The Bring Sally Up Push Up Challenge: Tutorial & Exercise Variations

Written By: Todd Kuslikis
April 01, 2016

What is the Bring Sally Up Push Up Challenge and why is it such an effective workout? Three words. Time under tension. This “time based” training challenges your muscles in new ways. But before I get into the details on this workout, let me tell you a bit about the background of how the Bring Sally Up Push Up Challenge got started.

How Did The Bring Sally Up Challenge Get Started?

There’s no science to how something goes viral on the internet. These things come out of nowhere and, for however long it stays in the limelight, they’re seemingly all you see and hear about on the web.

Most of the time they are downright bizarre. Just look at planking, the dress controversy, and cat breading (and if you don’t know cat breading, it’s both exactly what it sounds like and nothing you’d expect). See this video…

Some internet trends that catch fire do serve a purpose, though. Take the ice bucket challenge, which, despite depleting countless households’ ice dispensers, raised $115 million for ALS research.

There’s another web fad that does some good, this time on the side of fitness. It’s called the “Bring Sally Up” challenge and it’s a very fun, very challenging way to get a quick workout and push yourself.

How To Do The Bring Sally up Push Up Challenge?

The entire challenge centers around the song “Flower” by electronic dance music icon and hipster glasses pioneer Moby. The song first appeared on his 1999 album Play: The B Sides and was featured in the opening credits to “Gone in Sixty Seconds” (not for another decade did the song find a more useful platform).

“Flower” samples heavily from an American folk song called “Green Sally, Up”. So basically the song never actually says “bring Sally up,” that’s just a misinterpretation. And without this lyric butchering, we wouldn’t have the exercise. To be fair, it does kind of sound like “bring Sally up.” Watch this video….

As for the infamous Bring Sally Up challenge itself, it started showing up online around 2011 and consists of going up when the song (not really) says “bring Sally up” and down when it says “bring sally down.” This will amount to 30 reps of the exercise of your choice for the 3:30 duration of the song.

Yep, that’s the entire workout. Make sense?

The Bring Sally Up Push Up Workout Details

Hold the up position of a push up when the song says “Bring Sally Up

Hold the down position of a push up when the song says “Bring Sally Down

The song says “Bring Sally Up” and “Bring Sally Down” 30 times.

Sound easy? Give it a try. This workout may just be your undoing.

What Exercises Can I Do With the Bring Sally Up Challenge?

Now, there are a number of different exercises you can use for this challenge, the most common being push-ups and squats, and the trick is you can’t go down or up until the song says. So you will be holding your position for longer than a typical rep. Here’s a video as an example.

But you can literally choose any exercise you want. The entire workout is MOSTLY an isometric hold of one exercise… so choose wisely! Thanks a lot Moby!

What Alternate Exercises Can I Do For The Challenge?

Push Ups or Squats are a good, standard option to improve your overall fitness level. But why not choose something a bit more unique? In order to improve your fitness level, it’s important to try new things so you can challenge your body in new ways. This allows for your muscles to adapt and grow. I recommend choosing more unique exercises for the workout. For example, here are some other exercises you can try in the Bring Sally Up Push Up Challenge.

Barbwire Push Ups

This is one of my favorite exercises. You’ll start off in the downward dog position with your feet 2X shoulder width. When the song says “bring sally up” you’ll be in this downward dog position. This will work your shoulders. When the song says bring sally down, you’ll scoop downward “under the barbwire” until you are at the down position. When you hold this posture, it will really engage your lats and triceps. This makes for a great shoulder/back/arm workout.

Dolphin Push Ups

This variation of Bring Sally Up Challenge will fire up your shoulders and core. Dolphin pushups are a unique type of calisthenic and most people have never tried this exercise. You’ll start off in a low plank. This really challenges the fitness of your core region. When the song says bring sally up, you’ll lift your butt up in the air. This shifts the focus to your shoulders. It’s a great challenge because it’s kind of like a downward dog but you wont be using your hands to stabilize your arms.

Stretch Push Ups

If your fitness level is already at a high level and you want an extra challenging workout, try this one. A Stretch Push Up puts an insane amount of focus on your abs. To get in the position, you’ll start off in a high plank but walk your hands out a few inches higher. This may not seem like that big of a deal on the “up” portion of the workout. But when you get to the “down” position, you’ll wish you had chosen normal push ups.

Of course, there are almost endless varieties of unique calisthenics exercises to try during the Sally Up workout.

How Did the Bring Sally Up Push Up Challenge Gain Popularity

The workout exploded in popularity after it was adopted by the CrossFit community, who utilized squats with heavyweights in their variation (as you may have guessed, this isn’t our favorite variation).

And don’t worry about being late to the party and missing the trend — Even though it’s now 2021, it’s still going strong, and even as of this month is the most popular it’s been since its peak in 2013. Moby and his Flower song may live in the hearts of workout enthusiasts for generations to come. Heck, maybe even our artificial intelligence offspring will be doing a variation of this workout. LOL!

Frequently Asked Questions

How Many Push Ups In The Bring Sally Up Challenge?

You’ll perform 30 total reps in the challenge because the song says “bring sally up” 30 times. So you’ll hold the up position 30 times. And hold the down position 30 times. But these again, aren’t ordinary pushups. Since you’ll be holding the down and up position, the push ups will feel long. Very long in fact. Very, very, long. Did I mention it would feel long? haha. Ok, you get the point.

Why Is The Bring Sally Up Workout Effective (The Time Under Tension Principle)?

It really comes down to time under tension. When you engage a muscle, the muscle fibers contract within that muscle. The longer you perform an exercise that is challenging, the harder it will be. Increase the time under tension, and you’ll increase the difficulty. The uniqueness of this Bring Sally Up Workout” is that the workout has been put to a song.

Is Bring Sally Up A Good Workout?

It depends on what you mean by good. The workout is meant to be fun and challenging. You are really performing one single exercise throughout the entire workout. So is it a good workout? Sure. It will have you sweating and your muscles worked. What I incorporate it into your fitness regimen on a regular basis? Probably not. It’s very one-dimensional. Essentially your workout is one exercise, held for an ungodly amount of time. If you were to perform this workout every and over again with the same exercise, the benefit would wear off. But throwing this workout into the mix on occasion, and it can breathe some extra life and enjoyment into your routine.

Does the Bring Sally Up Push Up Challenge Have a Timer?

The time under tension for each set is based on the song. So setting a normal interval timer isn’t necessary. Simply hit play on the Youtube video above and follow along with whichever exercise you have chosen for the whole workout.

How Often To Incorporate the Bring Sally Up Push Up Challenge?

Honestly, I’d give this a go a couple of times a month at most. No need to overdo it. Again, following a more thought out plan is wiser when it comes to improving your overall fitness. Do this workout on occasion when you want to increase the workload of a single exercise. Your time in the isometric exercise will be long. And there is no rhyme or reason other than the song. So again, use this workout for fun and an extra challenge.

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