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Fun/Tough/Exciting Challenges?

This is something I’ve been meaning to ask for a while, ever since I saw the “20,000lb Deadlift Challenge” thread. I’m looking for some fun things to work into my training over the summer since all my friends will be back from college; it’ll be fun to do challenges like the 20,000lb deadlift challenge every week or two with a bunch of the guys.

So far, all I’ve been able to think of on my own are just basic AMRAP-style challenges. Bench 225 for as many reps as you can, squat 275 or 315 for as many reps as you can, or deadlift 365/405 for as many reps as possible. There could be a few restraints added, such as taking your feet off the ground for bench, pausing all squats at the bottom, or deadlifting with a double overhand grip. Basically, my imagination sucks.

Anything you guys have done, or heard about, that is/sounds interesting and challenging? I don’t have access to any strongman equipment at the moment, but I know some good challenges could come from that…

We had a thread a while back with lots of these, this one, The Mantathalon, proved fun: https://www.t-nation.com/training/train-like-a-man-9

It works well because its based on body weight so everyone gets to play on a relatively even playing field, and the people with a huge squat or the skinny guys good at pullups cant just dominate everyone in their one event.

This page has a ton more, look for the ones by Martin Rooney (same guy from the above), his seem to be the most well thought out in my opinion: https://www.t-nation.com/all-articles/tags/challenge-training


As much as people liked berate the guy who started it, the 20000lb deadlift challenge was a lot of fun (and quite the workout).

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I assume posting the “fun/exciting” part into Powerlifting was a joke. So…

The Miserable Miles

First Mile: Yoke (1.25x BW)
Second Mile: Drag (1x BW - depending on surface)
Third mile: Farmers (.75x BW)
Fourth Mile: Keg/sandbag (.5 BW)

Okay that was a bit harsh, fun & tough powerlifting challenge:

Squat without calibrated plates and don’t complain or claim another 50lbs if they were cslibrated :stuck_out_tongue:


Tried to go an entire workout without stopping to admire myself in the mirror.

Will try again next year.


Cool thread!

A couple immediately come to mind. First up, “Murphy”, thus named by CrossFit in honor of the Navy SEAL who made up the workout (he later died in Afghanistan, one of the SEALs portrayed in Lone Survivor.)

For time:
Run 1 mile
Do 100 pullups, 200 pushups, 300 bodyweight squats
Run 1 mile

  • Most people do 20 rounds of 5 pullups, 10 pushups, and 15 squats. I saw some people here did a Murphy challenge a year ago or so.

Very short yet surprisingly tough challenge I got from an article here:

  • 55 total pushups, walking up from 1 to 10, standing up between each round (start the clock, drop, do one push-up, hop up, drop and do two, hop up, etc.) You’re finished after standing back up after 10 pushups.

Around 7 or 8, it catches up with you. Completing it in less than a minute is VERY good; my brother would’ve had it once, but he almost passed out after the ninth round.

A favorite of mine that I adapted from a sealfit.com workout:
10 rounds of deadlifts, jumprope jumps, and pullups:

  • 5 deadlifts at 225 pounds
  • 30 jumprope jumps (could substitute with 10 burpees)
  • 5 pullups (can also do 6 pullups for first five rounds then 20 pushups for second five rounds.) Be quick, but also safe. Record your time.
    You end up with a total of 50 deadlifts, 300 rope jumps or 100 burpees, and 50 pullups or 30 pullups and 100 pushups. It’s a great strength-endurance workout.

If you guys know how to do dumbbell clean and presses, see who can clean and push press the heaviest dumbbell with one hand. Also, you can scale it to see who can get the highest percentage of their bodyweight with one arm. For instance, if a 200-pound guy can clean/press a 100 pound 'bell, that’s 50 percent of his bodyweight. If a 170 pound guy can do a 90 pound 'bell though, that’s just short of 53 percent, so he’s proportionally a little stronger.

I’ll add another one or two as I think of them. You should let us know what you guys end up doing!


Those are intense! Definitely post some more if you come across any :slight_smile:

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Will do!

Murphy is the most intense to me, while the deadlift workout is a great full body challenge that only takes a half hour or so.

Thinking about that one, if you do burpees instead of jumping rope, I’d stick with pullups for all 10 sets, since a full burpee has a push-up anyways.

I went through a brief CrossFit-esque phase last summer and had fun coming up with different challenges.

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Crossfit has a bunch of workouts that are good for this type of thing. Murph is one of them. My “favorite” is Fight Gone Bad. It’s basically supposed to simulate an MMA fight. I’ve done both, and I’d say it does a decent job.

3 Rounds For Total Reps in 17 minutes
1 minute Wall Balls (20/14 lb)
1 minute Sumo Deadlift High-Pulls (75/55 lb)
1 minute Box Jumps (20 in)
1 minute Push Press (75/55 lb)
1 minute Row (calories)
1 minute Rest

Perform 1 minute of work at each of the 5 stations. Move immediately to the next station after 1 minute. The clock does not reset or stop between exercises. One-minute break is allowed before repeating each round. One point is given for each rep, except on the rower where each calorie is one point.

A good score is 350+ IIRC. I think I subbed DB thrusters for wall ball and burpees for rowing when I did it.


Front Squat (405 pounds optional) x 8 reps then run 400 meters. x 3 of those.


I’ve been looking for a little more excitement working out as well so last weekend I ran a Spartan Sprint. If they have any in your area it was a lot of fun. A little spendy but if it’s only something you do once or twice a year it’s not too bad. 4.4 miles with 25 or so obstacles. A lot of grip, climbing, and carry work.


Murph has been mentioned, which is a fantastic challenge. You can also do half and quarter Murphs, to vary it a little. A few others I’ve done.

  • 1000 push-ups. Every minute on the minute, do 20 push-ups. Perform for a total of 50 minutes.

  • Our own 405 deadlift EMOM challenge. EMOM, pull a 405 single on deads. At the 30 minute mark, go for max reps.

  • Crossfit’s “Grace” workout. Clean and press 135lbs 30 times. Go for fastest time. I’ve done this with an axle and a log, and both suck in their own special way.

  • 1 mile prowler push. I did this with an unloaded prowler while rehabbing my knee.

  • Here was one a while back that’s a little easier to see vs explain.

Boils down to clean and pressing for 1, then front squat for 1, then 2s, etc, all the way to 10. However, if I were to do it all over again, I’d inverse it, so that you press for 1, squat for 10, press for 2, squat for 9, etc. More even distribution of misery.

  • Another fun one is Tabata sandbag carries. 8 rounds, 20 seconds carrying, 10 seconds resting. For double the fun, after you’re done with the sandbag, do it again with a keg of about half as much weight.

I’m sure I can come up with some more I’ve done, but that’s a good start.


I tried using one of those front squat harnesses and the damn thing dug into my leg so bad it drew blood. Don’t remember where it got me exactly, but it definitely didn’t fit me for some reason.

The screw at the bottom of the harness ended up tearing into my stomach so bad on one workout that I have a scar on my abdomen now. They’re a nifty idea, but I’m not entirely sold on it.

I DO consider it a different movement than an actual front squat, which is part of it. It tends to throw the weight further out in front of you. It’s nice for variety, but I think I’m just going to cross arm it for the future.

fixed it lol


A simpler version of the deadlift and pullups, perhaps done at the beginning of a back and bicpes day:

  • 25 deadlifts at 225/185/135/whatever weight fits your group
  • 25 pullups

The first to do all 50 reps wins. Do them in whatever order seems best.

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