Mark Lauren’s 90 Day Challenge (+ My Bodyweight Rotation)

Mark Lauren’s 90 Day Challenge contains 8 DVDs and each DVD has workouts at 3 levels of difficulty (or 24 total workouts) plus one warm up and one cool down that are used in all 24 workouts. In addition, if you go to Mark’s website you can download his rotation calendar.

This review contains a program description, a summary of the program, individual workout breakdowns and reviews, and my 90 rotation calendar. Click on the links if you want to go straight to the summary, the Workout Breakdowns or to the Rotation Calendar. I followed Mark’s rotation as he laid it out but I also added a lot to it.

But first, here is the program description: In short, this is a bodyweight strength and endurance program that can take your fitness level from beginner to advanced in 90 days.

And here is the longer description: This is a quality program. It is obvious Mark put a lot of time and effort into the production of this program. It is beautifully done. Just like most of Mark’s workout DVDs, he gives a short exercise tutorial before each exercise so you are familiar with proper form. All of the workouts are set in the same place. An all white room. Mark does all of the exercises on a black fitness mat except for one exercise. Very little equipment is needed for these workouts. For the majority of them all you need is a fitness mat. But some of the workouts also require a waist height support. Mark uses a squat/bench press rack with heavy dumbbells placed on the ends so it will not tip from his weight. I used my Fit Tower. I placed 40 pound dumbbells on the ends of the tower. If you’ve read Mark’s YAYOG book then you know that there are other options. For the level 1 version of the exercise you can use a door nob that is connected to a door that will support your weight. For the levels 2 & 3 version of the exercise you can use a sturdy table or desk. Here are some videos by Mark, showing the variations. Mike is wearing a dark pair of shorts and that’s it. He does all of the workouts barefoot. Every workout is done voice over and, since many of the circuits are timed, he says the same things. A lot. So you will hear things like “Focus on your technique” and “You’re doing great” and “You get out of it what you put in” and other little sound bites repeated over and over and over again. Since many of the circuits are set up in 40 second intervals, Mark always cues you on your time remaining. Many of the exercises you cannot look at the TV while doing them (not if you want to maintain good form), so he always alerts you at the 20 second mark, the 10 second mark, the 5 second mark then he tells you when to stop. So even when you aren’t looking at the TV, Mark keeps you on track.

There is a certain repetitiveness to these workouts. First, there are only 33 different exercises in the entire program. 11 for level 1, 11 for level 2 and 11 for level 3. There are a lot of similarities among them because, for each of those 11 level 1 exercises, you are doing a more advanced (and more challenging) version in the subsequent levels. So, more accurately, there are 3 levels of 11 different exercises. And that’s it except for the warm up and stretch. Which, BTW, you use the exact same warm up and stretch for every single workout. For 90 days. However, Mark shuffles those 11 exercises in the 8 different workouts. No single workout uses the same group of 4 exercises. He also uses the same 3 basic workout structures. So, 90 days of this can get mind-numbing and monotonous. But the challenge is progressing through the levels because level 3 exercises are advanced. You are competing against yourself to improve your performance each time you return to a workout.

My goal with this program is to get stronger. Cancer treatment knocked me on my a$$ in many ways but one of those ways is chronic shoulder problems from mastectomies, the chemo port and reconstruction. Due to weakness from treatment, pain from the afore mentioned surgeries, physical restrictions post-surgeries and just plain de-conditioning from not being able to workout at the same level for over a year, I haven’t been able to do a push up on my toes in a very long time. Using this program and supplementing it with other body weight strength, mobility and flexibility workouts (see rotation below), I am trying to rehabilitate my entire body, most especially regain strength and heal my shoulders. I am writing this before starting the program but by the time this review posts, I will have completed it. I hope my plan was a success. Keep reading to find out!

Short Summary: I achieved my goal. At the beginning of this program I was able to do zero push ups on my toes. At the end of the 90 days I was able to do 120 push ups on my toes in the course of a single workout. That is a significant increase in strength. However, it was a serious mental challenge to complete the 90 days. For a longer, more detailed summary of the entire 90 days, keep reading. In addition, in each workout breakdown I recorded my performance and thoughts/experiences every time I did the workout. The biggest take away? If you embrace the suck and power through, you will astound yourself by how strong you are.

Longer Summary: Like Tracie Long’s workouts, the warm up and stretch are very functional. Mark makes it worth your while to do the same warm up and cool down exercises 3-4 times a week for 90 days. The first few weeks I did these workouts, I actually struggled to get through every rep of the Step Kick Out with good form. My wrists were protesting by the last few reps. That stopped being a problem when my wrists got stronger. This was a great program for me to use to regain my fitness level. I found Level 1 workouts challenging–which I didn’t expect. In the past, when I’ve done Mark Lauren’s other workouts, I’ve always been more advanced than his Level 1 workouts, so I expected Level 1 to be easy. It was not–for me at least. My fitness level has dropped drastically in the past year and a half. But I got over my discouragement pretty quickly. I am doing the full 90 day program after all–this gives me something to work toward.

I stayed in Level 1 for 4 weeks while also supplementing with a workout that focused on push ups (see rotation below). I also took short breaks at work to do incline push ups off my desk. Level 1 workouts have no push ups but I knew Level 2 and 3 workouts have a lot of push ups, so I was preparing myself. Week 5 I started the Level 2 workouts. By the end of Week 5 I was doing 23 push ups on my toes. Not in a row, but I started each set on my toes then dropped to my knees when my form deteriorated. Level 2 workouts were definitely more challenging than Level 1 workouts. Some of them really wore me out by the end. I was sore every day of Week 5 and into the weekend. Week 6 of the rotation introduces the last 3 workouts (Anvil, Burner and Joker) and since I was already in Level 2, I never did the Level 1 versions of those workouts. But that’s not a big deal since, as already mentioned, all of the workouts are made up of the same 11 exercises. The first time I did Anvil Level 2 (Day 2 of Week 6), I did 30 push ups on my toes. The Level 2 workouts still challenged me during Week 6 and gave me cardio, too, even tho they are not cardio workouts. But some of them can be fast paced circuit workouts. It all depends on how you approach them. Ruckus, Tyrant, Burner and Joker workouts are all self-paced circuit workouts in which you get through as many circuits as possible in the time allotted. Of course, it is always important to do each exercise with good form. Those are the workouts that gave me the most intense cardio factor–so they can get very metabolic if you are only taking breaks when you absolutely need them (which is how I approached them).

By the end of Week 7 I was able to do 44 push ups on my toes. One full set of 12 reps before I had to drop to my knees in subsequent sets. And I am still sore. My hip flexors are the worst. They are sore every day. This 90 Day Challenge is really doing the job of making me stronger, but I am getting tired of doing the same workouts and exercises over and over and over again. My exercise ADD is kicking in and sometimes I have to talk myself into completing the 90 days. In addition, the workouts don’t feel like they are getting any easier. They clearly are because the amount of push ups I can do on my toes increases every time I return to a workout, but during and after the workouts, they do not feel easier. I am working very hard and usually wrung out at the end of them.

At the end of Week 9 I did 62 push ups on my toes. Even though I still cannot do all of the required push up reps on my toes, I have made huge strength improvements. Every other exercise I can do all required reps with perfect form. So starting Week 10, I decided to move up to Level 3 workouts for the last 4 weeks of the program. I will still be working on my push up strength. Who knows? By the end of the 90 days maybe I will be able to do all required push ups in this program on my toes. Even if I am not, I am actually pretty happy with 62 in the course of a workout on my toes. In other news, I am struggling hard with the exercise ADD. I do not want to do these workouts anymore, despite the excellent results. I am sick of the warm up, I am sick of the workout formats and I have to be honest–I am sick to death of push ups. I want to do something different! But I am sticking it out, regardless of how my mind is rebelling against it!

Week 10 was my first week of the Level 3 workouts and it was brutal. I was already challenged by Level 2 workouts. Level 3 kicked my a$$! I was wrung out by the end of every workout. However, at the end of Week 10, I did 70 push ups on my toes in the course of a single workout. I did 4 full sets of 12 reps without dropping to my knees once. So this program is clearly increasing my strength. But the dread factor has set in. These workouts are very hard. And now I am entering each workout knowing I will be physically wrung out by the end. Not something to get excited about. But what does excite me is how strong I am getting. However, with that said, I do not feel stronger. In spite of the fact I am now doing so many push ups on my toes, every exercise in every workout is still hard. No part of these workouts feel easy. I am doing every single exercise at the Level 3 level except some of the push up exercises. On two of them the level 3 version includes plyo push ups. Since I am still not doing every single rep on my toes, I am not ready to add plyometrics. So for 2 of the push up exercises I am still doing the Level 2 version.

Week 11 I decided to try something different. For all of the timed intervals (first 2 workouts of the week: Eval and Opus), I decided to do every single push up on my toes and when my form fails, I will take short breaks then keep going (on my toes) until the end of the interval. I will still drop to my knees in the workouts that require you to do a specific amount of reps (last two workouts of the week: Ruckus and Tyrant). With 6 circuits in the timed interval workouts, I did more push ups than I expected. For Eval I did 47 push ups on my toes and the very next day, when doing Opus, I did 64 on my toes. The difference in reps is due to the structure of the workouts, but I am still pleased. Then I did Ruckus and did 98 push ups on my toes and blew my own mind.

I have to mention tho, halfway through Week 11, I nearly threw in the towel. My oldest daughter talked me into finishing the 90 days. The morning of Ruckus I woke up about 10 minutes before my alarm went off. As I lay in bed, staring at the clock, I was filled with dread. I did not want to do Ruckus–or any other workout in the 90 Challenge. I am sick of them! I want to do something different! As the morning progressed, I decided to finish out Week 11 then quit. 98 push ups on my toes is great–way more than I expected when I started this program. I have definitely increased my strength–goal achieved. Do I really care if I can do more than 98 at the end of 90 days? I asked my oldest daughter what she thought. She, of course, thought I should finish it. She said I will regret quitting. She was deployed for 6 months in the Middle East and spent the entire time working out relentlessly until she could bench her own weight and squat and deadlift even more than that. So I am seeing it through until the end. She talked me into it.

Week 12 I am doing every single rep of every push up in every workout on my toes. That does require me to take a brief break or two near the end of a workout when I am gassed out, so that I can finish the set of push ups on my toes, but I am doing it nonetheless. Since every workout is structured differently and combines different exercises in different orders (plus there are 3 different push up variations within each level and one of those variations takes longer to complete a set of than the other 2), I can complete more circuits during certain workouts. All of that to say that during Week 12 I did not surpass Week 11’s 98 push ups, but that has more to do with the fact that Ruckus is structured in a way that I can complete more circuits and therefore more push ups. So it’s a good thing that Ruckus is in the final week of the program. If I can do every push up during Ruckus on my toes the final week, I should be able to exceed 100 push ups on my toes in a single workout and end this program on a high note. We’ll see!

