The last few challenge workouts that I wrote for you were huge hits. The Pyramid and the 100’s are monthly staples at my gym in Somerville, MA. We use these to push our clients, test their progress and provide a great mental break from a typical strength training session.
Today, I wanted to share with you a recent challenge we used with our groups. We call this The Diamond. The goal of this one is two fold: First, to challenge your endurance with higher rep sets, and second, to challenge your strength with low rep sets. The low rep sets give you the opportunity to ramp up the weight you use, if you happen to be stuck in a certain rep range.
The format is simple. You’ll be performing five total sets. On set one, you will complete 20 reps of each exercise. On set two, you’ll complete 15 reps of each exercise. On set three you go for 10 reps of each exercise. On set four, you will push for 5 reps of each exercise. Then, on your final fifth set, you will go back up to 20 reps per exercise.
This can be done with many different exercises, but I like to keep it balanced with a full body approach to get the best overall muscular and caloric benefit, but also to ensure that it doesn’t just turn into an endurance-fest. You need to choose exercises that will challenge you strength-wise.
Here is my favorite set up:
1. Kettlebell or Dumbbell Goblet Squats
2. Kettlebell Swings
3. Dumbbell Overhead Press
4. Mixed Pulling Set. For 20 and 15 reps, perform TRX or Ring Rows. For 10 and 5 reps, perform band or assisted chin-ups. Then, for your final 20 rep set, revert back to the rows
As you set this up for your own training session, it would look like this:
20 squats, then 20 swings, then 20 presses then 20 rows. Rest as needed, then complete 15 of all the exercises. Rest as needed again and move to 10 of everything. Rest as needed and complete 5, then rest and move back up to 20 of everything.
INCREASING THE WEIGHT
As you decrease the reps, you want to increase the weight, especially on the lower body movements. Most of my clients increase those by 5-10 pounds on each set. From 10 reps to 5 reps, it can be a bigger jump in weight. For the upper body pushing (Overhead Press), the set of 20 and the set of 15 might be the same weight, but then when you move to your 10 rep set, you definitely need to increase.
The goal is to push yourself on that final set of 20 by increasing from your original weight by 5 pounds.
Set a timer, and record your total time to completion. Use this workout every month or two to test your progress.
Be sure to leave a comment and let me know how it went for you.
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