My facebook friends and fellow RKCs Nicole Money and Shane England of The Edge in Dayton, OH dug up Brad Nelson's "Sissy Challenge" is a very simple but brutal test.
Here is the workout:
25 Burpees/1 swing,
24 Burpees/2 swings,
23 Burpees/3 swings,
2 Burpees/24 swings,
1 Burpee/25 swings
==> For Time (This works out to 325 burpees and swings.
==> I did this workout in 46:15 with a 32kg (including pushups and clapping jumps), here are the stats:
Average HR: 170 (95.0% of MHR)
Max HR: 184 (102.8% of MHR)
Cals: 761 (16.45/minute)
Here are some observations.
1) I did this about 4 years ago (pre-RKC) and did this in over 48 minutes with a 24kg bell. I was sore all over the next two days, right now I am fresh as a daisy. Quads, calves, chest, and hams were destroyed the first time.
2) The key to this is to keep moving. A hard but a steady pace you can maintain. With the burpees, which are really just a bunch of singles, break them up. So if you are doing 15 burpess, divide into manageable pieces, like 8 + 4 + 3 burpees. For some reason the "reverse ladders" (e.g., 23 burpees, do 11, 8, 4) seemed to work. I see a lot of people rush stuff in Met-Con type workouts, and there is not reason to. If the workout is going to take over 30 minutes, you don't need to rush or sprint. You will gas out. Split your workout so that you leave something in the tank.
3) During my first 25 burpees, my heart rate was in the mid-160s.
4) The first time I did this, I did the 25 swings first. I don't it made a huge difference - but I do think the front loaded burpees had more of a degrading effect over the backloaded swings than the front loaded swings had on the backloaded burpees.
5) I wasn't really "fresh" for this test. I did a pretty bad-ass (for me anyways) set of Max VO2 snatches. 20kg x 30 x 8L/:15 rest/8R/:15 rest.
6) I really was not looking forward to this. I probably procrastinated about 45 minutes before starting.
7) Once you start, you really can't stop. It is like a jail sentence.
8) The burpees started getting easier around the set of 16 burpees
9) The swings started to get hard around the 21 mark. There just wasn't enough burpee time to rest between. That is about the point where I split into two sets with minimal rest.
10) I am still of the opinion that lunges and burpees are the most rudimentary exercises that trainers who can't acually teach skills use.. People seem to pride themselved on not being able to walk after doing lunges, esp new trainees. Same with burpees. Don't brag about hurting your wrist doing burpees. All it means is that you are a dumbass. I only do burpees when it is part of a challenge or a boot camp workout that I am unfortunately participating in. The burpee is not exactly a high skill exercise. I was doing pushups at 4, jumping at 3, and clapping as soon as I knew I had hands. Not a high skill exercise. You don't need burpees to get in shape. I will say this, they do get the heart rate up, but so does a kick in the nads.
11) This part is just math, but doing this challenge from 1-20 is not 80% as hard as 1-25. In 1-25, you are doing 325 burpees and swings. In 1-20, you are only doing 210, or 65.%. Also, the hardest sets ARE over 25% harder.
12) One of my coaches called this the "Rhabdo challenge". I would set a time limit of 80 minutes on this. Anything after 80 minutes is not going to help you. If you can't do this in this time, I can't imagine how sore you are going to feel.
13) This test is nothing more than a gut check, but you will remember it. It is strange, but the workouts that I remember are ones with 1 or 2 exercises. For example, I did 154 315lb deadlifts in 30 minutes in the Jack Reape deadlift challenge. I could literally feel my heartbeat in my pelvic floor and felt HOT TO THE TOUCH four hours later. This had nothing on that. It is not always the most skilled or genetically gifted that wins, sometimes it is about what you got.
14) I could ring sweat out of the chest band of my heart rate monitor.
15) I am going to put this challenge up to my peeps at Xtreme Athletix, USF Kettlebell Club, and Core Fitness Solution.
16) I wouldn't even use this as a gauge of conditioning. So much depends on the quality of pushup and degree up jump. I would do this about every four years, just like the Olympics. I never miss the Olympics, and I won't miss this.