Okay – so long story short, I fell down my stairs at home back in September, and tweaked my shoulder. At the time, I didn’t think much of it. It annoyed me a little bit when doing yoga, push ups, dips, etc. Just thought it was a nuisance, so I kept going. When I started the LIIFT4 program on Beachbody On-Demand, I found out how jacked up my shoulder really is.
On the shoulder day, in my 2nd set of overhead shoulder presses, I realized that I’m actually injured, and needed to stop right away. I’m not talking discomfort from challenging myself – I’m talking sharp pain. Lesson to the masses – know when you are actually INJURED, and SHUT IT DOWN!
So, I resolved to take a break from any form of resistance training on my shoulder for the next three weeks, and just let it chill. I’m not in a sling or anything – I’m just avoiding any type of direct repetitive stress that causes immediate discomfort (no push ups, no down dog, no dips, no pull ups, etc). I’ve found I can jump rope, so that is nice.
I didn’t want to be a total sloth during this period, so I decided to focus on lower body stuff. I’ve spent some time on the elliptical for 25 minutes at a clip, and I’ve been doing jump rope work and agility ladder work. One day, I decided to ram those two together, and create a workout. Thus, the 2K Agility Challenge was born…
This is a 13 round workout. The first 8 rounds go for 3 minutes of work, 1 minute of rest. The final 5 rounds are all core-centric, and on the ground. 30 seconds of work, 20 seconds of rest. Why 30 seconds? Because I hate core workouts.
Your goal is to try and hit the numbers in the “baseline challenge.” If you hit those numbers throughout the workout, that gets you to within 5 reps of the 2K challenge. If you go over on some, and under on others, that is fine. The key is to try and hit 2K total reps in the allotted time.
The jump rope portion is pretty simple. Jump rope for 3 minutes. COUNT YOUR REPS and write them down. Here is the one rule. The first 100 reps have to be on one foot. Do 50 reps right foot only, then 50 reps left foot only. After that, its freestyle – do whatever you want.
For the reverse crunch, just lay on your back with your legs straight out. Pull your knees into your chest. Straighten your legs back out. That is 1 rep. Don’t let your feet touch the floor.
For the leg lifts, just lay on your back with your legs straight out. Lift your straight legs into the air until they form a 90 degree angle with your torso. Lower them back down w/o touch the ground. That is 1 rep.
For the c-sit heel tap, get into a c-sit position and hover your heels off the ground. Now touch your heels to the ground. Raise them back off the ground. That is 1 rep. Its a small movement – your heels should be no more than 6″ off the ground when you raise them.
If you check out my 12/20 workout reps (in the chart), you’ll see that I blew past the 2K challenge requirement. The first time I did it, I was around 1800 reps. I figure 2K is a nice starting challenge threshold for the group (I’ll be running the Wednesday workout group through this gauntlet). I think I can go even higher if I go high knees for ALL of the reps after the one-legged reps in jump rope. We’ll see. Just going to play with it for now. Could also increase the time threshold on the core work at some point.
Anyway – have some fun with it, and post your results below!
Did you try the Agility 2K challenge? If so, please share your thoughts in the comments below. If you liked this post, please click “like” and share!
To quote one of our participants, “…I didn’t know you can sweat when its 26 degrees out…”
For the past couple of Wednesday sessions, we were inside doing various yoga workouts that I shared with the group. Today we decided to go old school and get our butts outside.
We hadn’t completed a focused jump rope workout in a LONG time. So, I programmed this session around our long lost friend. Good ol’ JR. In total, we logged a solid 16 minutes of jump roping. That is a lot of jump roping.
A funny thing can happen when you leave your garage workout gear in your car during the harsh winter – your jump rope can FREEZER. Granted, my travel rope is a piece of garbage from AmazonBasics, but still, I spent the first minute of JR trying to soften that darn thing and get the bearings spinning again. It eventually came around, but geez – you normally warm up your body – not your exercise equipment!
In the first couple of rounds, the bodyweight calisthenics didn’t seem to be too much of a challenge, so for the last two rounds, I tried to add in more difficult progressions for the basic exercises (sub A-skips for high knees, sub squat with oblique crunch for regular squat, etc). In the future, I’ll probably add more plyo in the bodyweight calisthenics part of this. But, overall, this was a pretty decent workout that got us sweating. Which, again, is quite the feat on a 29 degree morning.
Overall, the group enjoyed the experience, and looks forward to the tweaks I might make next time around. Sphinx blasters could make an appearance…
I spent the past month and a half of my workout life sampling the Core de Force workout program published by Beachbody. For the most part, I’ve been a bodyweight workout guy for a long time now. Every once and awhile, a workout program I’m doing will integrate weights, but, overall, I’d say that a majority of my workouts are bodyweight based. Since Core de Force is advertised as a no-equipment workout that focuses on fitness through martial arts inspired moves, it seemed like a fun and different way to approach fitness for awhile. So, I dug in…
Equipment and Space:
I started the program in a hotel room in North Carolina. I was pleased to see that it’s a 100% portable program, and you can do the basic workouts anywhere. The required “footprint” is relatively small. All you really need is enough room to punch, kick, and sprawl to the ground. A couple of the moves have you shift forward or back, so having a little room around you is a good idea.
