The Sisyphus

Sisyphus was a mythological Greek king. After a string of deceitful actions and angering the gods, he was condemned to an eternity in the Underworld. Not just any eternity in the Underworld – an eternity of rolling a giant boulder up a hill, and then watching it roll back down. Rinse and repeat. Forever.

For a unique existentialist interpretation, check out Albert Camus’s The Myth of Sisyphus . Camus suggests that “one must imagine Sisyphus happy,” since our struggles, no matter how futile, are what give our lives meaning.

Time to “rock and roll.” :D

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The Sisyphus Workout


Hop on the treadmill. We’re going to simulate Sisyphus’s slow roll up the hill and jog back down when the boulder falls. (You can do this first or after your resistance work.)

1 – 5 minutes: Time to roll your boulder up the hill. Increase the incline by 1 degree every minute. You will be at a 5-degree incline at the end of 5 minutes. Whether you’re walking or running, keep speed manageable but fast.

5 – 10 minutes: Chase the boulder back down the hill. If your treadmill goes to a negative incline, put it on a slight downhill. If not, go back to flat. Quicken your pace.

10 – 15 minutes: Time to move the boulder back up. Put your incline back at 5. After each minute, increase incline by 1 degree. You should be at 10 degrees at the end of 15 minutes.

15 – 20 minutes: Well, there goes the boulder again. Repeat descent run.

20 – 25 minutes: Let’s take that rock to the top one more time. Put incline back to 10. Increase by 1 degree every minute. End on 15 degrees. (If this is too much, start at 5 and go to 10.) Adjust speed as necessary but keep it challenging.

25 – 30 minutes: Getting tired of your rock, Sisyphus? Imagine doing this for eternity. Flip off Zeus and cool down with a flat walk.


Since you have a lot of heavy pushing to do, let’s work on chest and triceps.

Chest 1: Bench press, barbell or dumbbells, 5X5 – heavy

Triceps 1: Rope extension, 5X5 – heavy

Chest 2: Pushups of choice, 10X3

Triceps 2: Dips, full-body or bench, 10X3

Chest 3: Flyes, dumbbells or machine, 8X4 – moderately heavy

Triceps 3: Kickbacks, dumbbells, 8X4/side – moderately heavy

Just for fun: Barrel rolls on round mat (Sisyphus’s rock)


Part inner nerd and part aspiring jock. Mostly inner nerd, though.

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