Andy, just, WHY??? Great question. I’ve explained these challenges before as a good way to ward off any boredom/monotony of daily training for the past 30-plus years. You may have read/heard me discuss my philosophy that the three most influential factors in your training progress are Consistency, Variety, and Uncomfortability.

Consistency is the daily grind. Challenges like this fit into the Variety and Uncomfortability buckets. Variety is good for the body, to keep your systems adapting to various stimuli, and good for the mind to stay interested and engaged. Uncomfortability is the simple concept of pushing yourself a bit beyond the comfortable. We are only improving when we are demanding more of ourself than what is easy…

TODAY’S CHALLENGE: “Mini-Band Hand Walkouts”

KEY INSTRUCTIONS: Watch the video first, this one is pretty self-explanatory. Grab a mini-band with as much resistance as you can manage with your upper-body strength. Put the band around your wrists, and try to complete three rounds of five hand walkouts.

WHERE YOU’LL FEEL IT: It’s amazing how much the mini-band messes with your muscles — in the best possible way. My deltoids, rotator cuffs, and trapezius were all firing, just from the small movement of pulling one wrist out in front of the other. Of course, the big hero here is our core muscle group – it takes a lot of strength to stabilize and manage full extension. The proprioception of being thrown off balance by the varying hand positions and the resistance of the min-band adds a big challenge to the abdominals, obliques, lumbars as well.

HOW TO BUILD UP TO THIS: This is a pretty advanced movement, and should be attempted carefully. If you’re not able to complete the challenge as demonstrated in the video, you can build up to it by strengthening your core with various planks, ab wheel movements, and core exercises with either your hands or feet on top of a Bosu ball. If your arms are getting shaky, then build up that strength with various pushup exercises – remembering that I consider push-ups to be a total body exercise; so that push-up position should be solid and supported by a strong foundation; “head-to-heel, straight as steel!”

That’s it. Enjoy responsibly and have fun beating yourself up! Let me know how it goes…!

Personal trainer Andy McDermott performing his escalator of death workout challenge

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