Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
16 Aug

Workout of the Week (WOW)

I am pleased to announce the inaugural Workout of the Week (WOW). Before we get to the workout, first an explanation…

What is a WOW?

In short, WOWs will test your agility, balance, coordination, endurance, speed and strength. They’ll periodically incorporate Sprinting and Moving Slowly, but will usually emphasize Lifting Heavy Things. Expect to see variations of the 4 Essential Movements (e.g. lunges, dips, rows, kippings, burpees etc.), plyometrics, and HIIT (both time and task priority). WOWs will often ask you to use added weight. In most cases, the kind (sandbag, kettlebell, dumbbell, slosh tube, plate, etc.) and amount (5 lbs, 20 lbs, 50 lbs, etc.) will be up to you. Thus, I generally recommend that you master the 4 Essential Movements of PBF Lift Heavy Things before attempting WOWs, and then using WOWs in place of one or both of your regular PBF LHT days each week.

Anything goes for WOWs, including fun, conceptual Grok workouts (if you don’t know what this means stay tuned!), so check back each week for a fractal workout that mixes things up and keep things interesting.

To learn more about how WOWs fit into the Primal Blueprint Fitness plan get the 92 page eBook for free.

The First Ever WOW

For the very first WOW I’m keeping things simple. No story. No complicated rules. No partners or equipment needed. Just you, your bodyweight and a place to move.

Maximum cycles in 12 minutes of:

50 Meter Sprint
10 Squat Jumps*
10 Pushups

*Just like it sounds. Perform a full squat. When you come up leap straight into the air bringing your hands over your head and your feet off the ground. Then drop directly back down into the squat position and repeat.

Warmup: A static Grok squat and a few 50 meter runs at moderate effort.

Variations: If you are unable to do pushups or squat jumps substitute movements from Levels 1-3 of Primal Blueprint Fitness Lift Heavy Things.

Don’t wait to try this WOW. Make time this week to get active and make Grok proud!

Record and Share

Record your workout in your PBF Logbook. The PBF Logbook can be found at the end of the PBF eBook. Be sure to note your state of health, energy level, motivation level, and the degree of difficulty. WOWs will be repeated on MDA, so this information will prove useful in assessing personal improvements and growth.

Also, share your experiences in the comment board. WOWs, and PBF in general, isn’t a competition, but it can be fun and motivating to compare your personal achievements with others.

The First Ever WOW Video Submission

A big thanks to Mark’s Daily Apple reader and PBFer Brett Yahnke for submitting the first ever WOW video. Grok on!

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Sweet! Looking forward to the first WOW. Thanks Mark!

    Matt Colflesh wrote on August 16th, 2010
  2. Sounds awesome – have torn a ligament in my ankle and cannot do this, which is so unfair. When I get to it – should we rest between cycles?

    Lekki Wood wrote on August 16th, 2010
    • I would guess do not rest between cycles unless you have to. It says to do as many cycles you can in 12 minutes. If you rest you will not be allowed to stop the time.

      You can actually do whatever the hell you want, lol. But, if you are to follow what the WOW says to do then do as many as you can in 12 minutes with no rest or very little if needed – just keep the time ticking!

      Primal Toad wrote on August 16th, 2010
    • AMRAP… As many rounds as possible. If you’re not bleeding or throwing up at the end, you’re not working our. 😉

      Mike wrote on August 18th, 2010
  3. Talk about simplicity! I love it Mark. I did the full workout from the e-book this morning and loved it! Depending upon when I feel up to it I will be doing this WOW soon. My aim is Thursday but Friday will be fine and if I feel great on Wednesday then sweet!!

    I will record myself and submit when finished. I hope I win!!

    Primal Toad wrote on August 16th, 2010
  4. Love it! Can’t wait to try it out. Thanks, Mark!

