I recently thought up The Sexy Challenge. I cannot take credit for this idea as I totally stole it from my fitness friends who have been tossing around ideas for different challenges throughout the week. Here’s what led me to think up The Sexy Challenge.
How My Idea Came to Be
Several days ago my friend JC Deen threw down the gauntlet with the front squat rep test with bodyweight load. He, along with my fitness friends Roger Lawson and Jen Sinkler, tested themselves to see how many reps they could get. A couple of nights ago I was talking to them on Twitter and they started thinking up other ideas…for example a hip thrust and bench press challenge. In case you don’t know, JC and Rog just started up their own Podcast, and Jen has build up a strong community page on Facebook called Survival of the Fittest. These folks have come up with weekly challenges that they’ll be doing which you can access on Jen’s Survival of the Fittest page, which so far include:
Week of 1/23: Front Squats with bodyweight on the bar for max reps.
Week of 1/30: Chin up negatives for time
Week of 2/6: Back Squats with bodyweight on the bar for max reps
Week of 2/13: Chin ups – max reps
Week of 2/20: Deadlift – double bodyweight for max reps
You can “like” Jen’s site and participate in these challenges if you’d like; right now I believe Brian Tabor and Max Shank tied for the current front squat record with 26 reps at 185 lbs of bodyweight, with Jamie Rodriquez and Fawn Friday tied at second place with 25 reps. Here’s Fawn’s video; this is poetry in motion:
The 5 Best Exercises to Determine Your Level of Sexiness
This got me thinking…what are the 5 best exercises to determine total body strength endurance and sexiness? There are a ton of options here, such as the basic barbell lifts (squat, front squat, deadlift, sumo deadlift, glute bridge, hip thrust, good morning, bench press, close grip bench press, incline press, military press, bent over row), Olympic variations (power clean, hang clean, power snatch, hang snatch, push press) and basic bodyweight exercises (push up, dip, chin up, inverted row, pistol), but I went with the following five:
Front Squat With Barbell Load Equal to Bodyweight
I went with the front squat because it keeps you a bit more honest than the back squat (as reps ensue most people turn the back squat into a good morning) and it’s a great measure of quad strength.
Romanian Deadlift (RDL) With Barbell Load Equal to Bodyweight
The RDL was chosen over the conventional deadlift for the exact same reasons mentioned above; it keeps you a bit more honest (most people round their backs with the deadlift as reps ensue) and it’s a great measure of hamstring strength.
Hip Thrust With Barbell Load Equal to Bodyweight
The hip thrust is a great measure of glute strength and these three lifts (front squat, RDL, and hip thrust) compliment each other quite nicely.
Incline Press With Barbell Load Equal to Bodyweight (50% Bodyweight Loads for Females)
I went with the incline press over the standard bench press or the military press as it keeps folks much more honest (people bounce the bar off their chest and raise their butts off the bench with the bench press and lean backward too much and use momentum in a military press) and it’s a great measure of pec and shoulder strength.
Chin Up With Bodyweight
The chin up was chosen over the bent over row for the same reasons above; it’s much easier to standardize. People tend to incline their torso throughout the set of a bent over row and use momentum, the chin up is easier to ensure strict form is used. The chin up is a great measure of back strength.
The Sexy Challenge
Hopefully you’ll agree that these five exercises do an excellent job of measuring an individual’s total body strength endurance and “sexy factor.” Below is a video of me performing the sexy challenge. If you don’t like listening to me ramble, fast-forward to 3:20 to see me go through the various exercises.
As you can see, I’m not built to press; I’m built to pull. The front squat was very challenging as I’m not a very good squatter. The RDL was a piece of cake. The hip thrust was actually brutal having already done a set of front squats and RDL’s, as my glutes were fatigued (not to mention the bench height was pretty high which increases the difficulty). I had to improvise on the incline press as the gym I was at didn’t have one, so I used a back extension unit and just leaned back against it. I’m not a very good bencher so the incline press was very demanding; had I access to a standard incline bench I think I could have squeaked out another rep. And the chin up was very easy; I thought I was going to get more reps but at around 8 reps all of a sudden fatigue set in. Remember I had surgery on my biceps tendon 9 months ago so cut me some slack. I don’t rep out much when I train so this was a very fun challenge for me. I’m a low repper at heart but it’s always good to test one’s self with higher rep exhibitions.
Here are the 8 rules for The Sexy Challenge:
- All five exercises must be performed in under one hour.
- Loads for the barbell exercises will be one’s bodyweight rounded down to the nearest 5 pounds (the one exception is with the incline press – women will use 50% bodyweight loads).
- For the front squat, any grip can be used and the thighs must break parallel.
- For the RDL, no wrist wraps are worn, bar must go below knees, full lockout must be achieved.
- For the hip thrust, the bar can’t touch the ground, full hip extension must be reached, and a reasonable bench height must be used (around 14″ is ideal).
- For the incline press, the bar must touch the chest, full lockout must be achieved, no bouncing off the chest, the butt can’t come off the bench, and the angle of the bench must be at around 45 degrees (remember women use 50% bodyweight loads on this exercise whereas men use 100% bodyweight loads).
- For the chin up, each rep must start from a dead hang, the bar must touch the upper chest, and no excessive momentum (ex: kipping) can be used.
- You can determine your own order of exercise performance.
What if You Can’t Get Any Reps on a Particular Test?
Who cares? Do the test anyway. If you can’t perform a chin up, or a front squat with bodyweight load, it’s not the end of the world. Train hard for the year and retest yourself next year to show you got sexier.
As you can see I got 75 reps (it helps to be really good at one exercise as 35 of these reps, or 47% of the total, came from the RDL). I suspect that there are some folks out there who will really clean house with this challenge. For example I could see Max Shank and Jamie Rodriguez getting well over 100 reps, and fortunately for all competitors Ben Bruno is on the disabled list as I could see him getting well over 100 reps as well.
Dead Sexy Award If you can perform over 100 reps on this challenge, then you’re dead sexy.
Sexy All Over Award If you’re a man and can perform over 15 reps on each exercise, then you’re sexy all over. If you’re a woman and can perform over 10 reps on each exercise, then you’re sexy all over too.
King Sexy Award Awarded to the man who achieves the greatest total
Queen Sexy Award Awarded to the woman who achieves the greatest total
Quadzilla Award Awarded to the individual who achieves the highest front squat total
Dr. Deadlift Award Awarded to the individual who achieves the greatest Romanian deadlift total
Gluteus Magnificus Award Awarded to the individual who achieves the greatest hip thrust total
Chisel Chest Award Awarded to the individual who achieves the greatest incline press total
King Cobra Award Awarded to the individual who achieves the greatest chin up total
Sexier than BC Award Awarded to anyone who beats me by achieving over 75 total reps in The Sexy Challenge
Now you have ten different opportunities to try to receive an award. Go give it a try. Make sure your form is strict (don’t get disqualified because you were skimping on your range of motion or breaking other rules – keep it real!) and feel free to post your vids/results in the comments below.
What’s Your Sexy Number?
You have the entire week to perform The Sexy Challenge. Next Sunday I’ll post the results and give out awards to the various contestants. Best of luck! BC