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Champions Club Theme Workouts

We see a lot of gyms have cool alternative workouts like “crazy socks,” Mother’s Day, and Christmas colors. At the Champions Club, theme workouts have been a tradition since we came to life in the Summer of 2010.

The brainchild of these workouts is the Champions Club co-founder and honorary coach Brian Hassler. While not quite as funny, athletic, or handsome as I, the cult-hero known as Brian the Trainer did come up with many good ideas for themes. His plans never stopped at playing certain music or dressing up in wacky attire (although that is part of it). As you will see, the workouts try to include as many aspects of the theme as possible. Once he sparked that idea, the themes took off.

Our theme workouts are always done in teams – usually two people per, but sometimes more. They provide a lot of entertainment and great memories. But more than that, they also give our athletes (kids and adults) a mental break from the demands we put on them during the week regarding positions, movement, and focus on the purpose. When a theme workout is announced, it almost serves as a field trip; still an educational experience, but something out of the ordinary and less structured.

So without further adieu, I present the Champions Club theme workouts. Feel free to use any of these at your facility. I just ask that you link this page or give us a shoutout if you do. Then share your experience with us.


Champions Club Theme Workouts pt. 1: Summer Themes

Hulu Zulu (Original Hawaiian Workout)

For time:

50 Somewhere-Over-the-Rainbow Wallballs

Run to retrieve first lei and back

35 Limbo Lifts (partner clean & jerk)

Run to retrieve second lei and back

50 Alternating Aloha's

Run to retrieve third lei and back

50 Samoan Situps

Run to retrieve last lei and back

*work to be divided among two-person teams

*upon arriving at lei station, partners must perform (in any order) forward roll, crab walk, Wahiki wheel barrow, and frog hops on their way to retrieve said lei

The Hulu Zulu was the first theme workout in the history of the Champions Club. First taking place in the inaugural Summer 2010 when we were still at the school, this workout came up by accident.  We don’t remember the details exactly, but somehow everyone had the idea to wear Hawaiian attire to our second team workout of the Summer. On Friday night, Brian made a last-minute purchase of Hawaiian leis from a nearby party store. We arrived to the workout an hour early to set up the leis in color coordinating rows on the school’s football field for the kids to retrieve after they finished said exercise. It was a 200 meter run to the field, and 200 meter run back; we did not take the distance from the edge of the field to the leis into account. It should also be noted that just before the workout began, a torrential downpour came about and provided the most memorable element effect to a workout in the history of the Champions Club. Since we are no longer allowed on the school property, we have moved this workout to the hill.

The Original. 2010. Look at all the duck feet! We didn't know better!

 


 

Harry Potter

Year 1: Broomstick Overhead squats

Year 2: Chamber of Situps

Year 3: Berti Bott's Every Flavor Burpees

Year 4: Goblet of Squats (goblet squats)

Year 5: Hagrid’s Hang power cleans

Year 6: Weasley Wallballs

Year 7: Deathly Hollow Rocks

Individuals are split into 4 houses. Each house is split into teams of two/three.

Each station goes for 3 minutes. Three athletes work at each station (one at a time).

Total reps for each station is added up for house points.

It should be noted that this might have to be slightly adjusted due to the number of people in attendance. For the Hulu Zulu, it is always set for teams of 2, so nothing really needs to be changed except the reps. Since the Harry Potter workout has a set number of teams, not people on a team, you may have to alter it slightly. Here’s two ways we’ve done it:

  • Four minutes at each station (year), two people working at a time
  • Teams from the same house work at separate stations then come together at the end to add reps

Playing the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Official Soundtrack also provides great mood music to a great workout.

 


 

Scare Games: Monster’s Inc. Theme

Seven doors:

Wasowski's wall balls

One-eyed, one-arm swings (x.5 points)

Randall's rope climbs (x6 points)

Screaming squats

Bunk bed scare burpees (x2 points)

Boo's box jumps

Sulley's scary situps

Split into teams of two - one BIG and one little.

1st round - Each door lasts for 1:30. Get as many scare points (reps) as possible at each door. One partner works for :45 then the other works for :45. Add up total points. 30 second rest/rotation between doors.

Lunch break - 3 minutes to rest, add up reps, and get excited for the long day ahead.

2nd round - Each door lasts for 2:00. Each partner works for 1 minute. Same format as round 1.

*A standard 2319 occurred 35 seconds into the third rotation of the 2nd round. While the CDA inspected the place, all participants had two minutes to evacuate to the dumpster and back twice. Regular work was resumed once the inspection was up.