And, as the program promises, you don’t need any equipment to do the base workouts (note – you need an agility ladder or need to tape off an agility ladder on the floor to do the 2 “agility” workouts in the deluxe package). Oh, and you need a way to view the workouts, so I guess you need a streaming device or a TV/DVD player. Hmmm – liars. I guess some equipment IS REQUIRED.
In terms of time, you are only investing 30 days to complete a round (you will have something programmed every day), and the workout time investment varies from 27 minutes at its shortest to about 1 hour, 2 minutes for the longest session (a 47 minute workout + 15 minute core workout). As it is MMA/martial arts inspired, the workout formats center around the idea of a 3 minute round. The shortest workout is 6 rounds, the medium sized workout is 9 rounds, and the longest workout is 12 rounds. You get programmed rest between rounds, and little mini micro bursts of rest as you transition moves.
The majority of the workouts follow a VERY SIMILAR pattern:
Skill work for 60 seconds
Spike move for 30 seconds
repeat skill work for 60 seconds
repeat spike move for 30 seconds
That is the pattern for most of the workouts in the program. The exceptions are power sculpt and dynamic strength. In those workouts, it goes like this…
1 move for 60 seconds
1 move for 45 seconds
1 move for 35 seconds
The moves progressively get harder in that stack, so the 35 second move is supposed to be harder than the 60 second move.
Oh, and the core workouts (core kinetics, and 5 minute core on the floor) go to the beat of their own drummer. 5 minute core on the floor is 5 plank varieties for 1 minute each, and core kinetics is 7 moves done for 1 minute each (and you do the circuit twice).
List of workouts in the program:
MMA speed (I’ll do this again)
5 Minute Core on the Floor (I’ll do this again)
Core de Force Relief
*MMA Speed 2.0
*MMA Shred 2.0
*Agility Strength (I’ll do this again)
*Agility Power (I’ll do this again)
*MMA Kick Butt (I might do this again)
The basic DVD program has 10 workouts. That is actually pretty darn good value for the $$$ you are spending. My only beef is that even with so many different workouts, it felt kind of stale towards the end. I think if they varied the structure a little more, it might have helped. Then again, there is only so much variety you can create when your tools are punches and kicks.
My overall thoughts:
In total, I’d say this program is about 3.5 out of 5 ass-kickings. I thought the effort they put into making the modifiers accessible was great. Beachbody has really stepped up its game in trying to make its programs accessible to all fitness levels. Good trainers (and good programs in general) should show how to modify moves and break them down into progressive moves. CdF does that very well.
The instructor cueing was exceptional. Aside from how they teach push kicks, I felt that I got a great explanation on every move I was expected to do. And, along the way, Joel/Jericho explained what you should be feeling, and/or what the subtle nuances of the move should be. For example, on roundhouse kicks, it should come AROUND and be aiming for the side of your opponents’ rib cage. For sidekicks, your heel should be up and your toe should be down. This type of instruction helps you get the most out of the session. In addition, there are tutorial videos available that give you an immersive experience into the world of the fighting stance, and the various arm/leg movements you’ll be doing. This is a very nice addition.
The production values and music didn’t disappoint, and were up to usual Beachbody standards. They really are an industry leader in this department. I love watching these videos as I workout.
The overall cardio impact isn’t on par with some of the more advanced programs in the Beachbody universe, but it isn’t intended to be. Giving it a ranking of 3 out of 5 doesn’t mean it sucks, it just means that if you want a cardio ass-kicking, don’t use this program. Go do Insanity Max 30.
I’d say the cardio is on the intermediate scale, but slightly to the beginner side (rather than the advanced side). I wasn’t sucking air vigorously at any point during this program. I did sweat a lot though – especially on the longer sessions that were punctuated with core work as a finisher. I will give a shout out to the agility ladder sessions, and Jericho’s MMA Kick Butt. Those three workouts were probably the biggest cardio burner in the program. Too bad they aren’t part of the base kit.
Same thoughts regarding strength – don’t view this program as a holistic way to build a massive body. That is not its intention, and it doesn’t pretend that it will deliver that. You will get stronger in your chest. You will get stronger in your legs. You will strengthen your arms as a by-product of the chest work. Note – if you don’t supplement back work on your own (rows, pull ups), you will lose back strength. There are not any moves that work “pull” strength. BUT, I have to give CdF credit for introducing me to sphinx blasters. Those babies are intense, and will really challenge your triceps and shoulders. Honorable mention goes to jumping fireflies. If you want to do a crazy chest/shoulder/tricep stack, pair those two exercises together.
Here is where I think Core de Force excels, and it is for this reason that I’d recommend at least trying it…
Your hip strength and mobility will improve greatly.
Your core strength will improve greatly (if you do all of the prescribed extra core work).
