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Beast Mode Challenge – Core and Abs

By Alexander VanHouten, Master Trainer & Life Time Education Specialist


Are the same old workouts leaving you bored? Yes?

I think most regular gym-goers can relate to that.

There’s something to be said of the tried-and-true methodologies that are easy to follow and generally don’t require much tracking to see progress.

Well, I previously issued a “call to legs and back” (see what I did there?) in our leg day and back day challenges. Here, I’m laying down another challenge for anyone who’s ready to take things up a notch.

Welcome back to the Beast Mode Challenge: A scientifically superior program design created to exemplify the adaptations needed to let out your inner athlete in epic ways.

Let’s continue with Core Day.

The Workout

I will preface this entire thing by saying, there’s no such thing as the perfect workout for everyone.

Since we all have different goals and are starting at varying levels of conditioning, workouts need to be modified to meet our needs, wants and fitness levels.

So, I write this workout as a challenge. Challenges are supposed to be hard and to identify your opportunities for growth. I will follow the workout with an explanation of terms and reasoning so that you can follow along and modify as needed.

The following program is designed to test and enhance your mental focus, promote strength, power and hypertrophy, and annihilate your core musculature while challenging your metabolic output and forcing EPOC (excessive post-exercise oxygen consumption) to nuke fat. Gotta build that core!

Get your StrengthStackSM ready. You’re going to need it.

Let’s get started.


Exercise Sets Reps Load Rest Notes
A) Stair Master 3 30 Flights Moderate N/A Breathe Purposefully
B) Plank Walk-Thru 3 20 Moderate N/A From extended plank position rotate one arm to ceiling and step through with the opposite leg.


This superset should increase your core temperature and synchronize your exercise efforts with proper breathing. During today’s workout, your breathing is an integral part of ensuring your core is maximally activated.

Mobility, Plyometric and Agility Work

Exercise Sets Reps Load Rest Notes
High Knees 2 15s BW 30s Like track practice
Tuck Jumps 2 10 BW 30s Jump as high as possible, pull knees into chest at top of jump
180 Jumps 2ea 6ea BW 30s Jump as high as possible and rotate 180


These movements (under only the light loads) will prime the core flexion, extension and rotation to further stave off injury and prepare for the adaptive intensity and volume to come.

Please note that the gluteus maximus is responsible for hip extension and back support. Priming hinge pattern with high knees and jumps will help keep them actively bolstering the back during this workout.


Exercise Sets Reps Load Rest Notes
A) BB Deadlift 5 6 Moderate- Heavy Cinch lats and core. Breathe out heavily during lift.
B) Bosu Mountain Climber 5 50 BW 90s Hands on Bosu. Hips low, drive knees into chest.
A) BB Squat EMOM 3 Moderate – Heavy EMOM 8 Minute EMOM.
B) Hanging Leg Raises EMOM 6 BW EMOM Rest until minute is up
A) Scooter Pulls AMRAP 5 (+5) BW AMRAP 8 Minute AMRAP. Add 5 each round. Fight through the strain!
B) Captain’s Chair Window Washers AMRAP 5 (+5) BW AMRAP M – Males ; F – Females
C) Med Ball Slams AMRAP 5 (+5) 20lb. – M

15lb. – F

AMRAP Rest as little as possible. How many reps did you get?


Oh snap, this is where stuff gets real.

Most people don’t know that the deadlift and squat activate the core up to 3x more than a crunch. Coupling these movements with core exercises and rest periods that elevate your breathing rate requires every muscle, from your ribs to your hips, to be deeply activated the whole time.

Get ready to hurt when you laugh!

You can almost feel the weakness leaving your body as you overcome each challenge with stubborn grit and a commitment to good form. Enjoy the rough sweat. You earned it. Now to relax.

Cool Down

Exercise Sets Reps Intensity Rest Notes
Treadmill Walk or Jog 1 5min Light N/A Promote some blood flow to the worn out core.
SMR 1 5min Light N/A Any exceptionally tight muscles can benefit 
Static Stretch 1 5min Light N/A Now stretch those muscles
Dry Sauna 1 5-10min Relax N/A Finish and rest until minute is up, then do it again!


This last segment seems extraneous but it’s an important part of jumpstarting your recovery from this workout. Activating the parasympathetic nervous system directly following the BEAST MODE challenge will ensure your positive adaptations are maximal and that you prevent injury in the future.

To get maximum growth hormone output, recover harder than you worked out.

Explanation of Terms

Now to understand the workout in full. Let’s take it from the top.

Reps – This is the number of repetitions to perform for each exercise before resting or moving on to the next movement.

Sets – This is the number of times to complete the full number of repetitions before moving on to the next line item in the workout.

Rest – How long you should rest after performing a set.

Load/Intensity – How much weight should you use? BW means body weight. Light means 25-50% of your 1RM (or top speed). Moderate means 50-70% of your 1RM (or top speed). Heavy means 70-100% of your 1RM (or top speed). Your 1RM (1-rep-max) is the heaviest weight you can possibly lift with good form.

Another way to understand this is with RPE (rate of perceived exertion) on a scale of 1-10. How hard does 1 rep feel on a scale of 1-10? Light is a 2-3. Moderate is a 4-6. Heavy is a 7-10.

Notes – What Coach Alex would be saying to you if he were perched on your shoulder.

Superset/Circuit – Denoted by letters beside the movements. These movements are to be completed one after the other as a set until finished in full, then repeated back to back until the number of sets are completed.

For example— BB Deadlift and Bosu Mountain Climber are a superset. Complete your first set of deadlifts at a moderate weight to heavy weight (6 reps), then down to the Bosu ball to perform pick up the DBs and perform 50 mountain climbers and rest 90s. Repeat this superset until you’ve completed 5!

AMRAP – As many reps as possible. Complete the circuit as many times as possible during the 8 minutes and rest only when you physically cannot continue. Your “score” is how many reps you complete. Try to improve your total rep count next time you do this workout! Since the AMRAP in this workout is progressive, once you’ve met your max reps twice, increase the time (for volume) or increase the weight (for intensity).

EMOM – Every minute on the minute. Set your timer for 8 minutes. Complete the superset and rest only as many seconds as are left in the minute. When the minute is up, begin the new set. If you can’t complete the set before the minute is up, stop. You’re done. Next time try to move faster. If you want to progress, increase the weight (for intensity) or increase the time (for volume).

DB, and BB – Modality abbreviations. Dumbbell and Barbell. Pretty simple.

Modifications – Some may need mods during this workout. If a movement is not compatible with your body, ask a trainer to help you modify to find comparable exercises.

Go Beast Mode

This workout challenge will push you to your limit and force your back through any plateaus you’ve recently encountered.

I want to see you burn fat, grow muscle, get stronger, be tougher and really mean business.

Set aside 90 minutes. Don’t skip the warm-up. Get help with form as needed. Fight hard through the discomfort of a REAL workout. And recover. Like. A. Boss.

I believe in you.

Let’s go BEAST MODE.


The posts on this blog are not intended to suggest or recommend the diagnosis, treatment, cure, or prevention of any disease, nor to substitute for medical treatment, nor to be an alternative to medical advice. The use of the suggestions and recommendations on this blog post is at the choice and risk of the reader.
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