Add up all reps for total scare points

For best effect, separate the teams into one adult and one kid, or one bigger kid and one little(er) kid. Set up a soundtrack to play (preferably Monster’s Inc. songs) on an iPod playlist and include an audio snippet of the 2319 scene from the movie. Shuffle the playlist so the 2319 procedure is unexpected. Highlights of the workout can be seen here:

 


 

Disney Doozy

Hakuna Matata Tabata Squats

then

As many reps as possible in two minutes of:

Bambi's Bumper Thumpers

Hercules Heaves

Belle's Beastly Burpees

Tinkerbells

Pluto's Paws-off Push-ups

Baloo's Bear Crawls

then

Back through the cycle for 1 minute at each station

*Work to be strategically divided among two-person teams and count total reps

A few clarifications on the movement names: Bambi’s Bumper Thumpers = partner deadlifts, Hercules Heaves = alternating wallballs, Tinkerbells = kb swings, Pluto’s Paws-off Push-ups = hand release push-up. For Baloo’s Bear Crawls set up cones dictating start and finish, and score with there-and-back = 2 reps. Also, make sure to come up with good team names for each pair. However, the true beauty of the workout comes in the soundtrack. Find some of your favorite Disney songs, put them on a CD, and let nostalgia kick in. Highlights from this year’s workout can be seen here:

 


 

80’s Theme

Boom Box Jumps

A-Team Anchored Abmats

Cannonball Run

Saved by the Kettlebell

LoveBoat Lunges

Farm-Aid Farmers Walk

Bad Boy Burpees

21 Jump Rope Street

Cheers! Rest Station

*Split into teams of two. One partner works for 80 seconds, immediately followed by the next partner working for 80 seconds. Pass through each station once for total reps.

**Both partners work together on A-Team Anchored Abmats

***Farm-Aid Farmers Walk and Cannonball Run are total feet covered divided by 10

Count total reps

I was not around during the 80’s, but Brian was so he planned most of this. The 80’s Theme Workout is top 3 on the favorite list for us. Not because of the exercise names (which nobody gets), but the dashing attire that goes along with it. Here are the highlights from 2013. The main adjustments would be adding an exercise station or two if there are a lot of teams and equipment is low. Totally Awesome 80’s from your mom’s CD collection is also a must.

 


 

Shark Week

4 rounds, each round is 5 minutes with a 2 minute rest in between each round.

Kettlebell swing

Box jump

Thruster

Situp

*work to be divided among two-person teams. One person is working while teammate is running with medicine ball around course. Handoff med ball then rotate.

*every time ball hits the ground, both teammates must perform 5 burpees. Sharking is allowed (and encouraged).

Count total reps

Obviously this workout should be planned around Shark Week on the Discovery Channel. This workout was even more spontaneous than the Hulu Zulu. Originally done the first weekend in August of our first Summer, it was just a normal team workout. But once the timer went off, Brian immediately whacked the med ball out of my hands – claiming that it was a 5 burpee penalty for “getting sharked.” He is known to make up rules on the spot, so we just went along with it and the Shark Week workout was born. Of all the workouts mentioned above, this one may be the most difficult – especially if the weight is assigned appropriately. Exercise in the middle can be exchanged for whatever. Highlights of the 2013 version of this workout can be seen here.

*Due to 1) poor planning and 2) a few college kids leaving earlier than expected,  we were forced to combine the Shark Week and Hawaiian workout into one giant feeding frenzy this Summer. We kept the exercises the same as the Hulu Zulu and made it an AMRAP in 20 minutes – with the condition that every 4 minutes each team had to complete the Shark relay. It actually turned out pretty well and we may keep the hybrid version. A video recap can be seen here:

 


 

Mario Theme

Mushroom Kingdom Mayhem

This was our first year doing this workout and it’s too complicated to write out. So the video gives a pretty good visual. Basically, just set up some kind of obstacle course consisting of both live humans and inanimate gym objects. And it should end with a rope climb. Ours didn’t go quite as planned because the Banets showed up late, and there’s like 10 of them. So we had to improvise and throw in extra obstacle stations – which threw off the timing of the workout. But still pretty cool for a test run.

Due to the increased modifications we had to make to the workout, we ended up only keeping track of total time it took to go through both Levels of the obstacle course. Then the three teams with the fastest times went through the 3rd level with the weight vest. But here's how we originally planned on scoring it:

Note: Each rotation lasts as long as it takes one team of two to go through the course.

