Welcome to Lent Challenge Day 12 – Abs n’ Asses. When I first started going to a gym a few years ago I tried all the various classes they had. Spin class I really enjoyed – well that is perhaps not the right word. I got a lot out of would be more accurate. I also did Kettlercise, and various circuit classes, Boot Camps, and ‘Insanity’ sessions. The one that always amused me though (although I never did get round to attending), was ‘Bums n’ Tums’. I always suggested that they should change the name to Abs n’ Asses, but my idea was met with stony unamusement and never acted upon. Still, their loss is my gain and now I can use it myself.
It is quite bitterly cold here in Rhomboidia, and, I suspect where many of you are too (with the exceptions of our Antipodean and Middle Eastern cohorts, who are probably basking in relative heat). The forecast is for it to get progressively colder and snow quite heavily on Thursday. Which ties in rather neatly, in fact, because the challenge is going to change up quite dramatically on Thursday, allowing you to all keep warm for at least some of the day under your own self generated steam:
A few of you have been messaging that the challenge so far has not been challenging enough and requesting higher volume. The difficulty with an online challenge is always pitching it to satisfy the varying ability levels of the participants, whom one obviously cannot see or know what degree of fitness or familiarity with the exercises they have. The Squat Challenge was easier in that it had a specific stated aim – to get non squatters or people who had not learned squat technique to the point of doing a workable number of air squats with good form – whereas this one has been a bit more ad hoc and covering a wider range, just as a self-improvement for Lent.
A lot of people have commented on how various of exercises have been new to them, and from what I can ascertain, we have members doing all the various progression levels of the pushup and so on. I am very keen to stick with the idea of getting you to doing your first Pull-Ups and your first full Push-ups and mastering the burpee with good form and so on, so we will definitely be sticking with those exercises in weekly rotation.
However, Thursday is March 1st, which marks the changeover from my 6 month bulking phase to a 3 month cutting phase, and I will need to bring fat burning cardio and HIIT back into my own daily regime. So I thought why not kill two birds with one stone?
So from Thursday the Lent Challenge will be running on a two-tier system: the existing open-to-all routine will continue, with an emphasis on mastering the basics of key exercises, along with some mobility and general fitness.
However for those Firebreathers among you who have been crying More! More! More in the midnight hour, there will also be the daily WOD that I will be doing as part of my own regime. This will be geared purely towards fatburning. It will be all fairly straightforward stuff, no equipment needed except possibly a kettlebell occasionally (but there will be a bodyweight option as well on those days). It will be fairly short and sweet, anywhere between 6 minutes and 20 minutes depending on the luck of the draw, and will be different every day.
It will definitely keep you warm in these cold days and nights.
I… well I kinda am. I have been looking forward to getting some cardio back in my routine again. Just lifting weights is fun but I miss the variety of cardio. I miss feeling fit and I am a bit tired of being so heavy. I do have a little twinge of trepidation though, because I know it’s always tough the first few days hitting the ground running (or burpeeing). But hey. it’s meant to be a challenge – the clue is in the name, so bring it on…
Anyway, enough of that, back to today.
Today I want you to do A Hollow Body Hold for however long you did it for last time, plus a bit more, then a rest no longer than the time you held the Hollow Body for, followed by Lying Knee/Leg Raise for as many reps as you did last time (you have been writing these numbers down, right? ’cause you haven’t been posting them in the comments box as an aide-memoire. Hmmm?) plus a few more.
then repeat the two exercises a further 3 times for a total of 4 sets.
After which take a little break before the new one we are throwing into the mix today: Lunges.
Yes, you read it correctly. But before you get out the pitchforks and flaming torches these are just simple stationary lunges. Not walking. Not stepping forward and backward. Static stationary lunges. Just moving up and down.
I am guessing most of you are familiar with the lunge. In case you are not, this is what it looks like:
I think Tom and Daisy pretty much cover everything there is to know about performing a lunge in this clip. The only thing I would add is to not that at the bottom of the lunge, both the lower part of the front leg and the upper part of the rear leg are vertical. The rear leg is a straight line down from the shoulder: the knee is right below the hip, which is right below the head. If your rear knee is trailing then you will be hanging off your hip flexors; if your front foot is back by your knee and the shin is at a steep angle all the weight will be on your quads. Make sure you are vertical.
There you have it. Do a set of 10 (or fewer if necessary) then swap over and do it with the other leg. Stand up and shake it out. Swear a bit. Compose a little ode in my honour, Then do the sets twice more.
Done! Hurrah! Now we’re motoring…