Do you ever feel the need to test yourself against the competition? Do you ever have the urge to see just how fit you really are? If the answer is yes—and I think it should be—then grab your training partner, a friend, or even an enemy, and try one of these challenges.
Each of these fitness tests will push you and a partner in a unique way. They're perfect for those days you want to get out of the gym or do something outside your normal routine. If you're competitive, these challenges should be hard enough to function as at least part of your workout for that particular day.
If you want to win, you're going to have to go as hard as you can. So, bring the heat and earn the "W." Oh, and don't forget to have fun!
Partner Challenge 1: Push-Up Ladder
This is an "I go, you go" challenge. Begin by doing one push-up, then have your partner perform one. That's one round. The next round, each of you will do two push-ups. Continue to add one rep each round until someone bows out! If you're feeling brave or hypercompetitive, you can always post your totals in the comments section.
Partner Challenge 2: Tempo Pull-Ups
Use a metronome app—you can download one for free—and set it to 30 beats per minute. You and your partner must perform pull-ups so that the bar is under the chin on one beat and arms are fully extended on the next.
You and your partner will work at the same time to perform five repetitions (20 seconds) every minute. The person with the highest number of total, full-range-of-motion reps at this pace is the champion.
Partner Challenge 3: Bumper-Plate Grip Test
For this challenge, it's best to use rubber bumper plates or plates without large ridges. If you only have plates with large ridges, face two 10-pound plates together so the ridges touch.
Both you and your partner will stand with the plates upright on the ground beside your feet. On the count of "three," pick them both up to hold them out to your sides. The first one to drop a plate is defeated!
Partner Challenge 4: 17-Second Sprint
Begin on the goal line of a football field with your partner. On "go," start the clock and run the length of the field. It should take you no longer than 17 seconds to complete the 100 yards. Rest until the minute mark, then sprint to the other side.
Continue to sprint back and forth until one of you cannot reach the goal line in 17 seconds. If you go long enough, this challenge can easily replace your cardio for any given day.
Partner Challenge 5: The Walking (Dead) Lunge Race
To do this challenge, you'll need an area with a lot of space, like a football field or track. Set a timer to three minutes. On "go," perform walking lunges for the entire duration. As you're lunging, ensure that the front knee drops to 90 degrees on the lunge and the knees and hips are fully extended at the top of the movement. After three minutes of work, rest for another three minutes. Then, perform three minutes of reverse walking lunges.
Whoever covers the most total distance in the six minutes of work is the champion! This will torch your legs and train your cardiovascular system. What do I say to that? Regardless of who loses, you and your partner both win.
Partner Challenge 6: The Hell Mile
This challenge requires a track. You and your partner must begin at the same time. Whoever completes all the work first is the victor.
Partner Challenge 7: Bodyweight Complex
Complexes, in which you perform a series of exercises one after the other, provide an awesome conditioning workout. This particular complex will really test your bodyweight strength and endurance.
Put 10 minutes on the clock. Whichever partner can complete the most rounds of this bodyweight complex without rest is the champ. Partial rounds only count in a tie-breaker!
Most of these challenges will even work with more than two partners. So, if you can find more than one crazy person out there, you have some ready-made group challenges! Use them on the weekend with your own squad of fit friends to determine the champ in each area. As your fitness level improves, you can always retry these challenges to beat your previous attempts!