WOW: PBF Challenge (PrimalCon Edition)

Complete for time, Basic or Advanced (respectively):

10 or 30 Pushups
20 or 50 Meter Bunnyhops
20 or 50 Meter Walking Lunges
15 or 40 Spidermans (Spidermen?)
10 or 25 Meter Sprint
10 or 25 Meter Grok Crawl
10 or 25 Meter Sprint
10 or 25 Meter Grok Crawl
10 or 30 Pushups
20 or 50 Squats
10 or 20 Overhead Presses
20 or 50 Meter Sprint


Warmup: 30 second Grok Squat, lateral, forward, and backward leg swings (10 each leg).

If you weren’t able to make it to this year’s PrimalCon, don’t worry: I’ve come up with a quick and dirty way for you to enjoy the experience remotely, without ever setting foot on a plane, train, or in a car.

Okay, let me establish some caveats. It’s not exactly the same. You may not get expert, personal tutelage from some of the world’s foremost experts on posture, barefoot running, sprinting, kettlebelling, cooking, and movement, and you won’t actually bite into tender, medium-rare wagyu beef or perfectly-seasoned lamb, nor will any juices drip down your chin, but you can subject your body to the same physical stressors that your compatriots at PrimalCon 2011 endured. You can complete the PrimalCon PBF Challenge. And that’s the next best thing.

The challenge is pretty self-explanatory. You know pushups, lunges, sprints, crawls, squats, and presses by now, right? I won’t go too deeply into those, but what about bunnyhops and Spidermen? To bunnyhop is to simply jump with two feet together (takeoff and landing). In a Spiderman, you assume the plank pushup position. Then, touch your right knee to your right elbow, bring it back to the starting position, and touch your left knee to your left elbow. That full right knee/elbow, left knee/elbow cycle is one Spiderman.

Decide whether you’re in the Basic or Advanced stage and just get to it. Go hard. Go fast. Time yourself. It shouldn’t take more than ten minutes. Take as little rest in between exercises as possible. On Saturday, some of the best competitors were grazing the 3:00 minute mark, and that’s after a day and a half of sun, kettlebells, team challenges, and Ultimate Frisbee, so try to show them up!

A few things to remember:

  • Almost every presenter at PrimalCon kept coming back to the importance of maintaining a strong, stable core. It’s your base, your foundation, and if you try to do pushups, squats, presses, sprints, or heck, even just regular old housework with a flimsy, inactivated core, you’ll limit your potential and set yourself up for injury. Maintain that strong foundation!
  • When bunnyhopping, land on the balls of your feet. Those heels are no good as shock absorbers.
  • Grok crawl sprints are most effective when you keep those hips low. Don’t form an upside down V with the ground and try to be conscious of using your arms (pulling yourself as well as pushing), along with your legs. Don’t make it all legs, which is often the instinct. Keep it balanced.
  • Get those shoes off (or those Vibrams on!)!


No variations this time, unless you count moving up to Advanced or down to Basic. Get out and do it as prescribed!

What Are WOWs?

  • Workouts of the Week (WOWs) are an optional component of Primal Blueprint Fitness that add a fractal and often fun and playful quality to the basic PBF protocol.
  • In most cases WOWs should only be completed by those that have mastered Level 4 of each Lift Heavy Things Essential Movement. Also, it’s recommended that WOWs replace one or both Lift Heavy Things workouts or the Sprint workout (depending on the WOW) each week instead of being done in addition to the Lift Heavy Things and Sprint workouts.
  • Learn more about WOWs and Primal Blueprint Fitness by getting the free eBook. And access all Workouts of the Week in the WOW Archive.

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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24 thoughts on “WOW: PBF Challenge (PrimalCon Edition)”

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  1. Hi:
    Looking forward to do this on the beach on the weekend
    Pardon my ignorance, how do we do a Spiderman – thanks!

    1. ^^ “In a Spiderman, you assume the plank pushup position. Then, touch your right knee to your right elbow, bring it back to the starting position, and touch your left knee to your left elbow. That full right knee/elbow, left knee/elbow cycle is one Spiderman.”

  2. After 1 year of eating primal and healing everything that was wrong with me I’ve decided it’s time for a gym and start lifting weights.

    So I joined a gym last week and so far all I’ve seen is mostly young people that are short and kinda ‘thick’ on the skin…especially the women all carried love handles.

    Funny how I was the leanest person there and haven’t even been working out =P

    Gotta love primal.

    1. Isn’t it awesome? Just moved and haven’t worked out regularly (other than walking) for about two months… and have lost over ten pounds :). Getting back to regular exercise now and super excited to see where it leads…

    2. Wow, how smug! I find it extremely bizarre that someone would publicly judge people (specifically women) who are at least attempting to get in shape.

        1. The point that people with love handles are lesser than people without. No, I fully understand the point.

  3. Mark,

    Thanks for sharing the “quick and dirty way” to keep those who couldn’t make it to PrimalCon. Though it won’t replace the first-hand experience of actually being there, it’s a nice second place.

    Spidermans/Spidermen…what about SpiderGroks?


  4. This was deceptively challenging at PrimalCon. It will definitely find your weaknesses. For me it was the Grok Crawl.

  5. This was a fantastic workout! I went for the beginner level since I was already soar and wanted to be alive for Ultimate Frisbee. My time was 3:31.

    Now go for it! I will either try to beat that time in a month or go for the advanced level.

  6. That was a tough workout. I did the advanced and subbed lunging for the bunny hops, and a slow trot for the sprinting due to an injury… and to play Ultimate Frisbee after was hardcore.

  7. This was my first WOW workout. SO.MUCH.FUN! I’m gonna do this one again and again!

  8. Fun and deceptively excruciating! Only able to do it in 7 minutes at the advanced level–hoping to knock it out in 6 next time!

  9. Ok, so I’ve just run Boston (my 3rd) and ~now~ I’m ready to try Primal. I spent regained hours during the taper to read the book, browsed the cookbook (haven’t yet worn the T-shirt:), have been largely CW in my exercising, while maybe-nearly 80/20 Paleo+Friel in my eating for a while now. I’m excited to begin these WOWs but expect to struggle a little over breaking the CW mentality. Here we go!

  10. Mark,

    Ill tell you why I like this workout….

    You burn the muscles with some body weight exercise ( push ups, spider man) and quickly after you have to engage in anaerobic sprints and grok crawl that tears you down!