AGILITY CHALLENGE – 2K

Can you handle it?

2000 reps of agility related FURY!

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…

Equipment needed:

Structure:

2k challenge

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.

Pro Tip – high knees jump rope is FAST.

For agility ladder heisman shuffle, check out this video from Insanity: Asylum. Each time up the ladder counts as 1 rep. Up and back counts as 2 reps.

For agility ladder hop scotch, check out this video here. Each time up the ladder counts as 1 rep. Up and back counts as 2 reps.

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! 

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Push, Pull, Yoga, Meditate, and repeat…

I think I said previously that my week of pushing, pulling, and doing yoga was boring. 

I guess on its face, that seems true. Compared to some of the other workouts I’ve done in the past, and the variety I like to expose myself to, yeah, doing a basic push/pull and yoga routine is pretty pedestrian.

You know what though – I’m kind of digging it.

In case you are new to the terminology, and don’t know what I mean, a basic push/pull routine is pairing together a pushing movement (like a push up, dip, handstand push up, etc) with a pulling movement (pull up, row, etc). Those are two of the major movements we (as humans) do on a normal basis, so there certainly is no harm in training them. And, if you really study bodyweight calisthenics, you can find MANY different variations to pepper in and keep it fresh. To allow for proper recovery, I’m programming at least one day off between each push/pull session.

For example – I’ve been averaging about 3 push/pull sessions each week, and to keep the push side of things fresh, I’ve been alternating various types of push ups in one session (following the protocol of P90X3’s “The Challenge”), and in the next, I’ll do handstand push ups, and in yet another, I’ll do dips. In terms of pulling, I’ve been focusing on various hand positions with the pull ups, just to train from different angles.

In practice, here is how my last push/pull workout went…

I cued up P90X3’s “The Challenge” just to have some background noise, but, and most importantly, to give me defined time intervals for the movements and rest. In “The Challenge” you end up doing 8 total sets of pulling and 8 total sets of pushing. So, if I set my rep number properly, I’m getting a lot of volume. Since I hadn’t done lever push ups for awhile, and I wanted to get some extended work in with close-grip pull ups, I decided to make those my two exercises for all 8 sets. I set my reps at 8 for the level push up, and 7 for the close grip pull up. I was able to complete all of the prescribed reps, so at the end of the session, I ended up with:

  • 8 sets of 8 lever push ups = 64 on each arm
  • 8 sets of 7 close grip pull ups = 56 total
  • Burnout – 10 sets of 1 around the world chin up and 3 push ups
  • BONUS – 3 sets of 10 hanging knee raises (I felt like peppering in some core)

I’m pretty happy with that session.

On non push/pull days, I’ve been tinkering around in the Beachbody Online Yoga Studio. After having a bunch of fun with the 3 Week Yoga Retreat, I wanted to keep the yogi momentum going. I’d say I’m averaging about 2-3 yoga sessions a week. My practice is getting much stronger, and my body feels great. If you aren’t doing yoga, you really should.

Even as yoga becomes more mainstream, I think there is still a misconception that it’s about mind more than body. I was talking to a buddy of mine about incorporating yoga into his workout program, and he thought it was a suggestion for mindfulness. I told him that certainly is a benefit; however, if that wasn’t enough of a selling point, the major benefit/advantage is what it does to your body. You improve your mobility/flexibility, and it will support and enhance your primary training modes. I look forward to talking with him more about it.

I challenge any athletic person who has never done yoga to complete a 30 minute flow. Tell me at the end that you didn’t get a good workout. I dare you! Even if you don’t buy into the mind/body connection, just do it for the shear impact of the workout. It will get you. I promise.

Also in the Beachbody Yoga Studio are some sessions on meditation. This is a topic that has intrigued me since I read Dan Harris’ book called “10% Happier.”  It was a very interesting story about how he found his way to meditation, and the benefits he’s realized as a result of the practice. There is a SIGNIFICANT amount of science now that shows your brain will physically change (for the better) as you engage in the practice of meditation. Do a google search and check out some of the findings – it’s fascinating.

