Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Focus T25: Cardio Core and Speed 2.0

It's official: Seth has completed the first five weeks of T25 and the Alpha Cycle. This week, he begins the first of the five week Beta Cycle. So far, he has done the first two workouts of Beta, Cardio Core and Speed 2.0.

Cardio Core
The first thing I noticed when Seth started Beta and the Cardio Core workout was that things start getting really intense really fast. Instead of starting with jogging, everything started with split lunge agility followed by switch kicks (low then double then high). Seth is not a fan of the high switch kick, so I can't imagine he was happy to be doing this move in the "warm up".
The Cardio Core workout had Seth jumping around almost constantly at the beginning. After the switch kicks, Seth moved on to some uppercuts with cross-jacks added in. I would think coordination would be a challenge for this, but Seth did quite nicely. After some hopping from side to side, it was on to speed knees. Shaun T had Seth starting slowly and then increasing in speed. So far, a lot of these moves were very familiar from the Alpha Cycle just with more elements for more intensity.
The next sequence were progressive x-lunges. Shaun T started with normal x-lunges and then progressed to where he was lunging very deeply and tapping the floor. Seth says that he is not confident about his form with his lunges, as he's working to build body awareness for what a good lunge feels like. Getting to do all these lunges will definitely help him with that. Shaun T is very good about giving cues for maintaining good form with all your moves.
Right on the heels of the lunges is more leg work, this time squats. Similar to the lunges, Shaun T has everyone progressing from normal squats to a deeper squat where you have to touch the floor and then doing a squat with a jump (which Shaun T calls an air plank).
Building on the leg work is, you guessed it, more leg work with squat pulses and lunge pulses. At the end, you are rotating from a lunge to a squat to a lunge on the other side. Seth reports that it was somewhat hard for him to keep his balance during this move (even though he thought this wouldn't be the case). I think he'll get very good at this move as he gets more used to it though.
Seth has been mentioning all week that his quads are feeling pretty sore. I'm thinking that Core Cardio may be to blame. After all the moves for legs, it's time for the first burn out where Shaun T basically has you doing the hardest of all the above moves in a row. Yikes!
After all that leg work, Core Cardio finally starts to live up to it's cardio name. It's time for hops: high jumps, hops side to side, double hop rotations, and single hop rotations. The single hop rotations seem to make repeat appearances in other T25 Beta Cycle workouts. Seth is excellent at them; he has a good rotation and lands very softly.
The next moves are another set of kicks, hammer kicks and speed kicks on each side, such as what we've seen in Alpha a few times.
Shuffles are the next up. Seth seems to like doing the shuffles. Shuffle left and right, then shuffle with a squat, then shuffle with a burpee. Fortunately, Tania shows modifications substituting a lunge back for the burpee for the final move. The burpee is not for everyone.
The next segment of the workout features floor work. At this point, I was somewhat reminded of Insanity and it's blending of cardio and floor work. Seth was pretty disappointed for the amount of floor work featured in the cardio workout. I know he'd prefer pure cardio (less strength) for his cardio days. That being said, total body workouts are definitely the best. He might not like it, but he knows it's good for him.
The floor work starts with plank work with arm taps and plank work with arm taps and in and out jumps. The final plank move features a diagonal lift of the alternating arms and legs. For the last move balance is key for success.
It's then back up onto the feet for the second burn out mostly featuring the standing work but ending with the diagonal lifts.
With around a minute left, the workout stays down on the floor and has you finish with floor sprints and running spider lunges (the later of which can be modified to normal spider lunges fast). The last move in the epic standing body run. And done.
Seth reports that the Beta Cardio Core is much harder than the Alpha Cardio, mostly because of the floor work at the end. The lunge work is also definitely a challenge. Seth loves how the workout starts up with a quickly with the split lunge agility, which is a fun move.
In sum, this is a good workout with the addition of the floor work is a huge factor in making this feel like a more challenging Beta workout. It really is Core Cardio because the twisting squats and lunges and floor work really engage the core and abs.
Speed 2.0

Before Seth does each Beta workout, he and I have been watching the DVD before hand. Speed 1.0 is Seth's favorite Alpha Cycle workout. When we watched Speed 2.0 he was very very excited. After doing the workout, he says it's his favorite for the entire program so far. The Speed 2.0 workout features a lot of jumping around and agility moves. Many of the moves reminded me of the ladder drills from Asylum 1 and 2 (which I am still trying to convince Seth he would love and should do).
From the start the energy is to the max in the Speed 2.0 workout. Everyone looks like they are having fun. Even the music seems more entertaining. The entire workout seems well cued with the music; it reminds me of Hip Hop Abs.
The workout is set up in rounds. There are two rounds that you do three times each (meaning you do two sets of moves three times through). The first time through you spend the longest time on each move; you shorten things up in each subsequent round so that by the last round you're moving through all the moves in the set fairly quickly.
The first round has the following moves:
  • Out, out turn
  • Feet forward and back
  • Alternating speed knees slow
  • Slow mountain climbers
  • Jabs
  • Low speed kicks
  • Speed + Agility
  • Up + Over
Seth did this round all three times through. He was working hard -- all these moves basically require jumping -- but he was having a blast!

Then it was onto the second round:

  • Cross-jack
  • Hop up and back
  • Hop, hop, squat
  • Squat hops forward and back
  • Single leg speed knee (left then right)
  • Jack uppercut
  • Zig-zag hop
  • X-lunge speed time
Again, lots of agility moves that went a long with the music. (It was not "dancy" though. Just music conscious.) Seth worked through this round of move three times each. He was completely nailing the workout, sweating, and having a great time.

After going through the two rounds, there were still around seven minutes left in the workout. For the final round, Shaun T had everyone start from the top of the workout. Seth than had to do every move from rounds one and two! Not only that, but he had to do it three times through, just like he did round one three times through and round two three times. As with the other rounds, Shaun T has you move through the moves in shorter and shorter intervals each time you go through them.

The workout ended with a very brief jog and them moved into the bonus three minute cool down. This was a fantastic cardio workout in which you're moving the entire time. The choreography, per Seth, is loads of fun. Everyone in the workout DVD looks like they are having a blast too. This is cardio at it's most enjoyable. The biggest challenge is keeping pace as things get faster and faster.

Seth loves that this workout basically has all of his favorite moves from the other workouts: Up + Over, Speed + Agility (his absolute favorite), Cross-jacks, Feet forward and back, and Zig-zag hop. Unlike Speed 1.0, there are no stretching segment integrated into the workout, so you are moving for 25 minutes straight. Seth thinks it's better cardio than Cardio Core because there are no breaks (like how you "break" for the floor work in Cardio Core). He didn't have to modify during this workout at all, and felt fantastic when he was finished.

Tomorrow, will be workout number three of Beta Cycle, Rip't Circuit. More to come!

p.s. I also want to add that Seth was very excited about Sunday's Tough Mudder. He wants to do it with me next year! He and I are both thinking that T25 will be and excellent training program for him for Tough Mudder 2014 New England.

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