The Conan Workout Challenge Week 2

After enduring the punishing regime of Eric Laciste’s AR7 Conan workout last week, the only thing that felt crushed was my ego and my fragile body.

Thursday’s workout left me a broken man. whimpering about my back for the entire weekend, walking about like a crippled octogenarian mollusc. I tell you, if there was a prize for competitive whinging, I’d be winning hands down.

This week I’m determined to get back on the horse of back breaking exercise.

It’s only week two of four and the end doesn’t even look remotely in sight. I’m pretty sure that I’m going to be shaking my fist at the sky screaming “LACISTE!” by the end of the regime.

Here are the end of week 1 photos – see if you think there’s any difference:

I don’t really feel much stronger – perhaps a little in the shoulders. Any benefits have probably been offset by my body aching permanently. When I stop hurting, I’ll let you know how I feel.

I’ve more or less settled in to the diet. The main problem isn’t actually what to eat, it’s when. I see films on Monday, so getting enough food down my neck at lunchtime is really challenging. The rest of the week I’m in the office and I should really be working out in the afternoon after work (after I’ve eaten) but frequently I don’t have time (can’t take a 3pm lunch, I have martial arts classes to get to after work).


I didn’t get much sleep on Sunday night, so I was already feeling quite worn out. It’s reflected in the workout which frustratingly wasn’t as good as it was last week.

Warm up: 15 jackknives/3 burpees
1-2min real rest between rounds
Complete 3 rounds

No problem there really.

The Concept:
5 pull ups, 10 push-ups, 20 body weight squats CONTINUOUSLY, NON-STOP for 20 mins. Record the number of rounds completed.
The goal is 20 rounds in under 15 mins.

I only managed 13 rounds this time in comparison to the 15 I did last week. Very disappointed but there was just nothing left in the tank. When you start to look at the pull up bar with a mixture of revulsion and dread, you know you’re working out hard.

7.6.5 Series Barbell Military Press
* Utilize 60-70% your Max

7 reps, 7 secs active rest (arms locked out controlling the weight above your head, abs engaged, hips beneath the shoulders, head forward – POSTURE, POSTURE, POSTURE!)
6 Reps, 6 secs active rest
5 Reps, 5 secs active rest
= Round 1

1-2min real rest between sets.
3 sets.

That wasn’t too bad but I found it really hard between six reps and five. I think I might be being a bit ambitious with the weight. I thought I was doing well till a caught a glimpse of a guy working out in the corner, clearly the illigitimate son of Thor and She-Hulk. Still, I have nice shiny broadsword and the will of Crom behind me. That’s got to count for something.

35 minutes cycling finishes the workout. Really starving – time to go home in the freezing cold to dinner.


Warm up: 100 push-ups/100 body weight squats. CONTINUOUSLY, NON-STOP however you can get it done.

Again, I didn’t sleep that well last night, so I was struggling today. The press ups were hard – I used to be able to rep off 100 without stopping. Today I managed 67 before finishing the set in groups of 10.

The Concept:
7.6.5 series Body Weight Dips/Diamond Push-ups
7 Dips/ 7 Diamond Push-ups
6 Dips/ 6 Diamond Push-ups
5 Dips/ 5 Diamond Push-ups
= Round 1

1-2min real rest between rounds
Complete 3 Rounds

Body weight dips were really tough but didn’t feel as tough as last week. Could I possibly be improving?

7.6.5 Series Incline Dumbbell Basic Chest Press/Close Grip Press
*Utilize 60-70% your max

7 Basic Press/7 Close Grip Press (turn your palms in, pressing the same weight from the top of your chest to your line of sight), 7 secs active rest – lock your arms out holding the weight above your chest, maintaining control).
6 Basic Press/6 Close Grip Press
5 Basic Press/5 Close Grip Press
= Round 1

1-2min real rest between rounds
Complete 3 rounds

I had the same problem as last week – after a while your muscles just don’t obey you. It’s like they’ve organised a strike and decided to walk out. Had to take a rest between reps occasionally – it just wouldn’t move.

35 minutes cycling finishes the workout.

Gah, so boring, I ended up playing that game everyone does to kill time. “If I do five more minutes that means I’ve only got another three before I’m a third of the way to…argh”


I don’t feel too bad this morning. Had a good night’s sleep and I’ve even developed an immunity to porridge.

Warm up: 100 push-ups/100 body weight squats

It went much better today but I think I should really eat before doing this. That’s hard because of my aforementioned schedule – on Wednesdays and Thursdays I need to get to a martial arts class after work, so they’re the days when I have to go to the gym around lunch time.

The Concept:
7.6.5 Series Pull Up/Barbell Bicep Curl
*Real Pull Ups are key but if you need to perform an Assisted Pull Up be sure the assisting weight is set at its minimum. The barbell weight should be 60-70% your Max
7 Pull Ups/7 BB Curls
6 Pull Ups/6 BB Curls
5 Pull Ups/5 BB Curls
= Round 1
1-2min real rest between rounds

Complete 3 Rounds

I have a chin-up bar at home and I can usually do about 15 but because the ones in the gym are set at different angles, I really struggle. Like last week after the first set I needed to move to assisted pull ups – my muscles had gone on strike again. I tried as far as possible to keep to the short rest times between reps but that quickly went out the window.

