Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Beachbody® Chronicles: Sneaky stuff in the Push phase of ChaLEAN Extreme®!

In the Push phase of ChaLEAN Extreme®, some sneaky stuff is going on.
   In the Push phase workouts, ChaLEAN Extreme creator Chalene Johnson wants you to reach complete and utter fatigue of a targeted muscle by eight slow repetitions of a weight-lifting exercise. She calls this muscle failure.
   But just 10 seconds later, she wants you to pick the weights up again and do an “extreme” set – three very slow reps of the same exercise, concentrating on both a strong lift and equally strong release.
   This eight-then-three thing happens with most, but not all, of the exercises on Push Circuits 1 and 2, the two Push phase workouts I have done so far (there are three).
   I’m actually doing 11 reps of the same exercise, not eight!
   And 11 reps is just one away from the 12 reps to failure encouraged in each set in the Burn Circuit, the first phase of ChaLEAN Extreme.
   Why is all of this sly stuff?
   In the Push phase workouts, you’re encouraged to lift heavier weights than in the Burn phase to reach failure by eight reps.
   You’re then encouraged to keep the same amount of weight for the following extreme set of three reps.
   That means you’re using more weight to do nearly the same amount of reps as in the Burn circuit.
   I guess that’s why Chalene calls it the Push phase.
   Even though it is a sneaky tactic, I like it – the notion of being able to lift heavier weights and do nearly the same number of reps as the Burn phase sets is appealing to me.
   However, in Push Circuit 2, the idea of lifting heavier weights to achieve muscle failure in fewer reps is somewhat deflated by the types of exercises in the workout. Many of exercises are different types of lateral raises that work the muscles of the shoulder.
   This is typically a weaker spot for all people, even the strongest among us, and so lighter weights easily fatigue the muscle.
   While in Push Circuit 1 I was using 22.5 pounds in each hand for some exercises using the lower body, in Push Circuit 2 I hovered around the 7.5 pound mark in each hand for most of it.
   It kind of made me feel like a weakling.
   There’s also a very poor cooldown in Push Circuit 2. It lasts just 1.5 minutes and includes a couple of standing stretches that concentrate on the legs and neglect the arms.
   I do my own stretching routine at the end of all workouts I do, and find it especially important after ChaLEAN Extreme workouts to stretch the triceps, biceps and chest with all the arm work that is done.
   I’m looking forward to seeing what amount of weight-heaviness can be snuck past me in Push Circuit 3.

Stay tuned to Fantastic Fitness DVDs for The Beachbody® Chronicles - a series of articles about the adventures my husband and I have using ChaLEAN Extreme®, TurboFire®, P90X® and Insanity®.
Join Fantastic Fitness DVDs on Facebook

No comments: