Pull Your Own Weight
Hit the gym regularly and you will build muscle. But how can you tell when you've graduated from scrawny to brawny? "A mark of true strength is being able to move your own weight in iron," says Jim Smith, C.S.C.S., of Diesel Strength & Conditioning in Elmira, New York. To complete this month's challenge, you'll have to do that not once but five times, with three classic powerlifting moves. Consider it the perfect excuse to throw your weight around—and pack on more muscle while you're at it.
YOUR GOAL: Lift your weight in iron 15 times
HOW TO DO IT: First, load a barbell so it weighs as much as you do; then do 5 reps of each exercise below, resting 60 to 90 seconds between moves. Repeat the three-move circuit five times to turn the challenge into a workout.
Grab the barbell and lie on a bench. Using an overhand grip that's slightly beyond shoulder width, hold the bar above your sternum with your arms straight. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and lower the bar to your sternum, keeping your elbows close to your sides. Pause, and press it back up.
Roll the barbell against your shins, bend at your hips and knees, and grab the bar using an overhand grip, your hands just beyond shoulder width. Keeping your back flat, thrust your hips forward and stand up with the barbell. Pause, and lower it back to the floor, keeping it as close to your body as you can.
Set your feet shoulder-width apart and hold the bar across your upper back using an overhand grip. Keeping your lower back slightly arched, lower your body until your thighs are at least parallel to the floor. Stand up explosively.