Tuesday, January 14, 2014

P90X3 Review The Challenge Day 4

I'm gonna have to admit something. This workout scared me. I briefly looked at it in the P90X3 Fitness Guide, cause all the workouts and specific moves are listed in there, and my arms, shoulders and back hurt just looking at the pages.

The length of this workout is just like the others in X3, 30 minutes top to bottom. 

In my honest opinion, I think the title of this workout says it all. The Challenge. When a test group participant of mine posted about a pair of new cross trainers she got and how she couldn't wait to try them out for our next workout, another coach in our group said, and I quote, "you won't be using those much tomorrow...". We were all kinda confused. Then we did the workout.

Oh. Yeah. It doesn't matter what you have on your feet.

So - here's the breakdown of "The Challenge". It's pull-ups, push-ups, pull-ups, push-ups, pull-ups, push-ups, rinse and repeat a million times. Seriously. It's all you do for a full half hour.

For these workouts you don't need much equipment. Having a chin-up bar is pretty much required. Except I don't have one! So, my modification is that I take a resistance band and wrap it around a support in my basement ceiling. Like this:

One thing to remember when using the resistance bands for pull-ups and chin-ups: make sure to take a short pause at the bottom of the exercise. Don't just pull down and immediately release. Pull down and hold for a second or two. Then contract back up. We are doing this to work our muscles - right?

The workout starts with warming up your shoulders, back, biceps and triceps really well. Lots of arm rotations and stretching. Then, Tony has you pick two numbers. The first number is for how many pull-ups you will do each set and the second number is for how many push-ups you do each set. They chose crazy numbers like 40/20. HAHA! Not this girl! I decided on 20/10. I was sufficiently challenged!

The actual workout goes like this:
  1. Wide Pull-Up - These pull-ups are your standard pull-ups. Your hands should be at LEAST shoulder width apart. I take mine just a hair wider. I used my red (light) resistance band for this set. It was too easy. Remember, I'm a band director during the day so my shoulders and back are VERY strong from conducting all the time. A light resistance band might be perfect for you.
  2. Standard Push-Up - These are great push-ups to start with. Your hands should be under your elbows. Modified is on your knees, regular is on your toes, advanced is balancing on one foot. Make sure to tighten your tush when you do a push-up. That helps to keep your core active and it keeps your body aligned. Lower your body down, preferably until your chest grazes the floor. Push back up, engaging your back, triceps and shoulders. The goal is to go as low as you can without resting on the floor. It's not about speed, it's about form. I did all ten on my toes.
  3. Wide Pull-Up - This is a repeat of exercise 1. I used the yellow (medium) resistance band this time. MUCH better!
  4. Standard Push-Up - Repeat of the second exercise. I did them all on my toes again - go me!
  5. Chin-Up - Your basic chin-up requires your palms to be facing you. Your hands should be closer together than shoulder width. If you want a challenge, have your pinkies touching. OUCH. Using the chin-up bar, you will literally pull yourself up. Using the bands, you will pull down while keeping your hands as close together as you can. If you want more of a challenge with the resistance band, back up more or use a heavier band.
  6. Military Push-Up - These are my arch nemesis. They mostly work your triceps and my triceps are MUSH! You want your hands to be as close to your pecs as you can get them. Keep your upper arms TOUCHING your body as you go down and push back up. Your triceps should be BURNING when you are done with this exercise. Not gonna lie - I did them ALL modified on my knees. Like I said before, my triceps are mush. My goal by the end of P90X3 is to do 10 of these on my toes!
  7. Chin-Up - Repeat of exercise #5.
  8. Military Push-Up - Repeat of exercise #6.
  9. Close Grip Pull-Up - These pull-ups are very similar to the chin-ups except they are done in pull-up style, with your palms facing away from you. They are the absolute hardest pull-ups you will do during this workout. The closer you have your hands together, the harder the exercise is. Want a big challenge? Have your thumbs touch.
  10. Wide Push-Up - Tony claims these are the easiest push-ups. I think he's on crack. No push-up is easy for me. However, these ARE slightly easier than the other ones. When you set them up, you want your hands wider than your elbows. Remember, this is NOT about speed. It's about form. Go down slowly. Squeeze your bum. Keep your back flat. Beginner is on your knees or maybe even on a wall
  11. Close Grip Pull-Up - See exercise #9 - well do that one AGAIN!
  12. Wide Push-Up - You guessed it! #10 again!
  13. Vaulter Pull-Up (right hand facing forward) - These pull-ups are KILLER! Your arms are already toast and Tony just pushes you a bit further. When doing these, you will have your right hand holding the bar or band with your palm facing AWAY from you. Your left hand will be palm FACING you. Pull-down or pull-up depending on your equipment. At this point in your workout, it's REALLY important that you make sure to pause after you've pulled down. Get those muscles nice and tired!
  14. Staggered Push-Up (right hand forward) - Tony just doesn't quit. He's laughing at this point. You are crying. It's ok. We've all done it. I paused the DVD, stretched for a second while cursing him out, then pushed play again! Ok - the actual exercise. Your right hand will be out in front of you, almost in a wide push-up position. Your left arm will be in a military push-up position (very close to your chest). Down and up you go! Remember, form is key!
  15. Vaulter Pu;;-Up (left hand facing forward) - See exercise #13? Switch your hands around.
  16. Staggered Push-Up (left hand forward) - See exercise #14? Again, switch your hands around.
  17. The Burnout - Tony seemed to misjudge just exactly how much time the 16 sets of alternating pull-ups and push-ups were going to take. Since he had 2 and a half minutes to kill, he gives you one last workout. Three standard pull-ups followed by three standard push-ups. Do as many as you can, with proper form, in 2 minutes and 30 seconds. Yeah. I was not saying very nice things to Tony at the end of this workout.
The Challenge is literally that - a challenge. You MUST push yourself to your limits and then push just a little bit further. Next time, I will be doing 25 pull-downs (with my resistance band) followed by 12 push-ups. I will make every possible effort to do as many push-ups on my toes. If that means pausing the DVD, then so be it. I will pause the DVD. My thoughts on X3 so far is that you will only get the results that you PUSH yourself to get. Stay in your comfort zone and nothing will change. Push yourself further than you have before and you will be amazed at the results.


1 comment:

  1. just did my first challenge...thought I'd play it safe and aim for 10 pullups / 10pushups. Even those conservative numbers totally kicked my ass. Looking forward to the next one...