Alternative fitness benchmarks
May 8, 2011 12:36 PM   Subscribe

What are some accomplishments that require strength, agility, flexibility, etc that aren't typical fitness goals.

I am looking for some new fitness goals. Achievements that require a level of physical fitness, perseverance and training, but that aren't standard fitness objectives.

I know the type of goals I'll be motivated to pursue, and they're not the sort of thing like "run a marathon" or "lift X amount of weight." My mind just doesn't lock in with these sorts of goals because they seem arbitrary and even once I achieve them I can always run the marathon in less time, or lift X+1 pounds.

So I'm looking for things that are kind of binary, either you can do them or you can't, and where there aren't many degrees of achievement.

I'm looking for things like:

- flip to a standing position from your back
- The Human Flag
- that thing where you run up a wall and flip backwards

I'm not looking for things like:
- complete a triathalon
- learn capoeira
- do 100 push-ups

Other things that aren't exactly what I'm looking for, but still resonate with me are goals that are tied to the person trying to achieve them, such as:
- benchpress your bodyweight
- jump over an object as high as your waist

I appreciate all suggestions. Thanks!
posted by twinight to Health & Fitness (26 answers total) 48 users marked this as a favorite
Beast Skills
posted by Anonymous at 12:45 PM on May 8, 2011

Ooh I have a list of these somewhere.

- The flip-to-standing is often called a kip-up
- All sorts of parkour moves - the tictac, cat leap, etc.
- Standing backflips
- Gymnastics stuff like the planche, l-sit, handstand (and walking handstand, handstand pushups) etc.
- Water stuff - treading with a weight, breath-holding, kicking up (see water polo goalies for the best examples of kicking up unassisted)
posted by restless_nomad at 12:49 PM on May 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

Learn all three types of the splits.
Hold handstands.
Get up from a bridge without using your hands.
Get down from the top of a tall parking structure as quickly as possible, using running, jumping, scaling, or whatever means necessary.

You sound like you want to become fit, not to say "I can do X" but because you want to be "ninja."

If you want to be fit so you can be "ninja" then, instead of focusing on individual muscle groups, focus on the types of things you want to be able to do, like escape from cops quickly, or dodge bullets. While dodging bullets may seem like a silly thing, if it helps motivate you to learn to do impressive healthy things, it may be the best plan for you
posted by becomingly at 12:54 PM on May 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

Be able to climb to the top of [local climbing or bouldering route].
posted by JiBB at 12:58 PM on May 8, 2011

Depending on your body type and current fitness level, doing any pull ups might be a good goal to work towards.
posted by martinX's bellbottoms at 1:42 PM on May 8, 2011

-Double bodyweight deadlift and squat.
-Proper form Olympic lifts (clean & jerk and the snatch).
-Standing Ab Roller
posted by Homo economicus at 1:51 PM on May 8, 2011

One-armed pull-up
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 2:04 PM on May 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

one arm pushup
one arm pullup
dunk a basketball on a regulation hoop
crush an egg with one hand
chug a pint of beer in 1 gulp -- man show style
tear a phone book in half
lift a keg over your head
buckle a heavy bag with one punch
ollie on a skateboard
trackstand on a bike
various diving, gymnastics, and martial arts moves
standing backflip
posted by doowod at 2:09 PM on May 8, 2011

Response by poster: Oh, dunk a basketball... absolutely.

What does it mean to "buckle a heavybag"?
posted by twinight at 2:58 PM on May 8, 2011

Check out the book "Convict Conditioning". A series of unusual fitness goals built off progressions from a series of bodyweight movements (push-ups, pull-ups, the bridge, etc). Like, in the pull-up category, you build to a one-armed
pull-up. That is just crazy. I haven't done these, but it is exactly what you are looking for it seems!
posted by This_Will_Be_Good at 3:01 PM on May 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

It's funny, I have a sort-of running list like this that I've used since I first started getting into shape—a life list of things I'd like to physically be able to do. Some of these things are heavier on the agility side, some are more on the strength side, some balance… a random assortment:As for specific physical fitness goals… the Crossfit level IV would do it for me (bench 1.5x body weight, 10 handstand pushups, 40 pull-ups, 50 dips on rings, 1 mile in under 5 mins., etc.).
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:13 PM on May 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

Muscle up, handstand pushup, one-legged squat, free standing handstand, bodyweight standing press, bodyweight overhead squat.
posted by zanni at 3:14 PM on May 8, 2011

20 pushups with a kindergartener on your back
posted by lakeroon at 3:15 PM on May 8, 2011

buckle a heavy bag --
If you hit a heavy bag hard it will start swinging, but if you hit it extremely hard it will buckle, i.e. fold in on itself at the point of impact like a V.
posted by doowod at 3:35 PM on May 8, 2011

Also, Mike Tyson used to train by working with a heavy bag until he could buckle it, then moving to a heavier bag that he couldn't. In that sense the goal isn't exactly what you're after (there's always a heavier bag) but to be able to buckle any bag is tough as hell.
posted by doowod at 3:42 PM on May 8, 2011

imitate some moves from the playstation 2 Tekken Tag games?
posted by freddymetz at 3:43 PM on May 8, 2011

Take some inspiration from the old time strongmen.

Size-to-strength ratio is a major factor in accomplishing many of the aforementioned skills. So if you're not already at a fairly low bodyfat percentage, getting to be should be your first priority.
posted by Kandarp Von Bontee at 4:09 PM on May 8, 2011

The thing you see Charley Chaplin do, where he gets hit in the back of the head, flips his body up to horizontal (face up) and then falls straight down onto his back.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 4:17 PM on May 8, 2011

Tear a quarter in half.
posted by punchtothehead at 5:25 PM on May 8, 2011

I have a friend who, thanks to having very strong hands from rock climbing, can rip an apple in half. She grips it, and twists and it comes apart in two equal pieces. It's how she always eats apples, and it never fails to get looks of awe from everyone else around. I think that would be an fun goal for someone less lazy than myself.
posted by lollusc at 5:58 PM on May 8, 2011 [3 favorites]

double pirouette
posted by sammyo at 7:38 PM on May 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

Run over a parked car. Flat out run straight at it, jump up, move across the hood, roof and trunk then dismount, all without slowing down.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 1:55 AM on May 9, 2011

What does it mean to "buckle a heavybag"?

George Foreman training for the Thrilla in Manilla with Norman Mailer narrating
posted by P.o.B. at 10:43 AM on May 9, 2011

- Bend thick strips of steel into figurines.
- Rent a garden plot and keep large rocks/small boulders. Lift them, and then throw them across the plot. Visit your garden plot daily.
- Become a glassblower, construction worker, etc. Not quite binary, but you're definitely either working or you aren't.
posted by aniola at 1:59 PM on May 9, 2011

Dan John states that, if healthy and fit, you should be able to do a double bodyweight deadlift and a bodyweight bench press.

He's a pretty well-respected strength coach and author. He does contribute to T-Nation which is not always so well-respected but I find it to be a fun read.
posted by screamingnotlaughing at 3:50 PM on May 9, 2011

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