Saturday, February 2, 2013

Asylum: Volume 2: Pure Contact and Ab Shredder

Now that I'm finished with the Asylum: Volume 2 program, I wanted to take the time to give you my two cents about the two "extra" workouts that come with the program. The first is Ab Shredder. This workout is meant to be done during weeks three and four of the Asylum 2 program following the Power Legs workout. The Pure Contact workout is an additional DVD that is included as a bonus when you get the program if you're a member of the Beachbody community. I am, so I got this DVD included in my set.
I had decided not to do the Ab Shredder workout while I was doing the program in the interest of time. I do my workout DVD programs when I get home from work and added another twenty minutes after doing an hour of exercise when I got home pushed dinner way too late. Plus, I also was doing about forty minutes of exercise at the gym at work during my lunch hour, so I really didn't feel like doing more.
As a result, I had saved both the Pure Contact and Ab Shredder workouts for when I was done with Asylum. Since both workouts are twenty minutes, I chose to pair them together today as one workout session. Both of the workouts went together well and are the only workouts in the Asylum 2 set that didn't involve hand-weights.
I started with the Pure Contact DVD. This workout, according to the package, is designed to help you train to make the best contact with the ground in high contact sports and activities. Since I do a lot of running and other high impact activities, such as plyometric workouts, I thought this workout would be a big help for me.
The Pure Contact workout has lot of jumping, plus some agility work in the ladder thrown in for good measure. The jumping is not so much the high power jumps that you see in Power Legs (or Vertical Plyo from Asylum 1). Instead the focus is on more of a bouncing jumping movement where you power off the ground with your toes, flex your feet in mid-air, and gently land, rolling off your toes only to bounce up again. Here, you are really focusing on the form of your jump and, naturally, the way you're making contact with the floor underneath you. These "hop-ups" are done in place and up and down the ladder.
Mixed in with the hopping jumps are sets of the agility ladder drills featured throughout the Asylum 2 program. Of course, these agility drills feature small hops and fit right in with the focus of the workout.
The final move that was heavily utilized in the Pure Contact DVD were pike-ups. There were many variation of pike-ups which focused again on contacting the ground in a hopping motion and on agility. There were in and out pike-ups, pendulums in a pike-up position, one-legged in and out pike-ups, and three hop side to side pike-ups. I liked that doing these jumping moves in a pike-up added a bit of resistance training to this mostly cardio workout.
The Pure Contact workout is a good addition to the Asylum 2 program. It's a little easier than the other DVDs but definitely gets you sweating. It's perfect for when you want a quick burst of cardio on either a day when you need to squeeze in a short workout or on a day when you want to resistance train but still get in a spot of cardio.
After finishing with Pure Cardio, I moved on to the Ab Shredder workout. Shaun T incorporated a lot of plank work into this ab set. I found that my upper body, especially my shoulders, were as challenged as my abs by the Ab Shredder workout.

The program featured work with the ladder. There was plank work along the ladder in droves. There was also a pretty tricky set that made you move along the ladder in a low hover. This was paired with spider plank moves done on either end of the ladder. My arms were shaking at the end of this move.
Shaun T also had us doing quite a few v-sits/holds. One memorable exercise was v-sit and pyramid in and out abs, which we did eight sets of. The move had you doing a v-sit and then flipping over and doing an in and out ab. By the end, we were doing eight of each.
Another tricky move was cross-overs, where you sat in c-sit position with one leg out straight and hovering off the floor. With the other leg, you crossed over the outstretched leg. This really seemed to work my obliques, lower abs, and also that extended leg. For people like me who aren't very flexible, this will definitely be a challenge (as are the v-sits for that matter). I could barely keep my legs straight.
The final move of the day was elbow rolls with a knee touch. You start in a low plank with arms under your shoulders but forearms touching underneath you. Slowly, your roll your arms one over the other twice forward. Then, with abs tight, you touch your knees to the floor once and roll back. The minute spent doing this exercise was quite a long one. At the end my shoulders were spent.
I definitely like the Ab Shredder workout. I felt as though, with all the plank work and low hovers, my arms got a great workout along with my abs. It felt like another good quick workout for when you want to get in a little strength training but are low on time. You could also easily pair this workout, as in the intention if you do it with Power Legs like you're supposed to.
I also like how the Ab Shredder workout was resistance training without weights. It reminded me a lot of the Cardio Abs workout from the original Insanity workouts (although without the cardio). I enjoy functional resistance training without hand-weights, and this really hit the mark.
I think that I might want to incorporate this workout into my Tough Mudder training. For the Mudder, training with my body weight instead of hand-weights is key because it will more closely mimic what will happen during the race.
I'm looking forward to starting my training for Tough Mudder in two weeks. In the meantime, I'm doing a lot of work to get my outer hips feeling better. They are still a bit tight, but I'm doing some foam rolling daily and stretching more diligently. It's definitely starting to work. I'm hopeful that I'll be 100% for the start of my training in two weeks. Fingers crossed!

No comments: