PUSH UP CHALLENGE:
Push ups are one of the most effective body weight exercises you can do. I set up a 40 day push up challenge where you do 100 push ups a day/ 6 days a week for 40 days. Watch this short video to get some tips about getting started with the push up challenge: Tips to get started
I demonstrate several different “flavors” of push ups in a video you can see here – Push Up Variations just in case standard push ups are too easy or become boring for you.
I was amazed at how much stronger I became from just this one exercise done consistently over 6 weeks or so. To make the challenge more interesting, I recommend doing a 1 minute test on the first day of the challenge so you can see where you are at. Record how many push ups you did in 1 minute, then test again at the end of the challenge. You will be impressed with your improved performance. Watch this video to learn more about how to make your push ups legit. Proper form is important! Bad Form Push Ups
Another test to try is the 15 minute push up test. This will exhaust you entirely, I promise! I did this about 30 days into the test thinking I could do more that I actually did. Try this and see how it goes for you!
PROGRESSIVE PLANK CHALLENGE:
To follow up the great core workout that push ups give you, I’ve added this 4 week progressive plank program to really firm up your mid-section. Your core is the powerhouse of pretty much everything you do, so it is really important to keep your core strong. Having a strong core protects against many common back issues we get as we age. If you are a runner, biker, swimmer, golfer, weight lifter… OK pretty much everyone can benefit from this series of exercises. The beautiful part is that this only takes a few minutes a day to get you results.
This is set up to do 5-6 days a week. Take a rest day. Since it only takes a few minutes, I encourage people to try “habit stacking” with this program. Simply “stack” this workout on top of something else you do everyday so you won’t forget to do it. For me, I like to plank after I brush my teeth in the morning. Since I brush every morning, I can easily associate the planks with brushing teeth to help me form the new healthy habit.
Progressive Plank Week 1 demo video is HERE.
This week is the introduction to basic plank holds with modifiers to make it easier for beginners and variations to add difficulty when you are ready for it. Target 30 seconds for each move, then transition to the next one with only a short rest in between. You may choose to add 30 seconds of push ups in between planks to enhance the workout.
Week 1 Set includes: Low Plank Hold; L Side Plank Hold; R Side Plank Hold; Low Plank to High Plank; L Side Plank Dips; R Side Plank Dips
Demo video: Progressive Plank Week 2
Adding variety and difficulty to the plank moves this week. Don’t fret if it takes you more than 1 week to advance to these moves. Planking is hard. Use the modifiers, or shorten the time for each move if you need. Make it YOUR challenge. I recommend keeping track of your effort somehow, so you can see your progress over time.
Week 2 Set includes: Low Plank Dolphin; Low Plank Spiderman; Mountain Climber; Low Plank Hip Twister; L Side Plank Knee to Elbow; R Side Plank Knee to Elbow; Cross Climbers
Demo video: Progressive Plank Week 3
This week we do some back exercises, because your core includes the back and front. You will note that I am not a pro at these more advanced moves, as I am a work in progress just like you. I will tell you that I can tell my core is WAY stronger than it used to be. If you sit at a computer desk all day like I do, you need to do core work to save your back. Plank on!
Week 3 Set includes: Floor Bridge; L Side Bird Dog Plank; R Side Bird Dog Plank; Low Plank Jacks; Superman; L Side Bird Dog Knee to Elbow; R Side Bird Dog Knee to Elbow; Low Plank Hop
Demo video: Progressive Plank Week 4
Last set of the program. These are challenging. Feel free to add time to each move, or repeat the set when you are ready. Feel like a BOSS? Do all 4 weeks in one workout. That will surely smoke your core!
Week 4 Set includes: L Side Plank Leg Raise; R Side Plank Leg Raise; Plank Walks; Reverse Plank; Water Bug; Mission Impossible
SQUAT & BURPEE CHALLENGE:
This next progression combines the work from the plank and push up challenges above. Since your largest muscles are in your lower 1/2, you get the greatest calorie burn and keep your internal furnace running hot when you work your legs. Like the previous workouts, these sets can be combined with planks & push ups, some other workout like swimming, running, On Demand Videos, or as a stand alone full body workout if you choose enough reps and sets to make you want to cry, “Uncle!”
In the first Squat & Burpee Demo Video, I demonstrate the following moves:
Squats: Standard body weight squats (add weighs); Prisoner squats (hands behind head to challenge balance); and Sumo squats (legs wide, toes pointed out)
Burpees: Basic burpee with chair modification; add a push up; add jump variations (180 spin jump, long jump, tuck jump)
Once you are comfortable with these moves, you can progress to a series of more challenging variations demonstrated HERE.
Squats: Single leg squat (add weights); Split squats or Lunges (add weights); and Pistol squats.
Burpees: Plank jack burpee; Burpee roll; Pendulum burpee
Here is a generic 3 week plan for this challenge. Trust me, it is plenty hard!
TEAM QUADZILLA PAPER PLATE WORKOUT
Inspired by the moves I learned in Beachbody’s 80 Day Obsession program, I’ve compiled a 20 minute full body workout you can do in your living room with a pair of paper plates. Don’t laugh. It’s challenging. Give it a try and let me know what you think of it. View the workout here.
LIIFT4 sample workout – Lift weights, HIIT, repeat. 30 mins. Total body workout. You need some dumbbells or resistance bands.