Backyard Olympics – Stay Fit During Quarantine

Backyard Olympics – Stay Fit During Quarantine

Challenge a friend or family member to your own version of a backyard fitness Olympic Games.

Since the Olympics have been postponed to 2021, my brother and I decided that our latest fitness bet would be our own version of the Olympic Games, performed in our back yard. I typically make 3-4 fitness bets per year with my brother, so while sitting poolside in Florida crushing beers right before the news of global lockdown came, we decided it was time to get our mind off of beer, pizza, and the stock market and instead begin focusing on our next fitness bet. We have already challenged each other to the race to a one arm chin up (read here), race to a 6 pack, cardio challenges, and more, but this time we wanted to make it something completely different. 

After much back and forth, we came to the conclusion that we didn’t want to simply compete in any one single event – so instead we made 5. We created a 5-event competition which we have branded as the 2020 Backyard Olympics. The challenge is pretty simple – win 3 of 5 events, and you will be crowned the winner. The loser will be required to make a music video to the song of the winner’s choice and must be posted on YouTube, forever. 

The events we settled on are the following:

  1. 400 meter sprint
  2. Farmer’s carry with 75 lbs in each hand
  3. Weighted push ups with a 40 lb weight vest
  4. Vertical Jump
  5. Tug-of-war

We have tentatively set the date for some time in August, as to give us enough time to train each aspect of the bet properly. 

To train for each event, here is what I have come up with. I have a pretty solid set up in my garage, so the fact that gyms are currently closed shouldn’t hurt my routine too much. I’ll touch base again down the road and update on what my brother has been using to train for each event, and I guess time will tell who had the more effective training regimen.

400m Sprint

To train for the sprint portion, I have programmed in some 25m sprints 1-2 times per week, on non-squat/deadlift days to ensure I am fresh. I will also be adding in some interval training with the jump rope and exercise bike. I am not much for steady-state cardio, so my focus will be on some simple HIIT training to get the best bang for my buck. This is also the part of the competition I am least interested in.

Farmer’s Carry

Training is simple. I will continue to pick heavy things off the ground repeatedly. I may toss in some direct farmer’s carries as the weather gets nicer, but for now the plan is to keep up with my weekly deadlifts (no wraps) and weighted pull ups to keep my grip strong. I don’t have much other than weight plates to carry around, so I may not actually do any specific training for this, but as long as my grip is being progressively overloaded each week, I should see improvements. 

Weighted Push ups

I am currently working my chest with a 5×5 workout routine that sees me doing 5 heavy sets for 5 reps of bench press one day per week, and 5 sets at 80% for 4 reps one day per week. I have been making good progress with this and have no issue doing 50 body weight push ups at the moment. Closer to the competition, I will start working push ups with weight, likely pushing beyond the 40lb weight pack so it will feel lighter on competition day. 

Vertical Jump

I currently have a challenge with a few buddies which has us competing for the most improved vertical jump, so my training is a little more focused in this area right now. I highlight my past jump training with Vert Shock in my previous post “My Quest For a Slam Dunk – And My Review of Vert Shock” and have put my own spin on things in my recent post called “A Workout to Increase Your Vertical Jump”. To summarize, I am working squats and deadlifts, supersetting them with some plyometric work, and adding in some additional plyo sets and mobility work. And of course, putting my skills to the test on my basketball net a few times per week.


Get as strong as I can by August – that’s the plan. With strong legs, shoulders, and core, I should be well equipped to yank my brother off of his feet. I guess I can do some research closer-to to learn about strategies, but with only one of us on each end of the rope, I think it will come down to will power, as neither of us likes to lose. 

There you have it, our own back yard Olympics. We like to put a fun spin on training, as we are not professional athletes or bodybuilders, and repeating the same balanced routine and balanced diet week in and week out just doesn’t do it for me. I like to seek new challenges and experiences, and it keeps a fun back-and-forth banter between whoever the fitness bets are with, and it even helps me keep in touch with friends who have moved across the country.

Any fun things you are trying during quarantine? Share your thoughts below!

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