Week 13 and I am ready for this program to be over. I am not motivated to do these workouts. Regardless of the fact one of Mark’s sound bites assures me that each time I do a workout it will get easier–it doesn’t feel like it! Intellectually I know it must be getting easier because each time I return to a workout I perform better but they are so fracking hard. During this week (and after writing that sentence) I got an attitude adjustment from watching Ilaria Montagnani’s Stronger for Life documentary about her own battle with breast cancer. Her treatment was different from mine (no chemo or radiation), but her dedication to her fitness level and how hard she worked to be strong again after her mastectomy motivated me to finish out this week and this program with a more positive attitude. To embrace the suck! And it worked! When I did Ruckus the second and final time at the end of Week 13, it did feel easier! Not easy, just easier. And I far exceeded my goal. I did 120 push ups on my toes in the course of a single workout. 10 sets of 12 push ups and I never once dropped to my knees.

The big question this leaves me with is, how to maintain this level of fitness? I never want to do these workouts again. Yes, I embraced the suck and did the full 90 days, but it’s over now and I do not want to do it again. But I also don’t want to lose these gains. My short term solution is incorporating one of Mark’s other workouts that I own into my weekly rotations. Hopefully doing one of his workouts a week will help me maintain. In addition, his app has a 14 day trial period. Hooyah! I signed up to give it a test drive, to see the kind variety it will give me. I have thought for a long time that I need to incorporate Mark’s workouts into my life on a more regular basis. After completing this program, I have now decided that I will do one of his workouts every week to maintain my fitness level.

Workouts:

The warm up is 7 minutes. You do 5 reps of each move. Some of my descriptions of the exercises may be confusing but Mark does everything slow and controlled and he is easy to follow. Since you can not always see the TV during parts of the warm up, Mark cues you so you can stay on track with him. By the end of the 90 says I hated this warm up. Hated it. I still did it every. single. time.

  1. Hip circles (on all 4s, circle one bent/leg hip forward and back)
  2. Snow angels (lay on one side, knees bent and in front of you, one arm bent under head and top arm extended straight in front of you, lift top arm to ceiling then all the way behind you so arm is on the ground behind you and back is on ground)
  3. Step kick out (start on all 4s, step one foot up next to same side hand, lift hand and kick other leg out in front of you so that you are now on one foot and other hand, rotate onto all 4s again (but this time hands and toes, knees a few inches off floor) but facing in a different direction, rotate so you are back in the kicked out position with one leg bent, the other straight and one hand on ground beside hip then return to the all 4s start position)
  4. Saxon tilt (get into kneeling lunge with both hands extended straight overhead with palm against back of other hand, reach left hand to ground while continuing to reach right arm overhead, return hands to start position then reach right arm toward ground while continuing to reach left hand to ceiling)

Cool Down is 6 minutes. You do 5 reps of each move. Just like in the warm up, you can not always see the TV during parts of the cool down, so Mark cues you so you can stay on track with him. I never did start hating the cool down, tho I did not do the cool down at all during the 5 weeks I was doing Level 2 workouts. But during Level 3 I was usually so gassed at the end of the workout that I did these cool down exercises mindlessly.

  1. Z stretch (kneel on both knees then swing back leg around so you are in Z/pretzel position with both arms raised overhead and palms together, alternate sides)
  2. Straddle stretch (sit on bottom, both legs extended out wide in a V and both arms extended overhead, alternate reaching hand past opposite toe, reaching arms overhead between sides)
  3. Scorpion stretch (lay on stomach with one arm on floor in goal post and opposite leg bent with foot pointing to ceiling, twist raised foot/leg over other leg toward floor and extend same side arm overhead (still touching floor), alternate sides)

Eval Level 1 is 21 minutes (34 minutes w/ warm up and stretch). Mark says that this Level 1 Eval helps you decide whether you should use the Level 1 or Level 2 workouts in this program. You will do 4 different exercises. For each exercise you will do 4 timed sets. Each set is 40 seconds with a 20 second rest between each set. If you can hit the rep goal for every set then you are ready for the Level 2 workouts. If you cannot hit the rep goal for each exercise set then use the Level 1 workouts until you can. This is one of the workouts you need a sturdy waist high support to perform.

This is the Day 1 workout and I was surprised that is was much more difficult than I expected it to be. I was able to perform all of the exercises without modifications but it was abundantly clear that I was not ready for Level 2 yet. Every single move was harder for me than I had anticipated. By the 3rd or 4th set of each exercise I was worn out. My quads were trembling from the Prisoner Lunges. The next day, I had excruciating DOMS in my quads. The act of sitting and standing was so very painful. Walking hurt, too, until my legs warmed up. It took about 4 days for the DOMS to fade. Day 8 (beginning of Week 2), you return to this workout. There was a clear improvement in my strength from Week 1, but it still wore me out by the end. Not as badly tho. My legs weren’t trembling. My arms/shoulders were trashed by the end of the 4th exercise tho (Body Rocks)–I never thought of it as an upper body exercise, but that is what was getting exhausted! Day 15 (beginning of Week 3), I am definitely stronger, but this still works me hard. The Body Rocks are still trashing my arms/shoulders. However, I am able to do every rep plus extra reps on all of the exercises except Body Rocks. For Body Rocks I hit number 25 as the 40 seconds ends. However, I am not moving up to Level 2 workouts until week 5. Level 1 is still working me hard, plus I am working on push ups in other workouts. I know there are a lot of push ups in all of the Level 2 workouts and I am still nowhere near doing them on my toes. **The next day I had some mild quad soreness. Not nearly as bad as after the first time I did Eval 1. This could also have been from Classical Stretch Season 8: Workout #7, which I did right after this workout. That worked my quads, too. Or maybe it was the combination of the two workouts, one right after the other. Who knows? But the quads are sore again! Day 22 (beginning of Week 4), I am definitely stronger, still getting a good workout from Level 1 workouts, but I am probably ready to move up to Level 2 even though I still need to modify push ups. The Body Rocks are still hard on my arms/shoulders.

  1. Let Me Ins (stand in front of waist height support, wrap a towel around waist high support, bend knees and lean back, holding towel in one hand, pull body in and out using towel, switch hands after every 2 reps); for this exercise, the goal for each set is 12 reps (6 per side)
  2. Prisoner Lunges (alternating front lunges with hands behind head); for this exercise, the goal for each set is 12 reps (6 per side)
  3. Tripod Scissor Kicks (in elbow plank, with legs wide, bring your right foot to your left foot then return to start, alternate sides); for this exercise, the goal for each set is 12 reps (6 per side)
  4. Body Rocks (in elbow plank with feet shoulder width apart, use feet to rock torso forward and back); for this exercise, the goal for each set is 25 reps

Eval Level 2 is 24:30 minutes (37:30 minutes w/ warm up and stretch). Mark says that this Level 2 Eval helps you decide whether you should use the Level 2 or Level 3 workouts in this program. You will do 4 different exercises. For each exercise you will do 5 timed sets. Each set is 40 seconds with a 20 second rest between each set. If you can hit the rep goal for every set then you are ready for the Level 3 workouts. If you cannot hit the rep goal for each exercise set then use the Level 2 workouts until you can. This is one of the workouts you need a sturdy waist high support to perform.

Week 5 Day 1 was the first time I did Level 2 and it was tough for me on several levels. I was able to complete all of the required reps with good form on all of the exercises except #3. I could only do 2 push ups on my toes then I had to drop to my knees. All of these exercises were challenging in several ways. First–5 sets instead of 4. That extra set of each exercise took a lot out of me! And Let Me Ups!–that caused hand and wrist pain! That was unexpected. Plus, it was harder than I thought it would be. For Let Me Ups and Tripod Push Ups (done mostly on my knees), I did the required reps for each set and nothing more. It took me less than the allotted 40 seconds (usually about 30 seconds), but it took a lot out of me to do the required reps with good form (even on my knees!), so I needed that extra 10 seconds of recovery. Side Lunges and Body Rocks w/ Front Reach both worked me well, but didn’t tear me down as badly as the other two exercises so I continued doing those until the end of the 40 second interval and was able to do more than the required reps of both. But it’s just Day 1, Week 1 of Level 2 (Week 5 of the program as a whole), so hopefully I will get stronger and these exercises will get easier. I want to spend 4-5 weeks in each level, but I am not sure if even 5 weeks is enough for me be able to do all 5 sets of push ups on my toes. We’ll see I guess!

Week 7 Day 1 is the second time I did Eval Level 2. It was still challenging but this time I was able to do a total of 16 push ups on my toes: 8 the first set, 4 the second set, 2 the third set and 1 the last 2 sets. So that is an improvement over what I did 2 weeks ago. The Let Me Ups still cause wrist pain. I was able to get out all of the required reps of each exercise with good form–except for #3 (push ups). I had to drop to my knees to get all of the reps, but as mentioned above, out of the 60 push ups required for the 5 sets, I was able to do 16 on my toes.

Week 9 Day 1 is the 3rd time I did Eval Level 2. I was honestly surprised to see improvement in my stats this morning since I felt like I did not do well. Of the 60 push ups you do, I did 23 total on my toes: 10 first set, 3 second set, 4 the 3rd & 4th set and 2 the 5th set. I knew 5 weeks was not enough for me to be able to do all 12 reps of all 5 sets on my toes. Plus, I had a bad night last night. I barely slept–I was up almost all night with insomnia, which is very unusual for me. I also had bad shoulder pain when I tried to sleep. So I definitely did not come to this workout at 100%. Still, I showed improvement regardless of feeling like $hit.

  1. Let Me Ups (lay under waist height support and hold it with hands about shoulder width apart in an underhand grip, knees are bent, feet on floor and hips raised off floor so body is straight from head to knees, pull chest up to bar and lower); for this exercise, the goal for each set is 10 reps
  2. Side Lunges (alternating side lunges with hands behind head); for this exercise, the goal for each set is 12 reps (6 per side)
  3. Tripod Push Ups (in straight arm plank with feet hip width apart, lift one leg off ground and a do a push up, alternate legs); for this exercise, the goal for each set is 12 reps (6 per side)
  4. Body Rocks w/ Front Reach (in elbow plank with feet shoulder width apart, rock torso forward and back, reaching one arm forward each time you rock, alternate arms); for this exercise, the goal for each set is 12 reps (6 per side)

Eval Level 3 is 30 minutes (43 minutes w/ warm up and stretch). You will do 4 different exercises. For each exercise you will do 6 timed sets. Each set is 40 seconds with a 20 second rest between each set. For this workout you will need a waist high support just like in Eval Level 2.

Week 11 Day 1 was the first time I did this workout, however it was actually my second week of Level 3 workouts. The Tripod Push Ups with your legs wide was so much harder than I expected it to be. Since Mark no longer gives you target reps to complete in your 40 second intervals I quit dropping to my knees during push ups. I did them on my toes until I couldn’t any do anymore then rested a few seconds and tried again until the 40 seconds was up. I got some pretty unimpressive numbers compared to how many push ups on my toes I finished last week out with (70) but this is a more challenging type of push up (in my opinion at least) plus the workout is structured differently (not as much rest time between sets of push ups). In six 40 second intervals, I managed 47 push ups (20 seconds of rest between each set). As for the other exercises, here are my totals for 6 sets: 79 Let Me Ups, 93 Iron Mikes, and 74 Body Rocks. The Iron Mikes are really challenging for me. It is also the only exercise in this entire workout that you can look at the TV screen and still maintain good form and, since it is untimed, the first interval I followed Mark. We both did 21 reps but the remaining 5 intervals I went slower than him. If you follow Mark for all 6 sets you would do 126 reps.

