Core de Force REVIEW – Day 3 – Speed MMA

My calves are still a little sore! Amazing. I might have to foam roll these bad boys today.

Took yesterday off since it was a travel day. Had a 90+ minute drive to the airport to catch an AM flight home. Even with the tropical storm rolling through the Carolinas, the area I was staying in was barely touched, despite the “eye” of the storm coming right through.

I’m back in my own basement, in my own “gym” and ready to kick some arse. Today is a reboot of day 1, speed MMA. Even though I was able to do the entire workout unimpeded in my hotel room, I was looking forward to doing it on my own turf. Quick side note – I won’t miss the smell of my hotel carpet – every notice that hotel carpet smells musty Anyway, having some familiarity with the sequences, I wanted to see if I could speed up the cadence, while at the same time keeping form.

Mission accomplished.

I also had my mirror in front of me, so I pretended I was fighting myself with each move. Its true – when you have a target to focus on, you can go harder and faster. I really focused on turning into my punches and trying to make them impactful. This certainly increased the intensity of the workout. My advice – punch like you mean it – your workout will be better.

punch

Since you get to do each skill move twice per round, though its not prescribed, I switched my footwork and practiced the skills from my non-dominant side for the 2nd time through. I don’t know why they didn’t program this in as a modifier, but they should have. Learning the combos from your non-dominant side tickles your brain in a completely different manner. I’ll be sure to mix this in as I keep going.

To finish today’s session, I decided to squeeze some back work in (might as well follow my own advice, right???). Rather than hit the pull ups, I decided to knock out 3 sets of max rep inverted rows. Wow – has my muscle endurance on this move cratered. I used to be able to do 3 sets of 30 a couple years ago. My sets went: 24, 16, 12. I may want to work these back into my back regiment rather than just focusing on pull ups. Being the curious little monkey that I am, I decided to see if there is an article that talks about the inverted row and pull up working in harmony for a well rounded back regiment. Lo and behold, there is. Please check out this link courtesy of Redefining Strength.

I finished out the day with a nice 10 minute meditation session. In case you are curious, I am a fan of the meditation sessions on the Beachbody On Demand app. BB is getting that plug for free since I’m not a Beachbody coach – I’m just a dude who thinks they have a great suite of workouts.

Continue reading Core de Force REVIEW – Day 3 – Speed MMA

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Core de Force REVIEW – Day 2 – Dynamic Strength

My calves are sore. I guess day 1 was a little more impacting than I thought it would be. I’m still in my hotel room, and so far, this workout program is proving to be very portable through two workouts!

Just finished day 2 – Dynamic Strength. I am sweating, and my upper body is a little tired. There were A LOT of push ups. The nice thing is that Joel and Jericho (your two trainers for this program) kept some variety in the move. There were a total of 6 different push up varieties in the workout. My favorite parts of the workout were the balance moves. There were a few moves that involved kicking (fun). But, staying balanced on a single leg for 50 seconds while hinging your hip and kicking is a challenge. Improving my kick form is now a side quest for me in this workout. I always knew that my hips were below average in the flexibility department, but now I can see how poor they really are when I struggle to do a kick above belly-button level.

kickboxer

Yeah, not me. I probably kick Tong Po in the thigh and make him VERY angry.

My only lament in this workout (and most workouts called “strength”) is that there is no real strength work for the upper back – you know – activate the pull muscles. I know that the starfish move hits the upper back a little bit, but it in no way is as impacting as rows, pull ups, etc. I’ve said this in other programs, and I’ll say it again – if you are big into rows, pull ups, and the like, you WILL NEED TO SUPPLEMENT this workout with those moves once or twice a week to not lose your progress.

My advice for this workout is to keep your water near by. The transitions between exercises are less than 10 seconds, and the transitions between rounds aren’t long either (30 seconds – but, they give instruction for the next move in this time). If you need to run to the fridge for a bottle of water, you’ll miss the start of the next move.

Move of the day: Sphinx blasters – round 12 (on your toes) – damn, that is a challenge for 50 seconds

Runner up: Balanced repeating side kick w/o step down – round 9 & 10 – this is what showed me my lack of kicking skills

Continue reading Core de Force REVIEW – Day 2 – Dynamic Strength

Core de Force REVIEW – Day 1 – Speed MMA

To quote Tobias from Arrested Development, “…its time for a new start…”

a nu start

Okay, its not quite a new year since its October, but I just felt like saying A NU START. If you don’t get that reference, please binge watch Arrested Development on Netflix. It used to be on Fox, but got yanked after a couple seasons. Netflix saw the cult following, and picked it back up. They’ve gone on to do at least two more seasons as of this post. I think this is the show that brought Jason Bateman back into prominence, and right now he’s killing it on Ozark (another great Netflix show).

Don’t get me wrong – I’ve loved my pushing/pulling/yogi’ing/meditating. I plan to keep doing all of that stuff while I’m playing with Core de Force. It just means I won’t quite finish Core de Force in 30 days. However, I think yoga is too important to just kick it to the curb. I’ve made way too much progress.

