It’s time to take on another fitness challenge. Join me for the Supermans, Squats, and Twists challenge! It’s gonna rock your core! Are you ready?
It’s been 29 days since I first announced and began the Burpees, Planks, and Push-Ups challenge. What started as a way to hold myself accountable and build some muscle in the new year quickly turned into a group effort of 60+ individuals. Every day we challenged ourselves to complete (what seemed at the time) a monumental task. And now here we are on the last day of the challenge. Here are some stats — in 29 days we’ve each completed:
- 520 burpees
- 26 minutes of planking
- 540 push-ups
Those numbers are all well and good, but what do they actually mean? To me, they mean dedication, sweat, and accomplishment. I started the challenge with 15 push-ups a day, sometimes 30 burpees a day, and zero planking. Now I can complete several nose-to-the-ground push-ups, I can burpee all day and all night, and while my planking is still subpar, at least I’m consistent. While I haven’t seen major body composition changes or weight loss like I was hoping, I have seen some changes which is encouraging. I plan on continuing with the burpees, planks, and push-ups while adding in other exercises as well.
In the above photo you can see my progress. The photo on the left was taken on January 5. The photo on the right was taken on January 30. It’s not a drastic change but it’s change enough. I foolishly didn’t take measurements before I began but I plan to for this next challenge so even when the scale doesn’t move, I’ll be able to see a shift in inches and body composition. Which brings me to my next point…
I’ve been teasing the idea of a February challenge on social media for the last few days. If you felt like you missed out on the January challenge, now’s your chance to join in the fun. Are you ready to find out what this month’s challenge entails? Drumroll please…
I’m excited to introduce the Supermans, Squats, and Twists Challenge! Through the month of February we’ll be focusing on strengthening our backs, glutes and quads, and core — all key components to every day living but especially important for runners.
Why Supermans, Squats, and Twists?
I chose supermans, squats, and Russian twists for the February challenge because our lower backs and core are so important. With the amount of time humans spend sitting in most jobs, our backs and core tend to be overlooked and not quite as strong as they should be. By protecting our backs and core with strength, we can keep a lot of injuries at bay, particularly low back pain which plagues a staggering 31 million Americans at any given time.
Supermans are a simple exercise that will focus a lot of strength work on the erector spinae, which are a set of muscles responsible for straightening and rotating the back. In addition, supermans will work your glutes and hamstrings, and even your shoulders. Supermans are a simple and effective exercise that more of us should be doing.
How to do them: begin by lying face down on a yoga mat or towel with arms out in front of you. Lift your arms, chest, and legs simultaneously. Hold this position for a second or two before relaxing.
Squats are another great exercise. You may already be doing squats so if you are keep up the good work! Squats are important to strengthen your legs, primarily your glutes, quads, and hips. Squats will not only improve your mobility and balance, they’ll also help you run faster and more efficiently.
How to do them: stand with feet slightly wider than your hips with toes and knees pointing forward. Raise your arms in front of you, parallel to the ground. Squat down like you would be sitting in a chair until your knees are bent at a 90˚ angle. Rise up and return to standing position.
Although the primary goal of Russian twists is to strengthen the core, like the superman exercises, Russian twists will strengthen your lower back as well. By strengthening the core and the lower back simultaneously you’ll see improved posture and decreased lower back pain.
How to do them: in a seated position, cross your ankles and lift your feet 2-3 inches from the floor. Lean back until you feel your abs engage so you’re in a V-position. Extend your arms in front of you and clasp your handsTwist to the right side, holding for a second or two. Return to the center and hold for another second or two, and then rotate to the left side, again holding for a second or two. Each side is one round.
Now that you know what exercises we’re doing, why we’re doing them, and how to do them, here are the details of the challenge.
Supermans, Squats, and Russian Twists Challenge
This challenge follows the February calendar. It begins on Thursday and ends on Wednesday. Sundays will always be rest days.
Thursday — 30 supermans
Friday — 30 squats
Saturday — 30 Russian twists
Sunday — REST
Will it be easy? Nope. Worth it? Absolutely.
Monday — 40 supermans
Tuesday — 40 squats
Wednesday — 40 Russian twists
Thursday — 50 supermans
Friday — 50 squats
Saturday — 50 Russian twists
Sunday — REST
Monday — 60 supermans
Tuesday — 60 squats
Wednesday — 60 Russian twists
Thursday — 70 supermans
Friday — 70 squats
Saturday — 70 Russian twists
Sunday — REST
Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.
Monday — 80 supermans
Tuesday — 80 squats
Wednesday — 80 Russian twists
Thursday — 90 supermans
Friday — 90 squats
Saturday — 90 Russian twists
Sunday — REST
Monday — 100 supermans
Tuesday — 100 squats
Wednesday — 100 Russian twists
Remember, the goal is to challenge yourself, have fun, and be SAFE. If something hurts or doesn’t feel right STOP and make any necessary adjustments. Individuals with knee pain, lower back pain, or shoulder injuries may need to take these exercises extra slow.
You do not have to do all reps at the same time. If you can’t fit 80 supermans in at once, don’t sweat it. Always remember: do what you can with what you have.
(And don’t worry, I’ll repeat the January challenge again in a couple months for those of you who missed it!)
ARE YOU READY? Let’s have some fun!
Have you ever done a fitness challenge?
Which exercise do you think will be the most challenging for you?