Week 13 Day 1 was the second (and last!) time I did this workout and I struggled through it. Not sure why. I did sleep poorly. I had a very hard time getting through every single exercise and my muscles started trembling after I started the Iron Mikes. Again, I do not know why or what was going on with my body, but the muscle trembling never stopped until I was somewhere in the second stretch (meaning, my muscles were even trembling throughout Mark’s cool down/stretch; however, I do an additional, longer stretch afterwards and it was only then that my muscles stopped trembling). For Let Me Ups I did 12-15 reps each set. For Iron Mikes I did 15-18 reps each set. For Body Rocks I did 14 reps each set. For the Tripod Push Ups I did 10-14 reps each set for a total of 71 push ups (all on my toes) in 6 sets. So, in spite of my body rebelling against this workout, I did 24 more push ups then when I did it two weeks ago.

  1. Let Me Ups (lay under waist height support and hold it with hands about shoulder width apart in an overhand grip, knees are bent, feet on floor and hips raised off floor so body is straight from head to knees, pull chest up to bar and lower); for each set, do as many reps as possible with perfect form
  2. Iron Mikes (alternating plyo jump lunges with hands behind head, back knee taps ground each time you are in lunge); for each set, do as many reps as possible with perfect form
  3. Tripod Push Ups Wide (in straight arm plank with feet/legs wide, lift one leg off ground and a do a push up, alternate legs); for each set, do as many reps as possible with perfect form
  4. Body Rocks w/ Side Reaches (in elbow plank with feet shoulder width apart, reach one arm under body to opposite side then extend the arm out away from body, alternate sides); for each set, do as many reps as possible with perfect form

Opus Level 1 is 20:30 minutes (33:30 minutes with warm up and stretch). There are 4 circuits consisting of 4 exercises that are done back to back. Each exercise is done for 40 seconds. For circuit 1 you get 15 seconds of rest between each exercise. For the remaining circuits you get 20 seconds of rest between each exercise. You get 20 seconds of rest between each circuit. You do as many reps of each exercise as you can in the time allotted with perfect form. The first 2:30 minutes of this workout is tutorials for all of the exercises.

I found Opus easier than the Eval, which was a relief the first time I did it since my quads were still in agony from Day 1/Eval 1 on Monday. Still a solid workout. The next time I did Opus was during Week 3. I still found it easier than the other workouts, but still a solid workout. I was sweating and got a good workout.

  1. Scorpion High Kicks (in straight arm plank, pull one knee under body then, with knee still bent, push foot up to ceiling, alternate legs)
  2. Zombie Squats (stand with feet about hip width apart, arms extended straight in front of you and held isometrically, do squats in this position)
  3. Tripod Scissor Kicks (in forearm plank with legs wide, bringing your left foot to your right foot then return your left foot to starting position, alternate legs)
  4. Sky Divers (lay on stomach, with arms extended along sides of body, raise arms and legs and head off ground and hold in this position while opening and closing legs)

Opus Level 2 is 25:30 minutes (38:30 minutes w/ warm up and stretch). There are 5 circuits consisting of 4 exercises that are done back to back. Each exercise is done for 40 seconds. For circuit 1 you get 15 seconds of rest between each exercise. For the remaining circuits you get 20 seconds of rest between each exercise. You get 20 seconds of rest between each circuit. You do as many reps of each exercise as you can in the time allotted with perfect form. The first 2:30 minutes of this workout is tutorials for all of the exercises.

Opus Level 2 is still comparatively easier than the other workouts I’ve done in this program. However, the Tripod Scissor Kicks are now Tripod Push Ups, which made this workout significantly harder than Level 1! For me at least. I was actually able to do more full push ups (on my toes) in this workout than I was in Eval Level 2. But that is due to the structure of the workout. In Eval Level 2, the 5 sets are repeated one right after the other with only 20 seconds of recovery between each set. In Opus, you do a 4 exercise circuit–so there is a lot more recovery time before returning to the push ups. My first time doing Opus Level 2, I was able to do a total of 16 push ups on my toes! Not all at once, but split between circuits. Circuit 1 I did 5 push ups on my toes, Circuit 2 I did 4 on my toes, Circuit 3 I did 2 on my toes, Circuit 4 I did 3 on my toes and Circuit 5 I did 2 on my toes. When I couldn’t do anymore on my toes I dropped to my knees and completed the 40 second interval doing push ups on my knees. I was actually quite pleased that I was able to get out that many push ups on my toes. Especially after Eval Level 2 yesterday!

The second time I did Level 2 was Week 7. This time I was able to do 25 push ups on my toes, 5 each circuit before dropping to my knees to complete the interval. The 3rd time I did Level 2 was Week 9. I did 36 push ups on my toes before dropping to my knees: 10 in circuit 1, 8 in circuit 2 and 6 in the last 3 circuits. Each circuit I did 16 push ups total.

  1. Scorpion Side Kicks (in straight arm plank, pull one knee under body then, with knee still bent, push foot up to ceiling then continue pushing it to the side over the other leg, alternate legs)
  2. T Arm Squat (stand with feet about hip width apart, arms extended straight out to side of body in a T and held isometrically, do squats in this position)
  3. Tripod Push Ups (in standard push up position, lift one leg as you do a push up, alternate legs)
  4. Sky Divers with Arms at T (lay on stomach, with arms extended out to sides of body in a T and raised off floor, legs and head are also raised off ground and held in this position while opening and closing legs)

Opus Level 3 is 31 minutes (44 minutes with warm up and stretch). There are 6 circuits consisting of 4 exercises that are done back to back. Each exercise is done for 40 seconds. For circuit 1 you get 15 seconds of rest between each exercise. For the remaining circuits you get 20 seconds of rest between each exercise. You get 20 seconds of rest between each circuit. You do as many reps of each exercise as you can in the time allotted with perfect form. The first 2:30 minutes of this workout is tutorials for all of the exercises.

The first time I did Level 3 was Week 11 Day 2 and, like Eval Level 3, I decided that during the Tripod Push Ups I would stop dropping to my knees when doing timed intervals. I will do as many on my toes as possible and when my form deteriorates, I will take a brief break to regroup and try again until the 40 seconds is over. I was able to do 12 Tripod Push Ups on two of the circuits and 10 on all the others for a total of 64 Tripod Push Ups (wide), all on my toes, in 6 circuits. As for the other exercises, I did 12 Scorpion Over Kicks each set. I averaged 18-19 Squats with a Hop each set and I averaged 24-26 Skydivers each set.

Week 13 Day 2 was the second (and final) time I did this workout. I did a total of 82 Tripod Push ups (all on my toes)! 15 reps for circuits 1 & 2, 14 reps for circuits 3 & 4, and 12 reps for circuits 5 & 6. As for the remainder of the exercises: I also did 14 Scorpion Over Kicks each circuit; 19-22 Squat with a Hop each circuit; and 25-26 Skydivers each circuit. I never feel like I improved until I compare my numbers to how I performed the last time I did the workout and I am always surprised. Well, except for push ups. I frequently know when I did more on my toes but I am still surprised by how many more I do on my toes.

  1. Scorpion Over Kicks (in straight arm plank, pull one knee under body then, with knee still bent, push foot up to ceiling then continue pushing it to the side over the other leg until toe is almost touching the floor–you also turn onto the side of your other foot so that toe can reach that far, alternate sides)
  2. Squat with a Hop (stand with legs about hip width apart and both hands behind your head, squat and do a hop, landing in squat)
  3. Tripod Push Ups w/ Legs Wide (legs are wide, lift one leg as you do a push up, alternate legs)
  4. Sky Divers with Arms at Y (lay on stomach, with arms extended above head in a Y or V and raised off floor, legs and head are also raised off ground and held in this position while opening and closing legs)

Ruckus Level 1 is 19 minutes (32 minutes with warm up and stretch). The first 3 minutes is Mark’s tutorial of the 4 exercises you will be doing. For the remaining 16 minutes, you cycle through all 4 exercises, doing the specified number of reps with no breaks. Once you complete the circuit, you repeat it–and just keep going for the entire 16 minutes with no breaks. This workout is visually different than the others. Since you are repeating the circuits non-stop at your own pace, Mark has the screen separated into quarters for the entire 16 minutes. In each quarter is a video of him running through one of the exercises non-stop for 16 minutes. Right below each video it tells you how many reps you need to do. Each video is also numbered #1-4 so with a quick glance, you know not only the order you are to do each exercise but how many reps of each exercise to do. And since the 4 videos are running non-stop the entire 16 minutes, if you need to glance at Mark to verify form, it’s right there, too.

The first time I did this workout I made it through 4 complete circuits and was on the 3rd exercise of the 5th circuit when the 16 minutes was up. Between each circuit, I went to a notebook on a shelf nearby and made a mark so I could keep track of how many circuits I had completed and I also took a drink of water. The DOMS in my quads from Eval Level 1 had mostly faded. I only felt it in my left quad while doing the lunges but that became bearable by the 2nd circuit and I was able to go deeper into the lunge. This workout completed my first week of 90 Day Challenge workouts and I noticed a definite performance improvement over Day 1 Eval Level 1. So I am looking forward to seeing how my Eval Level 1 goes next week. The second time I did Rucks Level 1 was the end of Week 3. I got through 5 and a half circuits (on my 6th circuit I got through the first 2 exercises). So a big improvement! I am definitely getting stronger. This will be the last time I do Level 1 of this workout.

  1. Lunges (prisoner lunges–forward lunges with hands behind head); 12 reps, 6 per side
  2. Tripod Scissor Kicks (in elbow plank, with legs wide, bring your right foot to your left foot then return to start, alternate sides); 12 reps, 6 per side
  3. RDL’s (single leg Russian deadlifts–stand with arms out straight to side in a T, hinge forward at waist while raising one leg straight behind you, alternate legs); 10 reps, 5 per side
  4. Let Me Ins (stand in front of waist height support, wrap a towel around waist high support, bend knees and lean back, holding towel in one hand, pull body in and out using towel, switch hands after every 2 reps); 12 reps, 6 per side

Ruckus Level 2 is 23:30 minutes (36:30 minutes with warm up and stretch). The first 2:30 minutes is Mark’s tutorial of the 4 exercises you will be doing. For the remaining 20 minutes, you cycle through all 4 exercises, doing the specified number of reps with no breaks. Once you complete the circuit, you repeat it–and just keep going for the entire 20 minutes with no breaks. Level 2 is set up (visually) the same as Level 1.

The first time I did Level 2 was Week 5 and I made it through 6 and 1/2 circuits. I completed exercise 2 of the second circuit when the 20 minutes ended. It was tough. I found all of the exercises challenging except for the side lunges. For the RDLs, balance was more of a problem with my arms streamlined than it was when they were at a T in Level 1 workouts. The Let Me Ups are so much harder than I expected them to be. I can barely eek out the 12 reps. During the last few circuits I got out 9 reps, had to take a short break before doing the last 3 reps. And they make my hands and wrists cramp! Finally, my real challenge and one of the whole reasons I am even doing this entire program–the push ups. Since I made it through 7 push up circuits I did a total of 84 push ups–but only 23 of those push ups were on my toes. I always started the set on my toes but only got out 2-4 reps before I had to drop to my knees. What I did notice is on the sets where I got 4 push ups out before dropping to my knees, the first two on my toes were pretty strong before I started struggling to maintain form. So I am seeing a definite improvement! 23 push ups on my toes! I seem to do more every workout, which is what I hoped for.

