Day 3: Chest and Back

Holding true to my plan to make sure I stay accountable and aware of my improvements, I’m going to write my workout results down right here, to allow me to follow up on them later. It’s also important for anyone who is reading this to see where someone starts from with fitness, and that improvements in fitness need a reference point to begin with.

Todays workout was P90X Chest and Back from the original P90X DVD series.

This workout has two repeating rounds, each containing twelve exercises grouped into 3 subsets of 4 moves. That’s a total of 24 moves. All of the bodyweight moves are intended to be maximum reps – you go until failure. The weighted exercises are done as one set of 8-10 or 12-15 reps per round, depending on your goals. Once that’s complete, you have to move on to the Ab Ripper X video.

As an introductory workout for P90X, it is really hard to keep up with the guys on screen. They are obviously well conditioned by months of training for the shoot, and it shows. They are knocking out well over 10 reps for pull ups, even by the last sets!

I felt pretty weak, and even though I pushed myself as hard as I could today, the rep-counts really bear the mark of a person who has done very little over the past 6 weeks or so. Hopefully in a couple of months I will see some solid improvements to these numbers. You’ll see in blue the number of reps I achieved on my first round / and then on my second round. You’ll notice the numbers are very low by the second round.

Reps for Round 1/2
Standard Push Ups: 22/16
Wide Front Pull Ups: 8/4
Military Push Ups: 13/9
Reverse Grip Chin Ups: 7/3
Break
Wide Fly Push Ups: 20/12
Close Grip Overhand Pull Up: 6/3
Decline Push Ups: 13/8
Heavy Pants: 10 reps @ 35lbs/10 reps @ 35lbs
Break
Diamond Push Ups: 10/5
Lawnmowers: 8@40lbs/8@40lbs
Dive Bomber Push Ups: 6/5
Back Flys: 10@25lbs/10@25lbs

So there you have it.

It’s evidence for me at least that I have a lot of work to do in order to regain my upper body endurance. I’m not disappointed or ashamed to share my workout scores. In some ways, it’s all the more interesting to start out from this level again, just to see the fitness come back through hard work. You have to remember that, while I like to work out, I am in no way ‘naturally athletic’. I have to work for every last bit of my fitness, unlike some people we know. That isn’t me guys. It really isn’t.

Why include this workout in the training plan?

This workout really will pay off in developing bodyweight strength for the race. There is so much pushing and pulling your own bodyweight in P90X Chest and Back that’s actually almost perfect for helping you climb obstacles like high walls and ropes during the race. Almost.

This workout is a good place to start developing strength and endurance, but performing well in the Spartan Race also demands explosive power.

Later in training I will need to develop the plyometric/fast twitch muscle fibres in these muscle groups to provide the explosive, kinetic power necessary to move quickly over the obstacles. It’s really the only way someone can muster enough strength to make it to the top of a wall, or up a rope; you have to move very quickly to use your maximum strength. Fast twitch movements will also be good for developing that javelin throwing ability. So as time goes on, I will need to add some clapping push-ups, jump-up pull ups, and throwing movements to my upper body routines in order to develop that capacity. That’s a long way off, plus we haven’t even started on the lower body!

I didn’t have time for Chest and Back and Ab Ripper DVD during my lunch-break, instead I used a new Ab workout from Mike Chang’s YouTube channel when I got home from work, and the kids were finally in bed. It was pretty good, and I don’t really see the need to do much more than that at this point.

Tomorrow is another cardio day. I think that means it’s time for some Plyo. I already know i’m going to hate it at this stage in my fitness, but it has to be done.

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