Friday, August 16, 2013

Focus T25: Dynamic Core

Seth did the T25 Dynamic Core workout from the Beta Cycle for the first time today.
The workout started with a warm up of switch feet, low switch kicks, double switch kicks, then high switch kicks. Next up were static uppercuts which moved into jack uppercuts. It was clear that Shaun T wanted to get your heart rate up before he started the ab work.
At around minute twenty-two, it was time to warm up the core with the twisting "T" abs. Seth had to do this move twice, the second time, lower.
Then, it was then back to more cardio work with speed knee kicks followed by hammer kicks. Shaun T had Seth doing the speed knee knick and hammer kicks both on the left and then both on the right. At this point, Seth was around six minutes into the workout and had done more cardio work than traditional ab work. This was very different from the Alpha Ab Intervals which had lots of floor work with the abs.
The cardio continued with sprint + table top, a move I remembered from Ab Intervals, where it was a cardio "recovery" move, used to break up the ab floor work. This was followed by crisscross + half-tuck jump, a favorite move of mine that I very much enjoyed in Speed 1.0. Then it was shuffle with a kick. Seth had to shuffle to one side, then bend down to the floor and then kick.
Shaun T them moved onto a connecting deep squat where Seth was in a squat position and twisting his arms left and right then tucking down to have his arms meet between his legs.
Finally it was down to the floor for ab work with the move torso lift. This move was taken from Pilates where, I believe, it's called a roll-up. The floor work continued with alternating straight leg scissors, again a move from Ab Intervals. This move too seems to be Pilates inspired; it looks a lot like scissor legs.
The floor work continued with hip ups with a reverse crunch. The next move was the butterfly leg lift. This move was done in a seated position. One leg was bent outward (like if you're seated in lotus position). The other leg was moving up and down. Shaun T's next move was familiar from his other workout programs, seated knee crossovers. I don't remember where I saw that move -- maybe Insanity? -- but I am sure that I have done it before. It's a memorable move.
It was then on to bicycle abs into a v hold. At this point I was starting to think that it was pretty brutal to have all these ab moves on the floor in succession. But Shaun T was not going to stop. Up next was hands to feet with a reverse crunch. For this move you had to reach out and touch your toes in a seated position, then do a reverse crunch.
Side plank was the next move. This was familiar from Ab Intervals. I can only imagine that Seth was happy to be working another part of his core. From the side plank, Seth moved into a superman. I love this move for the back. Superman transitioned into walking pike-ups. Then it was rocketman. This move is basically the same as superman except for in rocketman your arms are back and in superman they are forward. The final move of this set were side plank hip-ups.
After doing this entire set of moves on the left, Shaun T made Seth do them all again on the right. For moves like superman and rocketman where there isn't really a left and right side, a pulse was added to the move. The pike-ups changed from walking pike-ups to jumping pike-ups.
The next move was side plank up and over on the left and right. At this point there was only about a minute to go. The final move was plank walk with a squat pyramid. This move was basically the same as the pyramid in + out abs from Alpha but with the plank walk added. Definitely tricky.
Whew! What a workout. Grouping all the cardio at the beginning and all the floor work at the end definitely makes this workout harder than Ab Intervals where you have the cardio intervals to break-up all the floor work for abs.
Seth tried to do as many things unmodified as he could, but this made him feel like he wasn't able to really successfully complete the workout. When he says this, he's specifically referring to being too tired to do the last move, plank walk with a squat pyramid, which gave him trouble. On the plus side, the strategy of modifying less made him realize that he was able to do some of the moves he had been doing modified without the modifications, for example the bicycle with the reverse crunch.
He also says that the pike-ups and plank work still proves difficult. He wishes that there was someway to modify the pike-ups a bit more. Unfortunately because of the nature of that move it's hard to have a modification. Still that's a bummer if you are looking for a way to have the workout be a bit easier as you learn the moves and get stronger.
To sum it up, the workout starts out with some fun cardio and then moves into some very challenging floor work for the abs, so be prepared for that. The format is slightly different than Ab Intervals because you are doing the ab work without rest. This makes the workout even more challenging.
At this point, Seth has only one workout left in Beta that he hasn't done, Upper Focus. He'll be trying that tomorrow. Because we ordered from Beachbody directly, Seth also received a bonus workout, Core Speed. This workout can be integrated into Beta. This time through the program however, Seth plans to just stick with the standard calendar and will hold off on adding Core Speed until his second time through the T25 program.
That's right -- he likes the program so much he's already planning to do it again once he finishes the first time through. This will allow him greater mastery of the moves and allow him to do the workouts with more intensity as he builds familiarity.
We'll be back tomorrow with an update about Upper Focus.

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