The second time I did Level 2 was during Week 7 and I made it through 7 complete circuits. I had 20 seconds left and I was worn out so I decided not to start the 8th circuit. I did a total of 43 push ups on my toes!!!! Circuit 1 I did 9 on my toes, circuits 2-6 I did 6 on my toes and circuit 7 I did 4 on my toes. I am definitely getting stronger! The Let Me Ups are getting easier, too, though they are definitely not easy. I got out all 12 reps without having to stop for a break but the last 3 reps were definitely harder than the first 9. Not sure why, but I am able to get out those first 9 reps pretty strong, then the last 3 reps are more challenging. But I did them all without pause. My balance is still $hit on the RDLs!

The third time I did this workout was the end of Week 9. I did 7 complete circuits + 2 exercises of the 8th circuit + 6 reps of the 3rd exercise. that equals 96 total push ups and 62 of those were done on my toes: all 12 reps of circuit 1, 8 reps of circuits 2-4, 7 reps of circuits 5 & 6, and 6 reps of circuits 7 & 8. That is a major improvement!

  1. Side lunges (alternating side lunges with hands behind head); 12 reps, 6 per side
  2. Tripod Push Ups (in straight arm plank with feet hip width apart, lift one leg off ground and a do a push up, alternate legs); 12 reps, 6 per side
  3. Streamlined RDL’s (stand with arms extended straight overhead, palm of one hand against back of other hand, hinge forward at waist while raising one leg straight behind you, alternate legs); 10 reps, 5 per side
  4. Let Me Ups (lay under waist height support and hold it with hands about shoulder width apart in an underhand grip, knees are bent, feet on floor and hips raised off floor so body is straight from head to knees, pull chest up to bar and lower); 12 reps

Ruckus Level 3 is 27:30 minutes (40:30 minutes with warm up and stretch). The first 2:30 minutes is Mark’s tutorial of the 4 exercises you will be doing. For the remaining 24 minutes, you cycle through all 4 exercises, doing the specified number of reps with no breaks. Once you complete the circuit, you repeat it–and just keep going for the entire 24 minutes with no breaks. Level 3 is set up (visually) the same as Level 1 & 2.

The first time I did this workout was during Week 11. I managed 8 circuits plus the first 2 exercises of the 9th circuit plus 7 reps of the 3rd exercise. I did a total of 98 push ups on my toes. WTF? I am even stunned! I don’t calculate my push up reps until afterward, when I am sitting at the computer recording it in this review. During the workout I just make hashmarks for completing a circuit plus I write down the total number of push ups I did on my toes that circuit. I cannot believe how many I managed on my toes! The first 4 circuits I did all 12 reps on my toes. Circuit 5 I did 9 on my toes before dropping to my knees. Circuit 6 I did 11 on my toes. Circuits 7 & 8 I did 9 on my toes and the final circuit (circuit 9), I did 12 on my toes. I don’t talk much about the other exercises, I know, but that’s because the whole point of doing this program (for me) is to increase my strength and I measure that through how many push ups I can do on my toes. I find all of the exercises challenging, but I am able to do all of the reps required without failing or modifying. The push ups continue to be my ongoing challenge. But over all, every Level 3 exercise wears me out!

Week 13 is the second and final time I did this workout. I’m not going to lie. I was driven before and during this workout. I wanted to end this 90 Day Challenge being able to do at least 100 push ups on my toes and this was the workout that could help make that happen. I made it through 9 complete circuits plus all of the reps of the first two exercises of the 10th circuit. I did every single push up on my toes. That equals 120 push ups. Here’s the real kicker. This workout actually did seem easier than before. Not easy–I was working very hard, but for the first time in 90 days I actually felt stronger and more powerful!

  1. Iron Mikes (alternating plyo jump lunges with hands behind head, back knee taps ground each time you are in lunge); 12 reps, 6 per side
  2. Tripod Push Ups Wide (in straight arm plank with feet/legs wide, lift one leg off ground and a do a push up, alternate legs); 12 reps, 6 per side
  3. RDL’s with a Twist (stand with arms out straight to side in a T, hinge forward at waist while raising one leg straight behind you, while hinged over, twist torso/arms toward supporting leg side of room, twist back and return to start position, alternate sides); 10 reps, 5 per side
  4. Let Me Ups (lay under waist height support and hold it with hands about shoulder width apart in an overhand grip, knees are bent, feet on floor and hips raised off floor so body is straight from head to knees, pull chest up to bar and lower); 12 reps

Tyrant Level 1 is 21 minutes (34 minutes with warm up and stretch). The first 2 minutes is Mark’s tutorial of the 4 exercises you will be doing. For the remaining 18 minutes, you cycle through all 4 exercises, doing the specified number of reps with no breaks. Once you complete the circuit, you repeat it–and just keep going for the entire 18 minutes with no breaks. Tyrant workouts are set up just like Ruckus workouts. Mark has the screen separated into quarters for the entire 18 minutes. In each quarter is a video of him running through one of the exercises non-stop for 18 minutes. Right below each video it tells you how many reps you need to do. Each video is also numbered #1-4 so with a quick glance, you know not only the order you are to do each exercise but how many reps of each exercise to do. And since the 4 videos are running non-stop the entire 18 minutes, if you need to glance at Mark to verify form, it’s right there, too.

The first time I did this workout (Week 2), I made it through 4 complete circuits and completed the first exercise of the 5th circuit–so 4 + 1/4 circuits. I also took a drink of water and made a mark in a notebook between each circuit to keep track of how many circuits I completed. This was a tough workout but I did noticed that the Body Rocks burned out my upper body less than they did just two days prior when I did Eval 1 again. But that’s probably because with this workout you are rotating between 4 exercises instead of doing the same exercise for 4 minutes. The second time I did this workout (Week 4), I made it through 4 complete circuits and was halfway through the final exercise of the 5th circuit when my time ended–so 4 3/4 circuits, nearly 5 full circuits. An improvement!

  1. Hip Ups (start in straight arm plank, rotate into side plank with one arm reaching to the ceiling, lower hip to floor, return to straight arm plank, alternate sides); 12 reps, 6 per side
  2. Zombie squats (stand with feet about hip width apart, arms extended straight in front of you and held isometrically, do squats in this position); 12 reps
  3. Body Rocks (in elbow plank with feet shoulder width apart, use feet to rock torso forward and back); 25 reps
  4. RDL’s (stand with arms out straight to side in a T, hinge forward at waist while raising one leg straight behind you, alternate legs); 12 reps, 6 per side

Tyrant Level 2 is 25 minutes (38 minutes with warm up and stretch). The first 2 minutes is Mark’s tutorial of the 4 exercises you will be doing. For the remaining 22 minutes, you cycle through all 4 exercises, doing the specified number of reps with no breaks. Once you complete the circuit, you repeat it–and just keep going for the entire 22 minutes with no breaks. Level 2 is set up (visually) the same as Level 1.

Wow. This was really tough. 22 minutes really wore me out. The first time I did this (end of Week 5) I did 5 complete circuits. The Hip Ups to Push Up took a long time–I really only paid attention the first time I did that set but it took me nearly 2 minutes to do 12 reps! Each time I did a set of them I did the first 4 push ups on my toes before dropping to my knees (just for the push ups, not for the side plank hip ups–I was on my toes for those), which means I did a total of 20 push ups on my toes. I felt very worn out at the end of this workout and my upper body (shoulders in particular) felt well worked.

The second time I did this workout was the end of Week 7. I did 5 complete circuits plus all 12 reps of the first exercise of the 6th circuit. I did a total of 44 push ups on my toes: all 12 reps the first circuit, 8 the second circuit, 6 the 3rd circuit, 5 the 4th circuit, 6 the 6th circuit and for the 7th circuit I did 7 on my toes. Not bad! I more than doubled how many I could do on my toes in 2 weeks! My balance was crap during this workout–worse than usual. I had a terrible time with the RDLs. And, as usual, my arms were aching by the end, even during T arm squats. This workout really wears me out!

The third time I did this workout was at the end of Week 9. I did 5 complete circuits plus I did all of the reps of the first two exercises of the 6th circuit–so 5 and 1/2 circuits. I did 62 of the push ups on my toes. Circuits 1 & 2 I did all 12 on my toes! Circuits 3-5 I did 10 on my toes before dropping to my knees for the last 2 reps and the final circuit (circuit 6) I did 8 on my toes before dropping to my knees. This workout still wears me out!

  1. Hip Ups to Push Up (start in straight arm plank, rotate into side plank with one arm reaching to the ceiling, lower hip to floor, return to straight arm plank, and do 1 push up, alternate sides); 12 reps, 6 per side
  2. T Arm Squats (stand with feet about hip width apart, arms extended straight out to side of body in a T and held isometrically, do squats in this position); 12 reps
  3. Body Rocks w/ Front Reach (in elbow plank with feet shoulder width apart, rock torso forward and back, reaching one arm forward each time you rock, alternate arms); 16 reps, 8 per side
  4. Streamlined RDL’s (stand with arms extended straight overhead, palm of one hand against back of other hand, hinge forward at waist while raising one leg straight behind you, alternate legs); 12 reps, 6 per side

Tyrant Level 3 is 29 minutes (42 minutes with warm up and stretch). The first 2 minutes is Mark’s tutorial of the 4 exercises you will be doing. For the remaining 26 minutes, you cycle through all 4 exercises, doing the specified number of reps with no breaks. Once you complete the circuit, you repeat it–and just keep going for the entire 26 minutes with no breaks. Level 3 is set up (visually) the same as Level 1 & 2.

The first time I did this workout was the end of Week 11. I managed 6 full circuits plus 3 of the 4 exercises of the 7th circuit. I did 79 push ups on my toes. For the first 5 circuits I did all 12 reps on my toes. For circuit 6 I did 9 reps on my toes before dropping to my knees and for the final circuit/set I did 10 reps on my toes before dropping to my knees. As mentioned in the other Level 3 workouts, I am doing the Level 2 version of Hip Up to Double Push Up. Until I can do every single rep on my toes, I don’t see the point of adding a plyometric to my push up. I did not knock out as many circuits in Tyrant as I did in Ruckus, but that is because it takes a lot longer to get through 12 reps of Hip Up to Push Up than it takes to get through the required reps of any of the other exercises in this program–including Tripod Push Ups!

The second and final time I did this workout was the very end of Week 13. In addition, it is the last 90 Day Challenge workout! It’s over! Because of that and also because I really pushed myself when doing Ruckus yesterday, I was kind of leisurely when doing this one. And I still did better than I did 2 weeks ago! Ha! I also found that some of Mark’s little sound bites were finally ringing true to my ears while doing this workout. I am getting better and stronger. It is getting easier. Anyway, I completed 6 full circuits plus 3 of the 4 exercises of the 7th circuit plus 7 reps of the final exercise. So almost 7 complete circuits (5 reps short). I did every single push up on my toes–and with zero mini breaks! 84 push ups on my toes, which is 5 more than I did last time.

