Foundational Strength Challenge See How You Measure Up

Here it is, gang! Your first challenge, as promised. For some of you it may seem simple, but let me tell you why it’s really important to get each of these exercises down perfectly before we move on to a tougher challenge.

These exercises allow us to see what your base level of mobility, stability and strength are.

If you consider yourself fairly strong and already squat far more than 20% of your body weight but you can’t break parallel without leaning way forward and having your knees collapse in, then you have some work to do.

If you’d like to continue getting stronger and squatting heavier weights without hurting your lower back or knees, then you need to improve your ankle mobility, hip and trunk stability too. Do you know how to do that?

On the other end of the spectrum is the active person who does plenty of sports and maybe even exercises on machines. You’re fit, but if asked to slowly lower yourself to a low seat and you can’t do it without falling the last few inches, you are generally lacking strength and motor control at the ends of your range of motion.

You’re good with the middle range of most movements, but if you try to stabilize your body while holding even a small amount of weight while going through a full range of motion, you will have problems. This is important to be aware of because the ends of your range of motion is where injuries occur.

You may be thinking, “If the end range is where injuries occur shouldn’t we be avoiding it? Why purposely go there at the gym?.”

To that I say,

“Excellent question! Here’s why. If you want to live an awesome, rich life full of a variety of experiences, and I hope you do if you’re on my blog, then your body needs to be prepared to encounter a variety of tasks. That’s what I’m really about here; training for a rich life. I am here to help you overhaul your body so you can take on a world of awesome shit in this life!”

So we train for it. In a controlled, careful approach we train your body to handle tasks that could leave the less prepared injured and waiting on the sidelines of life. We train to avoid injury. And to overcome it.

But because we are smart, patient and methodical here at Overhaul Training, we start with a strong foundation and progress from there.

Let’s get started!

Your Foundational Strength Challenge, should you choose to accept it, is: (be sure to click on the exercise link to see exactly how you should look doing it.)

Perform all seven exercises without resting in between.

1. Reverse Lunge

  • 10 reps per side
  • Stand tall
  • Back knee touches floor at bottom of each rep
  • Knees straight at top of each rep

2. Push-Ups

  • 5 reps
  • Chest touches floor at bottom of each rep
  • Elbows lock at top of each rep

3. Goblet Squat (Holding 20% of your body weight)

  • 10 reps
  • Thighs below parallel at bottom of each rep
  • Knees lock at top of each rep

4. Single Arm Dumbbell Row (Holding 10% of your body weight)

  • 10 reps one side, then the other.

5. Sumo Stance Deadlift w/Dumbbell (Use 20% of your body weight)

  • 10 reps
  • Weight touches floor at bottom of each rep
  • Knees and hips lock at top of each rep
  • If you can’t pick weight up from floor without rounding your back, elevate it to a height in which you can using 45 lb. plates.

6. Dynamic Quadruped 1

  • 10 reps per side

7. Farmer’s Carry (Holding 20% of your body weight in each hand)

  • Walk 40 steps
  • Stand tall, shoulders back

How did you do? If you aced it, awesome! Check out your next challenge.

If you feel there’s a few exercises you need to work on, not a problem. I have a 4 week training program specifically designed to help you be able to complete this challenge. Learn more about the Foundational Strength Program.

I have something big I’m putting together and I’d like you to join me and the rest of the Overhaul Community. But first things first, you need to establish a strong foundation.

The goal over the next month or two is to ensure that you have the knowledge, skills, strength and flexibility to join us moving forward.

Have a friend you want to join you in this challenge? Use the links below to share it with them.


  • Hi Jamie –

    I’m 45 and have always been challenged when it comes to push-ups, and this evaluation was no different. All these exercises were easy for me to accomplish except for the push-ups (I could only do five). Meanwhile I’ve typically been stronger than average in my lower body.

    Are you aware of any sort of congenital issue that some folks have that affects their ability to easily do push-ups? Just wondering …


  • Hi Mike, There are many possible reasons why but it may be as simple as mechanical advantages and disadvantages of your bone structure and tendon insertions. For example, I also am much stronger with my legs than upper body pushing. I have a great squat do to the structure of my pelvis and hip socket but I have to be careful about my bench press. If my pecs get too tight my humeral head easily slips too far forward in the shoulder socket and causes all sorts of pain and weakness. (The remedy to this isn’t always more pressing, it may be more pulling to keep balance in our structure as you get stronger at pressing.)

    I also find that if leg strength comes easily but pressing comes with problems, we are inclined to train legs more and the strength disparity becomes even more pronounced.

    So yes, there may be genetic reasons why push-ups are difficult for you which then leads to training imbalances. I believe the best way of addressing this is by focusing on the weak structure and bringing up your abilities. Kind of like giving the struggling kid in class some special attention because they need it more than the kid who understands what you’re saying immediately.


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