Happy Birthday! It’s been another great year and today we get to celebrate…you!
You’re awesome and are blessed to celebrate another 365 days of being fit.
Wait. It’s not your birthday? Really? Ok, well keep reading anyway because you can reference this when the anniversary of your birth does come or if you just want a heck of a challenge.
On June 29th, I turned 35. (I probably look 45 and act 5 at times though.)
Ever since I was 17, I made it a top priority to start my birthday with a workout. It helps me appreciate and celebrate the fact that I am still here, in good shape, and can take on the challenges that are ahead in the coming year.
In past years, I normally just did what fell on the weekly training schedule like chest or arms.
This year I wanted to do something different. I really wanted to challenge myself and be able to train the entire body. I felt like my birthday training shouldn’t be about one muscle group but rather about total fitness.
So, I created something that turned out to be an awesome workout, probably one of the best I ever had.
I challenged my overall strength, endurance, got a killer pump, and realized that although I was in good shape, I had a lot more work to do.
I call it the “Birthday Challenge” and of course I am going to share it here on M&S.
The Numbers That Matter
There are two numbers that will be very important factors in this workout; your age and your weight. Of course you know how old you’re going to be. The second number is your weight. Step on a scale and remember that number.
If it isn’t a 0 or 5 number, round it up to the next 5. For example if you weigh 181 pounds, go with 185 or if you weigh 187, go with 190. Ladies, if you need to, take this number and cut it in half. So if your weight is 130, go with 65.
From here on out, I will use my particular numbers as the example. I turned 35 and weighed 209 pounds so I rounded up to 210.
The number of your age is going to serve two purposes. It will be the number of minutes you have to complete the workout from the first working rep to the last and it will be the number of reps you shoot for with each exercise.
This challenge gets tougher with age, but so do you. Besides, it makes it that much more rewarding when you’re able to hit higher rep ranges. Just be sure to use your better judgement when trying to beat this challenge. I had 35 minutes to complete 35 reps of each exercise which we will cover shortly.
Since I rounded up to 210, this is the weight I would work with on each exercise. So, I would work with my bodyweight on each bodyweight exercise and 210 pounds is what would be on the bar for the barbell movements. Ladies, remember that you can work with half of your weight.
My goal was to challenge the entire body and I wanted to use compound movements since this would be the best way to effectively train everything. I chose the following five exercises.
Pullups: Pullups challenge the back, shoulders, and biceps. I like neutral grip pullups myself, but you can use whatever grip you’re comfortable with. You start with a complete hanging position and pull yourself up until at least your eyes clear the bar.
No jerking and kipping. Focus on using your back and arms to complete each reps. Don’t use wrist wraps to help you hang on. Use your natural grip strength.
Dips: Dips are awesome for the chest and triceps. I would lower myself down until my upper arms were below parallel, pause briefly, and press up to complete lockout. I would then perform the next rep.
Don’t shortchange the movement either. Range of motion is important to properly train the muscles.
Squat: Who doesn’t want to do squats on their birthday? There really is no better movement for the legs. I would complete each rep powerlifting style which meant that I had to go below parallel and explode out of the hole. Once I reached the top, I took a deep breath and continued with the next rep.
Flat Barbell Bench Press: Let’s hope your birthday doesn’t fall on a Monday because you need to be able to use the bench. Like the squat, powerlifting rules apply. Lower the bar to your chest, pause, and explode when you press to lockout.
If the bar goes down at any point or if the spotter has to assist, the rep doesn’t count. Have your spotter or training partner judge your reps.
Deadlift: The king of all lifts. There is no other lift that challenges the entire body and after doing the first four exercises it will be even tougher than it normally would be. That’s the point. Like the other two power movements, the rep doesn’t count if the bar goes down.
For the sake of protecting your lower back, you don’t have to completely lock out at the top but don’t cheat and go back down halfway through. It only hurts yourself. No wrist wraps either. Use your natural grip.
Have you figured out what you’re going to be doing yet? Using your age as the time limit, you have to complete all 5 exercises for the number of reps equal to your age while using weight the equivalent of your bodyweight (or half for women that feel they need to).
So I had 35 minutes to complete 35 reps of each of the five exercises with my bodyweight (210lbs) on the bar. With whatever time I had left, I would go on a run until time expired. This might look easy but don’t underestimate this. It’s no joke.
It’s very likely that you won’t be able to complete all five movements for the required reps without taking a brief rest period unless you’re an 18 year old who is using a very light weight.
Take a few minutes to warm up your entire body. My routine was a speed walk for five minutes followed by pushups, bodyweight squats, planks, and stretching. It took around 10 minutes. Make sure you feel like you’re ready to go because you will start with pullups and there are no warmup sets. You will start right off with your bodyweight.
To help me keep track of time I created a playlist of favorite songs that had a total length of around 36 minutes. My goal was to finish before the last song started which was “Hells Bells” by AC/DC. I knew if I heard the bells that I had to hustle.
If this will help you, then create your own list. You can also keep an eye on the clock or stopwatch as well if you wanted. I found the music helped motivate me.
I did this in my weight room at home, so I didn’t have to worry about working around other people and equipment being taken. Transitioning from one station to the next was easy as well.
You will likely be doing this in your gym. Find out what time the gym is the least busy so you will be more likely to access a rack and bench. Grab an adjustable bench and keep it at your squat rack. You can bench in the rack for extra safety and to save time. If for some reason you do have to wait to use a bench or rack, stop the time on the clock.
If you insist on doing this with a partner you can, but remember the clock is ticking so keep the socializing to an absolute minimum. It would be best to do this on your own and acquire the help of a spotter.
I ended up completing the lifting portion of the workout in 24:27. After racking the weights (always rack your weights), I ran for a little over 9 minutes. If you do this workout on your birthday or whatever day you decide to try this, post your weight, age, and time in the comments so we can push each other to work harder.
The Birthday Bodyweight Workout Challenge
All exercises bodyweight or equivalent on bar (women can use half-bodyweight if necessary)
|1. Pullups||As Many As Necessary||Total Reps Equal to Age|
|2. Dips||As Many As Necessary||Total Reps Equal to Age|
|3. Squat||As Many As Necessary||Total Reps Equal to Age|
|4. Flat Barbell Bench Press||As Many As Necessary||Total Reps Equal to Age|
|5. Deadlift||As Many As Necessary||Total Reps Equal to Age|
|6. Jogging||1||Until Time Expires|