to view past challenges please click here:
2017 challenge series
2018 challenge series

+ Squatober: Squats and Squats and Squats

All the Squats

  • Welcome to Squatober! For the month of October we be challenging everyone to perform as many back or front squats as the can. We will be breaking the month into 4 weeks and scoring each week separately. The weight on the bar increases each week and the intent is that these should be light squats that can be done without to much warm-up.
    • Week 1 = 95/65 lbs
    • Week 2 = 115/75 lbs
    • Week 3 = 135/95 lbs
    • Week 4 = 165/110 lbs
  • Week 1 will begin on 10/3
  • Week 2 will begin on 10/10
  • Week 3 will begin on 10/17
  • Week 4 will begin on 10/24

    + Single Arm September

    Singles Only

    Welcome to September! The kids are back to school, mornings are cooler, and the leaves are changing. Fall is well on its way. For our September challenge, we encourage you to even out your strengths. Our challenge is titled Sing-Arm September to encourage you to work on single arm (or single leg) movements. Injury is often the result of a cycle of poor movement patterns and muscle imbalances, so this is an opportunity to strengthen our weak spots.

This month you can choose to focus on many movements or just one, but the goal is single arm or leg improvement: pistols, the dumbbell/kettlebell snatch, dumbbell/kettlebell shoulder to overhead, dumbbell/kettlebell clean and jerk, kettlebell swings, one-handed handstands, overhead walking lunges or waiter walks, overhead squats, etc. Work your weak side!

A challenge like this has the potential to yield great results because you can always sneak in a few reps of something before or after class. Make your goal one movement or many, or try to even out your strength by weight or by reps. We all recognize where we are weaker, less mobile, or tire more easily. Single-arm work or accessory work will help you avoid injury, move faster and (bonus) will help prepare you for our upcoming Battle for the Bell competition (check out the list of workouts).

Not sure where to start? Begin the month by grabbing a dumbbell or kettlebell and doing a baseline test on yourself of 5 reps each of the following movements with both arms/legs:

  • Dumbbell Power / Squat Snatch
  • Dumbbell Shoulder to Overhead (Press / Push Press / Jerk)
  • Dumbbell Clean / Hang Clean & Jerk
  • Kettlebell Snatch
  • Dumbbell / Kettlebell Overhead Walking Lunge
  • Dumbbell / Kettlebell Overhead Squats
  • Pistol Squats

Identify your biggest discrepancies, pick a number of reps per week you want to hit, and practice. Extra credit: be sure to pair your practice will mobility work. Don’t forget to write your name, your movement(s), and your reps-per-week goal on the chalkboard up front.

+ Oly August

Oly All August

Welcome to August! For this month we chose Olympic Weightlifting for our monthly challenge. This is a big one: commitment to improving either one or more of your Olympic lifts takes time, patience, and dedication. Professional lifters spend their entire lives working to perfect just two lifts: the clean and jerk and the snatch.

This month you can choose to focus on both Olympic lifts or choose one. Find a lifting partner, choose a weekly lifting day and time, record some of your lifts, and dedicate yourself to the process rather than worrying about your numbers. Oly lifting can be maddening in the same way that gymnastics can: lots of drills, practice, and accessory work sometimes only yield small results. Conversely, sometimes the tiniest changes to your form and technique yield big improvements.

Feel free to go it on your own or we invite you to speak with one of our coaches for advice on a lifting program. Improving your Olympic lifts is not just attempting a one-rep max every week; instead there are drills, programs, complexes, and accessory work that will help you become both stronger and more technically skilled.

After all, Olympic lifting is just physics. It is using the angles and levers of the human body (plus torque) to your advantage. We can watch the professionals and see this at play. Somehow, watching a small person lift big weight seems like it just doesn’t make sense; how does a person that size lift that much weight? The answer (as for most things) is practice and patience to achieve consistency and precision. Check out the videos below for some August inspiration.

Keep in mind… this is the 58kg weight class, meaning these lifters weigh less than 130 pounds.

The men’s Olympic record in 2017 in just his second attempt he snatches 400 pounds.

+ Dumbbells in July

All the Dumbbells

  • This month you will select one or many dumbbell movements to practice and perfect as many days as you can. Each day you are at the box aim to either practice a few sets or drills to help become comfortable with a particular movement or a heavier weight, or try to do one WOD a week that incorporates a new DB movement. Extra credit for choosing a DB movement you hate and getting after it. Check out the following list of DB movement options:

    • Dumbbell (Hang) Clean & Jerk
    • Dumbbell Snatch (Squat or Power)
    • Dumbbell Thrusters
    • Dumbbell Rows
    • Curls
    • Farmer Carries
    • Lunges (Suitcase, Overhead, Front Rack - Single or Double)
    • Step-ups
    • Press / Push Press / Jerk / Bench
  • If you choose to participate, write your name on the blackboard up front, and put a check next to your name each day you either practice a DB movement or do a WOD with dumbbells. Need ideas? Try one or more of the workouts below.

