After all these years working out, I’ve clocked in countless hours in the gym and pounding the pavement. Bodybuilding splits, CrossFit, bodyweight, calisthenics, intervals, whatever… I’ve done it all.
While I’ve learned from personal experience (and professionals in the industry telling me) feeling sore the next day or two doesn’t mean you’re going to build muscle. And beating yourself into a pulp day in and day out isn’t necessarily the answer to weight loss.
But there is one thing that a good ol’ asskickin’ in the gym will teach you, and that’s to push yourself to the limit. You’ll break those mental barriers, and go places with your body you didn’t believe you ever could.
Everyone needs a challenge and a test. Everyone should find where their baseline is. It sets up you up for the future. Soon enough, you won’t get those stomach aches any more, you’ll be able to get a couple more reps, you can go a few minutes longer, etc.
Personally, these are the 5 workouts that will probably stick in my mind forever. They taught me to keep going.
If you’re new to working out and are considering a try, take them slow and go at your own pace. Any type of workout that demands the body to go to failure and beyond greatly increases the risk of injury. I’m not a certified personal trainer. Go balls to the wall at your own risk.
The 15-Minute AMRAP at CrossFit Miami Beach
A bunch of a made a trip down to South Beach for some coverage of a volleyball event with Men’s Fitness. We met up with Nate Forester, a CrossFit competitor and box owner. At 5AM in the morning we decided to try 5 deadlifts at 135 lbs, 5 strict pull ups, 5 push presses at 135, and 5 toes-to-bar. We needed to complete as many rounds as possible within 15-minutes.
The Deadly Duo
The squat and the deadlift are probably the two most taxing exercises on the body. Now try super setting (one after another with no rest) them. The goal was to complete 10 repetitions of squats at 225 lbs. and 10 repetitions of deadlifts at 225 lbs for 10 rounds as fast as possible. Me and my training parter at the time felt like death.
A Muscle Run
Once the spring and summer rolls around I liked to take my workouts outside. I hated just running so decided to add some bodyweight exercises into the mix. I would make up workouts called Muscle Runs, this one in particular I referred to as The 5K and Chump Change. It was a bit longer than a traditional 5K (3.25 miles) because of the track/park I was running and where the stations were located. I would perform a total of 10 station stops with short jogs between stations. Each station was push ups x 10, pull ups x 10, kettle bell swings x 10, and toes to bar x 10.
The “Riot Bomb”
Back in the day when I first started one of my main resources for bodybuilding and fitness information was from a site called, abcbodybuilding.com. I learned a ton from those guys. One particular story I remember was about something called a “riot bomb”. Essentially you would superset two opposing body parts while laddering the reps up, then ladder them down. Let’s say barbell curls with barbell skull crushers. You’d complete 15 reps of each, then 14, then 13… all the way down to about 4 or 5 reps, then you’d work your way back up… 10 reps, 11 reps, 12 reps, etc. The pump was not only insane, but the next day you couldn’t move. They even warned to do this sparingly. To this day I’ll still practice the “riot bomb” but with other body parts such as a bench press and bent over row.
Never ending Leg Day
It was summer, it was hot, and it was leg day. How could you make leg day even more gnarly than it already is? Make it one big non-stop giant set. A giant set is essentially a huge circuit workout but you’re blasting the same body part.
Squats x 10, Leg press x 10, Walking lunges x 10, Single-leg squat x 10, Leg curl x 10, Leg extension x 10, and calf raises x failure.
Rest 60 seconds, repeat for 6 rounds.
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