Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Beachbody® Chronicles:
The Lean phase of ChaLEAN Extreme® is TOUGH!

In her ChaLEAN Extreme® Lean Circuit 3 workout, Chalene Johnson says if your muscles shake while doing the exercises, that’s a good thing.
   I took that to heart as I watched my poor arms quiver with effort as they slowly pushed hand weights overhead, hands facing each other.
   Johnson’s trademark constant encouragement was definitely needed while I made my way through the Lean Circuit 3 workout, the third in the Lean Phase, earlier this week.
   The Lean Phase is the third of the three ChaLEAN Extreme phases. The first two are Burn and Push. Each phase has three workouts.
   There is really only one good word to describe the Lean Phase workouts of ChaLEAN Extreme: Tough.
   I am finding them much more brutal than the Burn and Push phase workouts. That’s a good thing, though – since the Lean phase is the last phase of the program, it should be the most challenging.
   In an effort to promote lean muscle and burn fat, the ChaLEAN Extreme program emphasizes the slow lifting of hand weights until muscles fail, or reach complete fatigue (the entire program can also be done with a resistance band).
   In the Lean Phase, 12 repetitions are done of each exercise. The exercises are also compound in the Lean Phase, meaning the upper and lower body work at the same time.
   And the compound combinations can be absolutely crazy.
   One exercise was so challenging I was immediately forced to do the modification. It was the chest fly with abduction.
   Lying on one’s back with a resistance band around the ankles, an exerciser is to lift the legs straight overhead, and while lowering the weights down to the ground, lower the legs, and when raising the legs, raising the weights over the chest.
   You can bet it’s tough, and I went right to the modification – keeping the legs bent at the knees with the calves parallel to the floor, and doing the flyes.

Click to read more about the exercises in Lean Circuits 2 and 3

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