Sunday, October 7, 2007

P90X Week 7

So my knee healed and week 7 went by without a hitch. I got through all of the P90X workouts that I had planned and did most of my triathlon work as well. The only thing that I really noticed was how much I "HATE," and I do mean "HATE" the first workout of the week during this second phase of the program. Not that I don't recognize the benefit of said workout. It just really, really isn't one of my favorites.

The workout I'm referring to is the Chest, Shoulders, Triceps routine. Until I started this second phase of P90X, there really wasn't a lot in the program that I struggled with. Want me to do 100 pushups, 349 core/ab exercises, and 100 pullups with a bunch of other stuff thrown in for good measure in an hour and 15 minutes? No problem. There were some things I had to work at, but mostly I could handle whatever came my way. That was at least until I started doing the sadistic stuff on this DVD. OMFG! So what's the big deal you might ask? Well for starters a lot of these exercises are done to failure. FAILURE!!!

To be fair, Tony Horton calls failure by the PC term "maximum reps." Now while there is pain involved in doing workouts out like this, I'm not really sure this is why I hate doing it. Actually as I write this post I'm coming to understand my reluctance to put this particular DVD in the player comes more from my mental relationship to failure than it does to my ability to handle pain. Both of these things together (pain and failure) are really tough pills to swallow every Monday for three weeks in a row. So I find myself putting this workout off until I'm almost ready to go to bed. (There are some reasons this wasn't a very good decision -- namely it jacks up my sleeping pattern).

To give you an idea of what I'm talking about here, I'll describe a couple of the moves. The workout starts with what are called "3 in 1 Slow Motion Push Ups." So what happens is this: You start out in a wide hand position and go down very slowly on a four count and come up just as slowly on a four count four times. That is one set. The next set of the has you move your hands in a little closer to a standard push up and repeat the count. The last set is a Yogic or Chaturanga push up where the hands are close in to the side and the elbows graze the ribs. Then, immediately following those, as a bonus you get to do some standard push ups really, really fast at the end. Ugh.

The next killers are the Plange Push Up and the Pike Press. The Plange Push Up is similar to Chaturanga except that the hands are even further back. At the top of the push up you arch your back like a cat. The Pike Press is also sort of a push up with an interesting twist. Hands and feet are wide, like the Dive Bomber Push Up (or Hindu Push UP) but your body is in pike position shaped like an upside down "V". To do this movement you lower the crown of your head to the floor and back up. Like I said at the outset, a lot of these moves are performed almost to failure. So if you do not have a good gauge of where that point is, or are tired, you can face plant pretty easily. I have face planted a lot with this DVD.

Then there are the Floor Flys and Two Twitch Speed Push Ups. The Floor Flys are a combination chest fly and push up at the same time. Start at standard width with your hands then move the right hand out wide to the right, descend, then come back up moving the hand back to standard position. Four reps to the right side. Then do the same movement on the left side four times. Sounds simple till you get to about 12. From there on its a plain and simple gut check. The Two Twitch Speed Push Ups involve doing 4 fast push ups and 3 slow ones for one set. The slow ones are on a four count up and down like the Slow Motion Push Ups described earlier. Tony and his group do 4 sets. At present I am lucky if i make through 2 sets. This is another sure face plant for me weekly.

From there the workout moves to Side to Side Push Ups, One Arm Push Ups and finally ending with Clap/Plyo Push Ups. The Side to Side Push Up is one where you do a standard push up, then slide over to the right moving both feet and hands, then doing another push up before moving back to the starting position. We all know what One Arm Push Ups are. Nothing really to say about those except just like one arm pull ups, they are hard. And to be completely honest so are Clap Push Ups. Tony likes to show you what a stud he is here and does Plyo Push Ups for an advanced option. These are where he gets airborne with both his feet and hands leaving the ground, clapping while suspended in mid air.

Compared to this, the rest of the workouts for the week are a breeze. Tony likes to say that the Plyometrics workout is the mother of P90X workouts, but he is wrong. Plyo, while challenging, is no where near the psychological and physical drubbing handed out on this DVD. All I can say is I'm glad I had already gone through 4 weeks of P90X leading up to this. There is no way I'd have had the mindset to "Bring It" if this had been what we started off with. So as usual I have to complement Tony on a well designed workout series. Next week is a rest week, then pictures before moving into the final phase. And no more of this DVD for a while. Thank God.

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