The challenge
How much weight can you lift in two minutes?

In this challenge you choose the exercise. It can either be:

  • Bench presses
  • Pull ups
  • Back squats or
  • Deadlifts

The goal here is to pick a weight that will give you your maximum score. How do you calculate your score? It’s easy – it’s total reps x weight. So if you did five bench presses of 20kg each, your total score would be 100kg.

Try different weights and work out what weight gets you the best score in this two minute challenge!

What does it measure?
This challenge is all about muscular endurance and strength. Strength because someone who can back squat 100kg is going to have an easier time moving a load of 50kg over two minutes than say someone who normally maxes out with a 40kg back squat. And endurance because you’ve got to push through that burn if you want a good score.

The benefits 
That burn you feel in your muscles is not all for nought. Training to failure over two minutes has a myriad of benefits, including:

  • Increased muscle tone and mass
  • Increased muscle blood flow (your heart gets oxygen rich blood to your muscles easier)
  • Increased heart size
  • Increased nerves firing (these are what drive your maximum strength)

Move it – the right way!
The movement you choose for this challenge will determine what key techniques you should follow. Be sure to check-in with a YMCA trainer to run through your technique before you start.
Below are a few cues to get you started:

  • Activate your glutes! Do this by squeezing your butt tight. This will right your pelvis and help switch on your core muscles.
  • Breathe. Sounds simple, but it’s critical. While holding your breath may help with a single lift, over two minutes it will severely hamper you (and temporarily skyrocket your blood pressure)
  • Move to the limits of your mobility. Don’t go beyond this. Additionally, if you feel your form breakdown, take a break, re-rack, reset, and then get back on that horse
  • Set your shoulder blades. Do this by squeezing your bar tight, and slightly pinching your shoulder blades back on the deadlift/bench press/squat, or setting them down on the pull-up.

How will I feel?
If you thought the one minute row burnt last month, you’re in for a treat! While that workout took out your lungs, this one will be burning whatever muscle group you target based on your chosen exercise.

That muscle burn is going to be localised, so don’t use this month’s challenge as a warm-up… You’ll be better placed to try this challenge at the end of your workout. Good luck!