20 Push Ups; 1 Sit Up

19 Push Ups; 2 Sit Ups

18 Push Ups; 3 Sit Ups


3 Push Ups; 18 Sit Ups

2 Push Ups; 19 Sit Ups

1 Push Up; 20 Sit Up

With a running clock, complete the prescribed work in the order written as fast as possible (“For Time“). Each round totals 21 reps (Push-Ups descending from 20, Sit-Ups ascending from 1) for a total of 420 reps in the workout.

Score is the time on the clock when the last set of Sit-Ups is completed.

Tips and Strategy

Push-Ups will be the crux of this workout. Break the reps up into small sets from the beginning—even if the athlete feels fresh—to avoid burnout in the later rounds. Never go to failure on the Push-Ups. And beware: it might seem like a good idea to go fast in the Sit-Ups to make up time, but if the athlete goes too fast, the core will be too taxed to perform the requisite number of Push-Ups. Keep the pace moderate throughout to be successful in “Blackjack.”

Intended Stimulus

“Blackjack” is all about muscular fatigue and overload. The athlete should feel severely taxed in the upper body and core. The challenge: Find the balance between achieving a great score and burning out before the work is done.

Scaling Options

Scale the volume (total number of reps) and/or the skill level of the Push-Ups (see: Push-Up Scaling) to move smoothly throughout the workout. Long rests won’t allow the athlete to achieve adequate hypertrophy (muscle growth). Suggested rule of thumb for “Blackjack”: If the athlete can’t currently perform 20 unbroken Push-Ups, the movement should be scaled.

Beginner (A)
For Time
20 Knee Push-Ups, 1 Sit-Up
19 Knee Push-Ups, 2 Sit-Ups
18 Knee Push-Ups, 3 Sit-Ups
…continue this pattern until…
2 Knee Push-Ups, 19 Sit-Ups
1 Knee Push-Up, 20 Sit-Ups

Beginner (B)
For Time
15 Push-Ups, 1 Sit-Up
14 Push-Ups, 2 Sit-Ups
13 Push-Ups, 3 Sit-Ups
…continue this pattern until…
2 Push-Ups, 14 Sit-Ups
1 Push-Up, 15 Sit-Ups