Core de Force REVIEW – Day 16 – Dynamic Strength + 5 min Core on the Floor

Hooray – new workout today. Well, kind of. I still need to do Dynamic Strength, but then I get to torture myself for 5 minutes with a new core routine. Since its only 5 minutes, I’ll just do the workouts consecutively, and be done with it.

Imagine my surprise when I didn’t hate 5 minute core on the floor. Granted – it’s a core workout, and by design I’m built to loathe it. However, it went fast, and it spent a majority of its time in the plank position (which I don’t mind a ton). I’m not about to say, “…HOORAY, CAN’T WAIT FOR CORE ON THE FLOOR…,” but, I won’t dread it AS MUCH as Core Kinetics.

Did you know that Costco sells frozen avocado cubes now? That is a huge smoothie upgrade? I’m a big fan of avocados, but my biggest complaint is that they are either not ripe enough when you buy them, or they are super ripe when you buy them. Once you get home, you are kind of on the clock to use them (or you need to w-a-i-t). The frozen option takes some of the “pressure” off of using them.

Made a nice smoothie yesterday with protein powder, 1/2 cup of avocado cubes, 1/2 cup frozen peaches, 1 Scoop of Real Reds, and 1 TBSP almond butter. It was good!

Oh, and today is the first day I got through Sphinx Blasters in round 12 w/o stopping – I just plowed through and never went into downward dog. HOO-AH!

Move of the day: Balanced repeating side kick with tap down – really focusing on trying to get my kick higher and keep balance!

Check out the rest of the Core de Force workout day reviews here!

Continue reading Core de Force REVIEW – Day 16 – Dynamic Strength + 5 min Core on the Floor

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Core de Force REVIEW – Day 15 – MMA Power + Core Kinetics

Not a lot to say here.

I did MMA Power in the AM, and did Core Kinetic in the PM session. Since MMA Power is 47 minutes long, and I like to meditate after my workout, I wasn’t going to spend close to 75 minutes in the basement. Gotta help with Baby Breaking, eat breakfast, get showered, get out to vote, and get to work. I can do my core work at night. It still sucked, but I got it done.

I’m ready for this program to be done, so I can move on. Don’t get me wrong, the moves are fun, and the workouts are engaging (to a point). But, now that I’m doing them over and over and over again – I’m ready for a change. Plus, I like to track progress in my workouts to know that I’m improving. Aside from my kicks getting better, I don’t really have a lot of data to show that improvement is happening. These moves aren’t really conducive to counting reps – you’ll be tempted to speed through just to pump up your numbers. You need to focus on proper form in the moves/combos to make sure you are getting the most out of it.

I’ve narrowed my next workout down to three things in the Beachbody universe…

  • P90x2 (done it before)
  • P90x3 (done it before)
  • LIIFT 4 (never done it before – current front runner)

Since I want to lift heavy stuff, LIIFT 4 has the lead for the moment. And, its new, so there is the “cool” factor.

Move of the day:  Switch roundhouse kick

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Continue reading Core de Force REVIEW – Day 15 – MMA Power + Core Kinetics

Core de Force REVIEW – Day 14 – Active Recovery

Halfway there. I can honestly say that I’ve improved in every aspect of this program from day 1 to now. I’m most impressed with my improved kicking (hip flexibility). Not too sure that my core strength has changed much, but I guess I’ll let week 3’s core assault (5 individual core workouts) tell the tale.

Overall, two more weeks to go (well two weeks and two days to be exact). Definitely can make it – this workout isn’t treacherous and isn’t a total grind like some of the other high-intensity programs that Beachbody throws out there. If you are just starting out, or if you are looking for a mid-impact type workout as a change of pace, this will be perfect for you. Other than a little monotony (having done the workouts multiple times), this program is very doable. I am ready for some new stuff. Here is what week 3 looks like…

week 3 cdf

The good news is I get two new workouts next week…

  • MMA plyo
  • 5 min Core on the Floor

There are 3 other workouts* that aren’t on the 30 day calendar that I’d like to try at some point. They are:

  • MMA mashup
  • MMA speed 2.0
  • MMA shred 2.0

*Note – the deluxe package does offer 3 more workouts as well!