    BenevolentForce wrote on August 16th, 2010
  5. Sounds awesome. I still haven’t done any sprints just because I haven’t had the time. I really haven’t. Plus I’ve really hit the kettlebells hard. Like today, I did a variation of the turkish get up, give it a try guys:
    – Perform a turkish get up
    – In the top position, do a negative kb-press (lower the kettlebell slowly to the rack position)
    – Lower the kettlebell to the ground
    – With the other hand, without pre-swing, snatch the kettlebell once and return it to the ground
    – with the other hand (the one performing the rep), clean&press the kettlebell (without pre-swing) to the top position of the turkish get up
    – finish the turkish get up by returning to the lying position

    Repeat with the other hand.

    Do five times.

    Awesome workout. Added in some pistols and dragonflags.

    Iiro wrote on August 16th, 2010
    • That is a great complex! Love it.

      Jeff wrote on August 16th, 2010
    • ooh, nice, gonna try that one, thanks!

      Christina wrote on August 17th, 2010
  6. Help – a few questions. Is this every day? Can this replaced with other exercise programs or routines?

    I don’t always have access to running – have access to treadmill though. Is that ok?

    Mary wrote on August 16th, 2010
    • No, not every day. Read chapter 5 of PBF to learn more about how this fits into the program.

      Mark Sisson wrote on August 16th, 2010
      • I wrote an email – but for some reason it won’t let me access the ebook. It says I’m already joined.

        Mary wrote on August 16th, 2010
        • If you are already a subscribing member you received 2 emails last week giving you access to the eBook. And every future Wednesday newsletter will also provide access. Check your inbox. Grok on!

          Mark Sisson wrote on August 16th, 2010
      • thanks!!!

        Mary wrote on August 16th, 2010
    • How could you not have access to running? It can be done almost anywhere.

      Jaime wrote on August 16th, 2010
      • My 2 children go into an hour long day care at the gym when I work out. also – winter isn’t that great around here for running, not that it’s winter yet.

        Mary wrote on August 16th, 2010
        • You could do a fifty meter run in front of your house, and do the jumps and pushups in your lawn. Do you have a TV?

          Lojasmo wrote on August 16th, 2010
        • Easy: Get on a rowing machine for 75m or so each round, do about 5-10 box jumps each round, do single or double unders (idk, maybe 10 or 20 each round)…the subs are endless, depending on how creative you are.

          Mike wrote on August 18th, 2010
  7. Fantastic! Can’t wait to give it a whirl. All my friends think I am nuts for going primal. I bet no of them will put down their arm curls and leg extensions to give this a try. :)

    Primal_Joe wrote on August 16th, 2010
  8. Dang! That would be so much fun! But my week is already stuffed with dragon boat training and a full cup on Saturday. So, no chance for extra energy expenditure.

    neophilus wrote on August 16th, 2010
  9. Funny… I’ve been primal now for 4 months or so… today I did 5 80 m sprints, 4 sets of 20 pushups, 3 sets of 15 chinups (biceps) … kind of close to this weeks wow.

    I’ll do it tomorrow for sure. And btw, I’ve never been leaner, more fit and had more muscle than now at 32. I was a competitive basketball player… but I’ve never been more fit than now.

    Also, my wife can’t keep her hands off my new abs :) Good deal for a $30 book eh?

    Hello from Canada

    Deni wrote on August 16th, 2010
  10. Great! Just started the PBF today with some novice sprints up a hill on my property (out of sight of neighbors who might think this 51 year old lady has gone daft). I can get two 50 m sprints in on the same hill with a rest and a walk downhill in between. Wore my KSOs on the soft grass – great feeling. Looking forward to a play/move slowly day tomorrow. I felt worn out immediately after the sprints but about 20 minutes later felt completely energized. I’m starting at the bottom level of everything but that’s fine with me! Again, thanks to Mark for providing all of this for free. The WOWs look like fun!

    Laurie D. wrote on August 16th, 2010
    • Laurie, Fantastic to read your post! I’m just getting started on the exercise part of Primal (have been eating mostly primal for some months now). I’m 56 and just did the exact same workout…zig-zagged up and down the woodsy hill in back of my house! Good for BOTH of us!

      Anne wrote on August 16th, 2010
      • Yeah! Go 50-set!

