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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. Iโ€™m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything weโ€™ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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August 16, 2010

Workout of the Week (WOW)

By Mark Sisson
131 Comments

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!


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124 Comments on "Workout of the Week (WOW)"

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Matt Colflesh
Matt Colflesh
6 years 3 months ago

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

Lekki Wood
Lekki Wood
6 years 3 months ago

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?

Primal Toad
6 years 3 months ago

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!

Mike
Mike
6 years 3 months ago

AMRAP… As many rounds as possible. If you’re not bleeding or throwing up at the end, you’re not working our. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Primal Toad
6 years 3 months ago

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!!

BenevolentForce
BenevolentForce
6 years 3 months ago

Love it! Can’t wait to try it out. Thanks, Mark!

Iiro
Iiro
6 years 3 months ago
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… Read more »
Jeff
Jeff
6 years 3 months ago

That is a great complex! Love it.

Christina
Christina
6 years 3 months ago

ooh, nice, gonna try that one, thanks!

Mary
Mary
6 years 3 months ago

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?

Jaime
Jaime
6 years 3 months ago

How could you not have access to running? It can be done almost anywhere.

Mary
Mary
6 years 3 months ago

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.

Lojasmo
Lojasmo
6 years 3 months ago

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?

Mike
Mike
6 years 3 months ago

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.

Primal_Joe
Primal_Joe
6 years 3 months ago

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

neophilus
neophilus
6 years 3 months ago

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.

Deni
Deni
6 years 3 months ago

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 ๐Ÿ™‚ Good deal for a $30 book eh?

Hello from Canada

Laurie D.
6 years 3 months ago
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!… Read more »
Anne
Anne
6 years 3 months ago

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!

Laurie D.
6 years 3 months ago

Yeah! Go 50-set!

DThalman
DThalman
6 years 3 months ago

yeah who cares what the neighbors think it feels good to be female, strong and almost (in my case) 50

Jaime
Jaime
6 years 3 months ago

Loved reading both your posts! Fitness after 40 is awesome. ๐Ÿ˜€

Peggy
Peggy
6 years 3 months ago

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!)

ThePrimalBrett
ThePrimalBrett
6 years 3 months ago

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!

Lars1000
6 years 3 months ago

I’m all over this! Thanks Mark.

Matt
Matt
6 years 3 months ago

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!

Jake
Jake
6 years 3 months ago

In Crew (rowing) we used to call the squat-jump “jumpies” for short. Those things BURN. That looks like a good workout

kathy wright
kathy wright
6 years 3 months ago

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?

Deni
Deni
6 years 3 months ago

He has a youtube channel ๐Ÿ™‚

this may help a little http://www.youtube.com/user/MarksDailyApple

Mike
Mike
6 years 3 months ago

Many of the exercises are already on youtube. Perhaps searching around the internet would be useful to you. ๐Ÿ™‚

mineralwasser
mineralwasser
6 years 3 months ago

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.

Primal K@
6 years 3 months ago

Nice! This will be my Wednesday workout! Looking forward to it!

Danielht
Danielht
6 years 3 months ago

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?

Greg
Greg
6 years 3 months ago

So with sprints in this wow. Would you still have a day dedicated to just aprints. Maybe a harder set?

dragonmamma
dragonmamma
6 years 3 months ago

If we submit a video, do you want us to film the entire 12 minutes?

leah
leah
6 years 3 months ago

Sounds like CrossFit….can you really take credit for a program that you didn’t create?

Karl MacPhee
6 years 3 months ago
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… Read more »
chris
chris
6 years 3 months ago

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.

Dennis
Dennis
6 years 3 months ago

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…

SD_Mikey
SD_Mikey
6 years 3 months ago

@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.

Matt Joseph
6 years 3 months ago

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!

AKozzii
AKozzii
6 years 3 months ago

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.

Family Grokumentarian
6 years 3 months ago

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

David Knutzen
David Knutzen
6 years 3 months ago

I’ll be giving this workout to my Airmen tomorrow morning, probably scaled for 15 minutes. Thanks for the simple, group-appropriate workout!

Ris
Ris
6 years 3 months ago

I wish you were my DH’s Sergent, they just make him run. :p It’s bad for his knees.

expatjim
expatjim
6 years 3 months ago

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
expatjim
6 years 3 months ago
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.… Read more »
mainah
mainah
6 years 3 months ago

Just completed this workout. 7 rounds. The sprints were the limiting factor this time.