In my first week, I was embarrassed by how poor my kicking was. I mean I could barely do a side kick above knee level (with good form). By doing kicking movements every session for 30 sessions, this cured itself pretty quickly. My hips/hamstrings are much more flexible now, and my kick technique is leaps and bounds above where it was. I’m not about to go join the MMA or anything, but having good range of motion with kicks means I have good range of motion with my hip flexors, which means I’ll have better athletic performance in any mode that requires hip flexor mobility.
I can also say that my core strength has improved. This is two-fold. First, you are doing tons of twisting moves during every session. With the moves you are doing, you hit your core in three planes of motion. That alone will improve your overall core fitness. Couple that action with the core kinetics and 5 minute core on the floor workouts, and you have a recipe for some serious core strength. If you’ve read the posts, you’ll know how much I hate core kinetics. But, despite my visceral distaste for it, I can say its a challenging workout, and gets the job done. Moving forward, 5 minute core on the floor is probably the core workout I’ll keep in my arsenal for a rainy day. Its quick, easy to remember, and is very functional (you are basically planking for 5 minutes). The first time I did 5 min core on the floor, I went to my knees between transitions – now, I’m on my toes the entire time. Boom!
I’m glad I did the program to get the core and hip strength benefits. I probably wouldn’t do the full program again, but I can certainly see myself cherry picking a couple workouts here and there to mix it up once and awhile.
I’m happy to report that this 2.0 wasn’t bad. It wasn’t crazy hard or anything like that, but it certainly felt a little harder than its predecessor.
I will say that the workouts in this format (skill move, spike move, skill move again, spike move again) all seem to bleed together. Aside from varying the number of rounds (6 rounds versus 9 rounds), I fail to decipher one from another. For example, in the Insanity program, when we did “cardio” or “plyo” I knew exactly what I was getting. The “pure cardio” was a non-stop workout that assaulted your cardiovascular system. When we did plyometric cardio circuit, I knew that we were going to fry my lower body with a bunch of plyometric hell. In this program, I see no difference between a “shred” workout or a “speed” workout. Just throw a bunch of kicks, punches, and elbows into a blender and hit puree. That is how you come up with one of these workouts.
But, it felt like there were A LOT of elbows in this workout. So, maybe we can honorarily call this workout ELBOW SHRED!
In all honesty, the only exercise that got me sweating and got my heart rate “up” was the spiderman climbers. You get to do them in round 5 and round 9. Throwing this in twice is what really saved this workout. Otherwise, I might have been more critical. Overall, didn’t love it or hate it – just very blah about it.
Oh, and one more session of Core Kinetics. I still hate core kinetics.
Move of the day: slip back, slip forward, hook, cross, and spiderman climbers
To condense posts, since I don’t really have a lot to say about active recovery, I’m just going to tack it on to my MMA shred + core kinetics post.
I did active recovery. Hooray.
Don’t let my perceived lack of enthusiasm let you think that I don’t appreciate this part of the workout. I really do. Recovery days are essential to any training program. You can’t go balls to the wall 24/7. Gains are made when you rest. It’s that simple. Stuff like active recovery sessions gets the blood flowing to the muscles, and helps aid recovery (and make you feel a little looser too).
Knocked out MMA Shred and Core Kinetics while Baby Breaking was in the basement with me cheering me on. It’s fun to have an audience. I felt like I had to work a little harder so he didn’t think daddy was a slacker. Because, you know, 11 month old babies are certainly judging your workout intensity. The Breaking Dog Pack was outside again because it’s 50 degrees (December 1st), and all of the snow from last weekend’s blizzard has melted. Worry not – the weather is going Jekyll and Hyde again, and promises to snow again tomorrow. On a somewhat related note, I read this week that we are heading towards a mini ice age due to a lack of sunspots. If ever there was a movie waiting to be made its that one. Just shoot Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck to the sun, and use a nuke to create a “spot” that will end the mini ice age. Note to Michael Bay – This time, let Ben stay behind to melt in the blast. PLEASE.
I’m not sure if it was the yoga that I did this week or what, but I absolutely killed MMA shred today. My kicks were amazing, I was going at a high pace, my form was good. I really felt like I got a good workout. AND, I only complained about Core Kinetics about 5 times. That is a huge improvement for me.
In the home stretch – still a couple workouts I can sub in to get me to the end. Today I subbed Speed 2.0 for the regular speed. I was psyched because its only 6 rounds, but then I saw that I have to do core kinetics and I started pouting.
I really hate Core Kinetics.
To be honest, until round 4, I really felt like this workout was a total waste of time. I don’t know if my conditioning is just that good, or if the workout is just that weak. But, I didn’t break a sweat until the spike in round 4. Heck, even the modifier was keeping pace with the normal workout. In total, I give this one a big shrug and “whatever.” I was expecting the 2.0 version to whoop me. But, alas, it was just a fart in the wind. I guess the plus is that I felt completely normal going into Core Kinetics.
So, to sum up Speed 2.0 – I won’t be coming back.
Let me just note – it’s not that I find Core Kinetics to be impossibly hard. It isn’t. I just find it to be tedious, mundane, and ick. I can think of about a hundred different things I’d rather be doing for 15 minutes…