The 5 Worst Workouts I’ve Ever Done...
I fell in love with training when I was 16 years old. I am now 31. At a very young age I prided myself on being able to push my limits and suffer more than most. It was a way for me to transform not only physically, but mentally. Through all the pain and sweat I was able to callus my mind and build a confidence through self pride - to know that I was different than most.
Over the years I would develop and/or partake in workouts to help me achieve just this. Workouts that seemed absurd - stupid even. Workouts that when I told people about them they would look at me like I was a lunatic.
Perfect - that’s how I knew I was on the right track.
People would be shocked just to hear what the workout was - let alone the fact that I was actually going to do it.
Over my 15 years of training, I have concocted some insane workouts. Whenever I feel like I need to sharpen my blade - that mental edge for nothing more than to prove to myself that I am built different - I go to the drawing board with a chip on my shoulder.
There have been many over the years, but here I am going to share with you the 5 nastiest ones that stick out most in my mind. There were plenty that I left off this list, and honestly it could probably be a top 15 list, but maybe we will share some of those in a later article.
Here are the 5 worst workouts that took a piece of my soul - I HIGHLY recommend no one attempt any of these unless you’re ready for intense pain and suffering.
5. Back Squat 135 lbs for 100 Consecutive Reps - No Racking Allowed
This gets bad in a hurry. When you think of this workout, you immediately think about your legs getting destroyed, and yes, they do get their fair share of damage. However, the real culprit of this workout is the bar on your back. This workout only lasts about 7-8 minutes - but that’s 7-8 minutes with a 135 pounds resting on your back while your legs get ignited and you work yourself into heavy breathing. When you start breathing heavy, the bar begins to feel a lot heavier because it makes it a lot more difficult to get air into your lungs. This starts to happen around rep 35 or so. When you grind through to rep 50, you say to yourself “okay I am halfway there,” and that completely crushes your soul.
I got through all 100 reps - but it came at a cost. My upper back got completely smoked from supporting the bar and trying to breathe - to the point where I lost activation of my shoulders and the bar began resting on my actual spine/neck bones. I had a burn from the bar rubbing and my actual bone was bruised for days afterward. My actual spine was sore from this workout. This is obviously not good - you don’t have to be a personal trainer to know that. But the body gets so fatigued from being under load for that long with no rest that you begin doing whatever you can to squeeze out one more rep.
But as I said, this was a test for the mind - not the body. And the mind drug the body across the finish line.
4. TGU from Hell
100 Pull Ups + 30 TGU + 100 Push Ups + 30 TGU + 100 Air Squats + 30 TGU + 100 Sit Up + 30 TGU
This is the only workout that ever made me cry. Yes. Legitimately cry. Not cry because it hurt, but because I got emotional upon its completion. This workout took me over two hours to complete.
For those of you that don’t know what a TGU is or what it entails, check out the video below.
That is one rep. You have to complete 120 of those with a 35 pound kettlebell - on top of all the other exercises. You must complete the workout in that order - there is no breaking things up.
The TGU’s absolutely crush your spirit. They wear you down - mentally and physically. I had burns all over my knees and lower back after I was done. This workout is not intense by any means - in fact, its quite the opposite. It is so long, mundane and boring. It is an absolute test of mental attrition. It is for this reason that I got emotional after it was done. It was the longest battle I had ever been in and I thought it would never end.
A war of attrition. Mental endurance. Check.
3. 300 x 3
This is the most recent madness on this list. For my 30th birthday last year I wanted to do something crazy. I like to create birthday workouts that play with numbers - either the numbers of your age or the date of your birthday. As soon as I started thinking 30, 300 naturally came to mind.
The 300 workout was popularized by Gym Jones when they trained all the spartans of the legendary movie 300. The workout consists of 300 total reps, the goal of which is completing it all in under 17 minutes:
25 Pull Ups + 50 BB Deadlifts at 135lbs + 50 Push Ups + 50 Box Jumps 24” + 50 Floor Wipers w/ 135lbs + 50 Clean & Press w/ 35lb Kettlebell + 25 Pull Ups
I had done this workout many times. I have achieved the 17 minute standard. So just doing the 300 wasn’t good enough to mark my third decade on this planet - I was going to do 3 of them and I made it my goal it finish in under 80 minutes.
I finished right around 75 minutes but did not get through without taking some blows. For starters, I almost passed out in the middle of round two. If it weren’t for a birthday cookie I had close by, things would of went dark. Secondly, upon finishing my last set of floor wipers, my shoulders were so smoked that I lost the bar and dropped it on myself. It landed flush on my right hip bone and gave me a bone bruise that lasted days. Lastly, I completely ripped 2 calluses off my hands from the pull ups and had blood and puss oozing out of my hands for the last set of pull ups. I had to finish them by just holding on with my finger tips.
We start each year around the sun off right - by sharpening our blade.
Leonidas would be proud...
30 second Row @ 150m Pace (you must increase by 1 meter every round) + 100 second Rest
In 100 second rest you must complete a 1-10 Ladder of Burpee Pull Ups over the course of the 11 Rounds.
Round 1 - 150m Row + 1 Burpee Pull Up
Round 2 - 151m Row + 2 Burpee Pull Up
Round 3 - 152m Row + 3 Burpee Pull Up
This goes for 10 rounds where you will complete your last set of 10 burpee pull ups and then finish the workout with on final 30 second row.
You chest must touch the bar on every burpee pull up and you must increase your meter total by at least 1 meter every round. If you don’t, then you fail the workout.
This is hands down the most difficult workout on this list - the most difficult workout I’ve ever done in my life. It is extremely intense. Too intense. From an energy system perspective and a programming perspective, it makes zero sense.
You have to row harder every round. Your rest gets shorter every round due to the increase of burpee pull ups. Everything is extremely oxygen demanding. The workout just slowly starts to consume you until you can never catch your breathe. Hence the name - Quicksand.
But like I said before, the point of these workouts is to see how much power our minds can have over our bodies. That being said, looking back at this workout after the fact, this one still might have been too much. When you are operating at intensities like this for that long, it can become dangerous.
I completed this workout around 8 years ago, have never attempted it since and have no plans to every attempt it again.
1. Lunge a Mile
Yes. A full mile. Outside. No additional weight. No rest. I lunged for 58 minutes straight and made sure I lunged every inch. There was zero walking, stopping, resting, or standing. Knee touched the ground on every rep.
Now this workout wasn't overly difficult. It wasn’t easy by any means - don’t get me wrong. But after the first 15-20 minutes your legs just are what they are. They burn and they hurt but it’s not excruciating or anything.
It does get monotonous - so the mental grind part of it is there for sure. Doing the same thing over and over and over again.
However, the reason the mile lunge finds itself at the top of the list is because of the hell that presents itself the 7+ days afterwards. Still to this day, nothing has come even remotely close to the level of soreness I experienced from this workout. I am not exaggerating when I say that I did not have use of my legs for the better part of a week.
This was not your typical soreness. I have lifted for 15 years and have had brutal leg workouts. Take the worst leg soreness you’ve ever had and then dip your legs muscles into battery acid and stab them with knives. That’s what it felt like every time I tried to use my legs for the first 4 days afterward.
It was clearly way too much volume. To the point where it was a detriment to my muscles and my body. I am lucky I didn’t experience Rhabdo.
However, it was a challenge I put before myself. To push myself. To prove that the mind and the will is stronger than the body. And if the soreness that accompanied the workout taught me anything, it taught me this...
The flesh is weak. Our mind is our most powerful asset.
What’s the worst/hardest workout you’ve ever done? Reach out, I’d love to hear. It.
Until then, keep pushing forward.