In the book, Dan cataloged that it took him awhile before he could feel some tangible benefit, so the take away for me is that this is a practice, and you just need to put in the time. So, I’ve been doing a 10 minute session after each workout (push/pull or yoga), and have only missed 1 or 2 days a week for the past couple of weeks. It took me a few sessions to find a comfortable posture (I tried the different sitting positions), and finally settled on laying down in corpse pose. I’m not going to say that I’ve had a breakthrough, but I’m going to say that I enjoy that 10 minutes of focus and relaxing, and I look forward to each time I do it. This is something where it can’t help but benefit me. Really – is there any way that laying down and relaxing my brain for 10 minutes each morning can hurt me? I don’t think so. Therefore, I’ll keep doing it!

 

Do you have any workout or health programs that you enjoy doing on a repeated basis? If so, please let us know in the comments below. And, if you enjoyed the article, please like and share. Thank you!

Bodyweight Workouts – Basement Sessions – Weekly Catch Up

I kind of slacked off in documenting my workouts for the past week. To be honest, they are probably going to be boring to read about. I think I’m boring myself typing about them. All I really did for the past week is yoga and push/pull stuff.

bored

That’s it.

Yoga…

Push & Pull…

Rinse/repeat all week long.

I did get semi-creative for the garage workout. I combined the yoga AND the push/pull.

really.

I know all of that sounds as exciting as a box of hair. But, here is my take away from the week – you can have a boring routine and still have a solid week of training. Even though it seemed basic and monotonous, I mixed in three different yoga routines, and also clocked 3 different push/pull routines with a variety of grips and angles for those pushes and pulls. In the big scheme of things, I’ll take that over going to the gym and doing biceps curls and leg presses!

In other random streams of consciousness, I’m a Madden junkie. For those not familiar, Madden is the popular football video game series. Its been around forever. I’ve been playing forever. I particularly like the franchise mode – building teams through the draft and scouting players is a ton of fun. As I’ve fallen down this rabbit hole further and further (I’m in year 22 of a 30 year franchise, and have played out about 97% of the games along the way), I’ve needed to find new ways to challenge myself. I have the difficulty settings as high as they can go. Each season, I turn over about half of my starters to make room for my new draft picks. Despite all of this, I keep going undefeated. I keep scoring lots of points. I keep allowing not a lot of points. I think I’ve broken the game in a few ways. Some of the statistics don’t even tabulate properly anymore. At one point, the game even made up its own rules. Part of me wonders if the programmers ever expected a person to play this far into a franchise mode, and just “phoned in” the last couple of years programming. In the most recent season, I decided to only allow myself to run two plays all season. One passing play and one running play. I’m “proud” to admit that I just completed yet another undefeated campaign where my rookie QB threw over 70 TD’s. Proud is in air quotes because its probably just sad.

Oh, and in year 22, these Philadelphia Eagles have won 19 Super Bowls. Carson Wentz retired as the GOAT in career TD’s. He was the yards leader (over 80K) until some fictional QB that just won’t retire ruined it.

Who says video games don’t mirror reality???

Continue reading Bodyweight Workouts – Basement Sessions – Weekly Catch Up

Bodyweight Workouts – Basement Sessions – 7/27 – The Basics (plus)

It feels good to feel good.

I don’t mean that in an ironic sense, or a “I’m better than you” way. I mean it feels good when your body and mind feel good. When you are sick or injured, you certainly aren’t your best self. That “not feeling good” feeling really sucks. Whether its a self-inflicted imbalance from one too many IPA’s the night before, or an unfortunate chronic illness you are battling, sub-optimal health just doesn’t feel good. And you know that it doesn’t feel good. Even if you are off by just 10%, you know that it feels different than feeling 100%. You miss and CRAVE that 100% feeling.

