Syphus Training claims to have the #hardestworkout.. is it?

by ~jenniferlynn on February 6, 2013

in Working Out

If you have been keeping up with my blog lately, you would know that I have become a Crossfit fanatic and all of my workouts have been focused on Crossfit. This was a change from my workout-out-at-home-programs I did before, but a huge step in the right direction knocking me out of my comfort zone. So when Syphus Training approached me on Twitter about checking out their facility, I was intimidated, yet up for a challenge. They use the hashtag #hardestworkout  yet I figured from my recent experiences with Crossfit, nothing could be that hard.

syphus training logo hardestworkout

What is Syphus Training?

Sypus Training was developed by Mike Hackett, who developed a unique fitness program inspired by the Greek mythological character, Sisyphus. If you are unfamiliar with mythology, as I am, the knowledgeable source, Wikipedia, describes Sisyphus as being, “punished for chronic deceitfulness by being compelled to roll an immense boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down, and to repeat this action forever.” With that sort of mentality being the foundation for a fitness program, you know it is going to be intense, and push you to your limits!

Syphus Training defines itself as, “high-intensity progressive circuit training,” yet what they do is unlike anything else that you have seen before.

What are the Syphus Workouts?

Syphus prides itself on having a training program unlike any other, and likes to keep the guts of its workouts discreet to the outside world. Trust me, even if I told you everything about it, it is nothing at all like experiencing it first hand!

In the most basic form, you show up to class, have a white-board full of workouts, or “tasks”, and accomplish as many as you can within that hour. Each complete workout is rated with a score, and you are ranked at the end of the workout, with a perfect score being 1,000. It is seemingly complex and confusing, yet oddly logical.

How did Jennifer Syphus?

When Mike was recruiting me on Twitter to check out Syphus, he was also working to get Molly to check it out as well. Molly is a fellow blogger (kind of), Detroiter, and Crossfitter, so meeting up was also an opportunity for me to meet her, which I was quite excited about! (Don’t judge that I meet people online…)

Didn't get a "before" pic :(

Didn’t get a “before” pic 🙁

We pulled up to the facility around 6:20 and nervously went inside. Mike was extremely welcoming and recognized our smiling faces from Twitter right away. He introduced us to a few of the trainers, and showed us around the place. And by showed us around, there really wasn’t much to see, but we stayed optimistic. There were lots of weight plates, yet no barbells. No pull-up rigs. Nothing at all like the Crossfit boxes.

syphus training turf

We were directed to the whiteboard with the workout, and if you think Crossfit lingo is confusing, yikes. On this board (super secret, can’t share a picture), were what I would equate to three separate Crossfit WODs, each unique in its own way, with multiple workouts in each. We were told to start with the first exercise, and complete the sequences in the appropriate order. These movements combined elements of running, plyometrics, and movements using weight plates that you would find extremely unconventional, like “hike”ing it down the field!

As we were completing our tasks, Mike and another coach, Suzanne, were cheering us on, and critiquing our movements, ensuring we were using proper form and efficient exercises. Major kudos to the coaches here for not only creating such intense workouts, but also putting the safety of the trainees first. Molly and I toughed it out, making faces every time we passed each other, second guessing our reason for being there. My quads cried and my endurance failed me a few times yet for the most part, we stuck through the entire hour of intensity!

After we finished, Mike was writing our scores up on the leader board. Since 1,000 is the best possible score, I would assume a 500 would be average. We fell short. And ironically (okay, not ironic at all– I am quite used to it); I was dead last. 😉 Molly told me she mostly comes in near the end during her workouts, unless there is a 60-year-old woman with back problems against her. Apparently, I rank with the old women. 😉

Back to the scoreboard, there was a lot of instruction going on during the hour for Molly and me since we were new to the movements, but I am sure we would gain many more points if we were to go again!

syphus whiteboard score

So was this the hardest workout ever? I will say it was one of the hardest workouts I have ever done, yet it really isn’t comparing apples to apples to compare Syphus to Crossfit to a strict lifting program. The intensity and structure are so unlike anything else, yet it kicked my butt and worked muscles that have not been discovered before!

Final Thoughts


  • Completely unique type of training
  • Perfect for improving endurance
  • Small, community atmosphere
  • Educated, motivating coaches
  • No risk of hand tears, skinned shins, or bruised knees and collar bones


  • During weekday traffic, it is about an hour drive
  • Workouts are an ENTIRE HOUR of moving
  • Financially would have to choose between Crossfit and Syphus, as both are pretty pricey
  • No barbell work! 🙁
Me and Mike Hackett, founder of this madness

Me and Mike Hackett, founder of this madness

For me, Syphus just does not fit within my personal training plan or current goals, however I think it is an awesome gym with excellent staff who will help you make the most out of their programming. I think it is perfect for the endurance athlete as it combines cardio and strength in a longer time frame than some other programs!

If you are in the Detroit area, or ever come to visit, I highly recommend giving them a visit!!

To keep up with what is going on at Syphus, follow them on Twitter or like them on Facebook!

Have you ever done any unconventional training programs? What is the hardest workout you have ever done?

Twitter: lifeiskitsch
February 6, 2013 at 7:49 am

Don’t get too caught up in where you fall on the whiteboards. I’ve been CrossFitting since June and I’m almost always at the bottom and I’m not the worst athlete I’ve ever seen. I’m just not always the fastest or strongest.

