Fitness YouTuber Austin Dunham might look ripped now, but he claims that back in high school, he and his friends were "straight up nerds" and spent way too much of their time solving Rubik's cubes. "Before I got into fitness, I used to do this all the time," he says. "I used to almost practice it the way I do with working out now... I'm still able to do it pretty fast."
Dunham was inspired to take it back up after seeing a few videos online of other fitness enthusiasts incorporating the popular puzzle game into their workouts; for instance, influencer Lawrence Obioma shared a video of himself solving a cube one-handed while hanging from a pullup-bar in a single-arm hang, and trainer T.R.I.P. Fit completed the cube while maintaining a weighted plank.
So he decided to try his own version of the Rubik's cube workout, and set out to break a world record at the same time, by solving the cube in as short a time as possible while holding a weighted plank — and steadily increasing the weight with each new game.
"I'm going to start off with 45 pounds on my back, and I'm going to try to go as heavy as possible," he says. "This might just be world record-breaking, because I don't see nobody doing this... One plate might be easy for me, but the challenge I'm giving myself is I'm going to get progressively heavier and heavier each set. One plate, solve, two plates, solve, three plates, solve. My goal is four plates."
And as for his strategy with regards to the cube? "There's not a secret to it, it's more algorithms, recognizing patterns and knowing the move to solve that certain pattern," he explains.
Dunham starts off with a single 45-pound plate on his back, and solves his first cube in 39 seconds. He adds another plate for the second round, holding 90 pounds on his back for the 35 seconds it takes him to solve the Rubik's cube. The next plate takes the weight up to 135 pounds, and he takes 43 seconds to solve this one.
"When you're under that pressure, it makes you want to do it faster, but then doing it faster messes me up," he says.
Adding a fourth plate, bringing the weight to 180 pounds, Dunham takes just 36 seconds to solve the cube, and his success in this round of planks leaves him feeling confident enough to try a fifth plate, totaling 225 pounds — but he's not able to sustain his tension and position for long enough to solve the cube, and drops out of the plank just before his final sequence.
"I was literally right there," he says. "I was that close."
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