1 coin (point) - per second under 4 minutes for team going through the course

2 coin - per situp

5 coins - per burpee

1 coin - per wall-ball toss

.5 coin - per jump rope on Blooper's pass

1 coin per kettlebell swing

*back extensions and hollow rocks were not intended to be in the workout

**All teams were supposed to go through first three levels

***Add up total coins after three levels

****Super Smash Bros. match between the top two teams on the Game Cube

 


 

Those are our Summer theme workouts that will be in the rotation for years to come. There are also a few more that we have done in the past which are probably not going to see the light of day again. Those include:

Swamp People

This one didn’t last for multiple reasons – the least of which was me coming to the depressing reality that nobody except my neighbors and I actually watched Swamp People.

CrossFitopoly

Great idea. But unless you are a master at cheating (which I am), Monopoly games never truly end. Still have the board though! It’s an artifact of sorts.

Super Heroes

Very fun workout. Each team of two did super hero exercises and also had villain cards they could play on another team to make their reps more difficult. But the cards took a while to explain. Plus, everyone ganged up on me and Brian.

Hunger Games

Awesomely planned by Emma Wonsil. But it requires multiple rowers – which we don’t have. Plus the Hunger Games movies are overrated.

Pirates

My one regret is not keeping the stuff for this one. Done during our inaugural Summer 2010, the Pirate Workout is the one instance where Brian’s popsicle stick humor actually had its place. Basically, we handed out treasure maps to the kids (who were separated into teams of two) that said where to go, what exercise to do, and how many reps were required. Of course, they were “riddles” so it added to the fun. Unfortunately I can’t remember anything about them for the life of me. Must be those concussions. I just know the “treasures” were located on the school’s football field (which me and Brian set up about two hours before hand) and it required a ton of running back and forth from the weight room to the field. And yes, Pirates of the Caribbean and Muppet Treasure Island music was playing in the background. That’s a given.

Water Wars

Possibly the best planned workout of our tenure, and it opened up this Summer. The downsides, however, will make it unlikely that we will repeat this one. First, it took a solid week of slaving away at the faucet to fill over 800 water balloons. And also, the landlord was not too excited about the sudden spike in his water bill. Might come back next summer with some moderation, but not likely unless we get help from the rain gods.


There you have it. We try to lead off every Summer with a new theme, so we should have another one by next year (rumor has it the decision will come down to either Pokémon or Space Jam). We still do team workouts every weekend during the school year, but the theme workouts only fall on holidays. So the following post details the ones we recognize and celebrate.

Champions Club Theme Workouts pt. 2: Holiday Themes

Thanksgiving Workout

Split into Teams of three. The stations are Rest, Turkish Get-up, Exercise with one person at each station at all times. Athletes rotate once two Turkish Get-ups each arm are performed. This cycle goes on for five minutes, with a one minute rest going before the next exercise sequence.

Post total reps of:

Goblet squat

Plymouth Hollow Rocks

BURPees

Pretty straight forward. Nothing too special about this one. Makes people feel better about the fact that they will be indulging in the age-old tradition of gluttony in a matter of hours.

 


 

Easter Beaster

Warmup:

Easter Egg hunt (inside the eggs are pieces of paper with a number on them)

 

For time:

Single jump ropes

Squat

Situp

Push-up

Sprint ladder

Burpees

*Number of reps to be determined by results of the Easter Egg hunt.

This one is very fun as long as it’s not overcrowded. For that reason, we require a signup on the website. The number of reps can be adjusted based on how long you want the workout to last of the skill level of the athletes. It is a requirement, however, that the winning team gets the Grand Hare chocolate bunny trophy. It is also a requirement that the bunny gets broken into many edible pieces via a traditional Tara Taylor steroid punch. As far as the Easter Egg hunt goes, use your imagination.

 


 

Halloween Workout

Warmup:

Go Trick-or-Treat and sort and count the candy upon arrival

Divide candy into 4 categories: Chocolate, Suckers, Fruit candy, and Chips, etc.

 

For time:

Chocolate = Crunch bar Crunches

Chips = Kettle Cooked Kettlebells

Fruit = Fruit by the foot (rope climb in feet)

Suckers = Dum-Dum pops (dumbbell push press)

*reps are based on number of candy pieces in each category

This is another fun one. I believe candy is God’s most gracious gift to mankind (besides Denard Robinson), and is not a sin to indulge every now and then. Trick-or-Treating was one of my favorite things to do all the way through high school, so I like to encourage everyone to participate. Working out in your costumes is also encouraged.

