Sexy Challenge – Complete! Ultimate Strength Endurance Challenge.

by Marianne  - February 5, 2012

Hey everyone,

I planned a workout today BUT as it turns out, I need a rest –  as I got zero sleep last night!!

This week has felt strange because I am usually so focused on bringing you new workouts, however I decided to have a little change of pace by taking part in two fitness challenges (Negative Chin-Up Challenge and Bret’s Sexy Challenge).  I will be following the Survival of the Fittest challenges every week as I really enjoy the goals.  This week, it’s the Back Squat (MAX reps with Body Weight on the bar).  Will be fun! LOL If you are interested in taking part, you can find their Challenge Schedule HERE.

On Friday morning Andrew Firth from (PT in Queen’s University Gym, Belfast) and I took part in this challenge. It was good to have a training partner there because it was a great source of motivation. Plus Andrew was able to coach me and spot me on exercises I wasn’t confident at (Incline Press and my nemesis, the Front Squat). If you don’t know why the Front Squat is my nemesis then check out “Bad Day at the Office“. Since that incident, I have be afraid to front squat more than 50kg. I haven’t felt confident performing them without a spotter and no one in the gym (except Andrew) would have my confidence to spot me. Anyway, following the challenge, I got a few pointers and tips of what I need to do to help my squat and I actually went back to the gym on Saturday to practice. I went to 55kg and used a low box to help my drive up 🙂

Now for a quick breakdown of my Sexy Challenge experience: My total was 78 reps (Andrew beat me with 105).

I weighed in at 58kg and I decided to round the weight down to 57.5 kg for all Body Weight exercises and use 30kg for the half BW exercise (Incline Press).

Below is the list of exercises, my reps and my video evidence. I used quick speed for the video clips to help reduce the boredom, but then I slowed it down for the final exercise 😉

  1. RDL – 34 reps (Bret suggested I sit back more with my hips and chalk up next time to help me get more reps, as my form wasn’t as energy efficient due to my knees coming forward a little too much, disrupting the path of the bar. I worked on these again on Saturday and was able to correct my form).
  2. Incline Press – 14 reps 😀 (a little wobbly to start, but overall I was pleased with this number)
  3. Hip Thrust – 20 reps (was annoyed I didn’t get more as I had aimed for 30)
  4. Chin-Ups – 9 reps 🙂 (REALLY want my 10th, but I was happy to get 9 for the second time ever)
  5. Front Squat – 1 rep 🙁 (no words!)

I got asked on YouTube why I would leave the Front Squat to last, as they thought I should do my weakest link first, while I was fresh. You may be wondering the same thing, so here is my answer:

Before completing the challenge, I thought carefully about the order I would perform the exercises. There is a little tactic involved as the Challenge is to come out with a good TOTAL. With that in mind, I had to perform the exercises I stood to gain more extra reps (on a good day) first. What I mean is, on the Chin-Ups and Front Squat I knew I would only gain maybe 1 extra rep (on a good day), therefore doing little for my total. Were as, for the RDL, Hip Thrust and Incline Press I knew, on a good day, I could squeeze out 3 or more extra reps.  Much better for my total.  NOTE: Although I had never performed the Incline Press before, I knew from other exercises that I have good Upper Body Pushing Strength and I expected to be able to get more reps here.

In addition, you need to remember not to re-work the same muscle groups too soon, which is why I put the Incline Press after the RDL (saving my Hamstrings and Glutes for the Hip Thrusts). Putting the RDL first meant my grip was fresh (as I knew it would be my limiting factor) and I had a long time before the Chin-Ups to recover my grip.

Overall, I am pleased with my total score. It is also good to have a baseline to measure my progress.

Here is Andrew’s video:

Hope you all had a great weekend 🙂


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  1. Hi Marianne,

    I’ve visited your site a few times only, but I will from now on be a regular follower. You are so inspiring and have good tutorials. I’m taking up training again after two kids, but I must admit I’m a slow starter. Watching your videos will definitely help me on the way. You’re so super strong and fit!

  2. Hi Marianne ~ I would like to give this sexy challenge a go; however, I am wondering if the challenge still stands if I use a Smith Machine for the front squats and incline press? While I do have a barbell to use, I don’t have the barbell mounts to hold the bar for me. I don’t like using the smith but it’s my only option unless I had two Andrews to hold the bar+weight for me. haha.

    You did GREAT by the way! Nice job!

    1. If the Smith Machine is all you have, then I guess it’ll have to do. I don’t think using it would still “count” for Bret’s chart, but it would give you an idea. Have you Fronted Squatted with it before??

      1. Hey Marianne, we’ve completed the Sexy Challenge, although too late to post on Bret’s site, but that’s ok. The Smith machine HAS to go! The incline bench is aweful with that. Hurts the shoulders. There’s not enough rom to perform them correctly. The front squat wasn’t too bad on it, but I know the freeweight/barbell would be better. Therefore, I think a squat rack is next on the list. Here are my numbers: @ 140#
        RDL: 22
        Front Squat: 4
        Inc. Bench: 6
        Hip Thrust: 18
        Chin Ups: 8
        (my husband wouldn’t let me post his

        1. You did a great job Penny, considering you had to use the Smith’s Machine. I am sure you will do better once you have a squat rack to use instead.

          Did you beat your husband? 😉

          1. I only beat him on the benching. The others were comparable with the exception of the RDLs..he blew me away on those. Fun Challenge tho!
            Have you ever tried the Crossfit WOD or benchmark workouts? We did the ‘Chelsea’ and about sore for 4-5 days! LOVE that feeling. lol

          2. Never have done any Crossfit WODs. There is a XF facility but it’s way too expensive! Just ridiculous prices. Their WODs look insane though, so I am sure I would die for 4-5 days too.

  3. I was totally cheering you on as if I was in the gym with you guys, my neighbors must think I am a nut. i so want to do this challenge, but I won’t be free from work until Wednesday.

  4. Hi Marianne,

    Well done. I think your numbers are really good! I’m still building up the courage to try this challenge. I’ll be doing it just as a baseline and a challenge to myself. I like the order you did your’s in, I’ll probably do mine in the same order.

    I’ve never front squatted my body weight (59kg) so I’m not about to start now. Since I train alone and don’t have anyone to spot me, it would be really risky.

    I think the bulk of my numbers will come from RDLs, HT and IBPs. After doing that, any chin ups will be a bonus!

    I’ve never HT’d my body weight because I have difficulty getting the bar into position. However, I’ve picked up a few techniques on Bret’s blog.

    I just may to this tomorrow (snow permitting of course!).

    Have a good day,


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