8 Exercise Challenge Ideas

Are you a diehard gym rat who’s looking for a new challenge? It’s always fun to test your limits and see how far you can go. 

What can you do if you already hit it hard? The eight exercise challenge ideas below will empower you to see how far you can push your limits. 

1. Run a Half or Full Marathon 

If Oprah can run a marathon, so can you. However, if you don’t have the patience or time to go 26.2 miles, 13.1 is also an immense challenge. 

Training for a full- or half-marathon challenges beginner and advanced runners alike. Fortunately, you can find plenty of free training plans online to get you race-ready. You’ll need at least one day per week to do a longer run, regardless of which distance you intend to tackle. 

2. Survive an Ashtanga Class

If you hear the word “yoga” and think, “challenge? Yeah, right,” you’ve never been to an intermediate Ashtanga class. Even the primary series last an hour and a half, and some sessions go over two hours in length. 

It’s not only the duration that tests your endurance. This form of the ancient practice uses vinyasas, or breath-body movements, to transition between poses and keep your heart rate elevated. By the end of your session, you won’t know if your limbs feel rubbery from the stretch or the exertion. 

3. Climb Every Mountain 

What’s the highest mountain near you? Have you reached the summit? If not, why don’t you start training to place your flag on that peak? 

Mountain climbing qualifies as a full-body activity. You may have to do some bouldering to make it to the summit. You’ll use your arms, legs and core for stability, making this exercise challenge one that will leave you pleasantly sore all over. 

4. Beat the Burpee Record

Are you keeping your fitness within your living room walls due to COVID-19 fears? If you have a medical condition that puts you at an elevated risk, you can still test your limits. 

If you have ever performed a burpee, you know that this movement gets your heart hammering while working your legs, arms and core. If you’re new to the move, start by standing upright and then squat down, placing your hands flat on the floor near your feet. Jump back into a plank position, then leap back to standing. You can add an extra hop at the end. 

You can complete this challenge while watching TV. Keep a record in your planner and see how many repetitions you can do each session before collapsing in an exhausted heap. 

5. Get Presidential

Do you remember taking the Presidential Physical Fitness Test back in school? No law says you can’t test yourself as an adult — how have you fared over the years? 

You can find the new standards online — can you run a mile in just over eight minutes? You’ll also need to complete the shuttle run, sit and reach, curl-ups, pullups and pushups. 

6. Find Your One-Rep Max

Unless you have a burly spotter, you shouldn’t try to find your one-rep weight max through trial and error. You don’t want to end up pinned under a barbell at the gym — even if you avoid injury, who needs the embarrassment? 

Instead, use an online tool to calculate your one-rep max based on the weights you use when performing five or 10 repetitions. Keep a fitness journal so you can repeat this exercise challenge idea over time and chart your progress. 

7. Tackle an Obstacle Course

You can find indoor and outdoor obstacle courses — if you have COVID-19 concerns, many experts consider outside activities safer. This exercise challenge idea gets you doing fun things like riding a zipline. What’s not to love? 

If you have a competitive nature, why not sign up for a race? Courses such as Tough Mudder get you scurrying through obstacles while getting deliciously messy. You’ll come out looking like Pigpen from “Charlie Brown,” but you’ll dig the adrenaline rush. 

8. Complete an Ironman 

Are you up for the ultimate challenge? An Ironman triathlon will have you biking, running and swimming your way through 140.62 miles — yes, you read that correctly. 

If you complete 12 of these bad boys, you might qualify to go to Kona, Hawaii, and compete in the Ironman World Championship. Merely making it to the shores of this island state means you rank among the most elite athletes in the world. How’s that for an exercise challenge idea? 

Can You Survive These 8 Exercise Challenge Ideas? 

If you want to push your fitness to the limit, try one of these eight exercise challenges. You’ll earn substantial bragging rights when you emerge triumphantly.