  1. Hip Up to Double Push Up (start in straight arm plank, rotate into side plank with one arm reaching to the ceiling, lower hip to floor, return to straight arm plank, and do a plyo push up, alternate sides); 12 reps, 6 per side
  2. Squat with a Hop (stand with legs about hip width apart and both hands behind your head, squat and do a hop, landing in squat); 12 reps
  3. Body Rocks w/ Side Reaches (in elbow plank with feet shoulder width apart, reach one arm under body to opposite side then extend the arm out away from body, alternate sides); 12 reps, 6 per side
  4. RDL’s with a Twist (stand with arms out straight to side in a T, hinge forward at waist while raising one leg straight behind you, while hinged over, twist torso/arms toward supporting leg side of room, twist back and return to start position, alternate sides);12 reps, 6 per side

Hammer Level 1 is 19:30 minutes (32:30 minutes with warm up and stretch). Hammer is done similar to the Eval workouts except you do not have a rep goal. You will do 4 different exercises. For each exercise you will do 4 timed sets. Each set is 40 seconds with a 20 second rest between each set. You will do as many reps as possible with perfect form during the 40 seconds. Before each 4 set circuit you get the exercise tutorial.

This workout felt easier than the other workouts but I still felt like I got a good workout, so not easy for me, just easier. I really enjoyed it!

  1. Scorpion High Kicks (in straight arm plank, pull one knee under body and into chest then push foot up to ceiling with bent knee, alternate legs)
  2. RDL’s (stand with arms out straight to side in a T, hinge forward at waist while raising one leg straight behind you, alternate legs)
  3. Skydivers (lay on stomach, with hands extended along sides of body, raise arms and legs and head off ground and hold in this position while opening and closing legs, feet flexed)
  4. Streamline Back Lunge (stand with both arms extended overhead, the palm of one hand against the back of the other hand, do alternating reverse lunges with arms held in this streamlined position)

Hammer Level 2 is 25:30 minutes (38:30 minutes with warm up and stretch). You will do 4 different exercises. For each exercise you will do 5 timed sets. Each set is 40 seconds with a 20 second rest between each set. You will do as many reps as possible with perfect form during the 40 seconds. Before each 4 set circuit you get the exercise tutorial.

Week 6 Day 1 was the first time I did this workout. Hammer Level 2 is probably the easiest of all of the Level 2 workouts I’ve done so far–no push ups or Let Me Ups! Last week (Week 5) was my first week of all Level 2 workouts and it worked me hard! I was sore every single day last week. Hammer Level 2 did work me well but it was also a nice break. The second time I did this workout was Day 1 of Week 8, and again, it was a relief to be doing a somewhat easier workout.

  1. Scorpion Side Kicks (in straight arm plank, pull one knee under body then, with knee still bent, push foot up to ceiling then continue pushing it to the side over the other leg, alternate legs)
  2. Streamlined RDL’s (stand with arms extended straight overhead, palm of one hand against back of other hand, hinge forward at waist while raising one leg straight behind you, alternate legs)
  3. Sky Divers with Arms at T (lay on stomach, with arms extended out to sides of body in a T and raised off floor, legs and head are also raised off ground and held in this position while opening and closing legs)
  4. Half Saxon Back Lunge (stand with both arms extended overhead, the palm of one hand against the back of the other hand, step back into a reverse lunge, lower one arm and reach it toward the floor on front leg side, return arm to streamline position overhead and return to standing, alternate sides)

Hammer Level 3 is 30:30 minutes (43:30 minutes with warm up and stretch). You will do 4 different exercises. For each exercise you will do 6 timed sets. Each set is 40 seconds with a 20 second rest between each set. You will do as many reps as possible with perfect form during the 40 seconds. Before each 4 set circuit you get the exercise tutorial.

Hammer Level 3 was the first Level 3 workout I did (Week 10). I thought it was a good choice since the Hammer workouts are the easiest of the 8 workouts. Holy cow! This was tough! Much more challenging than Levels 1 & 2 (which makes sense, duh!–but more challenging than I expected it to be). No push ups, or Let Me Ups, but the other exercises were sufficiently challenging. In each 40 second interval I was able to do 10 Scorpion Over Kicks, 6-8 RDL’s with a Twist (balance was a big issue, so I couldn’t always manage 8 reps without completely losing my balance), 23-25 Skydivers with Arms at Y and 6 Full Saxon Back Lunge. I was worn out by the end. I always feel the Skydivers, regardless of my arm position, but holding arms at Y definitely made them more challenging. Plus, you are doing 6 circuits rather than 5 and, on some of these exercises, that 6th set was a real struggle to get through–especially the Skydivers! I know the other Level 3 workouts will be even harder so I am nervous!

The second (and last) time I did this workout was at the beginning of Week 12, and even though it still challenged me, it did seem easier than the first time I did it. This time in each 40 second interval I managed 12 Scorpion Kick Overs, 10 RDLs with a Twist, 25-27 Skydivers and 6 Full Saxon Back Lunges. I felt every exercise working me well, but it didn’t wear me out like it did the first time and it is nowhere near as hard as all of the other Level 3 workouts. So this was a nice break after the past two weeks of Level 3 workouts.

  1. Scorpion Over Kicks (in straight arm plank, pull one knee under body then, with knee still bent, push foot up to ceiling then continue pushing it to the side over the other leg until toe is almost touching the floor–you also turn onto the side of your other foot so that toe can reach that far, alternate sides)
  2. RDL’s with a Twist (stand with arms out straight to side in a T, hinge forward at waist while raising one leg straight behind you, while hinged over, twist torso/arms toward supporting leg side of room, twist back and return to start position, alternate sides)
  3. Sky Divers with Arms at Y (lay on stomach, with arms extended above head in a Y or V and raised off floor, legs and head are also raised off ground and held in this position while opening and closing legs)
  4. Full Saxon Back Lunge (stand with both arms extended overhead, the palm of one hand against the back of the other hand, step back into a reverse lunge, lower one arm and reach it toward the floor on front leg side, return arm to streamline position overhead, reach other arm toward the floor on back leg side, return arm to streamline position overhead and return to standing, alternate sides)

Anvil Level 1 is 22 minutes; 3 minute tutorial (36 minutes with warm up and stretch). There are 4 circuits consisting of 4 exercises that are done back to back. Each exercise is done for 40 seconds. For circuit 1 you get 15 seconds of rest between each exercise. For the remaining circuits you get 20 seconds of rest between each exercise. You get 20 seconds of rest between each circuit. You do as many reps of each exercise as you can in the time allotted with perfect form. The tutorials for all of the exercises are done before the workout even begins.

Since Anvil workouts are not introduced until Week 6 of the 90 day program, I never did Level 1. Not a big deal since all of the exercises in Anvil Level 1 also appear in the first 5 workouts.

  1. Hip Ups (start in straight arm plank, rotate into side plank with one arm reaching to the ceiling, lower hip to floor, return to straight arm plank, alternate sides)
  2. Prisoner Lunges (alternating front lunges with hands behind head)
  3. Let Me Ins (stand in front of waist height support, wrap a towel around waist high support, bend knees and lean back, holding towel in one hand, pull body in and out using towel, switch hands after every 2 reps)
  4. RDL’s (stand with arms out straight to side in a T, hinge forward at waist while raising one leg straight behind you, alternate legs)

Anvil Level 2 is 26 minutes; 3:30 minute tutorial (39 minutes with warm up and stretch). There are 5 circuits consisting of 4 exercises that are done back to back. Each exercise is done for 40 seconds. For circuit 1 you get 15 seconds of rest between each exercise. For the remaining circuits you get 20 seconds of rest between each exercise. You get 20 seconds of rest between each circuit. You do as many reps of each exercise as you can in the time allotted with perfect form. The tutorials for all of the exercises are done before the workout even begins.

This was a tough but great workout. I did it for the first time during Week 6 and I outdid myself on push ups! I did every push up on my toes–6 a set for a total of 30 push ups! Now, Hip Ups to Push Ups is a time consuming exercise and I was only able to do 6 reps in each 40 second interval but nevertheless, I did all 6 reps of all 5 circuits on my toes. Let Me Ups were still tough but I was able to get out 12-14 reps each set–and I definitely felt stronger when I did I them. RDLs still challenge my balance big time.

Week 8 was the second time I did this workout. Since I can only do 6 Hip Ups to Push ups in 40 seconds, that didn’t change. I did 30 total and I did them all on my toes. What I did challenge myself on this time was Let Me Ups. I did 16 each set, except set 3 and I did 17 that time. So I am definitely getting stronger!

  1. Hip Ups to Push Up (start in straight arm plank, rotate into side plank with one arm reaching to the ceiling, lower hip to floor, return to straight arm plank, and do a push up, alternate sides)
  2. Side Lunges (alternating side lunges with hands behind head)
  3. Let Me Ups (lay under waist height support and hold it with hands about shoulder width apart in an underhand grip, knees are bent, feet on floor and hips raised off floor so body is straight from head to knees, pull chest up to bar and lower)
  4. Streamlined RDL’s (stand with arms extended straight overhead, palm of one hand against back of other hand, hinge forward at waist while raising one leg straight behind you, alternate legs)

Anvil Level 3 is 31 minutes; 3 minute tutorial (44 minutes with warm up and stretch). There are 6 circuits consisting of 4 exercises that are done back to back. Each exercise is done for 40 seconds. For circuit 1 you get 15 seconds of rest between each exercise. For the remaining circuits you get 20 seconds of rest between each exercise. You get 20 seconds of rest between each circuit. You do as many reps of each exercise as you can in the time allotted with perfect form. The tutorials for all of the exercises are done before the workout even begins.

The first time I did this was Week 10. Because I still cannot do every push up Mark requires in his workouts on my toes (even though I am now able to do 62 in a workout on my toes, Mark has you doing 90+ push ups in a workout–so I am still not where I need to be on push ups), I stuck with the Level 2 Hip Ups to Push Ups rather than adding the plyometric to it as this Level 3 workout requires. I was able to do 7 push ups each set (all on my toes) for a total of 42. That is an improvement for me on several levels. First, in previous workouts I could only 6 in a 40 second interval and I can now do 7. And, like all of the Level 3 workouts, this is longer than the Level 2 workout. You do 6 circuits rather than 5. There is more! The side lunges have changed to Iron Mikes–plyometric jump lunges! I did 20 Iron Mikes each set. So, overall, this was a more intense workout that worked me hard! I was worn out by the end of this workout!

