For years, tens of thousands of fans have followed Mike Rashid's every lift, thought, and "mental jewel" across social media, YouTube, and in live appearances nationwide. But even in his most popular videos, the soft-spoken Brooklyn native can still often seem guarded, like he's unwilling to let us inside, and would rather let his actions speak for him.
On a recent trip to Boise, Rashid pulled back the curtain in an exclusive video with Bodybuilding.com, touching on his upbringing, his passions, and his goals for himself. Have a watch, and then set aside some time to watch him recreate one of his most iconic workouts, the 225-pound, 210-rep Iron Marathon bench-press gauntlet!
The Iron Marathon Revisited
Back in 2013, Mike Rashid subjected himself to a workout as brutal as they come his body weight (225 pounds) for 210 total reps across 20 laddering sets, a workout he said came from "the sick mind of CT Fletcher." But nearly as arresting as the routine itself is the bizarre, dreamlike setting where it takes place. The room is pitch black, and the only sounds the viewer hears are rattling iron, grunts of pain and exertion, and the unmistakable bellow of Fletcher goading Rashid onward.
This is the Iron Marathon, and it's clear from the start that at any weight, it's only for the brave.
"It was the hardest thing I've ever done with weights," Rashid says—and that's saying something. So imagine how shocked we were when Rashid wanted to recreate this workout in Bodybuilding.com's hometown of Boise, with the one and only Kris Gethin there to spot and push him onward. This was something we had to see!
Don't trust your bench? Sorry, Rashid says you still can't escape. "It can be done with any compound movement: squats, deadlifts, shoulder press," Rashid says. You can also do it with far less than body weight, in the knowledge that it will help you find your limit. "Just push yourself. You know, the human body is amazing. Don't subscribe to the notion that you have to take your time or only do this only so often. Listen: The human body adapts. Trust yourself. You can handle it."
A note on programming: Because Rashid is incredibly strong for his bodyweight, use a percentage of your 1RM (single-rep max) as your working weight instead. In the video Rashid is using 45 percent of his 1RM, so you might want to try 50 percent of your 1RM, or half of your max as your working weight. Try to push through each set as much as possible, but if you need to rest in the middle of a set, do it.