Madness and Motivation: Physical Challenges to Re-Inspire Your Workout

September 14, 2015

Tired of Sit Ups

Nothing kills workout motivation quite like boredom. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that working hard can’t be enjoyable. If you have to drag yourself to train every day, your motivation is going to fade fast – and your results with it.

Sure, there will be bad days, but if you consistently dread your daily workout, chances are good you’re not going to stick with it. Training should be fun – even when it isn’t. If you’re not looking forward to your workout, it’s time for a new workout. And we have the perfect one.

Swimming push ups

The following bodyweight workout incorporates crazy challenging moves and circus-like feats of strength. It’s training to make you feel like a superhero.

These exercises are challenging. A sense of humor is key. Be ready to laugh at yourself, and you’ll be having a great time. Watching yourself progress is part of the fun, so remember that if you could do it all on the first try, it wouldn’t be worth it.

Doing calisthenics at the beach

This full-body workout features exercises for integrated strength. It trains your body to work as a unit, building incredible functional strength. This is the strength we use for daily activities and athletic endeavors. It’s also key for injury prevention. Training all parts of the body to work together as a cohesive whole creates optimum performance and maximum results.

This is not a beginner workout. It’s for people who’ve been training for a long time and are looking for a new challenge. If you’re struggling with any of these pieces, substitute in one of the preparatory exercises listed to build the pre-requisite strength. Work muscles to fatigue, working towards the set and rep goals indicated.


The Workout

Deep Pushup – 3 sets of 6-8 reps

Headstand Pushup – 3 sets of 6-8 reps

L-Sit Pull-Up – 3 sets of 6-8 reps

Hanging Knee-to-Elbow – 3 sets of 6-8 reps

Frozen V-Sit Exercise – hold for 30-60 seconds, 3-5 times

Suspensions Bridge Exercise – hold for 30-60 seconds, 3-5 times

Pistol Squat – 3 sets of 8-12 reps on each leg

Elevated Single Leg Hip Bridge – 3 sets of 8-12 reps on each side

Total Exhaustion Finisher (Optional)

If you have anything left in you at the end of your workout, add in this finisher circuit.

It’s simple:

Tabata push-ups + 60 seconds rest + Tabata squats.

(Tabata method is 20 seconds of all-out exercise, followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated eight times. This adds up to four minutes per exercise, meaning this Tabata-style finisher will leave you wiped-out in 9 minutes flat. If you’re a beginner, you can do this with fewer sets, working your way up to the full eight.)

Click here to read my article about High Intensity Interval Training, including Tabata

Training Notes:

Deep Pushup

This exercise reaches a fuller range of motion than the traditional push-up, targeting the muscle fibers in the chest more effectively. Find three chairs or stools of relatively equally height, and place them in a triangle position. You’ll take a normal push-up position, with your feet on one point of the triangle and your hands on the other two. Do push-ups from here, lowering yourself as far as possible between the chairs.

Preparatory exercises: X-Pushup or Basic Pushup

Click here to read my article about deep pushups

Headstand Pushup

From your hands and knees, place your elbows under your shoulders and interlace your fingers. Place the top of the head on the floor, with the back of the head in the pocket created by your hands. Straighten the legs, walking the toes towards the nose. Press firmly into the forearms to keep the neck long and the shoulders lifted, keeping pressure out of the neck. Pike up to a headstand position. From here, press into the arms to lift the head off the ground, and then slowly lower. If you feel pressure in the top of the head or compression in the neck when doing any variation of a headstand, it’s time to back out.

Preparatory exercises: Static Headstand. You can also build strength by assuming the headstand position and walking the feet in as far as possible, until you’re standing on your tip-toes.

Handstand Pushup

With your back to the wall, place your hands on the ground and kick yourself up against the wall. Keep your body as straight as possible, engaging your core muscles to support your lower back. Slowly lower yourself as close as possible to the ground, then push yourself up until the arms are straight. Repeat.

Preparatory exercises: Static Handstand against the wall.

L-Sit Pull-Up

Use a close grip for this Pull-Up variation. Bring the legs parallel to the ground in a L-Sit position, engaging the core to hold them there as you do your pull-ups.

Preparatory exercises: Close Grip Pull-Ups and the classic L-sit.

Hanging Knee-to-Elbow

Hanging from a pull-up bar, squeeze your abdominals to lift your knees up, trying to touch your elbows.

Preparatory exercises: Simply raise your knees as high as you can, perhaps to waist level. Go higher as strength builds.

Frozen V-Sit Exercise

Balancing on your sitting bones, raise both your upper and lower body up in the air so that you’re in a V-shaped position. Hold for as long as possible. It’s important to keep your spine straight and supported here, with your core engaged, to protect your lower back. Keep the knees as straight as possible. Breathe slow and steadily throughout the hold.

Preparatory exercises: Do the exercise with the knees bent. Because this is a static exercise, you can also make it easier by simply shortening the length of the hold.

Click here to read my article about Frozen V-Sits

Suspension Bridge Exercise

Place a stable chair about four or five feet away from a wall. Grasping the outside of the chair, walk your feet up the wall until they are higher than you head. Your arms should be in front of you, with your body extended in a straight line. The farther away the chair is, the harder this exercise will be.

Preparatory exercises: Planks of all kinds.

Click here to read my article about Suspension Bridges

Pistol Squat

Standing on one foot, extend the other leg straight out in front of you. Bend the standing leg to lower the body as close as possible to the ground, keeping the extended leg steady. Without lowering the extended leg, rise back to standing, and repeat. Be sure to bend not just your hip and knee, but also your ankle as you lower.

Preparatory exercises: One-legged wall sit. You can also work up to pistol squats by doing them while holding on to a vertical pole for balance.

Elevated Single-Leg Hip Bridge

Lying on your back, place your feet up on a chair. Extend one leg straight up into the air. Driving down through the supported heel, lift the hips, making sure to extend through the hip and glute rather than the lower back.

Preparatory exercises: Single-Leg Hip Bridge, Elevated Hip Bridge


Bar exercise

Exercise is not something you do for two weeks after New Year’s Day, it’s a life long commitment. If you want to keep at it week in and week out, then spicing things up is crucial.

It’s perfectly ok if these exercises are too advanced for you. Building up the strength to be able to do these challenges would give you the motivational push you need, so make that your goal.

Leave a comment below if you have problems with motivation.

I would love to help you!

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Show/Hide Comments (2 comments)
  1. Fitness Supermarket

    Really great article! The notes are really helpful, I’ll be working on this later! Shared

    • Todd Kuslikis

      Hi there,

      Highly appreciated. Keep being awesome!

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