Monday, February 1, 2016

Big Steel Challenge 2014

by Gordo Byrn

This is the fifth winter where I’ve had a month dedicated to lifting as many pounds as possible. I want to encourage you to give it a shot because there is a material health and wellness benefit from the simple strategy of lift-often and lift-a-lot.

Across January, I ended up lifting 15 times, for an average duration of less than 30 minutes. If you follow my tips below then you can get a big boost from a modest time commitment. My time spent lifting was 6-and-a-half hours but I achieved a lot.


My average rating was 1,142 pounds per minute. I think rating is a good way for an endurance athlete to look at this type of challenge month.

My rating was high because I emphasized legs and used an upper body exercise during my “rest interval.”

  • Day A: Alternate squats (10-20 reps per set) with pull ups (5 reps per set)
    Squats never went over 90% of body weight and I did most my work at 60% of body weight (100 lbs). While the squat weight wasn’t demanding, including the chin ups generated a whole body fatigue.

  • Day B: Alternate leg press pyramid (5-25 reps per set) with dips (10 reps per set)
    The leg press pyramid went 25/20/15/10/5 reps per set with increasing weight (2/4/6/8/10 plates). I’d repeat the entire thing back down (5/10/15/20/25) for a total of 150 reps. I added the dips mid-month to get my rating up.

Every five days or so, I’d be sure to include single leg bridges, calves and single leg extensions.

At least once a week, I’d include single leg press.

I finished up with 442,000 pounds. This is a little off my best of 500,000 pounds, but I remember finishing that month with a 100,000 pound workout.

In the gym:

  • Keep it simple
  • Track progress against yourself
  • Remember to add reps/sets well in advance of seeking new maximums

All my best for a successful 2014!

Gordo is the founder of Endurance Corner. You can find his personal blog at

Click to share on Twitter and Facebook
      Tweet This!