How did the @andywhatsnext Monday Motivation Challenge begin? It started with me posting some crazy challenges for a group of friends I used to train with in Los Angeles as a way to keep each other motivated. Now, it’s more to fight the tedium that threatens our fitness lifestyle.

I’ve been working out at least once a day, every day, for 30 years. Maybe you’re the same way — whether for three decades or three months. If so, we all know that your weightroom of choice — the gym or garage or wherever else you may train — can get a bit monotonous. Yes, that routine is necessary, and the grind is part of what we love!

To ward off the boredom, I’ve taken to “testing” myself more and more as I get older — I usually try to come up with some challenging (borderline crazy?) exercise or mini-workout to do at the end of each week of training. This series will highlight some of these challenges, pointing out which muscle groups are being called into action, and explain their benefits (even if it might be just to impress your friends). As always, my “official” recommendation is don’t try this at home! But, just in case you’re crazy like me, let’s get to it.


WHY TRY THIS? This is a great finisher or end-of-workout tester. Test yourself in a new and different way! These varying hand position pushups are a great test of your strength in proportion to your bodyweight. The “bonus” challenge at the end — trying to stabilize your body with only your hands touching the ground — is extra credit!

THIS CHALLENGE TARGETS: The pushing muscle groups (pectorals, deltoids, triceps) and core stabilizers (abdominals, obliques, back lumbar muscles, latissimus dorsi where it attaches at inferior position). We are taxing the muscles from different angles and with different loads, by varying our hand positions.

THE BUILD-UP VERSION: If you’d like to try the challenge but you’re not quite able to perform all the movements in the video, no problem! Here are a couple of ideas for building up to it:

  • The point to this challenge is to add variety to pushups. If you have a hard time “hopping” with your hands and pushing from varying hand positions, then try adding variety with your foot positions. Single-leg, double-wide-leg, feet elevated, etc.
  • One important note: Often I see the main issue for people performing any difficulty level of pushups correctly is NOT actually the lack of pushing strength, but the lack of core strength. So, a good way to build up to more advanced pushups is by performing planks and other “hands on the ground” core movements.

That’s it. Enjoy responsibly, and best of luck beating yourself up! Let me know how it goes…!

Muscular man with a beard and wearing glasses pulling himself up over a pull bar while wearing a weighted vest for his weekend workout

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