Creatures of habit is a clichéd phrase, but it’s true, especially when it comes to our fitness routines. We tend to do the same warm-ups, use the same equipment, and the same muscles. Even if we change it up on different days, our workout week still looks a bit samey and can lead to a struggle with motivation. Time to diversify.
Gym challenges are a great idea to help bring some variety into your workout routine and get that motivation back up to boiling point. Not to mention the dopamine hit you get from accomplishing a goal.
Whether you’re looking for a challenge where you can get competitive with a friend or one you can do solo, these five gym challenge ideas will have you inspired to get out on the gym floor.
Squat your own body weight
Now, this isn’t one you can just wake up one day and decide to do. You’ll need to build up your strength and use progressive overload to get there. Squatting your own body weight is a key goal for lots of people who are getting into strength training.
Aim to do a squat session three times per week. Rest days are just as important, so don’t overdo it. Start light and increase the weight by no more than 5kg per workout. You’ll find at the start you can increase the weight quite rapidly. Progress will then start to slow down, but don’t be discouraged.
To test your ability, try doing 6 reps of a weight that you can do comfortably and with perfect form. Then, add additional weight in small increments for just 2-3 reps. Doing this will help you to gauge where you are in your progress and when you can step it up to the next level.
Remember, proper squat form is the most important thing here. One squat with the correct form is better than 100 without. Use a gym buddy to check your form and spot you if needed.
Who’s it for? HIIT enthusiasts
AMRAP stands for ‘as many rounds/reps as possible’ and describes workouts that ask for endless repetitions of an exercise or sequence of exercises within a given time frame.
The beauty of this one is that anyone can get involved. It’s a gym challenge that you can start doing one day and keep improving at each time. Compete against yourself or a friend. Mix up the exercise and the time limit. There’s plenty of room to keep things fresh here and plenty of PBs to be hit.
Some examples of simple AMRAP challenges are:
- How many burpees can you do in one minute?
- How many push-ups can you do in 90 seconds?
If you want something a bit more interesting, see how many rounds of this sequence you can do in 10 minutes:
- 8 burpees
- 8 push ups
- 15 jump squats
- 15 mountain climbers
- 15 sit ups
Who’s it for? Cardio fiends who perform well under pressure
Like the AMRAP challenge, distance challenges are ones anybody can get started with and see definite improvement at over time. Find your equipment of choice: treadmill, rowing machine, bike. Set your time limit: 60 seconds, 5 minutes, 30 minutes. How far can you go?
The treadmill is good for practising sprints. How far can you run in 60 seconds? The rower can help with developing stamina. How far can you row in 9 minutes? The bike is a good one for improving endurance. How far can you cycle in 30 minutes?
It’s a bit more exciting than just trying to reach a set distance. You’ll discover new levels of energy as you speed up to reach new distances as the clock runs down.
Who’s it for? Competitive types who love to feel the burn
Isometric exercises involve statically holding tension in a muscle for a length of time. For example, holding a plank is an isometric exercise challenge. A finisher favourite of ours is the wall sit.
With your back against the wall, assume a sitting position with your legs at a 90-degree angle. Hold this position for as long as you can.
This challenge is a great one to do with a friend, each trying to hold the position for the longest. Last one standing gets brunch.
Doing the splits
Who’s it for: aspiring yogis or those looking to improve their flexibility
Yes, it sounds like every nine-year-old ballerina’s dream. But doing the splits is an extremely impressive measure of flexibility; a fitness type often neglected as we get older. It’s a real milestone and shouldn’t be rushed or jumped into (literally).
The biggest tip here is: do not force it. Take your time and be gentle. Snapped muscles are as painful as they sound.
Doing the splits requires the stretching of your hamstrings, hip flexors and abs. So, keep doing exercises that practice your flexibility in these areas.
To adopt the splits, start in a low lunge position, with your right leg out in front and your back knee down to the floor. Having your hands on your hips or the floor might feel most comfortable. Next, begin to glide your right foot forward, extending your right leg as it goes. Do this slowly. Each time you try, you’ll reach out a little more than you did before, until eventually, you’ll be in a front split position.
Bonus Challenge: Visit 10 different gyms in a month
Who’s it for: everyone and anyone
Variety is the spice of life. And of fitness. Trying out different gyms lets you explore loads of different pieces of equipment and workouts you might not have otherwise discovered. It also helps you be more flexible in your routine. With Hussle’s Monthly+ pass you get unlimited access to thousands of gyms. Try the one near home today and the one near work tomorrow. When it comes to your fitness routine, flexibility and variety is the way forward.