        Laurie D. wrote on August 16th, 2010
        • yeah who cares what the neighbors think it feels good to be female, strong and almost (in my case) 50

          DThalman wrote on August 16th, 2010
      • Loved reading both your posts! Fitness after 40 is awesome. 😀

        Jaime wrote on August 16th, 2010
      • Count me in! Just turned 50 & I feel way better than 40, maybe even 30! All thanks to PB & MDA, for over a year now. Jest getting started in the fitness aspect & lovin it! ahhhh
        (Join “council of elders” in groups!)

        Peggy wrote on August 17th, 2010
  11. Keeping it simple… I like it. Going to try this today. Might even test out the HD video on the iPhone 4 for the contest!

    ThePrimalBrett wrote on August 16th, 2010
  12. I’m all over this! Thanks Mark.

    Lars1000 wrote on August 16th, 2010
  13. Hey, hey, hey I wanna be a Grok Star!
    I started my sprints last night, went bare foot on the local playing field, got some strange looks but loved it. Local kids even raced me! I won.
    Cant wait to try this WOW, but I need a little practice first!

    Matt wrote on August 16th, 2010
  14. In Crew (rowing) we used to call the squat-jump “jumpies” for short. Those things BURN. That looks like a good workout

    Jake wrote on August 16th, 2010
  15. I’ve printed the Fitness Book and read through all of it and plan on giving it a try, however, I sure wish some of the workouts like the WOW and the LHT were on a dvd – it’s hard for me to just read the workouts and do them. Have you ever thought about making a fitness dvd program, Mark?

    kathy wright wrote on August 16th, 2010
    • He has a youtube channel :)

      this may help a little

      Deni wrote on August 16th, 2010
    • Maybe something in the future, Kathy. Stay tuned!

      Mark Sisson wrote on August 16th, 2010
    • Many of the exercises are already on youtube. Perhaps searching around the internet would be useful to you. :)

      Mike wrote on August 18th, 2010
  16. This is telepathy! Just before getting your post, I had performed the 50 m sprint and squats (OK, not the pushups yet) out of intuition. I felt energized afterwards.
    Thank you, Mark for your encouraging and support.

    mineralwasser wrote on August 16th, 2010
  17. Nice! This will be my Wednesday workout! Looking forward to it!

    Primal K@ wrote on August 16th, 2010
  18. Mark – I have a suggestion: When prescribing excercises that involve weights it’d be a good idea to to give the weight as a fraction (or multiple) of the person’s body weight. For example:
    – 10 back squats, 1/2 your body weight.

    I thik that doing this will make it more meaningful when people post their results here. Because a good strength-to-body-weight ratio is what we’re after, right?

    Danielht wrote on August 16th, 2010
    • Thanks for the suggestion, Danielht. You’ve read my mind. Grok on!

      Mark Sisson wrote on August 16th, 2010
  19. So with sprints in this wow. Would you still have a day dedicated to just aprints. Maybe a harder set?

    Greg wrote on August 16th, 2010
  20. If we submit a video, do you want us to film the entire 12 minutes?

    dragonmamma wrote on August 16th, 2010
    • An excerpt or a video edited together with clips from the workout would be great.

      Mark Sisson wrote on August 17th, 2010
  21. Sounds like CrossFit….can you really take credit for a program that you didn’t create?

    leah wrote on August 16th, 2010
    • I’ve been crossfitting for close to 7 years. Here’s my thoughts…

      CF didn’t invent the sprint, squat, clean, push up or rope climb but they have done a wonderful job at packaging workouts into effective programming…so long as it is done properly.

      Mark has been on the CF journal, and many other times has given CF credit for their work. Of course the WOW looks and feels like crossfit, just like the Burger King Whopper is like the McDonald’s Big Mac.

      Coach Glassman is proud to see everyone copying his concept because he knows it works, and Mark is a smart business man, why wouldn’t he follow in the CF foot steps, look at most of the blogs that post workouts, they are all following the same format.

      Also, this is not a CF workout, anyone can put 3 exercises together, give them numbers and set the circuit to a time. No need to worry about this.