The second (and last) time I did this workout was Week 12. Just like the last time I did it, I am still doing the Level 2 version of Hip Up to Push Up and I was able to do all of the push ups on my toes. I managed 8 reps on 4 of the sets and 7 reps on 2 of the sets for a total of 46 push ups. I did 16-20 Iron Mikes (I averaged 18 reps) for a total of 108 Iron Mikes. I did 15-17 Let me Ups for a total of 95 and I did 10 RDLs every circuit, for a total of 60 RDLs. Every single RDL interval you get the exact same sound bite from Mark: “Focus on your technique and stay relaxed.” That got a little irritating after 6 circuits. What is interesting now, is that the most challenging exercises in this workout are the Iron Mikes and the Let Me Ups. The push ups, at least to a timed interval, are not the most challenging exercise anymore. How’s that for improvement? (o:

  1. Hip Up to Double Push Up (start in straight arm plank, rotate into side plank with one arm reaching to the ceiling, lower hip to floor, return to straight arm plank, and do a plyo push up, alternate sides)
  2. Iron Mikes (alternating plyo jump lunges with hands behind head, back knee taps ground each time you are in lunge)
  3. Let Me Ups (lay under waist height support and hold it with hands about shoulder width apart in an overhand grip, knees are bent, feet on floor and hips raised off floor so body is straight from head to knees, pull chest up to bar and lower)
  4. RDL’s with a Twist (stand with arms out straight to side in a T, hinge forward at waist while raising one leg straight behind you, while hinged over, twist torso/arms toward supporting leg side of room, twist back and return to start position, alternate sides)

Burner Level 1 is 19 minutes (32 minutes with warm up and stretch). The first 2 minutes is Mark’s tutorial of the 4 exercises you will be doing. For the remaining 16 minutes, you cycle through all 4 exercises, doing the specified number of reps with no breaks. Once you complete the circuit, you repeat it–and just keep going for the entire 16 minutes with no breaks. Burner workouts are set up just like Ruckus and Tyrant workouts. Mark has the screen separated into quarters for the entire 16 minutes. In each quarter is a video of him running through one of the exercises non-stop for 16 minutes. Right below each video it tells you how many reps you need to do. Each video is also numbered #1-4 so with a quick glance, you know not only the order you are to do each exercise but how many reps of each exercise to do. And since the 4 videos are running non-stop the entire 16 minutes, if you need to glance at Mark to verify form, it’s right there, too.

Since Burner workouts are not introduced until Week 6 of the 90 day program, I never did Level 1. Not a big deal since all of the exercises in Burner Level 1 also appear in the first 5 workouts–except Starfish Twists but they are just Hip Ups without the actual hip lower and lift–so an easier/quicker version of Hip Ups.

  1. Zombie Squats (stand with feet about hip width apart, arms extended straight in front of you and held isometrically, do squats in this position); 12 reps
  2. Starfish Twists (In straight arm plank, twist into side plank, reaching top arm to sky, return to plank and repeat on other side, continue alternating sides); 12 reps (6 per side)
  3. Streamline Back Lunge (stand with both arms extended overhead, the palm of one hand against the back of the other hand, do alternating reverse lunges with arms held in this streamlined position); 10 reps (5 per side)
  4. Scorpion High Kicks (in straight arm plank, pull one knee under body then, with knee still bent, push foot up to ceiling, alternate legs); 12 reps (6 per side)

Burner Level 2 is 23 minutes (36 minutes with warm up and stretch). The first 2 minutes is Mark’s tutorial of the 4 exercises you will be doing. For the remaining 20 minutes, you cycle through all 4 exercises, doing the specified number of reps with no breaks. Once you complete the circuit, you repeat it–and just keep going for the entire 20 minutes with no breaks. Level 2 is set up (visually) the same as Level 1.

The first time I did this workout was during Week 6. In 20 minutes I was able to get through 5 circuits + first exercise of the 6th circuit. This workout wore me out! My arms were aching. It was odd because when I did Anvil I was able to knock out 30 push ups on my toes, but during Burner I was only able to get out 16 total push ups on my toes. I started each set of push ups (during Starfish Twists) on my toes then dropped to my knees when I couldn’t maintain proper form on my toes. I was able to do 6 on my toes the first circuit, 4 the second circuit and 2 on my toes the remaining 3 circuits. My arms were getting very tired/burned out during this workout. Even holding my arms at a T during T Arm Squats made them ache. And they started aching during Scorpion High Kicks, too. Not sure what was up there! I just found this a tough workout.

The second time I did this workout was the end of Week 8 and I found it just as hard. It must be the sequencing of these exercises because I get some serious arm burnout. I did improve big time though it didn’t feel like it while I was doing the workout. I did 39 push ups on my toes. By the end of the workout I was worn out and my arms started fatiguing much sooner than they usually do (in his other workouts in this program). Again, since this happened the last time I did this workout, I can only guess it has something to do with the sequencing of the exercises. I got through 5 complete circuits. I did the first exercise of the 6th circuit plus 10 reps of 2nd exercise. As far as push ups on my toes, the 1st circuit I did all 12 reps on my toes before dropping to my knees, the 2nd circuit I did 7 reps, the 3rd circuit I did 6 reps, the 4th and 5th circuits I did 5 reps and the 6th circuit 4 of the 10 reps I did were on my toes. I also want to add that this workout really seemed to drain me. It is several hours later that I am writing this and I still feel fatigued and my shoulders are aching. It is the good ache, btw–not the bad. But an ache that is clearly telling me they were worked hard.

  1. T Arm Squats (stand with feet about hip width apart, arms extended straight out to side of body in a T and held isometrically, do squats in this position); 12 reps
  2. Starfish Twist with a Push Up (In straight arm plank, twist into side plank, reaching top arm to sky, return to plank and do one push up and repeat on other side, continue alternating sides doing one push up between each side plank); 12 reps (6 per side)
  3. Side Lunges (alternating side lunges with hands behind head); 10 reps (5 per side)
  4. Scorpion Side Kicks (in straight arm plank, pull one knee under body then, with knee still bent, push foot up to ceiling then continue pushing it to the side over the other leg, alternate legs); 12 reps (6 per side)

Burner Level 3 is 27 minutes (40 minutes with warm up and stretch). The first 2 minutes is Mark’s tutorial of the 4 exercises you will be doing. For the remaining 24 minutes, you cycle through all 4 exercises, doing the specified number of reps with no breaks. Once you complete the circuit, you repeat it–and just keep going for the entire 24 minutes with no breaks. Level 3 is set up (visually) the same as Level 1 & 2.

OMG. The first time I did this workout was during Week 10 and it was brutal. Brutal. I was completely wrung out by the end. I got through 6 complete circuits plus I did every rep of 3 of the exercises of the 7th circuit. In fact, I finished my last Iron Mike a few seconds before the workout time expired. I did every exercise as presented except Starfish Bounce. Since I still cannot do every push up on my toes, I stick with the Level 2 version of the push up exercises. But everything else was done at Level 3 and it was brutal. So much harder than Level 2. I did a total of 61 push ups on my toes before dropping to my knees (in 7 circuits there are 84 total push ups–so I did 72% on my toes). The full 12 reps of the first 2 circuits were all on my toes, 10 reps the 3rd circuit, 8 reps of the 4th circuit, 7 reps of the 5th circuit and 6 reps the last two circuits. I was in my peak heart rate for about half of the training period (according to my Fitbit). Just like in other workouts structured this way, I took a mini break between each circuit to make a hash mark in my notebook to keep track of completing the circuit plus I write down how many push ups I did on my toes. In addition, I towel off and take a drink of water. I had to take a few extra breaks during this workout. By the time I was halfway through this workout, the sweat was pouring in my eyes so I had to towel off between every other exercise. During the Iron Mikes, about 2/3 of the way through the workout, I just kept going past 10 reps. Not because I felt so strong and powerful. Not because I love them so much. But because I was in a fugue state of exhaustion. I hit 13 reps and was like, Oh yeah, I only have to do 10 reps.

The second and (thank God) last time I did this workout was during Week 12. I made it through 6 complete circuits and all the reps of 2 exercises of the 7th circuit. So 6 and 1/2 circuits. I did every single push up on my toes–84 push ups on my toes. I’m still doing the Level 2 version of this exercise. Even though I did all reps on my toes, I was struggling by the end of this workout. I am simply not ready to add plyo to push ups and since my 90 days is almost over (yayayayayay!!!), I never will be. And I am okay with that. My goal was to do lots of push ups on my toes, not lots of plyo push ups. I think this is the hardest workout in the entire program. I was wasted at the end just like the last time I did it. I did too many Iron Mikes again around 3/4 point–same reason as the first time. I’m so exhausted I’m not paying attention to my count even tho I am counting. I took more breaks than usual, too, because I was flagging big time.

  1. Squat with a Hop (stand with legs about hip width apart and both hands behind your head, squat and do a hop, landing in squat); 12 reps
  2. Starfish Bounce (in straight arm plank, twist into side plank, reaching top arm to sky, return to plank and do one plyo push up and repeat on other side, continue alternating sides doing one plyo push up between each side plank); 12 reps (6 per side)
  3. Iron Mikes (alternating plyo jump lunges with hands behind head, back knee taps ground each time you are in lunge); 10 reps (5 per side)
  4. Scorpion Over Kicks (in straight arm plank, pull one knee under body then, with knee still bent, push foot up to ceiling then continue pushing it to the side over the other leg until toe is almost touching the floor–you also turn onto the side of your other foot so that toe can reach that far, alternate sides); 12 reps (6 per side)

Joker Level 1 is 21 minutes (34 minutes with warm up and stretch). The first 2 minutes is Mark’s tutorial of the 4 exercises you will be doing. For the remaining 18 minutes, you cycle through all 4 exercises, doing the specified number of reps with no breaks. Once you complete the circuit, you repeat it–and just keep going for the entire 18 minutes with no breaks. Joker workouts are set up just like Ruckus, Tyrant and Burner workouts. Mark has the screen separated into quarters for the entire 18 minutes. In each quarter is a video of him running through one of the exercises non-stop for 18 minutes. Right below each video it tells you how many reps you need to do. Each video is also numbered #1-4 so with a quick glance, you know not only the order you are to do each exercise but how many reps of each exercise to do. And since the 4 videos are running non-stop the entire 18 minutes, if you need to glance at Mark to verify form, it’s right there, too.

Since Joker workouts are not introduced until Week 6 of the 90 day program, I never did Level 1. Not a big deal since all of the exercises in Joker Level 1 also appear in the first 5 workouts.

  1. Prisoner Lunges (alternating front lunges with hands behind head); 12 reps (6 per side)
  2. Scorpion High Kicks (in straight arm plank, pull one knee under body then, with knee still bent, push foot up to ceiling, alternate legs); 12 reps (6 per side)
  3. Let Me Ins (stand in front of waist height support, wrap a towel around waist high support, bend knees and lean back, holding towel in one hand, pull body in and out using towel, switch hands after every 2 reps); 12 reps (6 per side)
  4. Hip Ups (start in straight arm plank, rotate into side plank with one arm reaching to the ceiling, lower hip to floor, return to straight arm plank, alternate sides); 12 reps (6 per side)

Joker Level 2 is 25 minutes (38 minutes with warm up and stretch). The first 2 minutes is Mark’s tutorial of the 4 exercises you will be doing. For the remaining 22 minutes, you cycle through all 4 exercises, doing the specified number of reps with no breaks. Once you complete the circuit, you repeat it–and just keep going for the entire 22 minutes with no breaks. Level 2 is set up (visually) the same as Level 1.

