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Take The #657challenge And Support A Muscular Dystrophy Charity

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Reckon you could sit down on the floor then stand up again without using your hands? Whether you can or not, you should try to do it – and show your support for people with the muscle-wasting disease muscular dystrophy.

Launched by charity the Muscle Help Foundation (opens in new tab) (MHF) in partnership with Upbeat Drinks, the #657challenge (opens in new tab) (named for the 657 muscles in the body) aims to raise awareness and funds for the MHF, and encourage people to take care of their own muscles.

Now, we admit this version of the sit-to-rise test is not quite as simple as sitting down then standing up again. You have to do it while holding a glass full of water on your head, ideally avoiding any spillages.

Here’s a full run-down of what’s involved – just make sure you get someone to video you doing the following:

  • Fill a cup of water to the brim.
  • Hold the cup on top of your head, keeping both hands on it throughout.
  • In a standing position, cross your legs.
  • Lower until you are sitting on the floor.
  • Drive back up to a standing position.

Then post your video to your favourite social media channels with the hashtag #657challenge and nominate three friends to give the challenge a go. Finally, and most importantly, text MUSC13 £5 to 70070 to donate to the MHF.

The less water you spill throughout the challenge, the better. It’s a surprisingly hard move to pull off, requiring flexibility, strength, balance and co-ordination. Check out Coach head honcho Jonathan Shannon attempting (and failing) the #657challenge.

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If you take the #657challenge and are similarly alarmed at your inability to sit down and stand up without drenching yourself, then you might want to do a little work on the muscles involved.

Upbeat Drinks enlisted muscle expert Mike Aunger of Technique Physiotherapy and Sports Medicine to create a quick five-move workout designed to strengthen the muscles involved in the challenge.

1 Seated glute stretch

Sets 1 Time 30sec

Sit on a chair with your right ankle over your left knee to open up your hips. Pull your left knee into your chest to stretch your glutes, then gently press your knee down to open up your hips further. Go for 30 seconds in each direction and on both legs. Repeat daily.

2 Deep squat hold

Sets 1 Time 30-60sec

This hip stretch will dramatically boost your lower-body strength if done often enough. Lower into as deep a squat as you can manage, keeping your knees wide apart and back as flat as possible (so not hunched over). Hold a table for balance and to help you stand up again if needed. For a further stretch, push your elbows into your knees to open them up further. Repeat every other day.

3 Chair squat

Sets 3 Reps 5–6

Stand in front of and facing away from a chair and lower until seated, then drive back up using just your legs. Too easy? From standing, slowly lower until your backside is just touching the seat, then drive back up to stand. Still too easy? Try it standing on one leg, keeping the other one elevated. As you improve, use a lower seat. Repeat twice a week.

4 Ankle flex

Sets 3 Reps 10-12

Keep a band by your sofa and give this a go while watching TV for a painless way to stay stronger on your feet. Seated, with your heel on the floor and toes elevated, turn your foot outwards – it’ll strengthen the perineal muscles around your ankle and calf. Increase the resistance by doing it with an exercise band wrapped around your foot. Repeat every other day.

5 Superman

Sets 3 Reps 12-15

Strengthen your core muscles with this move. Lie on your belly with your arms outstretched in front of your head and face down to keep your neck neutral. Lift your right leg and left arm off the floor, then your left leg and right arm. Continue alternating, pausing for two seconds at the top of each lift and keeping it slow. Aim to do it two or three times a week.

Nick Harris-Fry
Nick Harris-Fry

Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.