The fact is, 100 Reps each day, of conscious activity, quickly turns in to physical practice that can positively impact every aspect of our lives. Over the course of 100 days, that’s 10,000 reps. This is your challenge. Suddenly 100 makes a lot of sense. How we move invariably impacts how we eat, both these things affect how we recover. We can create a circle of benefit by simply changing one thing. In this case, that one thing is a little every day activity.
The good news is...you can start now. With minimal equipment, a little commitment and some action and effort, you will be on your way to building a simple, every day, training practice. A practice that will make you stronger, healthier and fitter and in the process, set the stage for other, perhaps bigger, challenges to come. We all start somewhere.
Now, it doesn’t matter whether you read this 100 days out from New Year or not. That’s not important. What we need to focus on is the action part. Get that right and motivation will follow. There really is no time like the present.
Where to begin...
The Original 100 Rep Challenge was devised as a simple, quick, no excuses, body weight training routine that could be be done pretty much anywhere. For most people, body weight training on it's own is enough to get them in fantastic shape. Add a 20 minute walk, preferably at a brisk pace, every (other) day and you have the makings of a solid, basic training program. We often look to sports to get us fit, failing to see that most sports require a foundation of fitness for us to actually enjoy them. 100 Reps can be that foundation. Think of it as an on ramp to other activities.
If you want to make yourself accountable, get a friend or family member to join you. there’s is nothing like a training buddy to keep you keen.
The original 100 Rep Challenge focuses on the the BIG 3. Wide Grip Dead Hang Pull Up, Military Push Up, Shoulder width Body Weight Squat. In time you can mix it up with all manner of drills. For now, stick to the basics. Rather than randomly assigning numbers, the rep counts for each drill are based on the strength required for the movement and muscles involved. It is much harder to perform pull ups for reps, than it is to squat. In other words, how hard is the drill?
Why 100 reps? 100 Reps is enough to give you a decent training effect, but not too much to be daunting. If you find yourself experiencing a little discomfort following a training day, that’s normal. Discomfort is normal, distress is not. If you are sore, take a day off but make sure to get in a decent walk. (I will be adding a few extra drills over the coming weeks that can be used but I recommend sticking with the basic 100 Rep Challenge for maximum benefit)
Why these drills? Because they replicate movements we regularly perform, they are easy to learn and we can quickly improve. Pushing, pulling and squatting, on a basic level they work the biggest muscles of the body, whilst bringing the smaller ones along for the ride.
Many people dismiss body weight training because it appears easy. It’s not. Few folk aren’t humbled when they find they can’t actually do more than a few push ups. And even the best conditioned athletes will find running these drills, back to back in good form against the clock, a serious challenge. But the great news is, the learning and improvement curve for basic body weight training is sharp and fast. Motivation follows action when you find, within a week or two, your numbers are going up and your strength is improving. And what you consider difficult now, will in time, become something you can do at will. Think about that for just a moment, a set of physically challenging moves that you can do with relative ease. All reps are done through full range of motion. No half reps, no bad form. Technique is more important than simply trying to bang out the reps out. We are in this for the long haul, lets not create habits!
So, here's the drills and the numbers we are looking to build up to. Don’t be put off if you can’t perform these. The whole point is to start where you are and gradually build up total numbers, over the weeks and months. One good push up is worth 5 half hearted reps. All you need is a little floor space and a pull up bar. If you don’t have a pull up bar or somewhere you can do pull ups...get one. It is one of the cheapest and most underrated pieces of equipment you can buy and once you have one you will find it indespensible.
10 Wide Grip Dead Hang Pull Ups (palms facing forward, no kipping, chin over bar)
30 Military Push Ups, elbows in close, hands under shoulders, feet slightly apart, hips locked, chest to floor, back to full extension
60 Body Weight Squats, feet shoulder width apart facing close to parallel, bum to calves and back to full extension.
The ultimate aim is to do these in sequence, with as little rest as possible. But, as you work towards completing the reps for each move, you can take a break at any time, every full rep counts towards the total. What if you are starting out? First off, try each of the drills, best effort, and see where you are. Count your total reps for each drill and add all three together. this is your starting point. Don’t worry if you are struggling, this is about to change.
How do you ramp up your reps? Rather than train all out, you can break your sets in to bite size chucks, spreading the effort over the course of the day. This is often called greasing the groove. Getting better one rep at a time. Whatever the case, as soon as your form goes, as soon as the quality of your movement falters, STOP. There are no medals for messing yourself up. Leave the “go hard or go home” slogans at home. For Pull Ups, if you are new to them, simply do single reps, work up to doubles and triples, then once a week do one all out set and see how many you can do. You will find you can build volume this way with out over training. If you can’t do a pull up, start with a low bar and your feet on the floor, using that support to help. If that’s still too much, focus on the Push Ups and Squats. It’s amazing the impact one well practiced move can, in time, have on another.
Push Ups? Same principles! A good way to increase numbers is to work ladders or pyramids and take a short rest between each set. For example try a ladder of 1/2/3/4/5 for 15 reps. Doing that twice a day with build some serious volume. If that is easy, a pyramid of 1/2/3/4/5/4/3/2/1 will give you 25 reps. Once you are feeling comfortable you can start to chunk the sets in to 5's, 10's,15's and more. Again, volume can be spread out over the course of the day. If you cant do a push up, simply start facing a wall. As you improve, place your hands on a chair, eventually you will be doing full reps on the floor. Squats - Here, we need to build up some gas in the tank. I suggest starting with sets of 10 to 15, performing 5 or 6 sets over the course of the day. As this gets more manageable simply up the number of reps. Pretty quickly you can be cranking out 50 rep sets. Half a dozen of those over the course of a day will set you up for some serious power. If a full squat is a challenge, start from a seated position, stand up, sit down. Repeat.
Fast Track Tens - One of my favorite methods is to perform a single pull up, three push ups and six squats for ten rounds. Again, you can break these mini sets up over the course of a day. You can do the drills in any order but experience tells us Pull Up, Push Up, Squat works best. Again, check you max reps once a week and note your time, run the three moves back to back, stop when your form starts to go. You will find that as the total time goes down, your reps increase. That’s as simple as it gets. (We will address sticking points in a later post) Remember, you are the Boss of you. You get to decide how and when you train. You get to make that commitment each day. If you find yourself struggling to get moving, just do a few reps and let the momentum kick in. You’ll be surprised how quickly one rep becomes two, two becomes three...
And if you think all this Body Weight stuff is easy? Try it and let me know. If it is easy, go teach someone else how to get a little more movement in their day.
We will be providing full instructions for each of the drills along with ways to make them easier...and more difficult.
Begin - The 100 Rep Workbook is on it’s way. I am looking forward to sharing a simple, effective method that will help you get a little more movement in your day, with a focus on how we eat, move and recover.
All the best,