I’m usually pretty sensitive to pollen and other allergens in the summertime. That affliction presents with the usual runny nose, sneezing, and itchy eyes. This summer was a little different. I didn’t get any of those symptoms despite pollen counts that were off the charts. Rather, I experienced fluid in my ears for the first time. In both ears. For almost two months. I can’t confirm that its attributable to allergies, but the coincidence isn’t lost on me. I’ve read that pollen allergies can present this way. Since my doctor couldn’t come up with anything better, I’m going to run with that.

Talk about something that will mess with you. Each day felt rotten. It really was a struggle to get through between the cycles of fatigue and the general feeling of imbalance. Your mind starts to wander to some weird places. You basically have an internal argument going on – your body/mind feel like just laying down and staying still. But, there is a small sliver of your mind that knows you shouldn’t do that, and it fights to keep you plugging ahead. That internal debate is exhausting.

I’m very happy to say that I’m going on my 7th day w/o those symptoms. It appears the fluid has resolved (which I’ve been told will happen over time, and was confirmed by a doctor’s appointment earlier in the week). Whether it was just time, or the mega dose regimen of Vitamin C I started about two weeks ago, I’m finally on the other side (at least it feels that way). It’s fun to wake up again. I’m going to really try to relish this 100% feeling for as long as I can.

I guess the moral of the story is – appreciate your health. Appreciate feeling good, Appreciate feeling energized. Appreciate feeling able.

Continue reading Bodyweight Workouts – Basement Sessions – 7/27 – The Basics (plus)

Bodyweight Workouts – Basement Sessions – 7/19 & 7/23 – Catch up

A couple random thoughts…

  • Fantasy football season is approaching. For those of us who partake, getting ready for the draft is fun, AND, if you do a live draft with fun people, it can end up being one of your favorite days of the year. I very much miss the live drafts I used to do when I lived on the east coast with my buddies. I have to do those remote, and it sucks. Fantasy football drafts should be full of cooking out, beer, and progressively crooked name stickers on the draft board.
  • Watched the movie “Tag” on Friday. Lots of fun. Highly recommend it. I clearly like stupid comedies since I wax poetic about the merits of Happy Gilmore. So, if you enjoy movies like Happy Gilmore, you’ll enjoy “Tag.” And, it teaches a very nice lesson about long term friendships. And, its based on a true story – that makes it even more fun.
  • Lawns are annoying during heat waves. Even though you water every day (and jack up your water bill), parts of the lawn still turn brown and look awful. Really feels like a waste of time. I wonder if my HOA will allow a backyard of just sand and/or rocks…?
  • Listened to a podcast where they debated the merits of what to call your grandparents. Side note – listening to people debate the merits of stupid topics is actually pretty funny. The more thoughtful and articulate the arguments, the funnier it gets. Listening to their breakfast food draft was hilarious.
    • Such names included…
      • Grandma (or grandpa) followed by first name (ex: Grandma Jean)
      • Gammy / Gampy
      • Nanna / Pop pop
    • Not sure where I land on this topic. I know we are going with Nana for Baby Breaking’s relationship with his grandmother. That was kind of issued to us since she was already a nana from other grandchildren. Can’t derail that train. Kids get confused. I don’t know what I’ll want to be called once my kid has his own spawn. Unless something better comes along, I think my vote will be “Pop pop.” For the female side, I’m a huge fan of Me-Maw. For some reason, years of watching “The Big Bang Theory” have ingrained that in my head. Grandmother = memaw. Case closed.

Since I’ve been trying to finish out my 3 Week Yoga Retreat review, I’ve been doing that every other day. To not fall too far behind on maintaining my other strength, I’ve just been doing push/pull routines on my non-yoga and non-rest days. All of that volume should pay off in one way or another. As long as I’m getting proper rest between sessions, it can’t help but benefit me.

