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This 30-Day Fitness Challenge Will Make You Feel Like A Badass

Exercise four times per week, feel amazing, become a total boss.

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The perfect workout is one that's actually do-able, but also manages to make you feel like a complete badass.

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When it's too easy, it's boring and ineffective. When it's too hard, you might start dreading (and skipping) it. Or worse, get injured.

That's why BuzzFeed Health asked NYC-based fitness expert Albert Matheny, MS, RD, CSCS, co-founder of SoHo Strength Lab and advisor to Promix Nutrition, to put together a fitness challenge that hits that special fitness sweet spot.

This full-body challenge consists of two alternating workouts that you can adapt to your fitness level and get done quickly. Plus, it's challenging enough to make you feel like a boss.

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Here's how it works:

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• You'll exercise four times per week.

• There are two different workouts to alternate between; each one is a three-move circuit.

• Some of the moves call for dumbbells, but you can also perform them with just your bodyweight to make it easier.

• On the first day, you'll complete the three-move circuit as many times as you can in 10 minutes.

• Every other exercise day, you'll add two minutes to your total workout time, which means that by the end of the challenge, you'll be able to do a 26-minute workout. The schedule below has all the details.

• Rest as needed especially as you get further along in the challenge and it gets harder.

Here's how to choose the right dumbbells for your workouts.

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You should be able to do 5–10 reps with proper form no matter what move you’re doing. If five reps is really tough, choose a lighter weight. If you can breeze through 10 reps with little effort, go heavier. Remember that the important thing is to be able to maintain proper form no matter what weight you’re using.

Pro-tip: You can get a pair of dumbbells with flat edges (great for renegade rows!) like these for $20 on Amazon.

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Here's how to do a renegade row:

Chris Fanning for BuzzFeed News

Do

• Keep your hands under your shoulders.

• Keep your shoulders back and away from your ears.

• Keep your feet hip-width apart.

• Maintain a neutral spine.

Don’t

• Allow your hips to sag or pike up.

• Let your shoulder blades cave in or your elbows bend.

• Twist or rock from the hips during the movement.

Make it easier

• Spread your feet wider than hip-width apart to increase stability.

• Perform the movement from your knees.

• Perform the movement without weights.

Here's how to do flutter kicks:

Chris Fanning for BuzzFeed News

Do

• Squeeze your glutes and hamstrings.

• Contract your abs to keep your lower back in contact with the floor.

• Keep your palms on the floor.

• Make small scissor movements; it's not necessary to flutter widely.

Don't

• Lift your head off the floor.

• Keep going if you cannot keep your lower back in contact with the floor. Either modify the move to make it easier or rest until you can once again keep your back in position.

• Don't bend your knees.

Make it easier

• Lift your legs higher and farther away from the floor until you are able to keep your abdominal muscles tight and your lower back in contact with the floor throughout the entire exercise.

Here's how to do a squat with press:

Chris Fanning for BuzzFeed News

Do

• Plant your feet between hip- and shoulder-width apart; turn your toes out as needed.

• Lower your body with control and your abs engaged.

• Squat only as deeply as your mobility allows.

• Make sure your knees are in line with your toes when you squat.

• Keep your weight in your mid foot.

• Press the weights directly up so that your hands are in line with your shoulders.

• Keep your elbows perpendicular to the floor with your wrists straight and a strong grip on weights.

Don't

• Lean forward when you squat.

• Let your knees buckle in during the movement.

• Let your back cave in or round at any point.

• Push your hips out so that they're in front of your shoulders when you press overhead.

Make it easier

• Perform the move without weights.

• Place a chair (or stability ball or other object) behind you and squat until your butt lightly touches it to control the depth of your squat.

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Here's how to do a walkout:

Chris Fanning for BuzzFeed News

Do

• Hinge at your hip rather than bending over. Do this by pushing your hips back as if you're about to sit on a chair.

• Keep your neck neutral and your back flat.

• Keep your legs straight throughout the movement.

• Press your hips high and your heels to the ground when walking your hands back towards your feet.

Don't

• Move your feet during the movement.

Make it easier

• Bend your knees if you cannot touch the floor without rounding your back.

Here's how to do a plank knee-to-elbow kickback:

Chris Fanning for BuzzFeed News

Do

• Place your hands under your shoulders, or slightly wider apart.

• Squeeze your glutes and tighten your core.

• Keep your body in a straight line from the top of your head to your heels.

• Perform the movement at a controlled and consistent pace.

Don't

• Tilt or rock at the hips.

• Lift your legs higher than hip height.

• Let your hips sag or pike up.

Make it easier

• Bring your knee halfway to your elbow (or as far as you can without tilting at your hips or rounding back).

• Replace the knee-to-elbow portion of the movement with a leg lift (to hip height).

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Here's how to do a reverse lunge with press:

Chris Fanning for BuzzFeed News

Do

• Keep your front knee at a 90-degree angle when lunging.

• Keep a tall, upright chest.

• Keep your shoulders directly above (or slightly in front of) your hips.

• Distribute your weight evenly between your front and back foot.

• Touch your back knee lightly to the floor when you lunge.

• Push through your front heel as you stand up.

• Press the weights directly up so that your hands are over your shoulders.

• Keep your elbows perpendicular to the floor.

• Keep your wrists straight and maintain a strong grip on the weights.

Don’t

• Allow the heel of your front foot to come off the ground.

• Allow your front knee to travel beyond your toes.

• Allow your front knee to cave inward.

• Push your hips out in front of your shoulders when lunging backwards or pressing overhead.

Make it easier

• Perform the movement without weights.

• Instead of lunging until your knee touches the floor, stop about halfway down.

Watch how to perform all the moves here:

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Plus, you can download a PDF of the challenge here.

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