Whether your goal is to get up off the couch more often, or to move past a fitness plateau, you’re going to have to challenge yourself. Pick one (or more!) of these effective challenges to take your workout to the next level.
1. Crazy For Burpees
Burpees – combos of push-ups, squats and jumps — work all of your muscles while also boosting your heart rate up. The movement gives you major benefits in a short amount of time. To challenge yourself, set a 10-minute timer and complete as many burpees as you can before it goes off.
2. Pull-Up Showdown
To work the upper back and shoulders, complete 10 pull-ups, rest 30 seconds, complete nine pull-ups, rest another 30 seconds, and repeat this sequence all the way down to one pull-up. For even more of a challenge, decrease your resting time or jog in place in between sets.
3. Foxhole Push-Up Sprint Drill
Push-ups are a solid move for improving chest strength. To really reap the benefits, try adding sprints into the mix. This drill is all about strength, power, speed, and balance. Start by lying on your stomach with your hands on the ground by your chest. Push yourself up using upper body strength and sprint 10 yards. Then turn to face the opposite direction. Do one push-up and repeat the drill again. Keep this up for 60 to 90 seconds and see how many you can complete!
4. Wall Sit
Get in a squat position with your back resting against a wall. Stop when your knees are at a ninety-degree angle. Start your timer and stay put until your knees are trembling and you can’t keep solid form. Try to improve on your baseline time by doing this exercise every other day.
5. Push-Up Challenge
Find your one-rep max by doing as many push-ups as you can without taking a break. Use good form by keeping your back straight and your neck neutral while lowering your chest to the ground. Then, on Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays, complete four times your one-rep max of push-ups. On Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturdays, set your alarm to go off five times per day. Each time, complete two sets of your one-rep max. When you’re done take two days off and then check your one-rep max again. You should see improvement.
6. 6-Minute Plank Challenge
Planks work the core and stabilizer muscles. Get into plank position and perform a series of plank varieties twice through for 30 seconds each. First raise one arm, then the other. Move to side planks on both the left and right sides. Then get into a reverse plank position for one minute.
7. Arm Hang Extravaganza
Grab a chin-up or pull-up bar with palms facing away from you. Pull up. Once your head is over the bar, hold for as long as you can. Remember to breathe! Rest a few days and then try to beat your time.
8. The Couch-To-5 K Running Plan
This running plan will help you accomplish a 5 K run, which is 3.1 miles. This is a great introduction to running and a way to motivate yourself with a new goal. It’s not too demanding and only asks for 20 to 30 minutes of running three days per week.
9. Sprint Reverse
Head to your nearest track to try out this quick challenge with a burst of cardio. Sprint 50 meters. Then run backwards for 50 meters to challenge a different set of leg muscles. Set your time for five minutes and see how many sets you can do. Try this workout once a week to see if your agility and speed improve.
10. 30-Day Push-Up Challenge
This push-up challenge builds strength gradually over a month. If you’re new to fitness, this is a good one to get your feet wet. Do three push-ups the first day, four push-ups the second day, five push-ups the third day and then take a rest day on the fourth day. On the fifth day, start up again with five push-ups and increase with one more each day. They key is to take a rest day every fourth day and then start again with the same number of push-ups you did before the rest day. Continue this pattern and you’ll be up to 20 push-ups on day 30!
11. 22-Minute HIIT Cardio Challenge
Stapped for time but need to get your sweat on? Do 10 bodyweight exercises – they can be anything you want including squats, lunges, high knees, jumping jacks, butt kicks, burpees, crunches, and mountain climbers. Repeat each for 20 seconds on and 10 seconds off, four times through for each movement.
12. Speedy Sprint Interval
Warm up at an easy pace for five minutes. Increase your speed to a sprint for 30 seconds and then slow to a walk for one minute. Repeat this sequence 8 to 10 times before cooling down for another five minutes. You can always increase the speed, incline, or decrease resting periods for even more of a challenge.
13. Push-Up Frenzy
This challenge works your chest from all angles because it incorporates regular push-ups, incline push-ups, and decline push-ups. Perform 10 of each (regular, incline and decline), then 9 of each, and so on until you get down to just one of each. Take as few rest breaks as possible throughout the process. This challenge will test the strength in your pectoral muscles and the workout will fly by as you switch to each type of push-up.
14. Killer 5-Minute Butt And Thigh Workout
Target your lower body in only five minutes! Perform one minute of kneeling leg lifts on the right side and then 30 seconds of kneeling leg lift pulses. Repeat the same sequence on the left side. Next perform one minute of squats, 30 seconds of a squat holds or wall sits, and finish it off with 30 seconds of squat jumps.
15. 30-Day Wall-Sit Challenge
Start with just a 10-second wall sit and increasingly add 10 seconds to your sit each day for 30 days. Evaluate how much you’ve improved over the 30 days, rest a few days, and try the challenge again with a longer baseline time.
16. Booty Burner
Do 100 bodyweight squats, 50 air squats, and 25 glute bridges. It doesn’t sound extensive, but your booty will definitely be feeling the burn. The challenge is just to complete the workout, so don’t worry about timing it!
