routine

I wanted to get in a quick workout today.  I only had half an hour, but I wanted to do some resistance training.  I decided to do the P90X Shoulders & Arms workout, but with a twist.

Instead of doing the entire routine, I only did half of it.  With  P90X Shoulders & Arms it’s easy, because this routine is divided into five sections.  Each section has three exercises, and when you have done the three exercises, you repeat them.  So my “speed it up” solution is simple: I don’t repeat them.

I do the first three exercises, and instead of repeating them, I go on to the next three, and so on.  The last three exercises are the “bonus round”, so I skipped them as well.

With only one rotation through the exercises, it’s easy to go through the entire routine in less than half an hour.

I assume that I don’t get as good a workout if I only do each exercise once, instead of twice.  However, I suspect that probably 60% or 70% of the benefit comes from the first set, so I get most of the benefit in only half the time.  I make sure of that by always doing maximum reps, or using maximum weight, with each exercise.  When I know I have to do it all over again I “hold something back” on the first set.  When I know I’m only doing that exercise once, I go all out; there is no need to hold anything back.

That’s why I believe that I am getting almost all of the benefit, in only half the time.

The other advantage of a quick workout is it allows time to do the Ab Ripper X routine, the 16 minute core workout added on to the end of all resistance training sessions.  Again, I may only do the first few exercises, but I’m still getting lots of benefit.

The first few times through the workout I did it in full.  Now that I am more in to maintenance mode, the quick version works for me.

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I’m on Day #11 of P90X, so for me today was my second attempt at the Yoga X workout.  (You can read my wife’s thoughts on the P90X Yoga routine; she found it boring).My first run through was on Day 4, the first time I did the Yoga routine.  The first time I found the first 20 minutes very difficult.

Today I found it somewhat easier, presumably because my flexibility as improved marginally.  I was also more familiar with the moves, so I knew what was coming next, so I wasn’t constantly stopping to watch the screen.

But that, unfortunately, is also the problem with this routine.  For the first 45 minutes of this 90 minute workout you are doing the same moves over and over, with slight variations each time.  You start with move #1, then you repeat #1 and add #2, then it’s #1, #2, and #3, then #1, #2, #3 and #4, and so on.  By the end of the first 45 minutes you are quite sick of the “downward dog” and the “plank” and some of the other moves you have now done dozens of times.

I will admit that the first 45 minutes are difficult, and your heart rate will be pumping if you move at a good pace.  But it is still somewhat boring.

The second half of the workout is primarily balance poses and more stretching.  I’m no exercise expert, so I have no idea how important it is for general fitness to practice balancing, but I’m not sure that 45 minutes of balancing and stretching is necessary.

I think this would be a decent one hour workout, instead of a stretched out 90 minute routine.  So, that’s what I did.  I made it a one hour workout.

The beauty of a DVD is you can hit fast forward whenever you want, and on my DVD the fast forward button takes you to the start of the next exercise.  Perfect.  So when I’m bored with something, I hit fast forward, and go on the next one.

That’s also useful for some of the moves that I just can’t do.  Unfortunately I am not flexible enough to put one hand on the floor, twist, and put the other hand straight up in the sky.  Over time I assume I’ll improve, but I’m not there yet.

So, going forward, I’ll give the yoga another shot, but it will be for an hour, not longer, making use of the fast forward button.

Lest you think this review is all negative, I will make one positive comment: I did notice increased flexibility from the first run through last week.  In some of the exercises where I could only stretch a certain distance, today I was able to go a bit farther, so the incremental progress is encouraging.

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