      Karl MacPhee wrote on August 16th, 2010
      • You should also take note that this workout is quite a bit less strenuous than the vast majority of crossfit ones. Body squats and push ups are relatively simple exercises and everyone should be able to sprint. If anything, these will be a great stepping stone for people who may have considered CF but feel as if it’s an unrealistic program for them.

        chris wrote on August 17th, 2010
        • I signed up for one of the CF forums, I wanted to start doing CF. But it was all so confusing, and I’m generally not one that can’t figure things out easily, that I just gave up. So far this just seems so much simpler, at least it’s broken down into the basics. I haven’t read the book yet, but I’m planning to. Signing up right now…

          Dennis wrote on August 18th, 2010
    • Yes, with the WOW I knew there would be comparisons made. Of course, PBF is different that CrossFit in numerous ways. Have you read the eBook, leah?

      Mark Sisson wrote on August 17th, 2010
      • CrossFit is definitely not everyone’s cup of tea, and I think the PBF fills a very important niche (well done Mark).

        Personally, I follow CF programming, but I actually find myself recommending PB to more people than CF.

        Jeffery wrote on August 17th, 2010
  22. @leah Read page 90 of the Primal Fitness PDF. I don’t think Mark is taking credit for anything. He references CrossFit 7 times in the e-book.

    SD_Mikey wrote on August 16th, 2010
  23. WOW Mark! I’m looking forward to the rest of the workouts of the week and, of course, reading your e-book. Also, oft-times the simplest workouts are the most effective. And oft-times the flashiest workouts are the least effective. But hey, it’s all in good fun and fitness and this simple workout sounds like it can be fun!

    Matt Joseph wrote on August 16th, 2010
  24. I’m lucky to live next to the coast and have a trusty terrier to do this workout with me. So my sprints were chasing the dog who was chasing the ball…and of course it was all barefoot.

    AKozzii wrote on August 16th, 2010
  25. Tried this WOW just now (after months of being out of shape postpartum from baby #2). It kicked mah bootay in a major way; I only made it a few minutes in! (Ooof!) But it does feel good to get started because I don’t want to be new to be brand new to the concepts come the September Primal Challenge. Looking forward to someday soon being able to complete an entire sprint set as prescribed. :)

    Family Grokumentarian wrote on August 17th, 2010
  26. I’ll be giving this workout to my Airmen tomorrow morning, probably scaled for 15 minutes. Thanks for the simple, group-appropriate workout!

    David Knutzen wrote on August 17th, 2010
    • I wish you were my DH’s Sergent, they just make him run. :p It’s bad for his knees.

      Ris wrote on August 18th, 2010
  27. Mark

    when you say we should do our low level workouts at 55%-75% HR(max) how do you calculate this?

    Assuming HR(max) = 220-age (in the abscence of a test) = 185 for me

    would this be a straight %?
    i.e. HR(max)*55% = 102
    to HR(max)*75% = 139

    or do you calc it like some runners as the % between HR(max) and HR(rest)?
    i.e. HR(rest)+55%*[HR(max)-HR(rest)]
    = 60 + 55%*(185-60) = 129
    to 60 + 75%*(185-60) = 154 (assuming HR(rest)=60)

    maybe I am thinking too much about this…?

    Thank you.

    expatjim wrote on August 17th, 2010
    • It’s the former of the two calculations. As the eBook details, it can be helpful to use a heart rate monitor to learn what 55-75% max HR feels like. Then you can develop an intuitive sense of when you’re in that zone.

      Mark Sisson wrote on August 17th, 2010
  28. thank you for clarifying that for me.

    fwiw when i was younger i was a typical chronic cardio guy. more recently i trained for a half-marathon whilst not exceeding 135bpm (60% runners’ style – slow enough to hold a conversation). initially it was really difficult to stay below that threshold; as soon as I started to run my HR would spike and I would have to force myself to walk until it returned below 130. my ego took a beating but gradually i was running more and walking less until I could adjust my running pace to keep below threshold. then my times started to improve too. a side benefit was that i also enjoyed the run as opposed to just the completion/after effects.

    from what i have read in PBF, the running is not the problem, just the effort level. therefore I can run long and be primal as long as I just take it easy right?

    expatjim wrote on August 17th, 2010
    • As I often say, make your long, slow workouts longer and slower and your hard, fast workouts harder and faster.

