An amazing full-body workout: The Filthy 50s

2 Dec

One year ago, I would not have used the word “amazing” to describe this workout. When I tried The Filthy 50s for the first time at Innovative Personal Fitness, words that came to mind were “torturous,” “killer,” “near-puke-inducing” and “Dear God, make it stop.” Sorry: “Dear Stan, make it stop.”

Stan Peake was my personal trainer at the time. We were working on the Calgary Herald Health Club challenge together; he and Anna Prockiw, both excellent Innovative trainers, were training me and our contestants, and I was writing about the whole thing. The Filthy 50s still stands out as one of the toughest (and best) workouts I had there.

Here’s how it works: you perform 50 repetitions of 10 exercises. You must complete 50 reps of each exercise before moving onto the next. The goal is to finish the 500 reps as fast as possible, which means little rest between each exercise and, ideally, no rest between the reps of each exercise.

I’m pretty sure the fitness gurus over at CrossFit first devised this workout, so this may be a variation on the original, but the following is how Stan taught me. I’ve included my tips, but if you’re unsure of how to perform an exercise, check the CrossFit site (linked above) for full explanations.

Do 50 reps of each of the following exercises:

  • Box jumps
  • Kettlebell swings (I’ll sometimes just use a 25- or 30-pound weight)
  • Walking lunges
  • Squat thrusts (I hold a 45-pound barbell. Hold with an overhand grip at about shoulder level. Squat. When you stand, press it overhead.)
  • Back extensions
  • Jumping chin-ups (Squat beneath the chin-up bar, jump and use the momentum to help you do a chin-up. Drop back to the floor. That’s one.)
  • Burpees
  • Knees to elbows (Hang from a bar, with your elbows bent and your upper arms parallel with the floor. Keeping your body as still as possible, raise your knees to your elbows and then lower.)
  • Wall ball throws (Grab one of those big, heavy material balls and hold it, standing close to a wall. Squat. When you stand, throw the ball as high on the wall as you can. When you catch it, come back down into a squat, in one continuous motion.)
  • Pushups. (From your toes. Come on, you can do it.)

These days, The Filthy 50s is one of my go-to workouts, especially when I’m pressed for time and want to get a killer full-body workout in. For me, the pull-ups are the hardest. And I’m not the only one who thinks they’re hard. Check out Stan here:

*originally published in the Calgary Herald

They don’t look easy, do they? (Sorry Stan, but I didn’t have a pic of my own to use.) Just take the pull-ups, and the rest of the workout, at your own pace, and you’ll be A-OK.

On a sidenote, I’m back training at Innovative. This time, I’m with Kevin Lim, a fantastic trainer who’s helping me improve my running speed. (More on that in posts to come!) I was there yesterday and chatted with Stan about running the Big Sur Half Marathon in November 2011, with a crew of Innovative trainers and clients. I said I’d do it, perhaps too hesitantly for his liking. Stan told me to blog about it, to ensure I won’t back out. So, here it is: my commitment to run that race. I’m in. It’d be a shame not to put all my Filthy workouts to good use.



3 Responses to “An amazing full-body workout: The Filthy 50s”

  1. Tonya December 2, 2010 at 8:10 am #

    And what exactly is a burpee?!

    • The Toque Girls December 2, 2010 at 8:25 am #

      Hey Tonya! Here’s how Wikipedia describes it:

      The burpee is a full body exercise used in strength training and as aerobic exercise. It is performed in five steps:
      Begin in a standing position.
      Drop into a squat position with your hands on the floor in front of you.
      Kick your feet back, while simultaneously lowering yourself into a pushup
      Immediately return your feet to the squat position, while simultaneously pushing up with your arms.
      Leap up as high as possible from the squat position with your arms overhead (you may also clap your hands above your head at the peak of your jump).

      And for a video of the exercise, head to this link and scroll down to Burpee Demo:

      They’re tough, especially when you do 50 in a row. Have fun!

  2. Stan Peake December 2, 2010 at 9:00 am #

    Nice work Michelle!
    When a goal is un-communicated, you have a 5% chance of achieving it.

    When you communicate your goal to your support network AND have a tangible, accountable plan to get there – your chances spike to 90%.

    You are well on your way and it will be one for the bucket list!

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