Back to the Body part 4

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Tuesday, March 7th. The 14th day of Lent.

You know Plyometrics is going to be bad before you even get started. During the warmup, Tony says they tried to hire some “hotshots” for this video, but they couldn’t handle it. So the people working out with him are from the first P90X class. You probably won’t notice until Tony points it out, but one of the guys has a prosthetic leg. Tony mocks you with this. “Eric is performing today on one leg. So I don’t wanna hear no excuses from any of you!”

“Yeah, well I was thinking of turning off the video, Tony, but I guess if ERIC is doing it with one leg…”

But the real frightening part is when the warmup is pushing you hard. One part of the warmup is 90 seconds of lunges. You know what a lunge is? Take a step forward, only put your foot about twice as far forward as you normally would. Then sink down until your knee is bent at a 90 degree angle. Then stand up and repeat with the other leg. Do this over and over for 90 seconds. The first day my thighs were BURNING. Then Tony said, “Now this is just the warmup. If you’re having trouble with the lunge sequence, this might be too much for you.”

Let me break the suspense. Plyometrics IS going to be too much for you the first time. And the second time. And the third time. It’s actually going to be too much for you for a long, long time. Just get used to that.

Plyometrics is an hour long. An intense warmup followed by 30 and 60 second exercise routines. 20 different routines, each one repeated twice. There is only a second or two between excercises, so you go right from one to the next. Every 8 exercises you get a 30 second break. Well, I use the term “break” loosely, since you are supposed to jog lightly in place during these breaks. You are not supposed to bend over with your hands on your knees and gasp for breath. You WILL bend over and gasp for breath for at least two months, but technically you’re not supposed to. 

Here are a few of the exercises, just to give you a feel for it:

  • Squat down bending your knees and keeping your back straight and looking ahead. Touch the floor and then leap up into the air. Repeat at a speed of one squat/leap per second for 30 seconds.
  • Stand in an atheletic stance, right leg front, left leg back. Leap into the air and turn, landing with the left foot front, right foot back. Touch the floor between each leap. 30 seconds, once a second.
  • Jumping Knee Tucks.
  • Rock Star Hops.
  • Squat Jacks – like jumping jacks but in a squatting position.
  • “Run Squat 180 Jump Switch”. I’m not going to explain it; it’s as bad as it sounds.

It just goes on and on. The first day I didn’t make it through a single one of the 40 sequences without slowing down. When they took a 30 second break I paused the video and stood gasping for breath for a minute or even longer. Honestly, it’s hard to remember that first time through Plyo. It was just a haze of pain, gasping for breath, and groping for the remote to pause the video. I didn’t do any of the excercises with good form. I used the “modified moves” as often as not. And I took a lot of breaks.

But I got through it. I “brought it” as Tony said.

And even though the first time through was pretty brutal, I was proud of myself for finishing.

Okay, time to wrap this up. Two more entries. Tomorrow night no more stories about how hard it was. I’ll tell you how P90X has changed my life. Thursday I’ll tell you some of the lessons I’ve learned. Then I think I’ll call it quits on this series.

Gordon Atkinson

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