 


 

Anita Partyka’s Valentine’s Day Heartbreaker

Eight Dates of Fate

Complete as many reps as possible in two minutes of:

Squat Therapy

Preggo Leggo Push-ups

Cupid's Kettlebell Swings

Box 'o Chocolate Box Jumps

Partyka's Perfect Proposals

Ball and Chain Carry

Pull it together Pull-ups

Broken Hearted Burpees

 

*Rotate through each exercise for total reps. Give everyone some transition time before starting timer.

*Each team gets two cards to play on another team. Maximum of 1 card allowed per exercise.

Cards:

Marriage Tax (-10% reps), Caught Cheating (-50 reps), Excessive PDA (-30 reps), Bitter Berry Breakup (:30/1:30 split), It's not me, it's You (one person works whole time), Couple's retreat(synchronized movements, count as one rep each time), Baby on Board (6# med ball in shirt)

 

Very, very cool workout. Named after a legendary Champions Club temptress, this workout will fall on the weekend closest to Valentine’s Day. The setup and planning takes a while because of the cards, but they are a necessary piece for the workout. We did a lineup for the card placement, with each team playing one at a time. Each team must get 1 card played on them per round. No ganging up.

 


 

Christmas Workout Spectacular

WOD 1

"Christmas Eve Commotion"

AMRAP in 8 minutes of:

12 Hand-release push-ups (partner 1)

12 Hand-release push-ups (partner 2)

25 Partner anchored situps

 

WOD 2

"Magi Mile"

For time:

150 Wallballs

Run 1 mile

*work to be strategically divided between partners (both working at the same time)

 

WOD 3

"Twelve Days of Burpees"

 

1 point is awarded to first place, 2 points for second, etc. Lowest total after all three workouts wins.

Also self-explanatory. It’s Christmas Eve, so that means the carols are playing over the speakers, the gym is decorated, Master P draws The Grinch on the whiteboard, milk and cookies after the workout, reenacting of Charlie Brown Christmas, and Secret Santa gift exchange. The exercises can be subbed if need be. Twelve Days of Burpees is a relay race with Burpees and a sprint. The burpees go from 12 down to 1 and you alternate rounds with your partner.

It is not by coincidence that the most friendly, joyous workout of the year is followed by the most friendship-breaking workout of the year…

 


 

Super Bowl Throwdown

Split into three teams. Team captains assign members of each team to perform the following tasks with the number of people in parenthesis. Allow time between events for transition, setup, and strategy.

Karen (3)

Grace (2)

Cindy (3)

Annie (2)

Angie (4)

Diane (2)

Fran (2)

Burpee Waterfall (x101)**

 

*One point is awarded for first place finish. Two points for second. Three for third. Lowest Total at the end wins.

**ends in two rope climb. Winning team adds two points to any team they want

***Bonus Tiebreaker: EPIC bear crawl relay race in snow

Without comparison, this is the most anticipated, most controversial, and most entertaining Holiday workout. Always takes place on Super Bowl Sunday. I’ll never say cheating is allowed. But if someone is willing to pay off the ref, then I can’t be held accountable. Basically, if I can’t see it, then it’s not cheating. Trash talking is encouraged and skipping reps is a last resort. No such thing as gracious winners this time around. As you guessed, the origin of the tomfoolery can be traced back to Brian during the first Super Bowl workout in 2011 when he cheated out team our of a victory. But nowadays, we have plenty of young guns to fill his shoes. As far as modifications go, the number of teams (which was originally two), workouts, and people allowed in each workout can be altered if need be. A signup really helps this one. Highlights of this year’s mayhem can be seen here. It was a classic, and Adrian Bozman Judge of the Universe got involved.

Best friends Bubs and Amy arguing to the death after Burpee Waterfall

 


 

Like I said, the theme workouts do a lot of things for us. But most of all, they act as our strongest tool to combat adulthood. You should never be too old to enjoy candy, or admit that you still play Pokémon, or get PUMPED UP every time you hear “I’ll Make A Man Out Of You.” Adulthood often comes with the connotation of all business and no fun. But being a kid (regardless of age) means that you pay more attention to your imaginative side and less to the rational/socially-acceptable side. Is that a good habit to get into? Probably not. But it’s a great thing to keep you fresh. And theme workouts have never not worked – even with parents, who reveal themselves to be just grown kids.

Brian the Trainer helped me see that, and that idea has given us the spark to keep thinking of new themes. Hopefully, you saw one or two workouts you liked out of the group. But more importantly, I hope these give you an idea of what can be accomplished when you think like a kid. When you do that, make sure to share your new themes with the rest of us.