Anyone else have a bit of a masochist streak in them? While you shouldn’t be burning yourself out every exercise, let’s admit it, that “burn” does feel pretty good afterwards huh? There’s a certain amount of satisfaction that accompanies the accomplishment of a particularly difficult exercise. I am feeling terribly generous today and would love to help boost your workout joy. Here are three lifts that will, without a doubt, make you hate life.
*Note: Please ignore my horridly kyphotic posture. It’s embarrassing. I'm working on it.*
Numero Uno: 1 and 1/2 Bulgarian Split Squats
Ugh. My legs are burning just from doing the demo video, as my face so clearly demonstrated.
Keep your front heel down and push through it (thus activating your booty). Don’t put too much weight in your back foot, though tempting, it will not make the it any easier. Brace your abs to prevent wobbling during, but not the jelly-leg tottering walk afterwards.
Recommended set/reps- 2-3x 5 (easier), 3×6/side (you’re gonna be sore tomorrow), 3-4×8/side (lover of pain).
Second Torturous Task: Tiger Crawl into Pushups
Feet and hands move opposite of each other. Stop the pushups before they dissolve into utter poo. Leave one or two reps in the tank, not technical failure. (Yes, it’s hard, but that’s not an excuse to look like garbage.) Stay tight in your midsection throughout the crawl.
Recommended set/reps- 10-12 yards (winded), 15-18 yards (ok, that hurts) 20-25 yards (*gasp*)
Third Act of Crazy: Tempo Anything
Tempo training is exhausting. It’s also extremely versatile and can be applied to most exercises (excluding deadlift or swings). A favorite tempo of SAPT coaches is 2-0-2, meaning 2 seconds eccentric portion, 0 seconds isometric portion, and two second concentric portion.
Let’s look at the squat for example, lower in 2 seconds (eccentric) and without pausing in the bottom, immediately stand up again (concentric). Pull ups are absolutely miserable with this: pull up in two seconds, no pause at the top and lower in two seconds (stupidly hard. I had to use a band for this). You can also use tempos such as 4-0-2 (using the pull up example, this would be pull up in 2 seconds, no pause, then lower in 4 seconds). I’ve even tried 6-0-2 (that absolutely blows). If you’re looking to add some size to your frame, tempo work is a great tool to help with that as the time-under-tension is a lot higher than traditional work sets.
Here is a 2-0-2 tempo pushup.
And a 4-0-2 tempo squat.Key points:
Use a timer, it’ll keep you honest. We have a Gymboss that works well (or I’m sure there’s an app out there…). You can also use a stopwatch and place it where you can see it. The tempo during my squat demo is slightly off since I didn’t have my glasses on and couldn’t see the timer. This is when a GymBoss (which beeps at you) would come in handy.
Recommended set/reps*- 2-3 x 5-7 (surprisingly tough), 3 x 6-9 (I want to stop now), 4-5×8-10 (I. Hate. Tempo. Work.)
Throw those into your workouts for a little extra misery spice.
* the sets and reps ultimately depend upon the exercise selection. I don’t recommend a super high volume for things like pull ups as it can really irritate elbows and shoulders (speaking from experience). Just bear that in mind.