Sometimes I get the urge to see just how much pain I can handle, when I get this urge to see just how far I can push my body I turn to four tried and tested bodybuilder workouts for satisfaction.
The hardest and most effective workouts also tend to be the most simple. These gritty workouts are short and straight-forward, perfect. These tough sessions will really have you questioning your sanity after doing them.
Named after the Olympic gold medalist Sergey Litvinov, the pairing of a heavy lift with a sprint is super difficult, there are not many workouts that will leave you dead in a matter of minutes. Litinov training will really test you.
It is great to do this outside but not everyone has the equipment or facilities, this workout can be done at a normal gym with a barbell, kettlebells or dumbbells and a treadmill. The lift can vary but it is best to keep it simple with squat variations and swings.
To add in an extra challenge, pick up the weight from the ground instead of a rack. You will have to wrestle a sandbag up the same way strongmen do or clean a barbell like a weightlifter.
If doing any kind of squat variation, take it all the way down. After the last rep, drop the bag or whatever weight you are using and start sprinting, even sprinting hills for the best challenge, those squats really take it out of you.
Once the sprint is over, rest enough to get back to a normal resting pulse and breathing rate before doing another set.
Sandbag squat – 4 sets of 8 reps.
Sprint – 4 sets of 100 meters (40 meters uphill)
Full recovery between sets.
This workout really is punishing, the ancient Greek king Sisyphus was sentenced to eternity trying to roll a giant boulder up a giant hill, instead of following in Sisyphus’s footsteps select a more manageable load.
If new to fitness, just getting up a hill will be a big challenge, you only need your feet. To add more intensity, fill a rucksack with sandbags, weights or your garden gnomes and put it on your back. Quickly march or run, strive to get better each time, find a bigger hill , go faster and find a larger load.
This works well with a partner, bring water, a first-aid kit and a radio or phone, tell people where you will be if the place is remote.
Simply find a large hill and conquer it, fill a backpack with weight for an added challenge.
This is great for when you want a leg day of death, maybe best to leave it for once a year, even once in your life. In each exercise, use a load that will put you in the 8-10 rep range, heavy so that you are hitting failure after 10 reps, after the final set, you will cut the weight by 30% and try do another 8-10 reps, have a partner strip the weights if on the leg press.
Then cut the weight again by another 30% and do the same 8-10 reps if you can and finally one more time drop the weight by 30% and finish the final set with another 8-10 reps.
If you guess the whole 30% bit wrong and do more or less reps than prescribed that is fine, it doesn’t matter on the number of reps so long as you are hitting failure. Failure does not mean you have a few reps left in the tank. This workout is about pushing your true limits, not seeing how much you can cheat, do the exercise properly and you won’t need anymore exercises.
1) Leg Pres – 3 sets of 8-10 reps, last set is a triple dropset.
2) Leg Extension – 3 sets of 8-10 reps, last set is a triple dropset.
3) Leg Curl – 3 sets of 8-10 reps, last set is a triple dropset.
Use about 70-80% of your 1 rep-max for deadlifts and perform as many reps as you can in 30 mins, it’s that simple.
The best advice for this challenge is pacing, the weight will be relatively light so it is tempting to pump hard, so gripping and ripping for a quick 30 reps is tempting, however you will soon burn out and find yourself stood about for 28 minutes a lot.
Use a pause-rep technique instead and have a few seconds rest between short sets taking no more than a minute of rest or you will chew up a lot of your time. Knock out a few reps and then rest for a few seconds and go again. This technique will keep you just shy of failure and allow you to crank out the most work in the least amount of time.
These bodybuilder workouts are supposed to be special challenges, not regular training techniques or weekly tests. Use them sparingly in your training routine, try one of them out and see how you fare.
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