Regular speed and shred are on tap in week 4, so it makes sense to just sub the 2.0 version. I’ll do that. I will probably sub in mash up this week since the other workouts are kind of boring at this point.

I wouldn’t be surprised if I pepper them in on a day where I don’t feel like doing MMA power or Dynamic Strength.

Decided to squeeze in some back strength work since I had not done any this entire week. Did the following:

  • 2 sets wide pull ups x 10
  • 1 rep 10 sec up 10 sec down chin up
  • 1 rep 15 sec up 15 sec down chin up
  • One armed bent over row – 10 reps each arm @ 60 lbs

Check out the rest of the Core de Force workouts HERE.

Continue reading Core de Force REVIEW – Day 14 – Active Recovery

Core de Force REVIEW – Day 13 – Power Sculpt

I did today’s workout barefoot.

It was kind of a value judgement in my head. I’d have to go all the way upstairs to get my workout shoes, and then go all the way down into the basement. I was already halfway to the basement by being on the main floor, so I said screw it. Besides, there is a huge risk that I’d wake up Baby Breaking and Mrs. Breaking, so…barefoot it is.

I’m serious – that is how my brain works.

You might think that is nuts (and yes, it is), but I actually believe in minimalist footwear and no-rise soles to begin with (note – those are two different things). It started with a pair of New Balance Minimus shoes a couple of years ago. I did both P90X2 and some Insanity Max 30 work in those shoes and loved it. After that, I started getting into no-rise soles in my shoes and really digging the minimalist approach to footwear. I’m a huge fan of Vans now. I work out in Vans, I brew beer in Vans, and wear Vans to work. They slip on and are both simple and stylish. What isn’t too love?

So, back to the topic of am I an idiot for workout out barefoot? There is some yes, but probably a little more no.  In my own experience, and this is corroborated by some research I did, while barefoot running or exercising hasn’t been PROVEN (most of the successes have been anecdotal) to offer long term benefits or performance gains, it has been shown to improve form in the short term. In the case of running or jumping, the lack of foot protection lends itself to the person making biomechanical adaptations to make the move less uncomfortable. In the case of running, that will lend to more of a midfoot or front foot strike, and in the case of jumping, you’ll strive to land softer.

Now, this argument isn’t science based – its more kind of a loose logical construct…think of it this way, our caveman ancestors didn’t have a slick pair of Air Jordans – they just went about their day chasing wild game and climbing trees with their good ol’ minimalist FEET. You can argue that we are designed (to a certain extent) to be barefoot at least sometimes. There seems to be a lot of information out there pointing to improved foot strength and overall better foot health when you spend some time barefoot (if you do it right).

Heck, Dr. Josh Axe in his book, “Eat Dirt,” posits that we should spend more time walking around barefoot outside to expose our gut biome to necessary bacteria. It is also suggests that being barefoot outside is good for us due to the benefits of “grounding.” 

So, as far as my workout today sans shoes – it wasn’t any harder. I did feel a better connection to the ground on the jumping moves. I will say that the friction between the soles of my feet and the rubber horse stall mats I workout on was a bit annoying towards the end, but that just forced me to improve my form to reduce the amount of strike and friction.

Aside from the quick 24 minute workout, this one is probably my favorite workout. The 9 rounds is just right to get a sweat going, and there is just enough power work with the push ups to make you feel like you were productive. I still think the 1 minute of push ups in round 9 is awful, and I’ll keep saying that until Day 30.

Move of the day: switch roundhouse kicks – because they are awesome!

Check out the rest of the Core de Force workouts HERE.

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Core de Force REVIEW – Day 12 – MMA Power

It’s Halloween! Only on Halloween can you see a clown driving the car behind you, and not wonder if a bank just got robbed!

clown car

Sure – tell me they didn’t just creep somebody out!

