The Conan Workout Challenge Week 3

It’s Week 3 of Eric Laciste’s AR7 Conan The Barbarian workout. I’ve already endured two weeks of this (Week 1, Week 2). That means that after these next two weeks are I can stop pounding the floor with my fist in agony and actually get back to the serious business of eating pies.

I’m starting to get really bored of the diet. I got quite into it the first week but now I’d kill for a roast potato – a glistening golden, beautifully crunchy roast nugget covered in gravy. But nope, no carbs after 4pm for me. It’s starting to affect my dreams. I’m sure dreaming about spuds isn’t healthy.

Anyway. Enough moaning and on with the exercise.

My muscles don’t feel too bad this week, so I’m determined to attack it with more zeal than ever.

As before, here are the beginning of the week photos:


It’s Week 3! Hallelujah, I’m past the half way mark and right now I don’t feel like my arms are held together with blu-tack and spit. Hooray!

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

I’ve got used to this now. In fact, it’s the most enjoyable part of the workout, overshadowed by the fact that I know it’s going to get a lot worse very quickly.

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.

Something’s not right here. I only managed 13 rounds again when the very first week I did 15. Am I getting worse? Am I not trying hard enough? The second one can’t be true because there’s a puddle of sweat on the gym floor that you could probably fish for trout in. Oh well, keep chipping away.

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.

This didn’t feel that hard at all, so I guess I must be doing something right. Time to up the weight for next week I think. I’m really pleased: there’s been some definite progress here. By Crom, if I keep this up, I’ll be laying waste to outlying hamlets and villages by next month. Watch out Bembridge.

Rather than cycling which I find marginally more exciting than watching pirated DVDs of paint drying, I decided to row instead. Now, I’ve always had a bit of a problem with rowing because I go at too fast a pace and generally feel like I’m going to pass out after five minutes. Thankfully I actually remembered that this time and paced myself for a challenging if comfortable 35 minutes.

Rarrrgh, Conan smash. Time for lunch.


Today was a bit of problem. There were two film screenings I had to get to so I couldn’t fit in my usual lunchtime workout. I also had some evening plans, so coulnd’t go straight after work either. Solution: it’s home gym time!

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

Well, you don’t need fancy pants gym equipment here. 100 push ups weren’t too hard. Got to around 75 and then finished off in groups of 10, although I must say that faceplanting on lovely soft carpet is much more fun than the gym’s cold, hard linoleum of disappointment.

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

I don’t have a dip station at home (seriously who does?), so I opted for the diamond push ups. Not too bad but I did have ample opportunity to get acquainted with my carpet in round three.

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

Luckily, I do have a bench at home. It hasn’t seen much action lately and these days fulfills most of its duties as a glorified clothes horse/massive and pointless waste of space. But after blowing the dust off and hunting around for ages for the screw fixings, I gave it a go. Not too bad, started to wobble a lot in the third set (worrying when you aren’t surrounded by people who would probably stop the weight from pancaking your face).

No cardio today. It’s raining outside and I can’t jog because of a knee injury anyway. Maybe I’ll watch Chariots Of Fire instead…


I feel fine, which is weird. Being in constant pain was starting to become the norm, so I’m suspicious that my body’s planning something nasty for later.

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

That went fine. Ah, back to the reassuringly hard and unforgiving smell of gym linoleum. Home sweet home.

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

Not too bad. The weird shape of the gym bars is starting to bother me (at home I’ve got a straight one – here they’re at odd angles). I found a straight bar to put up and used that but unforunately that wasn’t much better. Dispiriting all round.

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

I increased the weight a little bit (having had to reduce it from the previous guy who used it; he looked like he could crush skulls with his ham-sized hands). Gritted my teeth and got through it although I think I might have been using some bad form in certain places. Don’t judge me, I’m trying to get through this.

Martial arts later for the cardio…


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

That’s fine, it’s become so routine now that I can comfortably think about other things when I’m doing them like soft fluffy pillows and potatoes…

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

I’ve designated this day “learning day” not “working day”. My deadlift technique is actually so poor it’s endangering my safety, so I need to work on this before trying to pick up anything remotely heavy. I think part of this is because I’ve neglected my back for so long that my other muscles overcompensate leaving me with terrible form and also, I slouch at my desk.

Excuses, excuses, it’s off to see Natalie Shanahan for some advice. This time she puts a stick up my back to make sure I’m doing it right. It’s still not going that well, I have trouble “sticking my bum” out – guess I’ll never make it as a rap video extra.

I can do the two parts needed to do it properly (back straight, bend knees) but I’m struggling to do both at the same time. I tell her I’m used to being yelled at (martial arts again, go figure), so her words of encouragement are “Keep your back straight or your spine will snap and you’ll die”. Can’t argue with that – time to concentrate.

I think I’m finally getting the hang of it after about 30 minutes but it’s definitely something that needs to be worked on.

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

Natalie’s intent that I get this right too, so off to the cable assist machine to make sure I keep my back straight. It’s not too bad and I think I’m getting the hang of it but have to remind myself that’s only because I’m being an unfettered wuss and not doing any serious weight. Still, I’d rather be a wuss than a broken pile of splintered bones.

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

By this point there’s no time to fit these in and I couldn’t do them if I wanted to anyway (my knee craves freedom and doesn’t care if it has to break my leg to get it).

I feel I’ve learned a lot though (even if it’s “don’t mess with Natalie”) – with any luck in several hundred years, I’ll be able to get it right. I hobble off and spend the rest of the day walking around the office like a hungover C3PO.


I feel fine today although there’s still a dull ache in my lower back which indicates I’ve actually done some exercise in the right places. I can’t make it to the gym today because I’m off to Valencia to train with the living legend Guro Dan Inosanto.

Guro Dan is without exaggeration the best martial artist ever to have lived, the only person certified by Bruce Lee to teach Jeet Kune Do and he’s had 45 years to add and develop the art. I’ve trained with him before and for a guy who’s in his mid-70s, he moves lightning fast. He’s like a Filipino Yoda.

Anyway, so no gym for me today, but a hard weekend of training to come. I can’t wait.

But hey, don’t let me stop you from playing along at home. Here’s Friday’s workout. Have fun.

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

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

Can’t get enough of Jez’s suffering? Read Week 1’s workout here and Week 2’s here.

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