17. 21-Day Walking Challenge
Walking is easy – and so is this challenge. Squeeze 30 minutes of walking into your day for 21 days in a row. After this routine, walking will hopefully become a habit keep up and from which you can health benefits.
18. Max Chin-Up Timer
Gran onto a chin-up bar with your palms facing towards you chin over the bar. Hold yourself in place and slowly lower yourself to the ground. Remember to breathe throughout the movement. Jump back up into position and repeat five times for one set. Complete 10 sets. Rest for up to one minute between sets.
19. Kettlebell Swing Tabata
If you don’t have access to a kettlebell, feel free to use a dumbbell. Perform kettlebell swings for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, and repeat this sequence 10 times. Remember to swing the kettlebell or dumbbell between your legs with both hands and then use your butt muscles to launch the weight forward. (Don’t use your arms to swing the weight!) You should be at full hip extension at the top of the movement. For an extra challenge, do a single-arm swing and alternate for each interval.
20. Triceps Dip Pyramid
Put your arms back at 90-degree angles on a chair or hip-level surface, such as a step, and extend your legs in front of you. Perform 20 dips. Take a 20 to 30 second break and perform 19 dips. Work your way down to one dip and then move your way back up the ladder to hit 20 dips again. Your triceps will definitely feel the burn!
21. Turkish Get-Up Takedown
Try to master this movement and then make it a goal to complete three sets of 10 repetitions. Lie on the ground with a dumbbell or kettlebell in your right hand straight overhead. Lie the left hand to the side on the ground. Pull yourself off the ground to a standing position while keeping the right arm overhead. You can use the left hand to assist. Lower back with the reverse movements to complete one repetition. Perform the same exercise on the left side.
22. Reverse Plank Progression
The reverse plank works the back, triceps, shoulders, core and quads. Sit with your palms on the ground and push up squeezing your butt and thighs. Hold this position for 30 seconds. Rest for 15 seconds and then press back into position for one minute. Rest for 30 seconds and then press up into position for two minutes. Rest for one minute and hold the reverse plank for another minute. Work your way back down to the 30-second plank.
23. The Gunshow
Work your biceps out from every angle for a solid upper body challenge. Start with 10 regular biceps curls, move to 10 hammer curls, and then complete the set with 10 outer-arm curls. (Here’s how to do them.) Complete this sequence five times for 10 of each curl.
24. Step-Up Burst
Step up onto a chair or ledge about hip height, and step back down to complete one repetition. Alternate the lead stepping-leg for each repetition. Set the timer for 10 minutes and get as many steps in as possible. If you want, you can increase your speed or the number of minutes. This challenge will not only work your legs, but it will get your heart rate up as well.
25. 100 Around-The-World Lunges
This workout challenges you with lunges in three directions to work on not only strength, but balance and agility too. First, perform a front lunge on your right side. Next, perform a lunge to the right side, and then a backward lunge. From there, perform a back lunge on the left side, then a side lunge, and front lunge on the left side. This pattern will form a circle. Keep making circles until you complete 100 lunges total.
26. Hit The Stairs
Find a flight of stairs and get ready for a sweaty workout! Run up the stairs, perform 10 push-ups, and then run down the stairs. Perform 20 air squats at the bottom. Keep this pattern up for 15 minutes and try to increase the amount of flights you can squeeze into the time limit. Breaks are okay, and you should improve with time!
27. Man Makers
Here’s a whole-body challenge: Grab a pair of 10-pound dumbbells. Get into plank position with a dumbbell in each hand. Perform a push-up and then row each dumbbell separately on both the right and left sides while in the plank position. Hop up into squat position and bring the dumbbells to shoulder height. From there, perform a shoulder press. Bring the weights down and hop back into plank position for one repetition. To increase the challenge, use heavier dumbbells. Remember, form is key. Complete 10 sets of five repetitions.
28. Inchworms For Time
Inchworms work your muscles and stretch them at the same time. They also challenge your core strength and stability. Begin in a plank position and then crawl your hands forward on the ground. Once your hands are out in front of you, begin walking your feet toward your hands. That’s one inchworm. The challenge is to keep doing inchworms at one-minute intervals with 30-second breaks until you’ve completed 20 intervals. Increase the workload by creating longer intervals or more intervals in general.
29. Drop 10 Challenge
This challenge can be done with any bodyweight movements you choose – some good ones are crunches, jumping jacks, lunges, squats, running in place, plank, jumping jacks, high knees and push-ups. Start with 100 repetitions of the exercise, then move on to 90 of another. Next, do 80 of yet another. Keep dropping by 10 repetitions for each exercise in the lineup until you complete 10 for the last on.
30. Basic Splits Challenge
Build flexibility. Each day, sit in straddle position and stretch to each side for one minute each. Next, stay in the straddle position and lean forward keeping your back straight for one minute. Then perform the pigeon stretch for one minute on both sides and the butterfly stretch for one minute. Finally, attempt to do left and right splits as far as you can for one minute each. This routine should develop your flexibility and help you one day maybe even master splits!