If you can’t get enough of the weight room and consider a three-mile run an easy workout to complete on your recovery days, then we’re betting you’re not one to back down from a challenge. When you try out these extremely difficult workouts, you’ll really get a sense of just how much your body can take. Check out these 10 hardest workouts you’ll ever try. You’ll either happily surprise yourself with the results or realize you have some work to do.
1. The Armageddon routine
The Armageddon workout routine featured on Bodybuilding.com is a full-body strength workout that really tests how much your muscles can take. While you can certainly tone down this workout by using lighter weights or fewer sets, try performing it with heavy weights for the full effect. It may seem easy at first, but don’t be fooled — you’ll be performing alternating exercise with plenty of reps to burn out those muscles.
Begin with death-set deadlifts if you’re an experienced lifter, adding enough weight so you’ll be doing this exercise at 90% of your max. In a death set, you’ll perform as many quality reps as possible in five minutes using this weight. For the next exercises, do 20 push-ups and 20 bent-over lateral raises, alternating between the two exercises five times. To finish, perform one minute of chin-ups followed by a minute of lunge jumps, alternating between the two 10 times.
2. Bodyweight workout from Men’s Health
If you’re looking to torch some serious calories, you’ll have to try this workout from Men’s Health. The best part about this routine is you can do it anywhere at any time, as you’ll be tossing around your own bodyweight instead of dumbbells for maximum gains. You’ll be doing 30 seconds of high-intensity work followed by 15 seconds of rest, each round getting progressively more difficult.
For this routine, you’ll do 30 seconds of each of the following: box squat jumps, push-ups, single-leg hip thrusts on the left, single-leg hip thrusts on the right, mountain climbers, and jumping jacks. Then, rest for 15 seconds before moving on to the second cycle.
The second cycle includes drop squats, push-aways, lunges on the left, lunges on the right, spider mountain climbers, and skater jumps. Once again, rest for 15 seconds. For the third cycle you’ll do squat jumps, blast-off push-ups, Bulgarian split squats on the left, Bulgarian split squats on the right, mountain climbers, and burpees. Once you’ve completed all three cycles, repeat the entire sequence three times.
3. Don Wildman’s circuit
This intense exercise regimen was developed by Don Wildman, who Esquire calls “the world’s healthiest 75-year-old man.” You might think a routine developed by someone as old as Wildman couldn’t possibly be as difficult as some of your own favorite fitness programs, but we guarantee you’re in for a serious workout with this one. The circuit is designed for athletes in peak physical condition and should not be attempted by anyone new to exercise.
This regimen is broken up into 16 groups of exercises with each performed as supersets, which means there will be no break between them. Each group has between two and four exercises that will alternate, and you’ll complete each exercise in the group three times to complete a set. Once you’ve finished your set, you can move on to the next group of exercises until all 16 groups are complete. Feel like giving this one a shot? Head to Esquire for the full details about each group of exercises.
4. Stoked 360
If you’re looking for a workout that offers you a few seconds of rest in between exercises, then you’ll want to give Stoked 360 a pass. Kira Stokes, personal trainer and fitness expert, designed this series for serious muscle burn combined with cardio that never quits. Stokes told Greatist, “There’s not a muscle left untouched, including your heart.”
The workout consists of four very intense circuits, each which should be completed three times before moving on to the next. Don’t rest while you’re completing the circuits, and when you’re ready to move on to what’s next, feel free to give yourself a 90-second jump rope “break” before continuing.
5. Suspension training
Not all fitness crazes are super effective, but suspension training is one fad that’s worth a try if you’re attempting to build killer muscles. While you can find suspension training gyms that offer the necessary equipment, you can also buy your own for your home (the TRX suspension trainer is ideal for home usage). Using the gear, you’ll work with your own bodyweight and gravity to improve muscular endurance.
Shape’s fitness editor, Jay Cardiello, shares the toughest, most effective suspension-training moves for those looking for a challenging workout. Try using your TRX trainer or suspension gym for 30 seconds each of push-ups, inverted rows, tricep extensions, high curls, lunges, knee dives, and hamstring pull-ins. Repeat each exercise three times to complete one set for maximum burn.
6. Filthy 50
Anyone who’s tried CrossFit knows it’s serious business — you perform high-intensity movements that reflect other exercises or sports like gymnastics, weight lifting, running, and rowing. You can find CrossFit classes just about anywhere, and while they’re a fun challenge, you’ll want to save CrossFit’s Filthy 50 workout for when you’re really feeling on your game.
Men’s Fitness explains you’ll be doing 50 reps of 10 exercises, and you’ll want to do this as quickly as possible with no break. Try performing 50 reps each of box jumps, jumping pull-ups, kettlebell swings, walking lunge steps, knees-to-elbows, barbell push-presses with 45 pounds, back extensions, wall balls with a 20-pound ball, burpees with a push-up, and jump rope double-unders. This routine will tire you physically and mentally with the excessive reps, so be prepared.
7. Spartan 500 workout
This workout from Fitness Blender seems simple — after all, it comprises only five different exercises — but we guarantee you’ll be gasping for air when you’re only halfway through. You’ll be doing 10 reps of each exercise 10 times for a total of 500 reps altogether. Remember to practice this workout with good form as well — you won’t want to cheat yourself by giving it less than your all.
The five exercises are burpees, squat jacks, mountain climbers, agility dots, and jump squats. Complete 10 reps for each and repeat the cycle all over again. You can thank us for this one later.
8. Six-move cardio workout
Not every insanely hard workout has to be really long. This tough workout from Men’s Health is one you can fit into your busy schedule, as it only takes 30 minutes to complete. You’ll be doing six tough cardio-intensive exercises that work your whole body and bring your heart rate up to 80% of its maximum. Keep this in mind: If your heart rate ever falls below 120 beats per minute during this routine, you’re slacking.
You’ll be doing 20 to 25 sled pushes, 10 kettlebell swings, 20 seconds of skater jumps, 20 seconds of battle rope waves, 10 sumo burpees, and a dumbbell farmer’s walk for 20 to 25 yards. Take a full minute to complete each exercise by performing the necessary number of reps and taking the remaining seconds to breathe. Repeat all six exercises five times for a full 30-minute sweat session.
Anyone who’s into working out knows about Insanity. This DVD workout system promises a year’s worth of results in just 60 days, which is a tall order for any fitness regimen. While some of the workouts are tougher than others, there are some in this regimen that give you plenty of bang for your buck.
The beauty of Insanity is you don’t need any equipment for the workouts, as it relies on HIIT. Insanity’s 60-minute max interval circuit session is known as one of the most grueling, as you’ll be doing plenty of jumping lunges, planks, push-ups, and frog jumps, says AZCentral.com. If you’re into plyometrics, you’re in luck — there’s the max interval plyo workout that kicks jumping exercises into high gear. And, if the masochist in you has ever wanted to do core work for 30 minutes, you’ll have to try the insane abs workout.
10. The Murph challenge
Memorial Day is meant for honoring our armed forces, and what better way to do this than with the Murph challenge? According to BoxLife Magazine, this routine is named after Lieutenant Michael Murphy, a heroic Navy SEAL who exposed himself to enemy fire while trying to make a call for reinforcements during an ambush in Afghanistan. This workout is in his memory and can be completed with others on Memorial Day (or any day when you’re in need of a seriously brutal workout).
You’ll start with a mile run. Follow this up with 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, and 300 squats. Then, finish with another mile run. Did we mention many people do this challenge in a 20-pound vest or body armor as well? We suggest trying it without any added weight at first to see how far you get.