Twenty-seventeen is upon us.
In the spirit of intense self-competition and upgrading everything about your physical being, we’re dishing out a series of 8 fitness challenges—feats of strength, if you will—to crush in 2017.
Think of it as a fitness bucket list. Except that each test is brutally difficult, and requires major training, muscular conditioning, and finesse to complete. Want to be considered an elite physical specimen? Here’s your barometer.
Every individual challenge represents a distinguished badge of honor in a given fitness realm — ranging from upper body power and strength, to aerobic endurance. Knock off all 8 and you’ve officially become an all-around, BALANCED BEAST.
Challenges are set-up as long-term, well-rounded fitness goals; collectively running the spectrum of physical abilities and disciplines. And that’s intentional. We WANT to push you out of your comfort zone—wherever that might be—and into peripheral fitness areas. Whether it’s squatting 1.75x your bodyweight for a set of 5, holding a plank for 3 minutes, or finishing a Tough Mudder, the challenge circuit is designed to test a combo of full-body endurance, strength, mental resolve, and physical fortitude.
How many are already checked off your list? It may very well be 8, or maybe it’s zilch. It doesn’t matter — wage a war against yourself, develop a bloodthirsty competitive hunger, and let all 8 serve as a continuous undercurrent to drive your training in 2017.
Conquer everything. You’ve got 12 months to destroy your former self.
8 Fitness Challenges To Conquer In 2017
For most challenges we’ve provided a separate protocol for guys and girls, represented by X/Y. The first number is for guys; the second for girls.
Fitness Challenge #1 — Abdominable Spirit
The Test: Hold a plank for 3 minutes.
The plank is a measure of all-around core strength. Long-duration planks, in particular, require IMMENSE core stability and endurance; recruiting the rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis (the “inner abs”), obliques, lower back, arms, and even the shoulders along the way.
As you get deeper into the movement, resist the urge to let your lower back droop as your core fatigues (it can result in pain). Push through your forearms and STAY FIRM. Mental toughness comes into play at the 2 minute mark.
Fitness Challenge #2 — Leg-ionnaire
The Test: Do 5 barbell squats at 1.75x/1.25x your own bodyweight.
Heavy barbell squats are the ultimate test of lower body strength, power, and explosiveness. Bigger loads require MASSIVE stabilization throughout the core, converting the movement into a true full-body lift.
Don’t underestimate how difficult this is. Squatting in 2 plate territory — 225 lbs, that’s 2 45lb plates on both sides — is an impressive milestone for the average gym buff (for guys). Sustaining squats at 1.75x/1.25x your bodyweight is in a different stratosphere of strength, requiring next-level training and significant muscle development.
That’s nearly 300 lbs if you’re a 170 lb guy, and 125 lbs if you’re a 100 lb girl. Start with what you can handle, maintain strong form at ALL times, and gradually work your way up. Working in the 5-7 rep range is a smart way to improve strength.