Looking forward to many more WOWs.

expatjim
expatjim
6 years 3 months ago

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!

Guy Robinson
Guy Robinson
6 years 3 months ago

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.

expatjim
expatjim
6 years 3 months ago

14! holy sh1t. I was destroyed doing just half that. guess i will be the one getting eaten for dinner.

Kyle
Kyle
6 years 3 months ago

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!

Dan
6 years 3 months ago

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.

Robert
Robert
6 years 3 months ago

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.

Adam
6 years 3 months ago

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

debbie_downer
debbie_downer
6 years 3 months ago

I am a bit tuckered out today. Maybe tomorrow.

Primal Toad
6 years 3 months ago

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.

Seth
Seth
6 years 3 months ago

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,

VelocityRD
VelocityRD
6 years 3 months ago

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!

Rafe Brox
6 years 3 months ago

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!

Sean
Sean
6 years 3 months ago
I modified this and went for 35 minutes and about 2 miles: I did 400’s instead of 50’s, the 1st couple at a slow jog, then broke out for an 82, 85, and 90… (82 hurt!) Then the last two I slow jogged the 1st 250 or so, and then sprinted 50 on the 2nd to last, and 100 on the last, then jogged it in. I did all the squat jump sets at 10-13 reps. The pushups were combos of plyo pushups, regular pushups, or near press ups putting my feet up on a table. It was much tougher… Read more »
Mike Wootini
6 years 3 months ago

My only criticism for the Work out of the Week is the abbreviation. WOW makes me think of something else entirely. Punch it into a google search engine. Imagine how confused people will be if they go to a site like ‘wowhead’. Perhaps if you mix in punching some night elves in the face it would be all good. Thanks for the workout Mark, going to do this one today in 95+ 95% humidity! (I keep telling people the humidity is good for the skin!)

Primal Toad
6 years 3 months ago

Haha yea I know what you are talking about. World of Warcraft. I never played that game but I know what that stands for! So, PWOW might work. Or I just say to keep WOW!

Rafe Brox
6 years 3 months ago

To further confuse matters, I actually co-author a bi-weekly *fitness* column at wow.com, “Buffing for Blizzcon.” *laugh*

Mike Wootini
6 years 3 months ago

Oh, followup, I did think of a possible solution without changing the post too much.. what about PWOW or PWW (P.rimal W.orkout of the W.eek)

Lars1000
6 years 3 months ago

dang, tweaked my ankle on Saturday playing softball and hasn’t gotten much better… might push it out to next week.. Two WOWs next week? How about that.

John M
John M
6 years 3 months ago

Hi Lars – Just did this tonight in front of the house while dinner was cooking – multi tasking – Holy Sh@* I got 8 rounds and just about died!

Hey Mark Sisson – Cannot WAIT to get back to my Iron Man training – it’s much easier ๐Ÿ˜‰

Ris
Ris
6 years 3 months ago

This kicked my butt! I’m sore still two days later (not as sore as yesterday, but still). I only did 6 rounds. I think it was partly due to the heat in the 80’s or 90’s. It still felt good.

sftyisnoaccident
sftyisnoaccident
6 years 3 months ago

managed to do 10, although ended up having to do knee push-ups after the 4th or 5th round because the arms just weren’t having it today. ended with a 100m all-out sprint, because my legs were jealous of the jelly-feelings in my arms :). great workout!

Andy
6 years 3 months ago

Did this today: 6 rounds, plus a sprint.

Ouch.

Going to self-assess on Monday and roll from there (although I have just completed two cycles of Simplefit Level 4, so I was kinda-sorta prepared for this WOW).

VERY psyched to hop on PBF after close to two years (!!) following the PB for mostly everything else!

Laura
6 years 3 months ago

Hi Mark!

Hope you’re well. I tried to download the book and my computer kept freezing. And in regards to the code, do we need to type it in or can we copy and paste? It doesn’t seemt to give me access to the e-book.

Thanks!

Laura

Lars
Lars
6 years 3 months ago

Wow,

I just completed my first Ironman.
But, shit – this is tough! Pushups and other LHW activities are knocking me for days…

Great with a new training program, just when I needed it.

Thanks all,

/ Lars

Laura
6 years 3 months ago

Ok, I figured it out! Thanks Mark.

Laura

maureen
maureen
6 years 3 months ago

Gave the WOW a try this morning. 8 rounds plus one sprint. It wasn’t pretty, but it was effective and quick! Looking forward to next week ๐Ÿ™‚

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