Monday, July 21, 2014

PiYo: Strength Intervals Review

Week three of PiYo finished up with a new workout, Strength Intervals. This workout is 22 minutes in length and alternates between cardio intervals and strength training moves that use your body for resistance. 

The workout is divided into three sections, plus a warm-up and cool down. Overall, the focus is more on the lower body that upper body. For the most part, the cardio sections are low impact though some jogging and burpees add a small degree of impact. Of course, you can always follow Michelle and do the workout completely non-impact.

In general, the cardio sections are short and not extremely challenging. Chalene has you start with a move and build in intensity (for both the cardio and strength segments). The intervals all seemed to be less than a minute long, so they flew by -- just when you're getting uncomfortable, you switch from doing cardio to strength of vice versa. I do, in a way, wish that the intervals had been a little bit longer and more strenuous (increasing the length of the workout overall), but I certainly understand the appeal of a 20ish minute workout, especially for those just starting to workout or people tight on time.

My favorite part of this workout was how it seemed to really incorporate all of the elements of PiYo: flexibility, cardio, and strength. As you read through the moves list you'll see there is a little something for everyone!

Squat, 3-Count
Add knee lift
Squat > knee lift
Squat with arm circles > 2 lunges
Repeat (alt. lead)
PiYo Cross
Relax down
Calf stretch

Jogging side to side
Turn to side > jog > turn to front > jog
Deep lunge > toe tap
Deep lunge (hold)
Repeat from jogging (high knees, alt. lead)
Add one arm reach, wider skate
Bowlers lunge > toe tap
Bowlers lunge (hold)

Toe tap back
Add hop
Add jumping lunge
Squat slow
Squat hold
Repeat series
Wide sumo squat
Rock off alternating feet
Squat with pulse
Squat with Single arm, single leg Burpee
Squat to double Burpee
Add jack to Burpee
Lunge pulse
4-count push-ups
Single-count push-ups
Down dog

Lower to plank
Beast (This move has you on all fours. Lift your knees from the floor balancing your weight evenly on both arms and feet)
Down dog
Down dog
Jumping low lunges with pulse
Slow Tricep push-ups, legs wide
8-count down, push-up for 4 > down dog
Repeat series to Tricep push-ups
Kick through
One-count beast to kick through
Child's pose

Down dog
Walk back hands
Roll up
Side stretch
Flat back down, round up
Reach forward, quad stretch
Lift arms, deep breath
Half bend

I definitely like the variety in this quick workout. As I mentioned before, you move quickly from section to section, so there is no fear of getting bored. The workout is finished almost before you know it. 

The moves are all ones that we've seen before in other workouts. My favorite parts of the workout are probably the burpees and the section with Beast. The entire Legs section is fairly basic; however, it's nice to see stretching segments worked in with cardio. (Though in my option this is done much more effectively in Focus T25: Speed 1.0.)

I have noticed Beachbody, the company that puts out PiYo, moving to shorted workouts, such as Focus T25 and P90X3, which are 25 minutes and 30 minutes respectively. The PiYo workouts are also short. Almost all of them clock in at between 20 - 30 minutes. I am not against short workouts -- I love to do a P90X3 workout on a cardio day for some supplemental strength training. However, I hope Beachbody continues to put out some more of the more challenging longer-length programs, like Insanity: The Asylum.

If you are looking for the most bang for your buck time-wise, I would recommend Focus T25 and P90X3 over PiYo. Those two workouts are a bit more challenging and seem to feel like a more complete workout. I would probably rate T25 highest based on my personal proclivity for the instructor Shaun T over P90X3's instructor Tony Horton. However, if you're interested more on strength do P90X3 and if you're more interested in doing cardio to T25. I think PiYo is best for people who have real limitations with their exercise, such as injuries, or are getting into exercise for the first time. The moves are basic and everyone can feel successful doing them. 

I'm now entering week four of PiYo. Up next will be two new workouts, Hardcore on the Floor and Drench. Stay tuned for more!

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