Australian YouTuber Laurie Shaw has taken on a wide range of 30-day challenges aimed at pushing his physical limits, improving his personal fitness, and helping him learn new skills, from training like an Olympic sprinter to taking crash courses in martial arts.
In a recent video, Shaw revisits one of his previous challenges: doing 100 bicep curls every single day for a month. He acknowledges that the fatal flaw in that exercise had been his failure to incorporate rest days into the timeline, meaning his muscles had inadequate time to recover between workouts, hampering his gains. So this time around, Shaw is doing the same 100 reps every second day, in the hope that allowing sufficient rest time will improve the visible results.
“So far I’m feeling really good,” he says after the first week of repetitive training. “It feels like I’ve torn the muscles in each session, in that good sense; they’re tired, they’re sore… I’m trying to warm up and cool down each session, doing a lot of stretching.”
However, in the second week, Shaw finds that his muscles feel “completely depleted,” and he struggled to muster up the willpower to even start his 100-rep sessions, even with the additional rest days between workouts. Things begin to improve in week three, and Shaw introduces isolated bicep curls into his routine, dropping in weight but also reducing the swinging motion in each rep and therefore eliminating the momentum that might have been making the exercise feel slightly easier.
On the final day of the challenge, Shaw measures his progress via three factors: the size of his upper arms while tensed, the weight he is lifting, and how long it takes him to complete all 100 reps per session.
At the start of the month, Shaw was lifting 35-pound dumbbells. 30 days later, he has found that he can perform the 100 reps faster and with better form if he drops down to 30-pound weights. His biceps have also grown by .2cm each, with an increase in size of around 1cm after the 100 reps. “That’s a good pump!” he says.
Philip Ellis is News Editor at Men’s Health, covering fitness, pop culture, sex and relationships, and LGBTQ+ issues. His work has appeared in GQ, Teen Vogue, Man Repeller and MTV, and he is the author of Love & Other Scams.