Straight to the Bar

All Things Strength


500 Reps of Torture
Written By : Parth Shah
Filed In : Articles | highlighted

I’m looking down at my 16kg kettlebell. I’ve done it before. A hundred workouts at least with the implement. And yet….I’m deftly scared. My heart has never felt so weak. Despite all the intense workouts I’ve been performing with it for the past few months. Despite all the intense training with my partners and clients. Despite all the mental strength that I’ve developed. I’m still….scared.

My goal was to get this workout done in under twenty minutes, and now I’m at the 35 minute mark. What to do? I have a million reasons to quit. But only one reason to keep going….and that’s what matters. Just keep going because if you don’t, you’ll never know if you could do it. You’ll never know how long it took, and you’ll never figure out a way to improve yourself. Just keeping GOING DAMNIT!

I pick up the weight. It feels like a hundred pounds of solid rock in my arms. I push the KB over my head like there’s no tomorrow. One rep, two rep….seven…eight…nine…ten…aargh! I scream and drop the weight. A neighbor glances at me and wonders what the hell I’m doing. I seriously need a fence.

I pick up the weight again after what seems like two minutes of rest, my longest ever. I push the weight up again with my left hand. Three…four…nine…ten…aargh! I sound like a pirate in agony. I look at my list. Only 6 more exercises left, 50 reps each. I keep asking myself, “What the hell is wrong with me?” “Why did I design this workout?” “Why can’t I finish it?” “Why is it so hard?”

56 minutes, and 24 seconds later I scribble my time in my notebook. As I’m walking back up the stairs to my room, I wonder what the hell I just did, and what the hell just happened to me.

I was Broken…Mentally

Every once in a while I’ll perform a workout that is seemingly impossible and aims to push my mind and body to the limits. The majority of the time it is your mind that fails before your body. The only way to train you mind is to try something you’ve never tried before. Last time my training partners and I pushed ourselves was the Saragarhi workout. We succeeded in finishing that workout in an amazing time.

This workout….this 500 reps of pure torture…I should have been able to do it faster….but the number….500 reps…and the shear number of exercises….10…and the number of reps per exercise….50…was just…insane!

Honestly, this workout was a pure endurance workout. Here’s the workout:

For time:

  • 50 Bent over row, 45 lbs
  • 50 Push Press, 45lbs

  • 50 KB Swings, 35lbs

  • 50 KB Press, 35lbs

  • 50 KB Clean, 35lbs

  • 50 KB Front Squat, 35lbs
  • 50 Sumo Deadlift High Pull, 35lbs

  • 50 Power Clean, 35lbs

  • 50 Pushups

  • 50 Bodyweight Squats

I really do not know what kind of drugs I was on when designing this workout. What the hell was I trying to prove?

Even from a design standpoint, there are a lot of flaws to this routine. But you know what, I have a rule: Once it’s written, it shall be done.

What’s the point?

Hey, if you want to try the workout, go ahead. I’ll guarantee you’ll be able to beat my time. But the point is that often the biggest battle we have to face occurs in our minds. All the excel spreadsheets told me I should have been able to complete this workout much faster. But there was something that was there that just didn’t click. My mental switch didn’t turn on.

I kept talking to myself during the workout. Trying to just keep pushing through. It happened right after those swings. I’ve performed workouts where I did 25 presses in a row for 3 rounds, along with another exercise. But just the thought of having to perform 50 presses, then have to perform the clean, and then squats, and then those 50 push ups at the end scared me half to death.

I was so scared, I kept calling my friend to come train with me. Damn guy didn’t pick up. It was his lucky day I guess. But I’m willing to bet my time would have been faster if he’d been there to train with me as well. No one wants to break in front of their friends.

Why you Should Try something Insane

It builds character. Seriously. You learn a lot about yourself. Sometimes you realize what you’re capable of, and other times you realize just how weak you really are. Those that design our own programs often end up incorporating exercises or methods we really enjoy. We become good at it and do not train our weaknesses. The goal of pushing yourself is to expose your weaknesses and lay it all on the line.

Over to you. Drop us a line on Twitter ( @scottbird ), or add a comment below.



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Written By Parth Shah
Parth Shah is a Strength Consultant based in New Hyde Park, New York and is currently going through his own personal physique transformation. Find out more at Shah Training.
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