By Matt Evans published
Who knew 30 reps of an exercise could be this hard? The Bring Sally Up challenge is a famous push-up challenge based around the song "Flower" by Moby.
If you've already been through all the variations in our how to do a push-up guide, you might be ready for it. The rules are deceptively simply simple: every time you hear the phrase "Bring Sally up" you do a push-up, and every time you hear "Bring Sally down" you lower your body so you're holding it just off the floor.
It's only 30 reps, but the real kicker is the isometric nature of the exercise as you hold yourself just off the floor in a complete plank. It's an advanced exercise, so it's not for the faint of heart – but the benefits are potentially big.
Isometric training, staying still and contracting your muscles, can maximise your strength improvement and create better muscle activation in certain poses than dynamic strength training like full push-up reps, according to research published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine. The research recommends holding the poses between three and 30 seconds, just as you're doing in the Bring Sally Up challenge – although you're also doing full reps here, which is why it's so hard to complete.
Are push-ups too challenging for you at this stage, or are you simply looking for ways to train other muscle groups? Here's three more ways to do the Bring Sally Up challenge:
1. Resistance band rows
Trying the Bring Sally Up challenge using a set of the best resistance bands can work your biceps and back muscles – the opposite of push-ups. You can also choose a band of lighter tension to adjust the difficulty, so unlike the push-up version, you can opt for a lightweight band that will allow you to fully complete the challenge.
The elastic is constantly working against you, making the holds and lowering phases of the challenge – otherwise known as the "eccentric" phase of a move – extremely effective according to the University of Utah.
This is the perfect pre-skiing challenge to strengthen those glutes and quads. Holding at the bottom of your squat is going to be very difficult, but just like a wall-sit, it's a great way to feel the burn in your thighs, butt and core. Another great way to get a good workout at home with very little kit: all you need is a small space in your living room and some comfortable workout clothes. Might we suggest browsing the Black Friday workout clothes deals?
One for the truly masochistic among you. 30 full pull-ups over three minutes is a challenge for everyone but experienced climbers and dedicated calisthenics enthusiasts. Think of it as the advanced version of the resistance bands row challenge above. Can you complete it? Congratulations – you're the elite.
Matt Evans is an experienced health and fitness journalist and Channel Editor at Fit&Well. He's previously written for titles like Men's Health and Red Bull, and covers all things exercise and nutrition on the Fit&Well website. Matt originally discovered exercise through martial arts: he holds a black belt in Karate and remains a keen kickboxer and runner. His top fitness tip? Stretch.
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