Workout Routines

The Brutal 60-Minute Barbell Workout Challenge

To test your grit and strength, spend an hour at the bar—the barbell, that is.

Deadlift
Edgar Artiga

WHAT IT IS

A test of strength and stamina that has you perform one deadlift rep using 80% of your one-rep max (1RM) at the top of every minute—resting for the remainder of the minute—for 60 straight minutes. This is known as “every minute on the minute,” or EMOM for short. “The EMOM scheme allows for consistent rest periods throughout the challenge, but you’ll also have to develop muscular endurance to be able to continue as the reps progress,” says Jim Smith, C.P.P.S., owner of Diesel Strength & Conditioning (dieselsc.com). If an hour sounds too daunting, cut it to 45 or even 30 minutes. Trust us, it’ll still be difficult.

WHEN TO DO IT

“This challenge is brutal and will leave you broken for a couple of weeks after,” Smith says. “So perform it only two or three times per year.”

WHAT TO EXPECT

During the challenge, you’ll actually feel like the weight is decreasing as you hit your groove. “The bar will just start flying up,” Smith says. But as you hit 30 to 45 reps, it’ll feel heavy again.

Performance Tip: For this challenge, Smith highly recommends using both chalk (for a better grip) and a lifting belt. “Try to expand your belly into the belt, and hold this brace for the entire rep,” he says.

DIRECTIONS:

Before taking on the chal­lenge, Smith advises training with some of these moves for three to four weeks prior.

Deadlifts

Do 12 sets of heavy singles with 2 to 3 minutes of rest between sets. For Week 4, decrease the rest periods to 45 seconds.

Posterior Chain Exercises

Perform glute-ham raises, good mornings, sled-dragging variations, back raises, rack pulls, and other deadlift variations.

Core, Upper-Back, and Grip Moves

Try ab rollouts, weighted crunches, pullups, and heavy shrugs and rows to smash your core and back. For grip, do heavy farmer’s walks, as well as deadlifts with a double-overhand grip.

STRENGTH GAUGE

Give the Power Hour a try and see how you measure up:

  • Failing before 60 min. = Get to work
  • 60 min. completed = Mission accomplished
  • 100 min. = You’re an animal
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