Simple – 100 Reps – The 100 Rep Challenge

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The Internet is awash with programs, systems, methods and protocols all designed to help the average person lose weight, build muscle, increase endurance and become leaner, meaner and all round better.
So what’s the problem?
Why do so many people fail to make even a modest dent in their fitness goals. Why do so many people start out all fired up only to fall off the wagon and go lie on the couch? Between, work, school runs, childcare, meetings, grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, bed time stories and the latest episode of 24 we can find our efforts easily derailled.  We make a commitment to get fit and as soon as that commitment is undermined it becomes a stick we use to beat ourselves. Soon enough it’s easier to quietly ignore your nice new running shoes, the skipping rope hanging over the exercise bike sitting next to that kettlebell you kept going on about at Christmas. You’ll get back to those soon enough, when the weather gets better, that new work project is finished and you catch up on your sleep. Wakey, wakey. Your excuses fool no-one, least of all you.Progress is a series of small steps. Small steps, that in time, cover a great distance. We get stronger in incrementally, lose weight gradually, regain health, movement and wellness one rep, one workout, one day at a time. So a little bump on the road to fitness is just that, you stalled, it happens, that’s life. The journey continues. Buckle up.

This is important
. You need to understand that missing a day, or a week does not somehow negate all your previous efforts. You earn your health and well being over time. You also need to realise that the sooner you get back in the driving seat the better.

“You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing that we call “failure” is not the falling down, but the staying down.” – Mary Pickford

I have a simple solution. A solution that requires regular sub maximal effort but establishes the foundation you need to tmake more profound challenges. A solution that will provide you with a base line level of fitness that will support all the other efforts you make.The confidence you will develop both physically and mentally from performing this routine can provide all the inspiration you need to re-invigorate the simple joy of moving with freedom and energy.As a society we have lost the simple daily physical tasks that would normally make significant inroads to the calories we consume. This is compounded by easy access to the empty convenience foods we eat. Our obsession with time segments our day into a series of pedestrian activities and as soon as we stray from the norm everything falls apart. We are losing the ability to think spontaneously and creatively when it comes to our well being. To improvise and enjoy the effort. Not everything in life is plug and play, bullet pointed or ready to eat.So here it is – you will replace your great-grandparents daily physical efforts – chopping wood, drawing water, picking fruit, chasing dinner by completing One Hundred repetitions of the activity of your choice, every day. That’s Seven Hundred reps a week. Simple. Those reps can be divided across as few or many drills as you want. For example you might choose to do 100 straight Hindu squats. If that’s too much of a challenge  you can break them into four sets of 25. There you go – 100 reps. Alternatively you might perform 20 push ups followed by 5 pull ups and repeat for four rounds. A total of 80 push ups and 20 pull ups. 100 reps. Over the course of a week, with those two exercises alone you could perform 560 push ups and 140 pull ups. Can you imagine how that might impact your well being.For a real challenge you can bang out 100 straight swings with the KB of your choice. Or really stir things up with a combination lift of 5 moves for 5 reps and do four cycles. 100 reps. Or how about 5 push ups, 5 chins, 5 burpess, 5 body weight squats for 5 rounds. 100 reps.Consider whole body moves for your 100 Reps. Look to engage the “Go!” muscles the big muscles that move you from A to B, not the “Show” muscles,bicep curls wont cut it. Think of what Paul Chek refers to as Primal Patterns – Pushing, Pulling, Bending, Squatting, Lunging & Twisting. These are exactly the types of movement we want to replicate with our 100 Reps.

This is not meant to replace any other physical activity you perform. 100 reps should be thought of as NEPA. Non Exercise Physical Activity. Why? Because you’re probably not getting any! This is base line activity. This is the minimum you should do. If you are currently training regularly you might choose not to do 100 Reps on existing training days. This should only apply if you are currently performing, regular, structured strength training. Aerobic activity does not count.

Remember, we are looking to engage as many muscles here as possible. Once that base is established and the habit formed, upping the intensity will start to look like fun. As for rest between sets, as little as possible should be rule of thumb in the early stages.

You need to remember that the only real prescription here is 100 Reps. You can break these up as you see fit. Some days you might split the 100 up across the whole day. The following day you might go hard, 100 snatches.

Simply keep a record of each workout, an A4 sheet with 5 bar gates is enough to keep you on track. After a week or two get a stop watch and after every 100 reps record the time it took to complete. This is important because when you are ready to increase the intensity the easiest way is to beat your time on previous sessions.

One of the first things you’ll notice is just how quickly you can do 100 reps. Once you establish that you can do “a little often” it becomes easier to up the intensity. You have three variables. The drill ie: push-ups can be made more challenging using different progressions, adding weight (though this is only relevant for drills using a load) and training for time.

Time is the simplest way to manipulate your 100 Reps. After your initial workouts, once you are timing your sessions, you can start to decrease the rest periods between sets. This is where one of the simplest yet most effective tools out there comes into play. The Gymboss is your very own training partner. The Gym Boss dual timer allows you to set a work period and rest period and beeps as each round elapses.

If the rest periods are tight you are simple going to look to increase the speed with which you perform the drill.

You can of course look at adding weight where that is a variable. And most drills and moves are scalable.  A little imagination can make the simplest move more challenging.

At some point you will find that you get diminishing returns, you are just so good at banging out 100 Reps on some drills that you need to change things round. (Just remember, this is foundation work).

Having nailed the above you can look at swapping Reps for Time or adding load. But that is a whole other method.

It’s not difficult to come up with  different rep schemes to keep things fresh and if you have a pull up bar you can mix things up quite easily.

Consider the following as a start…

1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1
20/20/20/20/20
25/15/10 x 2
5/10/15/20 x 2
25/25/25/25
10×10
50/25/15/10
50/50
2/4/6/8 x5

About the author

I am a movement maverick, exploring beginner's mind and beginner's body through mobility, bodyweight training, breathwork, mindfulness, kettlebells and martial arts, focussing on self care, pain free movement and resilience. Find suggestions to get you moving over at http://100repchallenge.com Want to move with ease and imagination? For individual or group instruction please contact me.

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