I don’t know why I chose Core de Force as my next program. I just finished all of my Insanity Max 30 posts, and was considering going through either P90X3 or P90X2 again, and documenting those. But, I just got the feeling to try something I’ve never done before. This program comes pretty highly rated through Beachbody users, so, I figured – why the heck not? On its face, it looks like a potentially fun workout program. It seems to be targeting mostly cardio, and getting its results through MMA inspired moves. I don’t expect to be a full fledged UFC fighter after this program, but I do expect to have attacked my cardiovascular endurance in a way that I haven’t before.

Right now, I’m on the road for work and am camped out in a hotel room for a couple of days (between stops at the job site). I still like to get good workouts in, even when I’m trapped in a hotel room. I haven’t checked out the gym yet, but I will at some point during my stay (I hope they have a pull up bar!!!). I usually end up doing something in the room, or I take my jump rope outside and put together a quick circuit. In this case, I looked at the Core de Force workout structure, and saw that I didn’t need any equipment or even a lot of space. So, I decided to cue it up!

Overall, I enjoyed the first day of speed MMA. It wasn’t crazy hard – I didn’t feel wiped out after the workout (but I did go as hard as I could – my HR was easily over 120 bpm towards the end of the workout), and I got a good sweat going on. I actually had to bring a towel over to the desk where I’m typing right now because my sweaty forearm kept sliding off the desk.

During the workout, the combos got progressively harder, and I certainly felt a workout happening in my legs and my core (specifically my lower back). This is probably due to all of the twisting (you will move along 3 planes of motion, so that is good). I certainly felt my combos s-l-o-w-i-n-g down in the last round. I can’t imagine what a fighter’s limbs must feel like after an actual fight (if this little bit of patty-cake got me tired).

I’d like to point out that it was helpful to do the tutorials they offer on the different moves. They offer cues and demos inside the workout, but if you need to take the first 15-30 seconds trying to figure stuff out, you are missing a portion of the workout. There is some nuance to getting your feet in the proper position, and also using your arms properly for the different punches. Otherwise, you are just a cracked out monkey flailing around.

crazy monkey

Don’t be that monkey – do the tutorial.

Continue reading Core de Force REVIEW – Day 1 – Speed MMA

Buy a jump rope!

If you don’t have a jump rope, you are really missing out.

It’s great as a warm up, its great as a primary workout, its great to take on the road. I’m serious – whenever I travel for work or vacation, it goes in my bag. I get a ton of use out of my jump rope.

It might be one of the best pieces of exercise equipment you can buy. And, they are pretty much dirt cheap.

There are two kinds – regular jump ropes (PVC coated cables) and speed jump ropes (some are bare metal cables). I personally have a speed rope with the cable coated in PVC because I like to do a bunch of different stupid human tricks with mine, and the bare speed rope hurts when it hits your body at high speeds. My buddy had the bare metal cable, and that thing tore me up.

You can get a good inexpensive jump rope here from Amazon – ACCTREND Jump Rope Kit – Adjustable Steel Cable Skipping Rope With PU Coating.

There really is no shortage of ways to workout with a jump rope. Just search the internet for jump rope workouts, and then fall down as many rabbit holes as you’d like. I first got exposed to hardcore jump rope workouts when I dabbled with the Insanity: Asylum Volume 1 workout (review here). Shaun T really takes you through the paces with your jump rope. I became hooked.

These guys are pretty good jump rope technique models:

In my humble opinion, the jump rope provides these benefits:

  • Improved cardiovascular performance (your heart rate will remain relatively high if you are doing sustained bouts of jump roping)
  • Improved hand/eye coordination (your brain is doing double duty as its trying to sync your hand and jump movements – you will create new neural pathways in your brain – give it time)
  • Improved speed and agility (depending on the mode you choose, you can train any number of speed and/or agility drills)
  • Improved lymphatic system and bone health (yes, there are health benefits to jumping on a daily basis – check out this article)

At the start of most of our garage workouts, I’ll program either a 5 minute period of freestyle jump roping to practice skills, or I’ll prescribe a set number of jumps you have to do without stopping (usually 300-500). Some of my favorites include:

  • high knees
  • butt kicks
  • scissor jumps (scissor your feet front/back as you jump)
  • hip flexor jumps (cross your feet in a cross/neutral/cross pattern)
  • one foot hop to scissor (4 hops, then 8 scissors)
  • low abductor squat jumps (you’ll have to slow down your hand motion)
  • double unders

If we do 300-500 reps for the warmup, my goal is to cycle through all of the skills above as one big flow w/o stopping.

I’ve been known to program jump rope as the active recovery during a regular workout. For example:

  • 20 pushups
  • 1 minute jump rope
  • 20 alternating jump lunges
  • 1 minute jump rope
  • 20 drop lunges
  • 1 minute jump rope
  • 20 glute bridges (per leg)
  • 1 minute jump rope
  • 10 rolling planks
  • 1 minute jump rope

Repeat for 3 rounds.

I had a guy do this workout with me and 3 other people, and he was fried the next day. AND, he was a self-proclaimed Crossfitter. He whined about his calves for days afterward. I don’t know what his deal was – the rest of us were fine.

If you are just getting started out, there is a very nice program (for free) on the Darebee website. Click here for Darebee jump rope challenge. Other than that, my advice is to have some fun with it, and try to do it every day. You won’t regret it.