The Hardman Challenge…bring your team together with this simple session
The Hardman Challenge is absolutely not about personal achievement, but everything to do with working as a team. If you’re into exercise and training you’ll love it. If you’re not, please stick with me and read to the end as the purpose behind the challenge is far more important than the challenge itself.
Otherwise known as the 10,000kg challenge, in forty-five minutes you have to complete the following:
10,000kg Front Squats
200 Box Jumps (from a box that is approximately hip height )
That’s all the guidance you get, go and figure it out.
There are no rules. Just get the work done in less than forty-five minutes.
As your coach for today, I’m empowering you with the decision to make it happen.
Here’s a some context for you…
To front squat 10,000kg you need to put 100kg on the bar and do ten sets of ten reps. Or do twenty sets of five reps if you want. Thats your 10,000 done, now get the rest done!
The remainder of that work can be done is around 90 sets of 10 reps.
Let me ask you something before you start thinking this through and trolling me on facebook…
Is it actually possible?
How does one perform in the region of 100-120 sets of challenging movement, some with a large amount of weight in an hour?
The answer lies in the famous Liverpool anthem and one of my principles for success in life, sport and training, ‘Never Walk Alone’.
Remember I said I was empowering you with the ability to make it happen, and there were no rules? The Hardman challenge is not a solo challenge. This is about bringing your team together to make something happen.
This exact challenge is what I put together for my performance cricketers in November 2012.
Well firstly the session wasn’t part of their programme. We had been working from a fully periodised programme, specific to their needs. This didn’t fit in and certainly isnt specific to cricketers. In fact I made the session up less than twenty-four hours earlier.
I can tell you that the session demanded a lot from the group. We divided 24 players into four groups of six. Over 45 minutes the players grafted through it and completed it within the timeframe, competing against the other groups of six.
Before the challenge began I gave them a piece of A1 paper and a marker pen and asked them to plan out the work and how they would complete it together a group. The players went away and thought about their strengths and weaknesses as a unit. The stronger did more of the heavier work. The fitter did more of the bodyweight movements. There was no moaning, just 5 minutes of planning before they had to begin the challenge meant there really wasnt time to complain! Instead what resulted was a fantastic application of productive movement and strength exercises in a mindful considered manner. Plenty of communication, encouragement, character, banter and laughter. Perhaps the key qualities you really want your team to possess?
Again I ask the question why, and why that session?
Let’s rewind seven days.
In October 2012 I was fortunate to be selected tutor for United Kingdom’s /UK’s Strength and Conditioning Association.
On 27 November, I was on a course in Scotland. A thoroughly enjoyable few days with some good learning going on and some great people. It was tarnished by one event I will never forget.
Listening to one of the presenters on the training course I felt my phone buzzing in my pocket. Nothing unusual there.
I picked up the phone and checked who was ringing me It was Andrew Lawson, the head coach of the cricket academy. I didn’t take the call as we were in the middle of a presentation.
It rang again. Still in the middle of a presentation, so I let it ring again.
Then a text came through.
Brendan, please phone me ASAP to update on Tom Hardman who passed away on Tuesday night. Cheers, Laws.
I read it, shouted uncontrollably in the middle of someones presentation and ran out of the room.
I spoke to Laws for half-an-hour. Another call came in from Nick Gore Athletic Union manager at Leeds Metropolitan University asking for me to call him for the same reason. I called him and then quickly broke down, a sobbing wreck.
Tommy Hardman sadly passed away in his sleep from a heart condition on Tuesday 27 November 2012. He was the captain of the cricket team, a promising leader and a fantastic lad.
I coached him twice a week, a keen trainee and big fan of my strength and conditioning program, if he wasn’t a cricketer he could certainly have made a great strength and conditioning coach.
I often say that the job we do is not about the technical skills, in my case the sets and reps. It’s far more about the relationships we develop that determine the successes we are able to enjoy. Those bonds you build with the people around you can’t be taught on a degree program, or on a course or anywhere else. This is real life. We work with real people, with feelings and emotions.
Fast forward seven days and back to the 10,000kg challenge.
What was the training objective?
Strength? Endurance? Fitness?
Nope, this one had nothing to do with physical qualities, it was all about team building, communication and hopefully some laughter. These are the things that matter. We simply cannot forget that. Tommy would have loved that session and all the lads knew it.
We enjoyed doing it together and working through some physical pain.
So forget sets and reps for a second. Let’s think about the people. The individuals behind the program who want, your help, need your guidance, your friendship, your integrity and your focus on their development.
Relationships take time to build. Theres so much more beneath the surface.
So my challenge to you this week is have a go at the Hardman Challenge, do it with your friends in the gym. You can even do it over the week and get the work in your own time. Just get your paper out, plan how it will work and get it done. Don’t forget to take a photo of yourself just after you finish it or a part of it and tag me online @brendanchaplin. Maybe think of someone you’ve lost and do it for them.
My best as always,