Continue reading Bodyweight Workouts – Basement Sessions – 7/19 & 7/23 – Catch up

Bodyweight Workouts – Basement Sessions – 7/13/18 – Miscellaneous

Today is Friday the 13th (or was if you’re reading this in the future). I’m actually typing this in the future because I was kind of lazy with posts since Friday. I hosted a beer tasting in the late afternoon at my place to try out the “Keto Fail Ale,” and then Mrs. Breaking and I had a game night with a pretty fun couple. I wanted to kick off the night in the style of the It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia crew, but Mrs. Breaking didn’t see the merits. You decide…

We played Sheriff of Nottingham. It’s a table game. Amazon recently had a nice sale on table games, so I grabbed that and a card game called “Joking Hazard.” I really wanted to play Joking Hazard, but it hadn’t arrived yet. It’s basically a cartoon version of Cards against Humanity.

It took us a little while to get started as we learned and pondered the rules, but once we got into it, the game was fun. It’s basically about lying and BS’ing the people you are playing with. Some of the lying and negotiating got pretty interesting as we got more into the game and the beers kept flowing. One of our participants may or may not be doing the dishes at his house for the next month. I don’t really recall the exact conditions of that negotiation. I thought I came in second place, but, since I ended up as the chicken king, I won 10 extra points, and that put me over the top. I edged out the apple king. I woke up on Saturday realizing I probably sampled one too many beers, and spent the day not wanting to try and cobble thoughts together. We’ve all been there. But, its no True American.

 

Okay – back to my thoughts on Friday the 13th. I used to like horror movies. A lot. I grew up on stuff like A Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, Friday the 13th, and the like. For some reason, that stuff just isn’t palatable to me anymore. I don’t want to sit for 90 minutes and watch people be terrified or tortured or maimed. It just doesn’t entertain me anymore. I think Hostel back in 2006 was the beginning of the end for me. I screened the movie the night before its release, and it made me feel very icky after watching it. Between that and Saw, I think that “torture porn” has turned my brain off to the entire horror genre. Maybe there is a limit to what types of situations or scenes should be put out for public consumption. I read an article back in May about a crowd walking out of a movie during a screening. The movie is called “The House that Jack Built.” I’m not making a sweeping statement about art and its place in society, or even what is considered art. I’m saying that I’ve made my choice to avoid this particular subset of art. It doesn’t elicit positive reaction from me.

I’d much rather laugh for 90 minutes, or watch a movie that elicits a positive emotional response. Not a movie that makes me wonder if some quasi-zombie hockey mask guy is going to try and attack me with a machete. And, how the heck does he actually catch people when he walks and they run? Seriously – the only horror guy I’ve ever actually seen run is Freddy Krueger. Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees are basically mall-walkers, but find a way to catch and murder their prey.

Part of me thinks that I might not like that stuff because I’ll have a hard time explaining its merits to my son. I know I certainly don’t want him watching that stuff for a long time. Its more fun to watch Happy Gilmore and appreciate the comedic timing/delivery of Christopher McDonald…

…than it is to watch a terrified “B’ actress run up the stairs into a confined attic space rather than running out the front door. I know that is the writing, so I should blame that on the “B” director and the “B” writer.

I’d much rather watch a movie that gives me goosebumps for a good reason. I still get emotional at the end of “Miracle” when Kurt Russell goes back into the arena’s hallway and starts crying. Oh, and the broadcast overlay they do during the movie by including Al Michael’s actual call during the game is epic. Hearing him actually say, “DO YOU BELIEVE IN MIRACLES,” is priceless.

I still get goosebumps at the end of Apollo 13 watching Ed Harris’ reaction to the shuttle regaining communication after splashdown. That is what I want to pay my money for.

I literally just got goosebumps watching it as I copied and pasted the link.

THAT is worth the price of admission.

Continue reading Bodyweight Workouts – Basement Sessions – 7/13/18 – Miscellaneous