I love a good challenge. Especially one that involves lifting something heavy and leaves me on the floor wondering why I did this to myself.

Every once and a while I think you just have to go hard and see what you really have in the tank. As Coach Dan John asks “CAN YOU GO?”

Every couple of weeks, I put myself through a “challenge workout’, a workout designed to push me to my limit but not beyond.

These workouts ARE NOT meant to be done as a regular training program. Don’t be that person.

My regular training (yours should be too) is planned month to month, week to week, session to session for predictable progression, injury prevention/management and sustainable strength gains.

You can use challenge workouts at the end of a training cycle, holidays, as a special session with some friends, or as a regular method of assessing your training program.

Here are 3 of my favorites:


Needs – 2 kettlebells as heavy as you can handle for 3-5 cleans

Set a timer for 10 minutes then execute the following kettlebell circuit as many times as you can for the duration.

1a. Double kb cleans x5
1b. Double kb front squat x3
1c. Double kb military press x1
1d. Double racked kb carry x20 yards


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Needs – A single dumbbell

Hit this complex as prescribed on one side, then hit it in reverse on the other side (upside down, get it?). Do 8 complexes reducing reps by 1 each set, and increasing weight every other set as you can.

1a. Single leg deadlift
1b. Single arm row
1c. Single arm high pull
1d. Single arm racked squat
1e. Single arm Arnold press

Dan John’s 60 Rep Deadlift Challenge

Needs – a barbell loaded up with or 315lbs 


I do this about twice a year. That’s it…lol.

I defriend him on Facebook every time I do it. Here’s why:

Load that bar with 315lbs (or as heavy as you can safely lift)
Set a clock to go off every 60 seconds, then do 2 reps every minute on the minute, drop the weight if you are at a gym that allows such things.
Finish 30 minutes of this challenge with 60 reps.
Try not to cry (I am often unsuccessful with this step)

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