Pre-Thanksgiving Madness

It’s that time of year to appreciate all that we’re thankful for, spend time with friends and family, eat a lot of good food and lift a bunch of weight!  Since we are going to soak our cells in calories anyway, why not get a good strength training session in before the feast?  Do a few sets of squats, presses, and pull-ups, and your body will likely be a little less willing to store all the calories as adipose tissue.

But for those of you who really want to turn it up a notch and do something borderline insane, here’s a few physical challenges that will push the limits of your body and mind.

20-Rep Squat

The 20-rep squat, aka The Widowmaker was an infamous old-school way of packing on mass and showing the world that you’re tougher than Chuck Norris.  The objective is fairly simple: load the bar up with a weight that you could hit a challenging ten reps with, and do twenty.  How!?!?  Get under the bar and start squatting.  You will probably blast through the first half of the reps smoothly.  When you feel like you want to rack it, stay disciplined and keep the bar on your back while forcing yourself to take several deep breaths.  Then perform another rep.  Then breathe again, and do another rep.  Repeat until you hit twenty reps. Yes, this one set of 20 will take forever, and no, it will not be pleasant.

Triceps Death

All the bench press heroes will like this one.  You’ll need a bunch of boards, a spotter, and another friend to hold the boards.  Set up as if you were doing a close grip bench to a 1-board.  You’ll do five reps to the one board, and right after your last rep dgfev online casino your friend will switch it to a 2-board.  Do another five reps and have him/her switch to a 3-board and do another five.  If you have a 4 and a 5-board handy throw those in the sequence too.

Kroc Row

Popularized by powerlifter Matt Kroczaleski, this exercise will really smoke your grip and upper back.  Grab the heaviest dumbbell or kettlebell that you can pick up with one hand, and row it for as many reps as possible.  Whether you choose to do a 3-point row or a row on the bench with your hand and knee supported is up to you.  Chalk up and bang out as many reps as you can, rest a bit, and match the reps with the other side.  I should add that a little common sense is in order here, and when the movement starts to resemble a series of mini seizures more than row, it’s time to put it down and walk away.

Strip Sets

This is a great way to deplete your muscle glycogen levels so you can fill them back up with pumpkin pie and mashed potatoes.  Although you can apply a strip set to almost any exercise, I’ll use push-ups against chains as an example.  Set up in a push-up position and have a friend throw chains on your back (let’s say you use 4 chains).  Start doing as many push-ups as you can.  When you are a rep or two shy of failure, have your friend take off two chains and immediately continue with your push-ups.  When you come close to failing again have your friend remove the last two chains and do bodyweight push-ups until your triceps explode.  Then go to your knees and do a few more.  Then do an iso-hold at the bottom.  This example may have gone a little further than I intended at first but whatever, it’s Thanksgiving!

Conditioning Challenges

You can be creative with this one.  Load up the prowler and go for a max effort trip, or load it up lighter and get as many trips as possible in a specific window of time.  You can push it, pull it, drag it, even use a harness and bear crawl with it.  You can also use the implements and do farmer’s walks for distance or again go for a super heavy 1-trip max.

Keep in mind that these challenges should be used once in a blue moon, and not as a staple in most of our programming.  It’s fun to step away from your regular program once in a while and do something a little more on “the wild side,” but remember that real progress comes from consistency and adhering to a well-designed training plan.

But it’s the holidays so enjoy yourself, move some heavy things around and eat up!  Stay safe and I hope to see you all out at the Thanksgiving lift tomorrow!