This was a tough workout! The first time I did it, it was the last workout of Week 6 and I was working hard! According to my FitBit, near the end of the workout, I was even in my peak heart rate for 6 minutes. So I am getting cardio and strength with these workouts. Level 2 workouts are really challenging me. I made it through 5 complete circuits plus the first 3 exercises of the 6th circuit, plus the first 3 reps of the 4th exercise! So nearly 6 circuits. And Hip Ups to Push Up is still the most time consuming exercise of the bunch. It took me nearly as long to get through 12 reps of that exercise as it took me to get through the first 3 exercises all together! In 5 circuits I did a total of 60 push ups + the additional 3 (so 63 push ups). Of those 63 push ups, I did 23 of them on my toes: 6 in circuit 1, 4 in circuits 2 & 3 and 3 in the final 3 circuits.

The second time I did this workout was the very end of Week 8. Regardless of what Mark says in his little sound bites, these workouts do not feel like they are getting any easier. I am working very hard and completely wrung out at the end of these workouts. However, I am clearly making progress. I did 5 complete circuits plus the first 3 exercises of the 6th circuit and 10 reps of the final exercise of the 6th circuit. So nearly 6 full circuits (I was only 2 reps short of completing the 6th circuit). This time I did 70 push ups total and 39 of them on my toes: all 12 reps in circuit 1 were done on my toes, 8 reps in circuit 2, 6 reps in circuit 3, 5 reps in circuit 4 and in circuits 5 & 6, I did 4 reps on my toes.

  1. Side Lunges (alternating side lunges with hands behind head); 12 reps (6 per side)
  2. Scorpion Side Kicks (in straight arm plank, pull one knee under body then, with knee still bent, push foot up to ceiling then continue pushing it to the side over the other leg, alternate legs); 12 reps (6 per side)
  3. Let Me Ups (lay under waist height support and hold it with hands about shoulder width apart in an underhand grip, knees are bent, feet on floor and hips raised off floor so body is straight from head to knees, pull chest up to bar and lower); 10 reps
  4. Hip Ups to Push Up (start in straight arm plank, rotate into side plank with one arm reaching to the ceiling, lower hip to floor, return to straight arm plank, and do a push up, alternate sides); 12 reps (6 per side)

Joker Level 3 is 29 minutes (42 minutes with warm up and stretch). The first 2 minutes is Mark’s tutorial of the 4 exercises you will be doing. For the remaining 26 minutes, you cycle through all 4 exercises, doing the specified number of reps with no breaks. Once you complete the circuit, you repeat it–and just keep going for the entire 26 minutes with no breaks. Level 3 is set up (visually) the same as Level 1 & 2.

The first time I did this workout was the end of Week 10 and OMG, so difficult. It’s only 26 minutes but it wore me down! When doing these Level 3 circuits, I find myself not moving nearly as quickly through the exercises as I did the Level 2 workouts. I need breaks! And just like in Burner, I am doing the Level 2 version of the Hip Up to Push Up–no plyo push ups for me. At least not until I can do every single rep of the Level 2 version on my toes. I got through 6 complete circuits and I did 3 of the 4 exercises of the 7th circuit, plus, I did 4 reps of the 4th exercise. So nearly 7 circuits. As for push ups, I outdid myself. The first 4 circuits I did every single rep on my toes! It wasn’t until the 5th circuit I had to drop to my knees. For all 7 circuits I did a total of 70 push ups on my toes! As already mentioned, the first 4 circuits I did all 12 reps on my toes, for circuits 5 & 6 I did 9 reps on my toes before dropping to my knees and for the final/7th circuit, I was only able to do 4 reps when the workout time ran out and all 4 of those were on my toes. I was so exhausted at the end that during the cool down/stretch, I lost my balance a few times when doing the Z stretch! I was physically and mentally worn out!

Yesterday when I did Burner Level 3 for the second time I thought that was the hardest workout in the program. Then I did Joker Level 3 for the second time this morning. I revise that opinion–they are both the hardest workouts in the program! Today is the end of Week 12 and I am celebrating never having to do this workout again. It wasted me. I did 7 complete circuits. I did every single push up on my toes. During the last 3 circuits I did have to take a mini break during the push ups in order to continue on my toes–but it was only for a few seconds each time. 84 push ups on my toes. Again. I think that’s what I did yesterday, too. Have I mentioned I am sick of push ups?

  1. Iron Mikes (alternating plyo jump lunges with hands behind head, back knee taps ground each time you are in lunge); 12 reps (6 per side)
  2. Scorpion Over Kicks (in straight arm plank, pull one knee under body then, with knee still bent, push foot up to ceiling then continue pushing it to the side over the other leg until toe is almost touching the floor–you also turn onto the side of your other foot so that toe can reach that far, alternate sides); 12 reps (6 per side)
  3. Let Me Ups (lay under waist height support and hold it with hands about shoulder width apart in an overhand grip, knees are bent, feet on floor and hips raised off floor so body is straight from head to knees, pull chest up to bar and lower); 10 reps
  4. Hip Up to Double Push Up (start in straight arm plank, rotate into side plank with one arm reaching to the ceiling, lower hip to floor, return to straight arm plank, and do a plyo push up, alternate sides); 12 reps, 6 per side

My 90 Day Rotation:

Below is my 90 day bodyweight rotation. Mark Lauren‘s 90 Day Challenge is the core of the rotation but I used a lot of other workouts/programs, too: Classical Stretch Season 8, Barlates Fusion Flow, Mark’s Mobility RX and Ilaria Montagnani‘s BodyStrikes workouts are the main ones but there are others sprinkled in, too. Some Yin Yoga, some other Barlates workouts and some other flexibility workouts.

During Levels 1 & 2 I finished off Mark’s 90 Day Challenge workouts with Classical Stretch. I had to skip Mark’s cool down during Level 2 in order to keep my morning workouts at approximately an hour. Finishing his workouts with Classical Stretch was important to me. However, Level 3 workouts are too long, even if I skipped the cool down, so during the final month of Mark’s 90 Day Challenge I did his cool downs and completed my hour with a long flexibility session.

As mentioned above, the purpose of this rotation was to increase my strength and heal shoulder pain. After completing 3 weeks, the pain in my shoulders was worse than ever and on the left it had moved into my neck. I couldn’t even turn my head without severe neck pain. The third time I did Mobility RX (end of week 3), my shoulder range of motion decreased rather than increased. At the end of Week 4, when I did Ilaria’s Abs & Push Ups Plus for the 4th time in this rotation (I did it every Saturday during the first 4 weeks of the rotation) I was able to do some of the push ups on my toes. Not many. Something like 10 total–not 10 in a row either. I couldn’t do more than 3 in a row on my toes before I had to drop to my knees. As mentioned in the Summary, I also did incline push ups off my desk at work to help increase my strength in preparation for Level 2 workouts. That was the first month.

During the second month my strength increased a lot. Since all of Mark’s workouts are structured differently, the amount of push ups I could do on my toes varied from workout to workout (some fatigue you quicker and/or do not give you much recovery between push up sets). The most I did in a workout during week 6 was 30 push ups on my toes. By the end of Week 7 I could do 44 on my toes and in the final workout of Week 7, I did one entire set (12 reps) on my toes. At the end of Week 9 I was able to do a total of 62 in the course of a workout on my toes. As for shoulder pain, it improved from the first month, then got bad again during the end of the second month, though it did not move to my neck again. I am not sure if I am making it worse with all of the push ups, but all of the supplementary workouts I am doing to try to heal my shoulders (Classical Stretch, Yin Yoga and flexibility/stretch workouts) appear to do nothing to help with the pain.

The final month of this rotation begins Week 10 and it was brutal. Mark’s Level 3 workouts are much harder than his Level 2 workouts (duh)–and the Level 2 workouts were challenging me plenty! Week 10 really beat the $hit out me. In addition, I have been advancing Ilaria Montagnani’s BodyStrike workouts in conjunction with the level of Mark’s workouts. So while doing the Level 1 workouts I did BodyStrikes Volume 1. While doing the Level 2 workouts I did BodyStrikes Volume 2. And with the Level 3 workouts I am doing BodyStrikes Volume 3, which is very advanced. To give myself some recovery time, I decreased the intensity of my Barlates workouts rather than increased them, so you will see that the easier Barlates workouts are used in the final month of this rotation. At the end of Week 10, I was able to do 70 push ups on my toes.

At the end of Week 11, I was able to do 98 push ups on my toes and the pain in my shoulders had decreased. In fact, it is mostly gone in my right shoulder and has decreased a lot in my left shoulder. The left shoulder pain is definitely not gone, but it is the most improved it has been since I started this rotation. This is after 2 weeks of no Classical Stretch. I did not expect that. I am doing a lot more traditional flexibility work these past two weeks. I expected Classical Stretch to heal my pain but in the absence of it, the pain improved. Something to think about…

I found the last 4 weeks of this rotation very challenging. It beat me up. BodyStrikes Volume 3 kicked my butt every single time I did it and made me feel run down for hours afterward. All of Mark’s Level 3 workouts kicked my butt every single time (but they did not run me down afterwards). His Mobility RX workouts never seemed easier either. However, I did notice during Week 13, when doing the Scorpion Stretch (90 Day Challenge Cool Down) my hip and shoulder range of motion had increased. At the end of Week 13 I was able to do 120 push ups on my toes in a single workout (Ruckus).

The takeaway? This rotation definitely increased my strength. The mobility in my shoulder and hips increased and the pain in my shoulders decreased the final month. The traditional flexibility work did more good for me than Classical Stretch. That was completely unexpected and I am still trying to wrap my mind around it.

Rotation:

Many of the DVDs contain multiple workouts and/or appear multiple times. I will only link to the workout or DVD collection the first time it is mentioned in the rotation. So if you see a workout that doesn’t have a link, scroll up because it must have been listed (and linked to) earlier. And, of course, all of he 90 Day Challenge workouts are in this review.

