As we head towards Christmas and New Year, let’s keep some things in perspective and review the year. Bucket lists and resolutions are really common in the western world, and is part of our collective “goal-setting” mentality. Recently I stumbled upon one such list that contains certain things which I feel is worth pursuing by anyone who aspires to be fit in the long-term.
Before I start, I should declare that I got these goals from T-Nation. I don’t usually post stuff from T-nation because that site is strongly bodybuilding-oriented. I have nothing against bodybuilding at all, but I just feel that readers of this blog simply want to get in good shape and be healthy. Today’s is an exception because it does have some good content for those who want a challenge. Here goes:
One: Thirty-Second Bodyweight Squat
We know that bodybuilders and gym junkies always use squats as part of their routine with heavy weights on a bar on their shoulders. If that seems too distant, you should try bodyweight squats with no weights on. However, one test of your muscular endurance is whether you can squat down and hold the position for thirty seconds.
Two: Hold A Plank For Two Minutes
By “plank” I don’t mean “planking” as in the fad, but holding the push-up position supported by your forearms rather than just your palm, with your back straight. When you are holding a plank, it challenges your abdominal muscles and your shoulders. Your aim should be two minutes for a start.
Three: Sit On The Ground Without Using Hands Or Knees
Try sitting and getting up without the use of your hands or knees. This simple test is indicative of not just physical strength, but also your flexibility and coordination. Apparently, research has shown that this can even save your life. I think they might be exaggerating with this claim though.
Four: Balance On One Foot For Ten Seconds
Alright, another basic one, right? You’ll be surprised to know how many people actually have struggle with this one, especially obese people. If you are having trouble with it, you might have a serious problem with something in your body. Your hips perhaps?
Five: Hang On An Overhead Bar For Thirty Seconds
It’s okay if you can’t do pull-ups yet, because many people can’t do them. However, you should aspire to be able to hang on a bar for 30 seconds. This exercise itself can strengthen your shoulders, back and improve your grip strength.
Six – Farmers-walk Your Body Weight
Unless you’re in the bodybuilding fraternity, you probably have never heard of the farmers’ walk before. Farmer walking is normal walking with the addition of weights that you hold with your hand. Sort of like walking while carrying groceries. You should try and reach the point where you can do it with your bodyweight.
Seven – Long Jump Your Height
If you’re reasonably fit, the next thing you should aim to be able to do is jump the same length as your height. This requires good explosive energy of your legs. Think back to your high school physics where potential energy gets converted to kinetic energy. This is the sort of grasshopper-cricket leg strength that you should aspire to.
Eight – Bench Your Bodyweight
Alright, this is a very difficult one which most people, myself included, have difficulty with. It might be simple to understand, but difficult to achieve. This gruelling test makes use of not just your chest muscles, but also your coordination, joints and nerves. Plus, your physics also need to be right to achieve this.
Nine – Deadlift Twice Your Bodyweight
Deadlifting is another essential tool in a bodybuilder’s arsenal. It makes use of the leg and back, particularly lower back muscles. However, contrary to popular belief, you do not need to practice the deadlift specifically in order to deadlift well. Other exercises that work out the major muscle groups will help with this one. A chiropractor’s nightmare indeed!
Ten – Use Only One Pillow When You Sleep
I admit, I scoffed a little when I read this one, until I understood the rationale behind it. Apparently, if you require more than one pillow, you might have mobility and flexibility issues. It might also be a sign of kyphosis – excessive curvature of the spine causing a hunching of the back. Eeks!
So after reading all of this, how do you fare? I fare okay, although there are a couple I would struggle with. If you feel like you are not able to do any of those, don’t worry because you have plenty of time to get there. If your first step is losing excess weight, grab the Granite Fitness Solution or Granite Fitness Masterclass today to help you get there. You can work on the rest later!
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