The Iron Decathlon: The King of Workout Challenges
The Iron Decathlon: The King of Workout Challenges
The holidays are fast approaching and the year is coming to an end. That means an abundance of parties and various celebrations. In January the gyms will be filled to their limits with trainees beginning their New Year's resolutions.

Those that train throughout the December holidays are committed lifters. They are the lifters that compete against themselves every time they walk into the gym. It's a never-ending battle to improve themselves.

Why not end the year with a friendly competition to challenge yourself and encourage others to test their limits as the year ends?

The Iron Decathlon Challenge

The Iron Decathlon is a 10-event competition designed to test both muscle, strength and endurance in a format that easily allows trainees of various weights, strength levels and training styles to compete against each other. Events are divided into four rounds for scoring purposes and physical recuperation.

Placing points (finishing 1st – 4th) are awarded, as well as points for reaching various Success Levels in each event. Contestants will need to do their best in every event to achieve their best overall score but need not place in every event to win the Iron Decathlon.

Barbell PlatesSchedule the Iron Decathlon to accommodate everyone's schedule. Each contestant should complete Round 1 on one day, Round 2 on another, and Rounds 3 and 4 on a third day.

The days do not need to be consecutive and every participant does not need to compete on the same day as each other. Having everyone perform Rounds 3 and 4 on the same day provides a "Closing Ceremony" atmosphere and helps intensify the competitive nature while bringing the contestants together to cheer each other on.

An example of the ideal schedule:
  • Week 1 – Contestants are divided into groups and assigned a day to complete each event for Round 1.
  • Week 2 – Contestants perform Round 2 in the beginning of the week and Rounds 3 and 4 on the Saturday of the same week.
Many events use weights equal to each contestant's bodyweight, or a percentage of it. Should the need arise, always round UP to the next highest dumbbell or plate. This should keep everyone within a few pounds of the actual weight targeted to keep things fair without anyone moving LESS weight than required.

Legal lifting equipment includes lifting straps and hooks, Versa Gripps, knee sleeves and wraps, belts, and chalk to help with grip and help prevent injuries. The use of slingshots, special shirts and all other equipment must be agreed upon in advance and only used if everyone agrees they don't give anyone an unfair advantage.

Round One - Bodyweight for Reps Events

  • Bench Press
  • Pull Ups
  • Dips
  • Squats
  • Leg Presses
The Iron Decathlon begins with 5 Bench Press

Round Two - Highest Bodyweight Percentage Events

  • Squat
  • Bench
  • Deadlifts
The second round includes the "Big 3" lifts: squats, bench press and deadlifts. The goal in Round Two is to lift the heaviest weight possible but each contestant's bodyweight is divided into the weight lifted and the score is recorded as a percentage. If you lift 300 pounds and weigh 150 pounds you lifted 200% of your bodyweight; a 200-pound contestant lifting 300 pounds lifted 150%.

These classic powerlifting exercises are performed in the same day to truly test each contestant's strength. Every participant gets 3 attempts on each event to showcase their highest weight.

Highest percentage of bodyweight lifted is recorded and scored as described below. Additional points are awarded for the highest average percentage on the three lifts combined and for various Success Levels.

Rounds Three and Four

The final two rounds are performed on the same day and they give everyone an opportunity to strut their stuff as the Iron Decathlon comes to an end. Weights used are determined by each contestants bodyweight – 25% for round 3 and 100% on round 4.

Round 3 - 25% Bodyweight Bicep Blaster

Incline Curls. Ask a weightlifter to flex and you will almost certainly have a bicep pose thrown at you. Round Three provides an opportunity for everyone to show their guns in action with one of the most demanding types of curls available: incline curls.

Each contestant will be curling 25% of their bodyweight, divided between their two hands, for as many repetitions as possible. If you weigh 200 pounds then the weight used is 50 pounds, divided into two 25-pound dumbbells. Dumbbell weight should be rounded UP to the nearest weight that fits this scheme.

Use an incline bench set around 45 degrees to force participants elbows to stay behind their body; both dumbbells are curled at the same time with palms facing away at the lowest point and facing your shoulders at the highest point. Each participant receives one painful attempt and total repetitions is recorded and scored as described below. Additional points are awarded for reaching various Success Levels.

