Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Chalean Extreme Burn & Push Circuits

I recently finished the 2nd phase of BeachBody's Chalean Extreme workout program. The program is broken up into 3 weight training days, 2 cardio days, and 2 rest days. Every 4 weeks you start a new weight lifting regimen, but the cardio stays the same until the 3rd circuit where you can substitute workouts on the deluxe version if you have it.
The attention in this program is on doing slow, focused reps which makes each movement more effective because you are using your strength to lift and lower the weights rather than momentum. Throughout the entire program, I used between 5-35lb dumbbells. The workouts ranged from 30-50 minutes.

The first circuit is called the Burn Phase. You use moderate resistance with 9 exercises, doing 10-12 reps for each. There is also an "extreme" set for the last 3 exercises which you perform after reaching failure and a short rest. The sets are composed of an upper and lower body combination movement which burns more calories and produces a cardiovascular effect. I started out conservatively, however I found that I was mostly able to use the same amount of resistance that Chalene, the instructor, was using (between 10-25lbs). I attribute this to having previously done P90X

The Push Phase focuses on doing fewer repetitions with heavier weights. This time you aim for 6-8 reps and do extreme sets for the last 6 exercises. You are also working upper and lower body separately here for maximum muscle building. The real key is going so heavy that you barely get to 6 reps with good form and increase the weight once you can do 8 easily. I used 15-35lb weights.

There are two cardio workouts that I have tried so far. One utilizes circuit training with intense bursts of cardio paired with light resistance endurance training. The other is 20 minutes of pure cardio with a 1 minute break in the middle. They both still wear me out after 8 weeks.

There was also a 30 minute stretching video included that I didn't particularly care for. It was very basic and didn't provide as good of a stretch as P90X's X Stretch so I used that on an off day instead. I also switched around a few of the workout days to incorporate a total of two days of stretching, spread throughout, after suffering from back spasms. I had to delay the routine for a week while I recovered, but I've had spasms before and do not attribute them to the program (just me being stubborn about going to the chiropractor!). One hour of stretching twice a week is very important because you will be sore!

I started the Lean Phase yesterday and have to say it was a rude awakening! We're back to doing 12 reps with the upper and lower body at the same time. It has also added a resistance band for the lower body (hoping to get one soon as I think it will really add to my results). I had to cut back from what Chalean was using which is disappointing but gives me a goal. I'm excited to try the deluxe cardio workouts as well.

If you've tried Chalean Extreme or any other neat programs, let me know what you think.

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