The Century Workout

Over the last several weeks, interest in the upcoming PCC workshop this June has grown beyond my expectations.

We’re still more than four months out from the inaugural certification and we’ve already filled almost all of the 75 spots allocated for the event. This is going to be a truly momentous occasion!

As the PCC course material is based heavily on the work of Convict Conditioning author Paul Wade, a key part of earning the PCC title is passing Coach Wade’s “Century” test.

The Century is a strength and conditioning challenge that consists of 100 consecutive bodyweight repetitions performed as follows:

Men                                       Women
40 Squats                              40 Squats
30 Push-ups                         30 Knee Push-ups
20 Hanging Knee Raises     20 Hanging Knee Raises
10 Pull-ups                           10 Australian Pull-ups

A lot of people have asked about how the test will be judged. Here are some guidelines to make sure you are doing things the PCC way:

  •  The exercises must be performed in the order listed above. No exceptions.
  •  Squats must be performed with a minimum depth of top of the thighs parallel to the floor and a full lock out at the top of each rep. Arms may be raised in front, crossed, or placed on top of the head. Heels must stay flat the entire time.
  •  Push-up depth must reach a minimum of 90 degrees of flexion as measured along the outside of the elbow and a full lockout must be achieved at the top of every rep. A straight body position must be maintained throughout the entire range of motion. No sticking your butt into the air or leaving your hips down on the ground.
  •  Hanging knee raises must be performed with the knees being raised above waist level and a full extension of the legs at the bottom of every rep. Swinging shall be kept to a minimum. Arms must remain straight the entire set.
  •  Pull-ups may be performed with an overhand or underhand grip. The chin must clear the bar at the top of each rep and a full extension must be reached at the bottom. Kipping will not be allowed. (Australian pull-ups are to be performed with the bar at waist height and a straight body position must be maintained throughout.)
  •  Rest may be taken in between exercises, but each exercise must be completed in a single set. You may pause briefly between reps as long as the position is held (i.e. top of push-up position, bottom of pull-up, etc.)
  •  The reps may be performed as quickly as you like as long as all the above rules are adhered to. Form first!

In the videos below, you’ll see the Century demonstrated in real time by three different people: myself, my brother Danny, and our PCC co-instructor Adrienne Harvey.

11 thoughts on “The Century Workout

  • By Jamaar Lowe -

    Trying the century is a perfect excuse for me to skip out on cardio tonight.

    • By Al Kavadlo -

      As long as you don’t skip out on exercise altogether you have my blessing!

  • By Natalie Cox -

    Been doing 3 full rounds of “The Century” at a time, so I think I’m almost ready:)…except my grip sucks and I fall off the bar after 10 hanging knee raises. Gotta fix that if we have to stay up there for 20. I’m stoked for this cert!

    • By Al Kavadlo -

      Sounds like you’ve got plenty of time to improve your grip, Natalie. Keep training hard – I’m looking forward to meeting you in June!

  • By robin -

    What kind of bar is that? The one I have is notorious for slipping or coming down. (and it is put in correctly and tightened correctly).

    • By GiryaGirl -

      Hi, Robin – I’m assuming you’re talking about the bar I’m using – it’s a
      very basic chrome bar (I wrapped it with fabric tape) from GoFit. It
      came with brackets that screw into the studs in the wall – I bought
      extra brackets to demonstrate the “Australian Pull Up” and other
      waist-height bar exercises too! It was very inexpensive.

  • By Aaqib Chowdhury -

    Al, I have been training maximal strength using bodyweight for the last 3 months, but nevertheless I can do the century. Can you explain how such non-specific training has helped me?

    • By RobbyTaylor -

      For the men’s century, the hardest part will likely be the 10 pull ups, since it is the hardest exercise and it is done after every other exercise. Many conditioned individuals will have no problem knocking out 10 pull ups after the other exercises, and will find the entire century to be pretty simple…but the purpose of it is not to be a serious strength challenge, it is more to ensure that those who attempt it have a baseline of conditioning and understanding of proper form with these essential exercises. If it was meant to be a more demanding challenge, it would incorporate more advance moves such as pistol squats, handstand push ups, and muscle ups.

      • By Al Kavadlo -

        Thanks for fielding this one, Robby!

        There is talk of possibly doing a PCC Level 2 at some point in the future, which would include a test with harder exercises. (I don’t have any additional info at this point, so please don’t ask!)

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