Don’t worry, bros. We’re not about to make you start dancing those inches off. We’re throwing down the gauntlet for you to give song-based workout challenges a go.
How do they work? Well, if you’re familiar with movie or sports drinking games (which, we’re positive you are), the underlying concept for these workout challenges are the same. You just switch up the the movie or sport for a song, the booze for some basic exercise moves, and you’re good to go.
As Certified Functional Strength Coach and senior coach at 360 Fitness Plus Fort Bonifacio Juan Paulo Sotelo, F.M.S.C., C.W.P.C. puts it, bodyweight exercises like squats, push-ups, and burpees are great for everyone since they help you “practice movement as your body is designed to move” and engage more than one muscle group at a time. They’re perfect for these song-based workout challenges because they’re equipment-free exercises, so there’s no need to go to the gym.
“You can just pick a spot at home where you can move around and do these exercises,” explains Sotelo. “Or let’s say you’re on vacation—kung saan ka man maabutan—you still have these exercises to go to even if you don't have resources,” he adds.
One such popular workout challenge is the Bring Sally Up Challenge. It’s been around for a few years now, and though the oldest YouTube video we can find of it is a push-up version, according to Sotelo, this challenge was originally designed for squat exercises.They’re really pretty versatile, you see.
The song is 'Flower' by Moby, and when he tells you to “bring Sally up,” you take your exercise movement up. When Moby sings “bring Sally down,” you go into the lowered position of the move. (The lyric actually goes, “Green Sally up / Green Sally down,” but, meh. Close enough.)
We suggest you go find a space you can freely move around in, get your Spotify up to speed, and brace your body for a simple yet challenging workout session. If Moby’s not your kind of jam, here are a few others you can try:
The Song: 'Best of You' by Foo Fighters
The Mechanics: Start from a full plank position. Every time you hear “best,” crank out a half burpee. And every time you hear the word “you,” go for a full burpee.
Standard or full burpee
The Song: 'Hyung' by Dumbfoundead feat. Dok2, Simon Dominic, and Tiger JK
The Mechanics: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Do a goblet squat when you hear the first “hyung.” Hold it until you hear the word “hyung” again, then return to start position. You’ll alternate squatting and standing up whenever they spit out the song’s title. (With the frequency in which they say the trigger word, we guarantee you’ll be flashing some thighceps in no time!)
You don’t really need a kettlebell or a dumbbell to do the goblet squat. You can improvise with objects around you or do it without weights at all. The important thing is to have your arms folded to your chest, elbows pointing down, and with your hands cupped together as if you were holding a goblet. This squat variation helps your body learn how to do regular squats with proper form.
The Song: 'Hollaback Girl' by Gwen Stefani
The Mechanics: Start from an elbow plank position. When Gwen cusses in the first line, move up to a full plank. From then on, whenever she mentions “Hollaback girl” or talks about her “sh*t” (which is apparently just b-a-n-a-n-a-s), switch up your plank position alternatingly. Be sure to to hold whichever plank position you are in until you hear either of the buzzwords again.
Up and down plank
The Song: 'Around the World' by Daft Punk
The Mechanics: When you’re feeling like going for a run, queue up this song and give Sotelo’s personal recommendation a try. Basically, you go for a walk or a light jog throughout the instrumental parts, and when the vocal track starts, increase your pace and break into a run until the vocals end. Rinse, repeat. Clocking in at 7 minutes and 9 seconds, this is a great way to incorporate interval running into your workout routine and really feel the burn.
You can easily personalize these workout challenges by plugging in your move of choice, so you won’t get bored. You can try different variations of the push-up, split squats or lunges (or any of the other variations of squats for that matter), high knees, hip lifts, and mountain climbers to name a few.
Depending on your fitness level, you can take it up a notch by going for inverted rows, dips, or pull-ups. Sotelo warns though, that whichever exercises you decide to use, you should be aware of your form at all times: “You have to remember that the objective is to get better and not get hurt while doing these, so doing everything properly—with correct form—is a must.”
Another thing Sotelo wants to emphasize is that these workouts aren’t dubbed challenges for nothing. “The reason why you do these things is because you want to test your limits, but it's also a different thing if you're pushing too much,” he points out. So once you’re unable to perform the required movement with perfect form, there’s no shame in throwing in the towel for the time being. Sotelo’s final piece of advice, “Stick to what you're used to first, tapos progress na lang as you move forward.”