Tuesday, July 15, 2014

PiYo: Buns Review

Last night, I got to experience a new PiYo workout, (the unfortunately named) Buns. Poor name aside, I have to say that this was probably the PiYo workout that felt most effective so far. All of the moves are body weight exercises focused on the legs. You'll be doing tons of squats and lunges, which are, in my mind, the best way to work the legs.

In some ways, the Buns workout, especially this part, reminded me a little of a "friendlier" version of P90X3: Eccentric Lower. I don't mean, easier. I mean more approachable. PiYo is probably best for beginners, and Buns is a great lower body workout for someone who doesn't want to worry about counting reps or figuring out what weights they need to use. All of the exercises in Buns just use your body, you can follow the modifier, Michelle, and it's easy to make things easier (just don't go so low). Buns is also great because it's, as far as I can tell, the only workouts in PiYo that you can actually make harder by going really deep in your lunges and squats. I do a fair amount of leg work and definitely still felt my legs shaking a little bit at the end.

I especially liked the glute work that was in this workout. The Last Blast section was devoted to working just the glutes. Lots of running injuries are traced to "lazy" glutes and for many people who sit all day, it's hard to get the glute muscles activated. I admit that I probably don't use my glutes as much as I should when doing squats and lunges. Floor work that carefully isolates the glute muscles is a huge help. 

The workout finished with a stretch section. The hamstrings got a good stretch and the glutes and hip were stretched by doing pigeon back in the Last Blast section, but I wish there had been a nice quad stretch. After all, squats especially seem to work the quads. 

Here's the moves list from the workout to give you an even better idea of what to expect.

Circle arms
Reach arms over shoulders
Stepping lunge front and back
PiYo CrossFan arms & fold & half-lift
Bend knee, stretch

Narrow squat
-Add three pulses
-Add bowler lunge
Clockwork lunges (lunge four times -- forward, to the side, diagonally to the rear, and directly back)
Squat and sumo down and up
Repeat series (alt. lead)
Wide squat
-Add three pulses
-Add bowler lunge
Clockwork lunges
Burpee with jack
Repeat series (alt. lead)
Sumo pliƩ squat
-Add three pulses
-Add bowler lunge
Clockwork lunges
Burpee with jack
Repeat series (alt. lead)
Half lift & bend knee(s)

4-count backward lunge
4-count bowler lunge and tap
4-count back lunge with T arms, knee lift
4-count Bowler and tap
4-count bowlers with side knee raise
Alternating bowlers
Wide sumo squat
Repeat series (alt. lead)
Hands to thigh
Lift tailbone

On all fours
Leg back & side & back & knee tucks in
Leg back & circle
Leg back & tap toe
Down on elbows in low plank
Knee in & leg out and up
Elbow plank & leg up & tap toe
Swing legs around
Leg over knee
Lie back into Bridge 
Leg out more, toes up
Legs together & circle
Repeat series (alt. lead)

Seated hamstring stretch (each leg separately)
Double seated hamstring stretch
Wide straddle
Arm reach to each side
Cross ankles / soles of feet together
Knees into chest & round back

One important note about Buns is that it is definitely not a workout that promotes flexibility. This is resistant training (using your body-weight) plain and simple. Define: Lower Body had more of a yoga-feel with stretching and balance. Buns is all about toning. The moves in this workout are those you might see in a traditional aerobics or boot-camp class; they did not have that Pilates/yoga feel. Instead, this was more of a traditional workout for the legs. The moves were, overall, fairly simple -- squats and lunges -- which is good because that's what works. Buns is a good introduction to leg work because you don't have to worry about reps or fancy equipment. I think this is one of the more solid workouts in the program and good for a variety of fitness levels.

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