Monday, December 31, 2012

Asylum: Volume 2: X Trainer

Today, I did the first official workout in the Asylum Volume 2 program, X Trainer. I had prepared yesterday by doing the Agility Training DVD which highlighted all the speed and agility foot-work that we'd be doing in the ladder in today's workout. I was very glad I did this because the X Trainer workout is go-go-go.

Many people have compared this workout with the Speed & Agility workout in Asylum Volume 1. I think that this is an apt comparison. The focus is mixed between cardio moves (focusing on speed, agility, and plyometrics) and strength moves (combination moves with weights and moves like push-ups that use your body as resistance).

As with my first go through Speed & Agility, with X Trainer, I think that doing this workout many times will improve my performance. The moves here are more complicated than in Asylum 1 and the workout is slightly longer, clocking in at around 50 minutes.

The workout started with some standing agility ladder drills where you had to move your feet quickly throughout the ladder. There were also some jump rope sequences. I, unfortunately, don't have enough room where I exercise to use a jump rope and always do these parts of the workout sans rope.

I've noticed that, compared with Asylum 1, the X Trainer workout had more moves where you're hopping in the ladder instead of running across the ladder. I definitely find this to be a bit trickier, especially towards the end of the workout when my legs were getting tired.

In addition to cardio moves, this workout featured quite a bit of resistance training, actually more than I was expecting. Dumbbells are required for this workout. There was a set of moves, similar to the cardio dumbbell rotation on the Asylum 1: Strength DVD. You did rows, hopped back into plank, did push-ups, and then jumped back up and did shoulder presses.

Without a doubt, the most difficult part of the workout was what instructor Shaun T called matrix push-ups. This was three minutes of push-ups (alternating between triceps push-ups, standard push-ups, and wide push-ups) moving through the ladder. I had to drop to my knees after a minute or two. One thing that I loved was that one of the ladies on the DVD actually did some of the push-ups modified on her knees too. I have often had to do this when doing Insanity and Asylum 1 and was happy to see that I wasn't the only one.

Shaun T is big on the push-ups. The workout also features moving jumping push-ups followed by jumping into a squat and then jumping up in the air. For this first time through the workout, I modified these to be standard moving push-ups until I get more confident with the feel of the move.

The final difficult upper body push-up component was one armed triceps and standard push-ups. Fortunately, this upper body strength training work was broken up throughout the workout and alternated with the agility training drills that featured on the DVD I did yesterday.

I really enjoyed the complex agility footwork, which is much harder than in Asylum 1. As I said before, there is a lot more hopping in the ladder, which, I feel engages the core a bit more.

The workout finished with lateral jumps over the ladder, increasing from one box to the entire length of the ladder, or however far you can laterally move. This was taken directly from the Asylum 1: Vertical Plyo workout and remains as hard as ever.

This workout definitely delivered. It was a completely intense 50 minutes that did a great job building on the agility, plyo, and strength skills acquired in Asylum 1. The moves are more complex and feature more components. The strength moves are definitely harder. Going through this workout a few times will be great as familiarity will allow me to increase my skill a lot. As with Asylum 1, I think the second time through this program will be a wonderful experience. You can do this many times and still have room for improvement.

Overall, this workout was a lot of fun and a great challenge. I can't wait to do this again and get better. I'm also looking forward to tomorrow's workout, Upper Elite. More news to come!

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