I received so many great comments on the video of 61 medicine ball exercises, it persuaded me to go a little further with it. Everyone loves a challenge and I saw no reason why I shouldn’t turn this in to one. Why not go after all 61 exercises in one workout without a break? I decided it was a brilliantly insane idea so I immediately headed over to the gym to give it a shot. I brought my wife along, a list of the exercises and chose a 15lb ball (looking back, maybe a little over-ambitious with that weight choice). After a quick warm-up and stretch, I got started.  I rolled through the first 20 exercises and thought it was going to be a fairly easy ride to the finish line. Suddenly the burns started setting in and began to get pretty intense. It started with the abs, worked its way down to the quads and then on up to the shoulders. By number 45, the majority of my body was on fire! The end was in sight at number 56, but I made a mistake with my exercise line up, allowing all the pushup sets to pile up at the end. My wife was filming and calling out the exercises to me and didn’t realize this.  Here is the full video. It’s very long but it’s pretty entertaining if you skip to the last few minutes to watch me suffer.

I can’t describe the burn I was experiencing those last 4 exercises, but there was no way I was bailing at that point. I sucked it up, powered through and called it a victory. As I lay there catching my breath, I was excited at the thought of introducing everyone to the 61 Challenge. By no means am I encouraging just anyone to go in and try this. However, if you feel like your body can handle this and want to push yourself with a brutal workout, I have included the guidelines to this challenge.

1. Every exercise should be performed, including the modifications, for a total of 61 exercises.

2. Each exercise should be performed for 30 seconds (ignore the number of reps listed in the PDF training guide).

3. Avoid any obvious resting in between each exercise, just the 5 – 10 seconds it takes you to set up for the next one. Your total workout time should be around 35-40 minutes. The 30 sec re-starts for each exercise as soon as you’re ready.

4. Each exercise should be performed without stopping. For example, your legs should not touch the ground during your hollow hold or no pauses on exercises with reps.

5. The weight of the medicine ball should be appropriate for your fitness level. (I am a pretty fit 35 year old and I used a 15 lb and 6 lb as my 2 medicine balls).

6. Two different medicine balls should be used. One primary heavier ball, and a second lighter ball for some of the exercises that don’t work well with a heavy weight (example is all the superman exercises or exercises requiring you to hold the ball between your ankles). Also, one of the wall sits requires 2 medicine balls. Test out a few options before the workout and see which work best for you.

7. Any exercise that requires 2 different directions or sides, switch at 15 seconds.

8. I have laid the exercises out for you in an order that makes sense so you may want to follow that order when performing the challenge. I arranged them slightly different to how I did them due to the the experience I had at the end.

You can get the PDF of the challenge guidelines and exercise order here: http://bit.ly/61Challenge

TIP 1: Get familiar with the exercises before you start the challenge so you aren’t fumbling around trying to figure out what to do. You can also, check out the video from my previous blog to remind yourself how to perform each one.

TIP 2: Use a Partner. Your partner can read off the next exercise to you. It’s also beneficial to have a partner for safety purposes.

9. There are 3 exercises that need to be addressed if you are at home or don’t have a partner. First is the leg lifts while lying on your stomach. This should be done on a bench which may not be available at home. If not, lay on the floor on your belly and grab something stationary (like a bed post). Lift your legs in an arching position as high as you can off of the floor. Second is the inclined side to sides. If you are at home, just do the exercise on the floor with your feet anchored by something (like your partner, or the side rail of a bed). Do the same in the gym if you can’t get to the inclined bench quickly enough. Last is the partner exercise. My wife was filming so I just improvised and did the motion on my own. It is a little more difficult, but it works.

10. Post an after-workout image/short video to http://www.facebook.com/amgym and use #GymnasticsStrength

That’s it! I can promise you it’s difficult but I had a lot of fun doing it and it’s very rewarding once you complete it.


Perform this workout at your own risk! It is up to you to know your limitations and whether you can safely do this workout. If you are unsure, please consult your coach and/or physician. American Gymnast is not liable for any injuries sustained as a result of this workout. DO NOT attempt this workout unless you are excellent physical condition. If you feel light headed or sick while exercising, stop immediately and consult a physician.