Deadlifts

Round 4 - Bodyweight Deadlift for Repetitions

Deathlifts. The final event is a brutal bodyweight event. Male contestants use a weight equal to their bodyweight while females use 50% of their bodyweight. Each participant dead lifts that weight for as many reps as possible.

This is not a timed event but contestants cannot rest more than 10 seconds between repetitions. Total repetitions performed are recorded and scored as described below and additional points are awarded for reaching various Success Levels.

Iron Decathlon Scoring

A diverse scoring system for awarding points has been developed to allow contestants of various weights and training styles to compete against each other in a format that challenges the body in various ways.

Points are distributed evenly for instances where multiple participants reach the same repetitions or percentages.

The following example applies to each event in every round:

Three people perform 18 repetitions, two reach 17, one does 16 repetitions and four reach 15. All three people that performed 18 reps receive 1st place points, two people receive 2nd place, one person receives 3rd place and four people receive 4th place. Each contestant receives the amount of points listed for their respective placing. The same format applies with the highest Percentage of Bodyweights lifted in those events.

Success level points are available to everyone that reaches the requirements listed below as either A, B or C levels. These requirements and points help the Iron Decathlon remain competitive throughout the contest. Success Level Points are awarded as follows:
  • A = 5 Points
  • B = 4 Points
  • C = 3 Points

Round One

TrophyPoints are awarded for highest repetitions performed in each individual event, total repetitions performed in all 5 events, and success levels with each individual event.

Placing points for each individual event:
  • 1st place – 5 Points
  • 2nd Place – 3 Points
  • 3rd Place – 2 points
  • 4th Place – 1 Point
Placing points for combined repetitions in all 5 events:
  • 1st Place – 7 Points
  • 2nd Place – 5 Points
  • 3rd Place – 3 Points
  • 4th Place – 2 Point
Success Levels. Reaching the listed reps earns the listed points.

A/B/C levels:
  • Bench Press - M: 20/16/10 F: 10/8/6
  • Pull Ups - M: 18/14/10 F: 10/8/6
  • Dips - M: 18/14/10 F: 10/8/6
  • Squats - M: 20/15/10 F: 12/8/6
  • Leg Presses - M: 18/14/10 F: 10/8/6

Round Two

Points are awarded for highest percentage of body weight lifted in each event, highest average percentage in all 3 events, and Success Levels.

Placing points for highest % in each event:
  • 1st Place – 7 Points
  • 2nd Place – 5 Points
  • 3rd Place – 3 Points
  • 4th Place – 2 Points
Placing points for highest average of all 3 events:
  • 1st Place – 7 Points
  • 2nd Place – 5 Points
  • 3rd Place – 3 Points
  • 4th Place – 2 Points
Success Levels. Reaching the listed percentages earns the listed points.

A/B/C Levels:
  • Squat - M: 200/175/150 F: 150/100/. 75
  • Bench - M: 200/175/15/125 F: 125/100/. 75
  • Deadlifts - M: 225/200/175 F: 175/150/100

Round Three

Points are awarded for highest repetitions performed and success levels.

Placing points for highest repetitions:
  • 1st Place – 7 Points
  • 2nd Place - 5 Points
  • 3rd Place – 3 Points
  • 4th Place – 2 Points
Success Levels. Reaching the listed reps earns the listed points.

A/B/C Levels:
  • M: 20/16/12 F: 14/10/8

Round Four

Points are awarded for highest repetitions performed and success levels.

Placing points for highest repetitions:
  • 1st Place – 8 Points
  • 2nd Place – 5 Points
  • 3rd Place – 3 Points
  • 4th Place – 2 Points
Success Levels. Reaching the listed reps earns the listed points.

A/B/C Levels:
  • M: 20/15/12 F: 10/6/4
Calculate total points and the winners are the contestants with the highest score for men and women. This is a friendly competition but awards can be given for the top finishers and a year worth of bragging rights could be an award as well.

Challenge yourself and your friends with the Iron Decathlon this holiday season. Introduce it in your gym with your friends and implement this as an annual year end competition for a fun way to challenge yourself and others. Let us know how you did and remember that nothing proves your numbers and backs up your victory more than video evidence.