7.6.5 Series Seated Cable Row/Dumbbell Bicep Curl
*Both the row weight and BB weight should be 75% your Max

7 reps Seated Row/7 DB Curls
6 reps Seated Row/6 DB Curls
5 reps Seated Row/5 DB Curls
= Round 1
1-2min real rest between rounds
Complete 3 Rounds

Weirdly this didn’t feel too bad. This is the first day when I haven’t felt like a reanimated corpse afterwards but I’m not sure if that’s an indication that I’m getting better at this or that I need to increase the workload. I’ll be thankful for small mercies this week. Rocky theme tunes all round.

I don’t have time for cardio today but martial arts later should bring me up to speed.

Looking at the clock, it’s five hours before I can eat dinner, so that leaves room for one snack. My body feels like it’s going to eat itself.


Warm up: 100 push-ups/100 body weight squats

Weirdly, I seem to be getting worse at this. I think I just need the weekend to recover, cumulative damage is once again kicking my arse.

The Concept:
7-5 Series Deadlift, Rear Squat, Body Weight Jump Squat

*Weight for Deadlift and Squat should be 50-70% your Max. Be smart, use the correct form and if you’re not sure or don’t know, ask someone to show you!

7 reps, 7 secs active rest (standing tall, arms extended, maintaining grip/control of weight),
7 sets = 49 Reps
1-2min real rest

6 reps, 6 secs active rest (Standing tall, arms extended, maintaining grip/control of weight),
6 sets = 36 Reps
1-2min real rest

5 reps, 5 secs active rest (Standing tall, arms extended, maintaining grip/control of weight),
5 sets = 25 Reps
Total reps = 110

Given that last week left me hobbling around like the Hunchback Of Notre Dame, I figured that I was probably doing something very wrong. So it’s off to find my friendly gym person again, the lovely Natalie Shanahan. After establishing that my deadlift form is utterly appalling and that I’ll probably shatter my spine like a Twilget if I keep doing it wrong, I decided that I’d do some without the weight until I get it right. I’m not wussing out. Shut up.

Still, even without any weight, the sheer number of reps is good enough to make me feel like my legs have fused to the floor. How do you go about learning to hover like a Dalek?

Rear squat
7 Reps, 7 secs active rest (standing tall, abs engaged, hips remaining beneath your shoulders, controlling the weight)
7 sets = 49 Reps
1-2min real rest, rack weight

6 Reps, 6 secs active rest (standing tall, abs engaged, hips remaining beneath your shoulders, controlling the weight)
6 sets = 36 reps
1-2min real rest, rack weight

5 Reps, 5 secs active rest (standing tall, abs engaged, hips remaining beneath your shoulders, controlling the weight)
5 sets = 25 reps
Total Reps = 110

Right, I can actually do this but again, I’m concerned that my puny lower back can’t handle a lot of weight. So I start with a fairly modest weight which eventually makes me feel that I’m about four inches shorter when I’m done.

Body Weight Jump Squat
*The landing is more important than the take off. Protect your knees, bend your knees on the landing utilizing your muscles to absorb the impact.Do not land stiff-legged even on the last rep!
7 Reps, 7 secs active rest. Standing tall. Breathe…
7 sets = 49 Reps
1min real rest

These I can’t really do as my knee injury means that my knee tries to escape through the side of my leg resulting in crippling agony if it’s not kept anchored. I do squats again and regret it.

Seriously, I hate squats. I have to do them every day anyway and this is just taking the piss.

Off to training tonight to make up the cardio deficit. And to sob like a seven year old girl who’s been told Christmas is cancelled.


I think I ache but I’m not sure. My body is in a permanent state of constant soreness that it’s hard to tell anymore.

Warm up: 100 push-ups/100 body weight squats

Urgh. Stare at the wall, think of something else, try to ignore the burning in my arms and legs. What do you mean I’ve only done seven? Christ.

The Concept
7.6.5 Series Rev Grip Pull Up, Body Weight Dip, Burpee

7 Rev Grip Pull Ups/7 Dips/7 Burpees/7 secs active rest, stand tall. Breathe.
6 Rev Grip Pull Ups/6 Dips/6 Burpees/6 secs active rest, stand tall. Breathe.
5 Rev Grip Pull Ups/5 Dips/5 Burpees/5 secs active rest, stand tall. Breathe.
= Round 1
Complete 5 Rounds

Right. Banged out the first set properly and was left gasping like Dickensian chimney sweep. The burpees are fatal and completely kill any ability to go at any sort of pace. Switched to minimum assisted pull-ups and dips in the third set. I figure it’s better to do something you can actually do than do nothing.

The air conditioning’s broken in the gym at the moment but that’s ok because it now resembles hell even more than it usually does. Can you drown in your own sweat?

That’s the end of week 2. The halfway point. I’m not sure whether to be pleased or depressed. Either way, I need some sleep.

Can’t get enough of Jez’s suffering? Read Week 1’s workout here.

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