For years I’ve been posting some crazy challenges for a group of friends I used to train with in Los Angeles to motivate each other. Nowadays it’s more about fighting the boredom that threatens our fitness lifestyle. I’ve been training at least once a day for more than three decades. Maybe you feel the same way, whether you’re a lifelong fitness rat or a fitness novice.

No matter how committed you are, sometimes we all know that it can get a little monotonous no matter where you train, so I came up with this Escalator of Death challenge. The routine is necessary – and the grind is part of what we love!

To prevent boredom, I got more and more “tested” as I got older – I usually try to come up with a few unusual exercises or mini-workouts at the end of each week. Training. This series highlights some of these challenges, shows which muscle groups are involved, and explains their benefits (even if it’s just about impressing your friends). As always, my “official” recommendation is not to go into this unless you are experienced with the basics!

But just in case you’re crazy like me, let’s get to this:

THE CHALLENGE OF THIS WEEK: The central “escalator of death”

IMPORTANT INSTRUCTIONS: With your shoulder blades on the end of a bench, raise your hips to point your heels toward the ceiling, then lower your feet with your legs straight and try to hold a slow pace of 10 seconds or more until you reach the full extension reach out, then lift up and repeat (if you can!).

WHY TRY THAT? This is a massive test of core strength to try at the end of a workout or as part of your workout when targeting your core.

WHERE YOU WILL FEEL IT: Primarily the torso stabilizers (abdominal muscles, oblique abdominal muscles, lower lumbar muscles, latissimus dorsi, where it starts in a subordinate position). It’s also very strenuous on the pull groups (forearms, biceps, lats, rhomboids, even your handgrip strength) due to the effort you put into gripping the bench and keeping yourself in position.

HOW TO BUILD THIS: This is an advanced move! You can build this type of strength with a variety of planks, hanging leg raises, and other core exercises. The real challenge here is how much body weight is hanging on the end of the bench – placing your shoulder blades on the ends means you are doing a lot of work. You can start by trying the same movement on a mat with your hands by your sides. Once you are able to do this, you can try a bench with your back and buttocks on the bench, only lowering your legs (so that you are forced to move less weight). Soon you can try the advanced version!

That’s it. Enjoy responsibly and have fun crushing your core! Let me know how it goes: @andywhatsnext

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