getting back down. No dawdling.
Short and sweet.
3. Front squat tabatas.
Shorter and sweeter than the pushup challenge, and by sweeter, I mean more brutal.
Tabata, in this case, refers to the 8 rounds of 20 seconds of work/ 10 secs of rest that you will use on this finisher, not the high-intensity protocol by Professor Izumi Tabata, although the intensity is definitely there!
Like the rest of these challenges, this is brutally simple. Load the bar, front squat for 20 secs, rack it and then 10 secs later, do another 20 secs. Repeat for 8 rounds.
Rules: aim for a minimum of 8 reps per 20 secs of work. And 10 secs rest means you unrack the bar after 10 seconds, not you start your elaborate setup after 10 secs and squat for maybe 15 secs! Be accurate with the timings or you aren’t really doing the challenge!
Oh, and go light, 40 kg is enough! If that is too much this works great with the goblet squat too.
4. Bodyweight for reps.
5 exercises, bodyweight load, as many reps as you can!
Load a bar with your bodyweight, then perform as many of the following as you can in 1 set of each in any order you want:
Perform a good warm up, then a warm-up set of 5-8 reps with 50% of your load, then another of 3-4 with about 80% of your load. Then go for it. Maximum rest time between exercises is 5 minutes.
Loading: Guys body weight for all exercises, ladies half bodyweight for the bench, full pull ups or 2/3 bodyweight, full bodyweight for everything else.
5. Farmers carry for distance.
5 mins, 40% of bodyweight (or as heavy as you can go) in each hand, then walk as far as you can! Not much else to say about this one. You can do laps or lengths of your gym. Or if you can get outside, walk as far as you can in 2 1/2 mins, then turn around and come back.
It’s simple, just pick em up and walk!
Have fun and let me know how you get on!