There are workouts, and then there are challenges. Fitness model, coach, and actor Scott Mathison likes to build fitness with the former, but every once in a while, he loves to test it with the latter.
If you tried his 40-Rep Bar Challenge or 240-Rep Bodyweight Challenge, you know what you're in for here: fighting fatigue, feeling the pump, and breathing hard from start to finish. No, you won't be able to do the 1-to-10 Challenge while simultaneously scrolling the 'Gram. But, it'll be over in a matter of minutes and you'll feel much more accomplished.
Mathison's latest challenge is a pyramid-style protocol, where you will work your way up the rep ladder as you go from round to round. When you finish the reps for each exercise in succession, that's one round. In Round 1, complete 1 rep of each exercise to start; then 2 reps of each for Round 2; then 3 reps each for Round 3; all the way up to 10 reps each for Round 10, the final round.
Simple enough, right? There's a catch: Within each round, don't rest between exercises. Take a moment to reset between rounds, but this breather shouldn't last any longer than 60 seconds. When you're still in the early rounds with 1-4 reps, you shouldn't need any time at all. Gotta earn that rest first!
"Everything about this challenge is fast," says Mathison. "I perform the reps fast, and I transition between movements fast."
Put simply, the intensity should stay high the whole time. Even if you think you're a bodyweight pro, this will get your attention!
Mathison recommends repeating this workout every few weeks to test your fitness level. Time yourself and try to beat your previous record on each attempt. Once you find yourself breezing through all 10 rounds, work your way down the pyramid again, from 9 reps of each to back to one.
They only count if they're clean! No flailing or half reps allowed if you want to get the most out of it. Start with your arms completely extended and lats fully stretched. Pull yourself all the way up until your chin clears the bar. The descent should be controlled and under continuous muscle tension.
Place your hands underneath your shoulders and position your feet shoulder-width apart. Bracing your core and keeping your glutes squeezed will help you maintain a neutral pelvis and keep your hips from sagging. Again, no cheater reps allowed. Get those elbows to 90 degrees before exploding back up.
Hanging Knee Raise
In the starting position, your legs and arms should be straight. Raise your knees all the way up to your chest and keep your core engaged to avoid swinging. Your hip flexors are highly involved in this movement, but use the mind-muscle connection to imagine you are pulling your legs up only using your abdominal muscles. You can modify these by doing them on a Roman chair machine if this exercise is new to you.
Starting from the floor, jump with both feet toward your upper body and propel yourself up. If you have tight hip flexors, jump wider with your feet outside shoulder width. Explode up and extend through your arms, reaching high toward the ceiling. When you come back down, let your chest meet the ground before repeating.