Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Infamous TRX Workout--Phase 3 Conditioning Circuit A

What a workout this was! Not only were the exercises slightly more advanced than in Phase 2, but the work intervals were a full 50 percent longer (up to 45 seconds from 30) and the rest periods between exercises were 33 percent shorter (down to 20 seconds from 30). The rest periods between rounds, however, were back up to 3 minutes as in Phase 1 of the program.

Here are the specifics:

1-leg squats with tempo, 45 sec. each leg
oblique atomic pushups, 45 sec.
low rows with feet elevated, 45 sec.
crossover balance lunge with tempo, 45 sec. each leg
suspended side plank with reach through, 45 sec. each side

Oblique atomic pushups are suspended pushups with an oblique jackknife between each rep. An oblique jackknife is a jackknife where instead of taking your knees to your chest you bring them in the direction of one elbow or the other. It's even more fun than it sounds, trust me.

I was a bit nervous about the feet-elevated low rows, so I opted to elevate my feet only about 8 inches or so. As it happened, though, I didn't find these to be too horribly awful.

The 1-leg squats, however, were vile. "With tempo" basically means you do them as fast as you can without losing your form. Forty-five seconds of fast squatting generates some serious lactic acid. Ouch.

I didn't find the crossover lunges to be quite as bad. I struggle a bit with form on these, as the temptation is to allow my hip to shift to one side while my foot everts. But I can do them correctly if I don't try to go too fast, so that was what I opted to do even though it meant the workout probably wasn't quite as "metabolic" as it could have been.

The side planks were pretty doable on my left side, but I struggled a bit on the right. Even though these are mainly for the core they also put a fair amount of stress on the shoulders, which in women especially tend not to be superstrong. Simply holding a side plank for 45 seconds would be too much for many exercisers; doing it with the feet suspended would be almost impossible.

Overall I found the workout to be an order of magnitude harder than Phase 2 because of the longer work sets. If I were designing the workout I think I might've chosen to keep the exercises exactly the same as in Phase 2 because I feel that it's enough of an additional challenge simply to work for 45 seconds instead of 30. There are many ways to make a workout progressive, but I'm not sure it's desirable to incorporate too many at once.