A few weeks ago I noticed my friends Hunter Cook and Jen Comas Keck posting videos on Instagram of themselves doing various fun feats of strength and challenging the other to attempt what they had just done. It looked like they were having fun, I liked the photos, and didn’t give it much more thought.
Then a couple days ago my training partner and colleague Mark chimed in and asked, “Are these challenges open to anyone?”
Mark is one strong S.O.B. so I decided that if he was going to throw his hat into the ring I would beat him to it. At the moment, the challenges involved rope pull-ups, so I laid my cards on the table with this:
Since that moment, this little challenge has absolutely EXPLODED. As of this moment there are over 40 videos on Instagram with the tag #instabattle2014 and Facebook is littered with the posts as well. You can see all of the tagged entries (Hunter went back and tagged the ones that pre-dated having a hashtag for it) by searching on Instagram for #instabattle2014.
The general idea is that someone posts a video of a challenging feat of strength, and you seek to one-up it in some way. It might be more weight, or it might be a variation like today I riffed on Jessi Kneeland’s very impressive barbell Sots press with a one-arm bottoms-up Sots press. Not least because I don’t have the mobility to do a barbell Sots press. Everyone has been incredibly encouraging and respectful of others, often reiterating that you should just try it before saying “I can’t do that.” I have to say it pairs pretty well with Jen’s post about the question “Can I do that?”
There’s no one keeping score, there’s no governing body. Just people having fun training “together”, separately.
I’ve said this on Facebook but I want to reiterate it here .The camaraderie that has emerged is a perfect representation of physical culture and what it should be about. Using your body for one of the things it is best suited to doing: playing and being physically active. Coming up with new ways to challenge and push the limits is the best part of having training partners. I often miss training with Adam T. Glass in part because he had such a knack for coming up with creative changes to make things more challenging to constantly drive our strength forward. I made almost unbelievable progress during that time with the questions he’d ask that usually started with “Can you…”
My challenge to you is: Can you join in?