I had a great time meeting you!

Twitter: runfastmama
February 6, 2013 at 10:21 am

Kind of funny about the super secret workouts, lol Not sure how people will decide if they are for them or not 😉 I would say the most intense I have ever done is Insanity, well running a Marathon would really be the most intense, but workout wise Insanity. However, I have come to discover I can not handle all of the jumping involved and my knees are protesting. Going to check them out online to see the location, since it is an hour from you might be by me 😉 Need to remember though Hubby did say Crossfit or races…
RunFastMama recently posted..Run=Fun! Establishing and Sticking to an Exercise ScheduleMy Profile

~jenniferlynn February 6, 2013 at 10:24 am

The first class is usually free to check it out, plus if you blog about it, I’m sure that’s even more reason to let you try it for free 🙂
The video explains it a bit more, if you have time to watch. Since you have marathon endurance, this may be a cake walk for you! 😉

Twitter: JackiRHayes
February 6, 2013 at 11:17 am

These workouts look like so much fun, honestly. Although I think I would just add them in to what I already do. In fact, I think I may have to take some of the moves from the video and work them into my plan over the next couple weeks.

Of course, being in Iowa, this isn’t really something I could join up anyway.

Congrats on giving it a try.
Jacki recently posted..Should I Eat Legumes?My Profile

~jenniferlynn February 6, 2013 at 11:24 am

Completely unique workouts, for sure!

Twitter: Mychickenbutt
February 6, 2013 at 2:58 pm

This actually sounds really fun to me! If I’m ever in your area you have to take me!!

Courtney @ Journey of a Dreamer
Twitter: courtnorm
February 6, 2013 at 3:29 pm

Hmmm interesting. I like the idea of unique out of the box workouts but I don’t think I could give up the barbell! And i’m not a fan of top secret workouts you can’t share! How am I supposed to brag? LOL
Courtney @ Journey of a Dreamer recently posted..Weigh In Wednesday: Dietbet Round 2!My Profile

NJ Paleo February 6, 2013 at 4:09 pm

This seems like a really interesting and fun gym! I’d do these workouts in addition to my beloved barbell in my garage. I bet in a couple of years we see Syphus franchises springing up all over the country!

Mike February 6, 2013 at 7:28 pm

NJ Paleo,

That’s the plan. Keep your eyes and ears to the ground….we will be wide-spread soon!

Twitter: inmyheadspace
February 6, 2013 at 4:51 pm

To bad I am not a Detroiter… I think this would interst me. How cool is it that you we invited to try it out?! Thanks for sharing.

Kim @ HealthyNest February 6, 2013 at 5:36 pm

Wow, sounds crazy intense. Thanks for sharing!
Kim @ HealthyNest recently posted..That Wasn’t So BadMy Profile

Twitter: lifeiskitsch
February 6, 2013 at 10:30 pm

I’m going to continue to go to Syphus 1-2x a week, in addition to CrossFitting. There are two days a week I am never able to make classes at my box, so this works for me. I’m from the east side and am over there are all the time. It’s my hood. Not going to give up CrossFit, though. No way.

~jenniferlynn February 6, 2013 at 10:31 pm

That is awesome Molly!!! I wish they were on the west side! Would make a commitment much easier.

Tasha @ Healthy Diva February 7, 2013 at 12:14 am

Wow! Seems like a crazy workout to me. I think I will stick to crossfit! I would probably be so confused with the lingo- crossfit lingo is hard enough to learn. 🙂
Tasha @ Healthy Diva recently posted..You asked! Healthy Diva’s training questions are answered!My Profile

Suzanne @WorkoutNirvana
Twitter: WorkoutNirvana
February 7, 2013 at 10:23 am

So fun you guys got to meet! I was once asked to test out a local TRX facility and couldn’t due to an injury at that time. Trying new types of workouts ranks as one of the most difficult things you can do. I give you a lot of credit for trying it Jen! I’m with you, not my style of workout but it would be a great way to expose any weaknesses.
Suzanne @WorkoutNirvana recently posted..Hard Truth #1: You’re Revising Your Workouts Too OftenMy Profile

Alex @ Alex Tries it Out
Twitter: alex_j_meyer
February 7, 2013 at 2:12 pm

Sounds cool! So it’s unique to this guy, right – not like a chain at all?

P.S. I love your shirt.

P.P.S. I meet people online, too. Haha.
Alex @ Alex Tries it Out recently posted..Alex’s World Beer Tour & @KLUTCHclub winner!My Profile

~jenniferlynn February 7, 2013 at 2:53 pm

a. Right now, there’s just one, but he wants to expand!
c. Haha.. odd question.. meet your boyfriend online?

Alex @ Alex Tries it Out
Twitter: alex_j_meyer
February 11, 2013 at 10:27 am

a. Tell him to look me up if he hits Iowa!
b. Thanks!!
c. No, actually, lol. But I’ve met a lot of fitness peeps via Twitter, which is sweet (and a little sad that I have to meet people from the same town I live in online… ).
Alex @ Alex Tries it Out recently posted..Simply Snackin Jerky Review & GiveawayMy Profile

Mary July 14, 2016 at 4:08 pm

I have a fitness event coming up in 3 weeks that I’m training for, but I think a Syphus center opened near me. I’m definitely going to come give it a try

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: