I’ve got a test for you. This isn’t the kind of 6-week challenge or marathon workout session that we’ve been known for in the past. No, no…this one is a little different. I’m talking about a challenge, if given time, will help you change your body, your fitness levels, and get you into the best shape you’ve ever been in. Sound good?
Before we get into things, let’s examine what you’re already doing at the gym, shall we? If you’re a good little reader, doing what you’re told, you’re keeping an exercise journal and marking down the weights, reps, and sets at least once a week…right? Right? Oh okay, great. So since you’ve been keeping such great track, how long does it typically take you to go up in weight on a given exercise? Two weeks? Three weeks? Something like that sounds about right to me. So when you do finally bump the weight, you shoot up another 5-10 pounds most likely. You follow this pace, and within a year, you’re benching 300+ pounds. Yeah…right.
This format, while still something you should shoot for, has its limitations. If you were the most dedicated exerciser in the world, with a world-class dietary plan, this concept of endless progress wouldn’t seem so far-fetched. But the truth is, you’re not the most dedicated exerciser in the world. The bright side is, that doesn’t matter. Keep tracking those weights, keep pushing yourself to jump up, but ultimately, it’s going to be the little challenges that keep you moving forward.
To help you with that, I put together a micro fitness challenge workout program. Instead of marking down weights, reps, and sets (which can be incredibly tedious) everything has been pre-set for you. We slowly ramp things up so increases in difficulty are so miniscule they seem like they aren’t increases at all. Over time these micro improvements are really going to add up.
Not only that, the two exercises I picked are going to transcend all that you’re doing. These two exercises are not only going to help you develop a better body, but go a long way to helping you increase strength, muscular endurance, AND reduce injury. The exercises that are making up this workout plan are as follows…
- Push Ups
Here’s how it’s going to work…
Look at these micro fitness challenges as a supplement to what you’re doing. Something you do the first thing in the morning or at night before bed. Whatever works for you, just find a way to do them as scheduled. Each plank day you’re going to increase your plank time by one second. Each push up day, you’re going to increase your total push ups completed by one rep. Sounds simple, right?
Here’s how the schedule will go…
Day 1: Plank 30 seconds
Day 2: Plank 31 seconds/Push Ups 10 reps
Day 3: Plank 32 seconds
Day 4: Plank 33 seconds
Day 5: Plank 34 seconds/Push Ups 11 reps
Day 6: Plank 35 seconds
Day 7: Plank 36 seconds
So that’s 5 days of planking to every 2 days of push ups. Follow that ratio and always remember to increase your time or reps by one.
Aim to maintain this format for at least 120 days. If you start at the bare minimum you should have worked your way up to over two minutes of straight planking and developed the ability to knock out 40 push ups in a row. I don’t care if you’re a man or woman, young or old, beginner or advanced; the concept is the same. Perhaps your starting point is higher, but by using these micro increases in time and reps, you’re going to find you are able to make faster and longer-lasting progress.
Starting January 1st, I’m going to be right there with you. My goal in 2015 is to knock out 100 straight push ups and hold a plank for a four minutes straight. I’m not sure how far into 2015 this will take, but beginning in the new year, I’m adhering to the above schedule for as long as it takes. Get yourself into gear, try something new, and see if the above micro-challenge format is something that works for you.
If you’ve got any questions, as always, leave a comment and I’ll get back to you ASAP.