In addition to this being Halloween, it’s also the 500th anniversary of an event that had a massive influence on western history and culture. It’s this day, 500 years ago, that Martin Luther reportedly posted his 95 theses on the door of Wittenburg Castle Church proposing a discussion on the practice of selling indulgences. This act eventually led to the Reformation and major changes in the church and society, extending even to shaping some of the principals of modern democracy. Thus, we incorporated some allusions to this history into today’s work-out, along with some Halloween themed fun.
Warm-Up: Jumping Jack-o-Lanterns (SSH), Frankenstein Walk, Spider Crawl
Coin in the Coffer
The catalyst that prompted Martin Luther to write his 95 theses was the church’s practice of granting indulgences, or forgiveness of sins in exchange for money. A guy name Johann Tetzel was sent by the pope to Germany to sell indulgences to raise the large amount of money needed for rebuilding St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. He is reported to have said, “as soon as the coin in the coffer rings, the soul from purgatory springs.”
We divided into two teams, each with a bag placed around the 25 yard line inside cones shaped as a church door. Initially, everyone on each team, except one person, was in burpee purgatory and had to continuously perform burpees. The remaining team member had to do traveling burpees to the end line, pick up a ball, and run drop it in the church coffer. They could then tag a team mate, who could escape from purgatory and assist in the mission of earning more coins/balls and releasing the rest of the souls on their team. The first team to release everyone from purgatory yelled “Hallelujah”. The other team was threated to be condemned to purgatory for the rest of the workout. However, one of Martin Luther’s insights was that people are saved, not by their good works or money, but by God’s mercy alone. With this good news in mind, we released the losing team from purgatory.
Spreading the News
Part of the reason Martin Luther’s actions had such impact was the recent invention of the printing press, that caused Luther’s theses to be published and circulated widely throughout Europe, leading to reforms and eventually to an end to indulgences in most places. To represent this news spreading across Europe, we ran with two satchels filled with printed materials (heavy books). This was done as an Indian run with the two PAX at the front of the two lines carrying the satchels and handing them to the next PAX when they sprinted to the front. We completed two laps around the combined fields in this manner.
By the Numbers
Finally, we proceeded to complete 95 reps of 5 different exercises at the four corners and center of the field (we split the 95 reps into 3 rounds of 35, 30, and 30 and sprinted between corners/center). The exercises were:
1) Springing werewolf (aka jump squats with arms above head)
2) Flying bats IC (with knees bent and spine parallel to the ground, bring arms out to side and back to middle to target back muscles)
3) It’s Alive (WW2s)
4) Spider Merkins (Knee up push ups)
5) Supermans (Back bows)
We finished just in time to end with 25 flutter kicks IC, for a total of 500 reps!
A quick final comment for the day: Martin Luther, while certainly not perfect, was commendable for the way he stood up for what he believed to be true, even when he was excommunicated and his life was seriously threatened. Let’s be men who stand up for truth even when it’s unpopular or costly!