 

Was pretty psyched to see today was a NEW WORKOUT. NEW WORKOUT!!!!

new stuff

I was less psyched when I saw it was 47 minutes. I knew that meant 12 rounds. I should stop complaining about the workout time. Its under 1 hour! But, with stuff like P90x3, T25, Insanity Max 30, and 22 Minute Hard Corp, I got spoiled with short workouts. What can I say – my time is precious.

I had a major revelation today. I decided they are teaching and cueing the push kick incorrectly. That might seem arrogant considering I’m not a martial artist, but I’ve put a lot of thought into this. The move is a PUSH kick. The intent is to push your opponent or your attacker off of you. This means you are pushing the person away from you via your kick. The only way this can physically be accomplished is if you bring your leg into your body and PUSH your foot FORWARD. Kind of hard to push a person away if your foot is retracting. They teach this as a circular kick where your foot moves forward, then follows a circular path back.

Here is an example of a properly executed push kick…

 

Notice how his hips move forward, and his kicking foot will land ahead of his back foot if he puts it down. THAT IS THE WAY TO PUSH KICK. There is not a way to do a push kick, go full circle, and have your kicking foot return back behind your front foot. If you do that, you aren’t thrusting your hips forward, you aren’t pushing ANYTHING, and it’s a worthless and stupid move.

Once I embraced kicking somebody into the well of souls, my push kicks were better and had more purpose.

Overall, I enjoyed this workout – lots of opportunities to work on side kicks. That is my quest in this program – practice and improve on my side kicks. Today’s session furthered this end. The burners weren’t overly taxing – I felt like I had enough in the tank each round to really focus on technique. They say, “balance and control over speed…” a lot, and I’m taking that to heart. I’m slowing the combos down until I feel like I’m doing each properly, and then I organically add a power element to them. Once I have some power behind it, I try to ratchet up the speed. Some of the combos lend themselves to speed a little more than others, so always default to proper form over speed!

Oh – and they aren’t original on their burner moves – lots of recycling here.

My suggestion to use the 2nd set as your non-dominant stance holds true here also. I did that for all 12 rounds. They only cue it once or twice.

Move of the day:  Jab, cross, slip back, cross, roll back (round 7)

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Core de Force REVIEW – Day 11 – Dynamic Strength

I guess I hate Core Kinetics more than Dynamic Strength now. At least it felt like that when I was doing it today. The 47 minutes and 12 rounds does wear on you considering that the other workouts are shorter. But, compared to some of the other programs in the Beachbody universe, that isn’t terrible. Some of the other workouts in the Insanity suite have clocked in around 60 minutes – and it’s a hellish ride from start to finish.

Today is football Sunday, and my Eagles were the EARLY game in London. Usually I’m enjoying a beer and homemade wings (baked or smoked) while I watch my football. But, this AM – it was coffee and chicory as I was watching the game on my smartphone (had to watch on the NFL apps since NFL Network had exclusive rights). After the game, there was a brief pause before the next round of games began. I somehow psyched myself out enough to go down in the basement and press play.

It would have been so freakin’ easy to just skip today and get a jump on beer and wings. But, the good angel won the fight.

This time.

It’s been a good day – as of this writing, the Eagles won their game, and are now .500 on the season. Just need to win the division. Just need to win the division. Just need to win the division.

As for the workout, it moved along at a nice pace. Still a lot of push ups, but I’ve found a good cadence that is allowing me to last for the full 50 seconds (except on the last round of sphinx blasters – still need some downdog rest there). My balance on side kicks and front snap kicks is really improving. I can go the entire 50 seconds w/o tapping my foot down when that is the protocol. I remember the first time I did it in the hotel room a couple of weeks ago – I tapped a bunch of times and barely kicked above knee high. Everything feels like it’s clicking. I still hate the floating starfish series, and don’t see a world where I’ll ever like it. I did make some nice progress on the floating scissor push up – so I’m pretty pumped about that.

Move of the day: Reverse lunges with left lift and twist – still love these!

Runner up: Balanced repeating side kick w/o step down – still a winner

Check out the rest of the Core de Force workout day reviews here!

Continue reading Core de Force REVIEW – Day 11 – Dynamic Strength