      Mark Sisson wrote on August 17th, 2010
      • thank you again for taking the time to respond and also for all the other information you provide here for free. very glad that i have found your website. now i just need to get back to encouraging my wife off the grains…

        expatjim wrote on August 17th, 2010
      • Mark,
        I have been a subscriber to the newsletter for same time, so how do I get the Ebook on fitness? Did I miss a message with instructions?


        Alex wrote on August 17th, 2010
        • The last 2 emails I’ve sent to you as a subscriber explain how to get the eBook. If you don’t have those emails anymore stay tuned for tomorrow’s newsletter.

          Mark Sisson wrote on August 17th, 2010
  29. Just completed this workout. 7 rounds. The sprints were the limiting factor this time.

    Looking forward to many more WOWs.

    mainah wrote on August 17th, 2010
    • WOW is very appropriate. just finished a set and WOW that was tough. completed 7 full rounds as well but i don’t think i would have driven myself through the seventh if i hadn’t seen your post earlier, thanks for setting the standard. for me the limiter was the squat jump. going to feel that tomorrow for sure!

      expatjim wrote on August 17th, 2010
  30. Mark, a great first WOW. Managed 14 times through on a lovely summer evening in England (a rarity). Sprints were a killer after the jump squats but sure beats working out in the gym.

    Many thanks.

    Guy Robinson wrote on August 17th, 2010
    • 14! holy sh1t. I was destroyed doing just half that. guess i will be the one getting eaten for dinner.

      expatjim wrote on August 18th, 2010
  31. Did this WOW last night. Made the 50 yard dash, a 100 yard dash though. Completed 8 in 12 minutes. Great workout. I just started PB eating 16 days ago, and I’m already starting to see a six pack, and have lost 5 pounds. All while working out less, thanks to following the PB fitness plan. I’m sold to say the least.

    ps – The PB book is excellent Mark….and my wife is loving the cookbook!

    Kyle wrote on August 17th, 2010
  32. Gave this one a go today (though I estimated the distance since I didn’t have a track handy) and it was great! I love the short, intense, no equipment workouts so this was right up my alley.

    I finished 10 full rounds +6 jump squats. I’m looking forward to more WOWs in the future.

    Dan wrote on August 17th, 2010
  33. WOW, finished the workout with 8 cycles. I did have to rest a few times, kept it to less than 30 seconds each time. very good work out i will feel later and thank you many times.

    Robert wrote on August 17th, 2010
  34. Bonus points for filling out log book using cave drawings instead of the usual numbers and letters.

    Seriously though about four days ago I threw out all my chronic cardio logbooks. For me, part of the beauty is the informality and the fractal aspect and nature of primal/ancestral fitness, eloquently stated by Nassim N Taleb in Black Swan 2d edition. To each his/her own, but put me down as a vote for dedcating as little time and energy to keeping tabs, and instead simply going by feel and intuition. Results will follow either way.

    Grok with a logbook..heh

    Adam wrote on August 17th, 2010
  35. I am a bit tuckered out today. Maybe tomorrow.

    debbie_downer wrote on August 17th, 2010
  36. I am doing this workout today. I lifted by doing all 5 movements on Monday but feel GREAT today!! I will of course create a video as its a hobby of mine.

    Primal Toad wrote on August 18th, 2010
  37. Mark,

    I did 14 “reps” not great, but this circuit roasted me pretty good.

    Thanks for supplying these WoWs they fit nicely into the workout regiment I have started for myself. (2 Strength Training Days, 1 High Intensity Day , 1 METCON day).

    Thanks again,

    Seth wrote on August 18th, 2010
  38. Boo not having video equipment to record stuff. Hooray beer! (…okay, not really. I just find the old Red Stripe beer commercials hilarious.) Hooray WOW!

    VelocityRD wrote on August 18th, 2010
  39. I was looking forward to doing this, until I noticed the pushups. I broke my frigging hand three days ago, so they’re a no go. Maybe I could do scapular pushups on my forearms as a surrogate.

    If nothing else, this will be a hell of a warmup before running a couple miles this afternoon – they’ll feel like a break!

    Rafe Brox wrote on August 18th, 2010

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