Have you tried the 40 rep bar challenge?

Have you tried the 40 rep bar challenge?

Trends tend to come and go in the fitness world. For ever miracle supplement which flashes out in the pan in two months despite the glossiest coverage you've ever seen, there is a CrossFit or Atkin's diet which will emerge, setting trends for trainers for decades to come. You never know when the next big thing will be chasing a Pokemon for cardio, or flipping tires in a parking lot. If the world of strength building and fitness has taught us anything, it's that the crazier a lift, often the more popular it will be with proponents in the gym.

The more challenging or more visual a lifting challenge may be, the more people will want to try it. And if you haven't tried it yet, then the "40 rep bar challenge" may be exactly the new lifting craze in 2017 that you've been searching for!

Popularized by Scott Mathison, this new hanging bar repetition challenge is sweeping gyms across the country. It is a test of strength and endurance, true... but it is also more than that. As far as 2017 goes, it is thus far THE de facto measurement of accomplishment in the gym. Completing it involves a very public display of back, shoulder, arm, and core strength, combined in such a way that huge cardiovascular expenditure is required for completion. If you can complete the 40 rep challenge - and provide video to prove it - you'll likely be the envy of your gym buddies who haven't had the fear, strength, or stamina to tackle this challenge. Ready to learn more?

First off, let's get to the meat and potatoes of this exercise. You are going to be completing 4 sets of 4 different exercises. Not too bad, right? You'll be knocking out 10 repetitions of each. Okay, that's a little more challenging. You've done some compound sets, and you may be able to get through 40 straight repetitions, as long as you can lean on the bench a bit and catch your breath, right? Right?

Not in this case. For this 40 rep bar challenge, you are going to leave the ground, and you aren't going to touch the Earth again until 40 repetitions have passed. That's right. You'll complete 4 sets of 4 different exercises, for a total of 40 reps, without stopping... and without letting go of the bar and returning to the ground.

Are you starting to see why this challenge is, well, so challenging? The amount of strength you'll need is staggering... but you will also be required to show some serious stamina, balance, and focus! 

Let's take a look at the 4 exercises you'll be completing today!

Muscle Up

Hanging from the parallel hoops, target your lats and pull yourself from near hanging position up to the point where your head and shoulders are over the hoops. This will be the most challenging movement. 

Parallel bar dips

This movement is designed for triceps, but can have a substantial impact upon your pectoral (chest) muscles if you tuck your chin down into your chest when completing the movement. 

Pull Up

This is the standard overhand variety of pullup, targeting the back muscles and recruiting the core, shoulders and ams to help move the body through the range of motion.

Hanging Knee Raise

While hanging from an overhead bar, slowly raise your knees up to a point where they are parallel with your waist. This movement targets the abdominals and core muscles. 

The rep range

You'll be completing ten repetitions of each of these exercises. This will hit the mid-range muscle fibers and some fast-twitch muscle fibers, but you'll also be hitting the very slow-twitch muscle fibers, as there is some substantial overlap between the muscle groups which are recruited for the 4 exercises. Those forearms and shoulders will see 40 straight reps of burn... that's some serious high reps, leading to very slow twitch muscle fiber recruitment! 

How many sets?

You should start the process by completing the 40 repetition challenge ONCE. A week later, try it again, with completely perfect form on every repetition. As you master that, you may be tempted to make it a 50 repetition challenge or beyond... but one should exercise caution when doing so. Once you know that you'll be facing 50 repetitions, the quality of the first 40 is going to drop as you keep a little bit of fuel in the tank for the last 10 painful repetitions.

The layout of the big 40 set means you're training body from top to bottom using the standing 4 sets of ten mode, and as each muscle group fails, you're promoting another lower muscle group to handle the next ten repetitions. 

Remember that this sort of training is going to have a very big impact upon your muscles, joints and tendons. Your back, chest, arms, shoulders, abs, and core are all being recruited in new and often painful ways to complete these sets. Prepare for some serious recovery time following your initial workouts, chock full of rest, recovery, and adequate nutrition, to ensure you can bounce back stronger and ready to complete the 40 rep bar challenge the following week. Good luck!

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