Wednesday, February 19, 2014

P90X3: Eccentric Lower Review

Yesterday, I got to try the next new workout in block 2 of the classic P90X3 training calendar, Eccentric Lower. Today, my legs are still feeling it. (Though the decision to do a run with hill repeats yesterday after the Eccentric Lower workout plus the fact that I now have a cold are probably also factors.)

I really enjoyed Eccentric Lower. The upper body focused, Eccentric Upper, which I did earlier in the week was great, and Eccentric Lower did not disappoint. The workout consisted of moves using the body as resistance with dumbbells added for extra weight. The moves were classic and they work.

For all of the moves in Eccentric lower, you do one count of concentric movement and three counts of eccentric movement. This means that, if you were doing squats for example, you lower for three counts and then quickly raise in a single count. You do each move ten times before moving on.

Below is the moves list for the workout with explanations, as needed. My comments, where I have them, are in parenthesis.
  • Squats: Traditional squat done holding a dumbbell in each hand. Lower for three and stand up on a one count. (I used eight pound dumbbells for this. I probably could have used tens because we only did ten reps.)
  • Lunge: Traditional lunges done by lowering up and down in lunge position. Do ten on one side and then ten on the other. Done holding dumbbells. Lower for three and stand up on one. (For me lunges are definitely harder than squats, so I felt good with eight pound weights here.)
  • Sumo: With a stance wider than a traditional squat and feet rotated slightly out do a squat. Move is done holding one weight between the legs. Lower for three and stand up in one. (I really need to get a set of 12 pound weights. Here is another place where I wish I had more weight. Again, we were only doing ten reps and we only had one weight in hand, so I could have gone heavier.)
  • Weighted Pistol: Standing on one leg, extend the other in front of you. Bend your knee on the standing leg and do a one-legged squat. Do this while holding one weight in your hand. Do ten on each side. (One-legged squats are always a good workout and balance move. I've never heard them called Weighted Pistol before, but maybe Tony just wants to be fancy.)
  • Side Kick: Stand on one leg and lean over far in the opposite direction bringing the other leg up as to kick. Kicking leg should be at least at hip height. Kick out on one and then bring the leg in for three. Do ten on each side. (This move is done with the leg very high. The participants in the DVD hold a chair for balance, which I recommend since you're doing the side kick at hip height and extending higher if you can. This move was definitely not as hard as the earlier moves, but the standing leg got a workout as did the glutes on the raised leg.)
  • Front Kick: Stand on one leg, bring the other knee up to hip height and set a dumbbell on that thigh. Extend the bent leg on one and retract for three. Do ten on each side. (The main challenge here is keeping your leg at hip height as you extend and retract.)
  • Albanian Squat: Start in a lunge stance with the back leg raised on a chair behind you. Holding dumbbells in each hand, lower for three and come up on one. Do ten on each side. (Doing a lunge with your back leg raised really changes the game. These lunges were without a doubt the hardest move in the sequence. My back leg was shaking after just ten reps on each side.)
  • Adductor Lunge: Do a side lunge, stepping on wide to the side and bending the stepping leg with the other leg extended straight in a line. Lower into the bent leg for three. Come up on one extending the formerly bent leg out straight to the side. Repeat ten times on each side. (I always find this move slightly awkward, but I know it's good for the hips and inner thighs. It's not the most challenging move; more the focus is on sitting back far in the bent leg.)
  • Cross Reach: Stand on one leg with the opposite knee raised and a weight in the same hand as bend leg. Bend you standing leg like in a squat. Extend your weight across the body bringing the raised leg behind. Lower for one and raise for three. Do ten on each side. (This was a decently challenging balance move, plus it did a great job working the standing leg. This was similar to doing a one-legged squat, but forced you to move through a wider range of motion, which made it balance challenge as well. At this point in the workout, my legs were getting plenty tired, so having to balance added a layer of difficulty to the move, which was excellent.)
  • TT Plus: In side plank on the forearm, lift the top leg up for one and lower for three to the front. Then lift it again and lower for three to the back. Alternate back and front for ten reps, then switch sides. (You can do this move either in a full t-stand, forearm side plank, or in a side plank with the bottom leg supporting you. I did the forearm side plank. This was the middle level of difficulty and suited me well at this point, since I was doing the move for the first time. My main focus here was keeping my body from tumbling over as I brought my top leg to the front or back. I engaged my core to help keep balanced in the side plank position.)
  • Bridge Kicks: Lie on your back with knees bent and glutes off the floor in Bridge. Extend on leg up straight. Drive that foot towards the ceiling for one and lower for three. Do ten times on each side. (Bridge Kicks require you to stabilize through the shoulders and really focus on keeping the glutes raised in Bridge. If the glutes drop the move loses some of its impact, so I spent most of my time trying to remember to engage my glutes and keep them raised.)
  • Hip Flexor Splits: Sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of you and your hands next to your gluest. Lift your glutes off the ground and open your legs to either side; close you legs for three counts. (For added difficulty, some of the people on the DVD were doing this with push-up bars. The leg part of this wasn't nearly as hard as supporting yourself with your arms. It was possible to modify by keeping your bottom on the ground, which could let you concentrate on the legs more.)
  • Calf Dog: In Down Dog, put your toes on the oppose heel. Push up onto the ball of your foot on a one count and then lower for three. (My calves have been a problem area, so I've been working to strengthen them. It must be working because this move didn't feel too hard. It more felt like a great calf stretch.)

By the end of Eccentric Lower my legs were feeling pretty tired. There aren't any revolutionary moves in this workout. Most of these exercises I had done before in my aerobics class or in other workout videos. The Hip Flexor Splits were the only move that was completely different for me. The others I had either done before or done a very close variation. That is not a bad thing though. I thought the moves in Eccentric Lower were put together nicely for a good lower body workout. This might not be the hardest DVD in P90X3, but it's a solid lower body workout that is efficient and effective.

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