My all new workout to keep you interested this week is one that I just came up with. The challenge basically boiled down to a contest with some of my training partners at the gym to figure out who could achieve the most bodyweight squats in 5 minutes. I should note that I mean REAL squats here, you must go all the way down to where your thighs are parallel to the ground, not the cheating squats where people only get halfway there.
Just keep at it doing as many squats as you can in the 5 minute time limit. Since you are on a time limit, you will only want to take a brief rest of a second or two before you start up again.
This idea appealed to me because it is an entirely different challenge than the normal plans of 3 sets of 10,5 sets of 5, then 7 sets of 3, etc. Whatever way you choose to break up your reps in a normal workout, you will generally find that you do 20-40 total reps.
I have found, however, that with the bodyweight squat challenge you may end up doing as many as 100 or more. Let me forewarn you. You are not lifting very high amounts of weight here, but you are doing a humongous number of repetitions really quickly so it will work you out. If you are not usually in the practice of doing volume based exercises, you will find that you are really sore for the next several days.
So, what was my outcome? The first time I attempted the challenge I managed to eek out 157 repetitions. The next week, I tried the routine again and I edged my first performance with 163 squats. The third week, I once again added 6 to my previous best by making it through 169 squats.
My current goal is to reach a round 200 squats in the duration of the 5 minute time frame. Take into consideration that there are 300 seconds in 5 minutes, so 200 reps is probably about as many as physically can be fit into the time period as you will be moving really fast at 200 squats in 300 seconds.
In any case, you now realize that this is not too much different than many of the training challenges I set for myself so that I am always interested in my workouts. It is a nice plan to establish a goal for yourself that you can work towards for awhile, maybe a month or two, and then once you reach it change the goal to something entirely different. Having these differing goals will give you some nice diversity in your workouts and still allow for progress.
To give you an example, last year I set a goal for myself based on pure strength training of achieving a 405 pound dead-lift; this is entirely the opposite direction of my current goal of stuffing as many squat repetitions as possible into a 5 minute period. If you are constantly striving to reach different goals, you will find that you are always interested in the workouts you are doing.
Alright, the time has come for you to try the 5 minute squat challenge (don’t let me catch you only giving half effort).
Here is an update for you: A couple of weeks after writing this article, I blew past my stated goal of 200 squats in 5 minutes by churning out 214! Oh, it burns so good!