Introducing The Monthly FitChal (Max Sit-Ups Pre-Training)

I’ve found that I’m more motivated to work out when I have set goals for myself. Last year, I was on a big running kick and did my first half marathon, first triathlon and my big goal was to run the San Francisco Marathon.

This year, I am still running a couple times a week, but the SF cold has kept me from doing a lot of long runs on the weekends, especially without a big race to train for. I do plan to do more racing, but I’m not sure when. So I’ve decided to mix things up this year.

Here’s how my Monthly Fitness Challenges will work:

  1. At the start of each month, I’ll post a blog post of me doing a particular fitness challenge
  2. If you want to join in, you can post your own time/score in the comments
  3. During the month, I will train for the exercise and share what workouts I do for it
  4. At the end of the month, I’ll post again with my final results
  5. If you’re following along, you can share your results too!

This coincides nicely with my goal to try new stuff on the blog —  as I’ll be trying to shoot videos for every one of my challenges. I’m sure I’ll make lots of mistakes along the way, but I’ll try to fix them as they come up. Let me know if you have thoughts or suggestions!

Note: I know it’s already halfway through the month, so I apologize for taking a while to get this post up. Future posts should come up at the beginning of the month.

Without further ado, here’s my first one:

My Max Situps in One Minute (Pre-Trained) Video

(can’t see the video? click through to the post)

So I ended up doing 44 sit-ups in my pre-trained state. As you might have seen, I got up a little early because I got confused by my own timer >.<. My goal is to get to 60 sit-ups by the end of the month.

One thing to note is that sit-ups actually aren’t a great exercise for strengthening your abdominals, and doing lots of sit-ups will not get you a six-pack (that comes with <10% body fat). But still, they are an exercise everyone is familiar with and don’t require much equipment to do.

Exercises I’m Doing to Train My Abs

  • Butterfly Crunches (3x 12 fast up, slow down)
  • Plank Holds (2 mins)
  • V-ups (50)
  • Tuck-ups (50)
  • Butterfly kicks (100)

I’ve been adding one or two of these at the end of my normal workouts – running, tabatas, heavy weights, and then doing one hard core ab workout once a week. So I’m not going overboard at all, and will eventually taper before I see how I do at the end of the month.

So I encourage you to give it a shot if you’re interested and post your times in the comments. And if you have any thoughts on what exercise I should tackle next, you can post those too!


I completed my post-training Max Sit-Ups test on Feb 2nd: see how I did!

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Jason Shen

Jason is a tech entrepreneur and talent expert. He is CEO of a performance hiring platform called Headlight, a Fast Company contributor, and an advocate for Asian American men. Follow him on Twitter at @jasonshen and subscribe to his private newsletter.

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    • @kaisdavis Hey Kai, I mention a few in the post: Butterfly Crunches (3x 12 fast up, slow down)Plank Holds (2 mins)V-ups (50)Tuck-ups (50)Butterfly kicks (100). But then I got some reader feedback:

  1. So I decided to give this a try right before my workout on thursday. Keep in  mind I haven’t done sit ups in a LOOOONG TIME. Don’t get me wrong I work my abs just not with sit up. I really wasn’t expecting to get very far. Remember I haven’t been doing sit ups.
    I set the stop watch on my ipod and get cranking. Low and behold I nailed 58 sit ups right at the one minute mark. I figure I could have gotten a few more if my feet didn’t keep slipping out from under the support I was using.
    Damn if feels awesome when you perform better than you expect.

    • @ShaunThresher Nice going dude! That’s very solid. I ended up doing about 55 post training:

  2. I almost never do situps (for the reasons you mention: they don’t work my abs much), but out of curiosity, tried the one-minute thing (that I haven’t done since elementary school). Got to 30, feel pathetic compared to you guys, but that’s OK. Not my thing. However, I have been inspired to do more of what I do feel work my abs: crunches on a balance ball: very few reps and I feel the burn. I’ll work on doing these regularly and deeper. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • @franklinchen For sure Franklin! Crunches on the ball are a really good workout because you need to activate a lot of smaller stabilizer muscles to control the ball’s movement.
      Want to cast a vote for next month’s challenge?

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