workout wednesday: the thousand reps

While establishing the baseline yesterday for Transformation Tuesday, I said I’d post about my go-to workout in 2020 (and probably for at least the start of 2021): The Thousand Reps. So I found this in early 2020, from (which, if you’ve never been, is a marvelous free resource that you should use, and donate to–they are not a sponsor of this blog. Yet?) It’s a challenge to do 1,000 reps of exercises in a day, stacking six exercises however one wishes to do so.

I made two changes over the seven months I’ve been doing this–instead of jump-in planks, I do knee-to-elbows; instead of hop-heel clicks, I do high knees. These changes came over time–I work out on a concrete porch, my knees couldn’t take the hop-heel jumping (and yes, I could have just changed my form!)–but here’s a sample of numbers from workouts.

Please note I’ve kept track of these only since June, when I began this kind of exercise in earnest. (In 2020, I worked toward The Thousand Reps 74 times, reaching the goal three times.)

June 16Sept. 17Dec. 16
jumping jacks96200250
high knees (hop heels)(48)80125
elbows-to-knees (plank jump ins)(48)80125
four sets, four sets and five sets, respectively

The intention behind the design of The Thousand Reps may have been to do numerous workouts in a day, but I don’t have the time for that. I do 1,000 in less than thirty minutes, with adequate rest between sets. It only took me six months to figure it out–and I more or less took October off.

For the mathematically uninclined, The Thousand Reps is done in five sets of 25 push-ups, sit-ups, high knees and elbow-to-knees, and then fifty squats and fifty jumping jacks. When this becomes easy, I will add a sixth set, or increase the number of reps per set. But right now, in January 2021, I’m happy to aim for 16 bodyweight exercise sessions, and eight The Thousand Reps workouts.

I joked with B. the day I hit one thousand, “Now I don’t have to work out anymore.” It’s sometimes hard to stay motivated, after six months of working toward it. And there were so many plans–I’ll get to 750 by September, and 850 by October–and it took one day to just snap and insist on doing one more set. And here we are.

You can do this too. Start with what you can do, and then do a little more every day. It is possible–I’m living, walking, talking proof–and then you get to say things like, “Oh, I do 125 sit-ups each workout,” and feel smug as you grate cheese on your abs.*

What’s your go-to workout? Do you use equipment at home? What’s that like?

*actual results will vary; I probably have abs, but I also love cheese.