If The Gordon Pass Challenge Doesn’t Get You Ripped, Nothing Will.
If you’ve ever been out on Naples Beach and seen a herd of super-fit humans hurdling by, you’ve probably just witnessed the Gordon Pass Challenge (GPC). Created by friends Simon Tracy and Paul Neils, this free-for-all workout challenges participants to use the beach as their gym.
“We wanted to create something that everyone could do, that was accessible to anyone. You don’t have to pay a cent to do this,” says Tracy. Participants start running at the Naples Pier. Heading south, they stop at each set of pylons to perform combinations of push-ups, lunges, dips, squats and planks. There are 30 sets of pylons, so by the time you reach Gordon Pass (the turnaround point) your arms and legs should be screaming.
The order of the exercises is unofficially crowd-sourced. “We don’t tell people what to do,” says Neils. “Usually whoever gets to the first set of pylons first starts doing an exercise and everyone else follows.”
Both founders say they’ve seen significant gains in their fitness since beginning the workout. And they promise you can get those results too—no special equipment needed.
Step One: Warm Up
The GPC starts at the Naples Pier and runs south. From the pier to the first pylon is seven-tenths of a mile. Use this time to warm up.
Step Two: Push-Ups
GPC athletes hoist themselves onto the pylons to complete their pushups. Put your feet on one pylon and your hands on another—this will force you to engage all of your core muscles to keep your balance. For an extra challenge, put your feet on a pylon that’s higher than the pylon your hands are on. Do 10 reps to start with, then continue running to the next group of pylons.
Step Three: Dips
Finding a shorter pylon, place your hands on it with your back to the ground and your face to the sky. Your feet can either be close in (easier) or farther away from you (harder). Lower your torso by bending your arms, but keep your elbows pointing behind you—not out to the sides. Do 10 reps, then run to the next set of pylons.
Step Four: Lunges or Squats
This leg station is up to you, so you pick your poison. If you’re doing lunges, make sure your front knee doesn’t ever shoot in front of your toes—and if you’re doing squats, both knees should stay behind your toes (stick that butt out, don’t be shy). Do 10 reps on each leg for lunges or 20 squats, then run to the next pylon.
Step Five: Crunches
These take some practice, but really work your core. Climb onto a pylon and balance on your tailbone. With your feet in the air, put your hands behind your head and crunch upwards 10 times, chin to the sky.
Step Six: REPEAT
Repeat the same sequence of exercises all the way down the beach until you’ve reached Gordon Pass. Then turn around and run all the way back to the pier. In total you will have run over six miles and completed more than 300 reps of exercises.
Additional reporting by: Simon Tracy and Paul Neils.