Week 1:

Monday: Eval Level 1 + Classical Stretch Season 8: Workout 1

Tuesday: Barlates: Feel Good Series/Dynamic Flow + Yin Yoga Snack for Shoulders, Back & Upper Chest

Wednesday: Opus Level 1 + Classical Stretch Season 8: Workout 2

Thursday: BodyStrikes Volume 1 + Yin Yoga Snack for Lower Back & Hamstrings

Friday: Ruckus Level 1 + Classical Stretch Season 8: Workout 3

Saturday: Abs & Push Ups Plus + Barlates/Mix & Match Lower: 40/20 + Yin Yoga Snack for Chest, Shoulders & Upper Back Release

Sunday: Mobility Rx: Workout #1 + Yin Yoga for Leg Day

Week 2:

Monday: Eval Level 1 + Classical Stretch Season 8: Workout 4

Tuesday: Barlates: Energy Flow/Barre + Yin Yoga Snack or Shoulders, Back & Upper Chest

Wednesday: Tyrant Level 1 + Classical Stretch Season 8: Workout 5

Thursday: BodyStrikes Volume 1 +Total Body Stretching #1

Friday: Hammer Level 1 + Classical Stretch Season 8: Workout 6

Saturday: Abs & Push Ups Plus + Barlates/Mix & Match Lower: 50/20 + Yin Yoga for Shoulder Pain

Sunday: Mobility RX: Workout #2 + Yin Yoga for Full Shoulder Flexibility & Release

Week 3:

Monday: Eval Level 1 + Classical Stretch Season 8: Workout 7

Tuesday: Barlates: Dynamic Flow/Lengthen + Fusion Flow/Mat

Wednesday: Opus Level 1 + Classical Stretch Season 8: Workout 8

Thursday: BodyStrikes Volume 1 + Total Body Stretching #2

Friday: Ruckus Level 1 + Classical Stretch Season 8: Workout 9

Saturday: Abs & Push Ups Plus + Barlates/Mix & Match Lower: 50/20

Sunday: Mobility Rx: Workout #1 + Yin Yoga for Leg Day

Week 4:

Monday: Eval Level 1 + Classical Stretch Season 8: Workout 10

Tuesday: Barlates: Dynamic Flow/Functional + Sculpt

Wednesday: Tyrant Level 1 + Classical Stretch Season 8: Workout 11

Thursday: BodyStrikes Volume 1 + Total Body Stretching #3

Friday: Hammer Level 1 + Classical Stretch Season 8: Workout 12

Saturday: Abs & Push Ups Plus + Barlates/Mix & Match Lower: 80/10

Sunday: Mobility RX: Workout #2 + Yin Yoga for Full Shoulder Flexibility & Release

Week 5:

Monday: Eval Level 2 + Classical Stretch Season 8: Workout 13

Tuesday: Opus Level 2 + Classical Stretch Season 8: Workout 14

Wednesday: Barlates: Energy Flow/Functional + Jessica Smith 19 Minute Squat Free Lower Body Strength Workout

Thursday: Ruckus Level 2 + Classical Stretch Season 8: Workout 15

Friday: Tyrant Level 2 + Classical Stretch Season 8: Workout 16

Saturday: BodyStrikes Volume 2 + STS Extended Stretch

Sunday: Mobility Rx: Workout #1 + Yin Yoga for Leg Day

Week 6:

Monday: Hammer Level 2 + Classical Stretch Season 8: Workout 17

Tuesday: Anvil Level 2 + Classical Stretch Season 8: Workout 18

Wednesday: Barlates: Bodyweight Basics Lower + Booty Burn: Cardio Sculpt

Thursday: Burner Level 2 + Classical Stretch Season 8: Workout 19

Friday: Joker Level 2 + Classical Stretch Season 8: Workout 20

Saturday: BodyStrikes Volume 2 + Gentle Yoga Stretch for Balance, Flexibility & Mobility: Flow 3 Hips & Knees

Sunday: Mobility RX: Workout #2 + Yin Yoga for Full Shoulder Flexibility & Release

Week 7:

Monday: Eval Level 2 + Classical Stretch Season 8: Workout 21

Tuesday: Opus Level 2 + Classical Stretch Season 8: Workout 22

Wednesday: Barlates: Energy Flow/Sculpt + Warm & Stretch/Upper

Thursday: Ruckus Level 2 + Classical Stretch Season 8: Workout 23

Friday: Tyrant Level 2 + Classical Stretch Season 8: Workout 24

Saturday: BodyStrikes Volume 2 + Gentle Yoga Stretch for Balance, Flexibility & Mobility: Flow 4 Total body

Sunday: Mobility Rx: Workout #1 + Yin Yoga for Leg Day

Week 8:

Monday: Hammer Level 2 + Classical Stretch Season 8: Workout 25

Tuesday: Anvil Level 2 + Classical Stretch Season 8: Level 26

Wednesday: Barlates: Dynamic Flow/Functional + Fusion Flow/Dynamic

Thursday: Burner Level 2 + Classical Stretch Season 8: Workout 19

Friday: Joker Level 2 + Classical Stretch Season 8: Workout 20

Saturday: BodyStrikes Volume 2 + Walk On: Walk the Weight Off/Bonus Chair Stretch

Sunday: Mobility RX: Workout #2 + Yin AM: Yin Yoga for Upper Body Tension Relief

Week 9:

Monday: Eval Level 2 + Classical Stretch Season 8: Workout 29

Tuesday: Opus Level 2 + Classical Stretch Season 8: Workout 30

Wednesday: Barlates: Fusion Flow/Band + Warm & Stretch/Ball

Thursday: Ruckus Level 2 + Classical Stretch Season 8: Workout 15

Friday: Tyrant Level 2 + Classical Stretch Season 8: Workout 7

Saturday: BodyStrikes Volume 2 + Total Stretch: Total Stretch

Sunday: Mobility Rx: Workout #1 + Yin Yoga Snack for IT Band Relief & Outer Thigh Release

Week 10:

Monday: Hammer Level 3 + LITE: Extended Stretch #2

Tuesday: Anvil Level 3 + STS: Extended Stretch

Wednesday: Walk On: 10 Minute Quick Walk Mix: Power Up Walk + Barlates: Feel Good Series: Fusion Flow

Thursday: Burner Level 3 + Stretch Max #3

Friday: Joker Level 3 + Michele Dozois Ultimate Flexibility

Saturday: BodyStrikes Volume 3 + Walk On: 10 Minute Quick Walk Mix: Chair Stretch

Sunday: Mobility RX: Workout #2 + Sunrise Yin Yoga

Week 11:

Monday: Eval Level 3 + LITE: Extended Stretch #1

Tuesday: Opus Level 3 + LITE: Extended Stretch #2

Wednesday: Barlates: Feel Good Series/Cardio Stretch + Warm & Stretch: Mat

Thursday: Rucks Level 3 + STS: Extended Stretch

Friday: Tyrant Level 3 + Total Body Stretching #1

Saturday: BodyStrikes Volume #3 + Great Glutes stretch only

Sunday: Mobility RX #1 + Yin Yoga Snack for Deep Hip & Hamstring Release

Week 12:

Monday: Hammer Level 3 + LITE: Extended Stretch #1

Tuesday: Anvil Level 3 + LITE: Extended Stretch #2

Wednesday: Barlates: Feel Good Series/Cardio Sculpt + 15 Minute Fat Blasts: Belly Blaster

Thursday: Burner Level 3 + STS: Extended Stretch

Friday: Joker Level 3 + Total Body Stretching #2

Saturday: BodyStrikes Volume 3 + Xtrain: Cardio Leg Blast stretch only

Sunday: Mobility RX #2 + Restorative Yoga for Upper Back, Shoulders & Chest

Week 13:

Monday: Eval Level 3 + LITE: Extended Stretch #1

Tuesday: Opus Level 3 + LITE: Extended Stretch #2

Wednesday: Barlates: Dynamic Flow/Active + Fusion Flow/Easy Cardio

Thursday: Ruckus Level 3 + STS: Extended Stretch

Friday: Tyrant Level 3 + Total Body Stretching #3

Saturday: BodyStrikes Volume 3 + Xtrain: Legs stretch only

Sunday: Whatever the @#$%& I want! The 90 days is over!

12 thoughts on “Mark Lauren’s 90 Day Challenge (+ My Bodyweight Rotation)

  1. Excellent review. I was wondering how you were doing with this workout. I am not sure I could get through it. I have been a little afraid to try. But seeing how you were able to noticeably build up your strength by doing this workout is inspiring.

    I think I would need to go outside and use a tree for the Let Me Ins. My doors are not sturdy enough for me to want to risk my full weight on them, and I don’t really have room for a tower or rack.

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    1. It was not an easy program but I started out unable to do a single push up on my toes and I was even struggling with push ups on my knees. I am not overweight but I am not a tiny/skinny woman either. I could stand to lose 10 pounds. So in addition to being weak I have more than a waif-like frame to push up. And I did it–so I believe anyone can do it if they work through it.

      I know, as a whole, it is a long review, but I chronicled the entire 90 days. So you can see the slow progression and the things I worked through–wrist and shoulder pain. I took things slowly–I was not afraid to do push ups on my knees until I felt strong enough to do them all on my toes.

      I’m not sure what I would have done if I didn’t have a tower or a rack. If you have a table or desk, you could go straight to Let Me Ups. They are harder, but just like any of the exercises, take mini breaks until you get through them stronger.

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  2. Mark’s EFX may be my least-favorite workout of all time. I just found no joy in doing most of the unusual exercises in it. Since everyone should feel the same way about things as I do (haha), I am surprised that you chose that one. Different strokes for different folks, and all that. Still, I have not donated it to the Salvation Army as I have so many others, nor given it to my daughter, so I may try it again.

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    1. I didn’t want to reply to this until I had done EFX again, since it has been a long time since I’ve done those workouts. I still love them! Especially after his 90 Day Challenge which got monotonous. These workouts have a lot more variety. I subscribed to his On Demand and I plan to do some of his recovery and rehab workouts while recovering from my surgery.

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  3. Great review. I fully understand why you got sick of doing this after eleven weeks. I generally need to change my rotation each month. That is what Jack Lalanne always advocated.

    Your description reminded me of X-Factor:ST, put out by the same organization (Weider) that put out Ruthless. I remember a couple of years ago one of your readers asked if you were familiar with it. You were not, and I doubt that has changed. It was (is) a 12-disk, 8-week program that increased in difficulty weekly. One of the extra disks was a super-high intensity routine that I have never been able to complete with the form of the on-screen crew, but I am considerably older than they are, so that is my excuse. It is similar to the more difficult routines in Ruthless. It can be found on Ebay, if you are wondering what to look into next.

    I know that you own Ruthless. Dusting that off should help you maintain your gains by using the more difficult routines. I suspect that you would do two or three of them back-to-back. I just do one. I wonder if you will enjoy #10:Willpower any more than you did then. : – )

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    1. Yeah that’s why I rarely do programs as they are designed–I go crazy. But I do try to do them every so often because it is hard otherwise to measure results. Before cancer treatment, I wasn’t terribly worried about results, just maintenance of my fitness level. As mind-numbing as it became, Mark’s program gave me a specific way to measure my fitness level increasing.

      I haven’t done Ruthless in a long time. That’s a good idea. I might pull it out. My current plan is for the next month I will do one of Mark’s EFX workouts each week. Then after my surgery, once I am able to do a push up again, I will keep doing one Mark Lauren workout a week. I have a all of his DVD workouts plus I just subscribed to his streaming site. That’s the plan at least. We’ll see if I do it!

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  4. I applaud your perseverance and strength. I am happy you are regaining your fitness level and wish you the best of health. How would you compare this series to STS? I completed the 12 weeks and was so pleased with the results I started over. I worry too about losing the strength gains I have achieved. Thanks for all your reviews!

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    1. Thank you! This is very different from STS. First, this program is made up of very functional exercises. STS is not. Second, STS has lots of variety to fight that boredom factor. This does not. Both programs increased my strength a lot but it is impossible to compare the gains since this one is entirely bodyweight and STS is almost entirely using dumbbells, barbells and other equipment. Finally both programs worked me hard and challenged me. However, STS is not progressive. You are already expected to be at (at least) an intermediate fitness level when you start STS. This program is progressive. You can start as a beginner and work your way up to advanced. With that said, Mark’s advanced/Level 3 workouts are harder than anything I did in STS. But that is coming from someone who hasn’t done STS in several years.

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