Day 8: Shoulders and Arms

This P90X workout is designed to develop the ‘glamour’ muscles as Tony Horton puts it.

Here are the moves:

There are 12 moves per round, for two rounds.

The cycle is Shoulders, Biceps, Triceps until all the exercises are complete. Hardest moves are the Congden Curls – curls while in a squatting position. Other notably difficult moves are the static arm curls, and the deep swimmer’s presses.

In the evening I did this ab workout from Sixpackshortcuts.

Day 7: Plyometric Cardio Circuit

The first workout video in the Insanity 60 day fitness program is something you never forget.

It’s just so soul destroyingly difficult that it’s hard to believe that anyone can actually finish the entire video without stopping. It is probably the most savage introduction to a workout regime ever.

I’m not trying to sell the Insanity program but it’s real bear of a program. The reviews on Amazon are incredibly positive. With people losing tens of pounds of fat over the 60 days. Obviously diet is a huge part of the success of these people, but there is no way that someone can do the insanity program and not see your body undergo massive metabolic and composition changes. You lose weight and gain lean muscle.

These guys give it a good go.

I gave it my best shot.

Day 6: Chest and Back

Today’s workout was P90X Chest and back.

The numbers show a mild improvement in some of my max-rep exercises compared to last week, although other reps seem to have just been borrowed earlier on, not to be replaced later in the workout. I’ve lined the two workouts up below, so you can see what I mean, understandably get bored very quickly, and move on to my other posts before heading back to the Facebooks.

Step Exercise Week 1 Week 2
Reps Weight (lbs) Reps Weight (lbs)
01
Standard Push-ups
22 30
16 13
02
Wide Front Pull-ups
8 9
4 5
03
Military Push-ups
13 16
9 5
04
Reverse Grip Chin-ups
7 7
3 4
05
Wide Fly Push-ups
20 22
12 10
06
Closed Grip Overhand Pull-ups
6 7
3 3
07
Decline Push-ups
13 12
8 6
08
Heavy Pants
10 35 10 35
10 35 10 35
09
Diamond Push-ups
10 11
5 4
10
Lawnmowers
8 40 10 40
8 40 10 40
11
Dive-bomber Push-ups
6 7
5 6
12
Back Flys
10 25 10 25
10 25 10 25

You may be interested to see that on some of the exercises, I did less than I did the previous week. However on balance, I did achieve more reps, which makes me happy. I was quite sore today, but not as sore as I was this time last

Day 5: Yoga grudge-match

image

Yoga is an inevitability. The older and more experienced I get, the more I realize that my fitness and athletic abilities are influenced by lots of  different styles of exercise. Yoga has become one of them.

Yoga for me is about developing a lot of different things. Two things that you probably don’t associate with it are  isometric strength, and isometric endurance.

The other things like flexibility, correct posture, balance and getting toned are all part of the benefit too.

But at this stage in the game, it feels more like a struggle to survive the hour. I’m aparrently going to get better at this over the coming weeks. For now it feels like I’ve survived some kind of physiotherapy session from hell, but in a good way. If that makes any sense.

Day 4 – Plyometrics

I’m getting hit by delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) today. All of the muscle groups I worked yesterday are now recovering from the beating they took yesterday. That’s my triceps, pectorals, lats, and my abs. My abs are probably the worst. That sixpackshortcuts guy Mike Chang knows what he’s doing.

In yesterday’s post I mentioned the need to develop explosive power, and that I hadn’t had a chance to work on the legs yet.

Well that happened today.

After an hour of jump training, in the form of the P90X Plyometrics video, I have completed what I think is the second hardest workout in the entire p90x canon – the top place being reserved for ‘Legs & Back’, which is just another level of savagery.

If you haven’t done this workout before, it’s the hardest cardiovascular workout of the original series. It’s also the workout you need to develop the ability to jump powerfully, and land in a stable and controlled manner.

image

Just the calorie burn alone should be an indication of the effort required to do this workout. It was a brutal reminder of a day when my brother in law Travis and I did the same workout, and neither of us could walk down a flight of stairs without holding the rail. Today I had to pull myself up the stairs afterwards because just like then, my legs wouldn’t carry me anymore. I’m fairly certain I’m going to be walking around very sore tomorrow afternoon.

Still, I needed this today. Working out at lunchtime is a perfect way to break up the workday. I like my job but, it’s nice to have a complete diversion like this.

I’ve still got some muscles that aren’t sore yet, like my shoulders and biceps. That’s about to all change tomorrow. 

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.

Day 2 – The X

Todays workout was the P90X Cardio X workout. It’s a fairly straightforward, moderately difficult workout – although I found it particularly difficult today. Tony Horton takes you through a sample of different aspects of the P90X cardio/core elements.

Cardio X

Warm-Up

  • Jogging on the spot, jumping jacks etc.
  • Yoga movements.

Kenpo section

  • Kickboxing.
  • 3 Directional Kick
  • Upper-Cuts
  • Two Punch Combo
  • Kick and Punch Combo

Plyo section

  • Jump Squat
  • Swing Kick
  • Circle Run
  • Jump Shot
  • Gap Jump
  • Tire jumps

Core section

  • Squat Run
  • Steam Engine
  • X Squat
  • Shoulder stand roll/jumps

Cool Down

You’ll have to check out the video to get everything exactly as prescribed by the program. There is some variation in the timing for each exercise and it’s important to see the form in action.

It was a tough workout to begin my workout plan with, but it was a good choice for easing into the intensity level I am used to. It was good to rediscover this workout after so long, and I will definitely revisit it soon.