Food & Fitness

Day One of the 100 Reps Challenge (2009 edition)

Dr. J suggested yesterday that instead of a 100 Reps Challenge, this year, we change things up a little. Make it a bit more… challenging. And I think he’s right. After all, why do 100 reps of an exercise when you can do 200, right? Right! So, as per Dr. J’s idea, the 2009 edition of the 100 Reps Challenge is going to be the 200 Reps Challenge. We’re upping the ante here.

Ready for the first day of our 31-day challenge? Okay, here we go!

I wanted to kick the challenge off with something fun. Something invigorating. Something that uses just our body weight. Something that everyone can try. Something that has Living Healthy in the Real World written all over it…

Core work extravaganza!

20 Squat Chops (targets the upper body, core, and lower body)

20 Side Planks (targets the abdominals, hips, and back)

Repeat this set 10 times over the course of the day for a total of 200 Squat Chops and 200 Side Planks!

For the Squat Chops:

1. Stand tall with your abdominal muscles tight, your shoulders back, and your feet hip-width apart. Slowly lower your body so that your knees and your head remain directly over your ankles. Your butt should be sticking way out behind you as though there’s an invisible chair behind you that you’re trying to sit on. Your thighs should be parallel to the floor so that your bum and your knees are at the same height.

2. Raise your arms so that they make a straight line up from your ears. Return to a standing position and bring your right knee to hip height as you bring your arms down and across your body so that they “chop” your raised leg; both hands should be on the outside of your right leg.

3. Return to standing position and repeat the entire process with the other leg. This is one rep.

TIP: When you bring your knee up and your hands over to “chop” your leg, focus on your abs doing the work to bring those arms down and that leg up. There’s a big difference when you engage your abs compared to if you let your arms do the work or if you simply work off of momentum.

For the Side Planks, you want to lower and lift your body (if you check out the video that I’ve linked to above, zoom ahead to 1:05, where it shows this particular variation):

1. Get down on the floor on your yoga mat or the rug; lie down on your right side. Keep your left leg stacked on top of your right leg. Position your right elbow so that it is directly beneath your right shoulder.

2. Raise yourself up so that you are balancing on your right elbow and the side of your right foot. Stick your left hip up into the air as high as possible. Place your left hand on your left hip; to up the difficulty, raise your left arm so that it is straight up into the air.

3. Lower yourself so that your right hip almost touches the floor. Lift up again and get that left hip as high up in the air as you can manage. This is one rep. When you have completed all reps on this side, switch sides and do the same number of reps on the other side (over the course of the day, you will have completed 100 reps on your right side and 100 reps on your left side, too).

TIP: Do this move slowly and controlled for maximum effect. Envision your waist cinching in as you do the move. This exercise, I swear, is the reason why I actually have a waist at all- I went for years believing that my body was straight as a ruler with no waist. Then I discovered this exercise, and now there’s a teensy tiny indent in my side which I am determined to refer to as a “waist”. Basically, I’m your poster girl for side planks if ever there was one.

Questions? Anything you’d like to add? More tips for how to perform these exercises? You know where to leave them!


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