    • 17.1
    • 18.2
    • 21-15-9: Bike (Cal) & DB Squat Snatch
    • 100 DB Lunges for time; 5 burpees eveyr drop
    • Dumbbell DT
    • Dumbbell Fran
    • 400m DB Walking Lunge

+ Gymnastics June

Let's get gymnasty

  • For June's challenge we have opened the scope of the challenge a bit and coined the month Gymnastics June. This month, you will select one gymnastics movement to practice and perfect as many days as you can. Each day you are at the box aim to practice a few sets or drills to help you finally nail down either your favorite gymnastics movement or the one you hate the most. Choose one from the following list:

    • Jump Rope: Single Unders / Double Unders / Triple Unders
    • Pressing: Push-ups / Dips / Ring Dips
    • Pull-ups: Strict / Kipping / Chest to Bar / Butterfly
    • Muscle-ups: Bar / Rings
    • Handstands: Push-ups / Free Standing / Walking
    • Pistol Squats
    • Toes to Bar
  • Once you have selected one, write your name and your movement on the front blackboard. Decide each day or week how you would like to practice: will you create a set and rep scheme, say a 5x5, that you will complete every day before or after class? Will you do sets of a few types of drills each week? Maybe try an EMOM of the movement once a week? Each day you practice make tick mark on the board to show your consistency. Winner with the most consistent practice and the biggest improvement in the skill gets a prize!

+ Run Away May

Complete as many 400m runs as possible throughout May

  • The May challenge is taking advantage of the warmer weather and longer day. The goal this month is to see how far you can run. To score things we're keeping track of the overall distance by the number of 400m runs completed. Each 400m run counts as 1 tick mark on the board.

  • Any runs done during a programmed class (warm-up or workout) DO NOT count. If you are doing an Open Gym workout that has running as part of the workout - those runs DO count.

+ April & Cindy

How Many Rounds?

  • For this month, log as many rounds of Cindy as possible. Don't be afraid to get creative! Maybe try a baseline Cindy for yourself in the beginning of the month then switch to variations like strict Cindy, double Cindy, half Cindy, Cindy with jumping squats (yikes), or change up the rep scheme. Whatever work you put in, no matter the variation, will help prepare you for Murph at the end of May.

+ Mindset March

That mental game

  • This month, make your mindset and mental toughness the primary skill you practice at the box; it is the biggest bang for your buck if you want to be become better. This means actively putting yourself in uncomfortable situations in order to practice patience and adaptability. Always do handstand push-up on the plates? Use the crash mat. Always use the speal bar? Pull up on the powder-coated bar instead. Do a workout with no music. Don't look at the WOD in advance. Show up purposefully on a day when you know you’ll suck at a movement. Take a rest day. Mediate. Stop complaining. Don’t strip the bar when you fail one rep in a workout. Take a deep breath and try again. Slow down. Visualize how you will act when things go wrong. Set goals that have nothing to do with times and numbers. Did you stay composed the whole workout? Did you focus on your own pace, not someone else’s? Did you keep your back set for every deadlift and clean?

Link 1: Download Mindset March Challenges

Link 2: Read full 'Mindset March' Blog Post

+ Find your Level February

Find your overall Level with The Level Method

  • Anyone who’s been around the gym for the last couple of months should have noticed the giant periodic table of fitness that has been tacked to the wall. It’s 8’ x 4’ and is all types of different colors. It has workouts, words, flow-charts, etc…without getting to detailed it’s meant to provide an overall assessment of our current fitness level. It uses color rankings similar to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and overall it has 15 different categories that get tested.

    The goal is to test each category and establish a ranking…it is very possible that some people might be a ‘Black Belt’ in one category and an ‘Orange Belt’ in another. After testing each category we are then assigned an overall level...which will be limited by our weakest links. It should give people a clear snapshot of their strengths as well as areas where we can improve.

    Throughout the next month we’ll be incorporating the testing into our regular programming. If anyone is interested in finding their overall level you should goto: strongtown.levelmethod.com to setup your account, send us a message for the access code.

+ January aka "Franuary"

Complete Fran 4x throughout the Month of January

  • Welcome to 2019! We're bringing in the new year with a bang! The theme of the month is Fran and each week we will be doing Fran (or a version of), 21-15-9 of Thrusters and Pull-ups. The challenge is to make sure you complete the workout each week. The first day will be Friday 1/4/19 and we'll be announcing other 3 days shortly...if you're unable to make one of the programmed sessions you're alway welcome to use the annex to make up the workout.