In early September many of you may remember I posted a blog about my "Body Weight Project". My goal with this project was to not touch weights for six weeks and see how my body would adapt to performing five high volume total body workouts on consecutive days using only the weekends to rest. Initially I had set some lofty progression goals building from four rounds of each body weight circuit to ten by the end of the project. At the end of week one, I knew this wasn't going to happen! According to my measurements, I did see a two percent decrease in body fat, but the most impressive outcomes of this project are explained below:
120 reps, seriously?
In week one of the project, I knew I had bitten off more than I could chew as far as my lofty progressions for the program. One round in all the BWP circuits requires 20 reps (except pull ups at 8-10 reps and Y-T-W's at 18 reps) and five exercises. This means in the first week I performed 80 repetitions of each exercise. In all but one of the five workouts, I posted a completion time at or below 20 minutes. I don't know what your workouts look like, but 80 reps per an exercise, which is 400 reps for the whole workout, completed in 20 minutes is just ridiculous and my body felt it. By the end of the project, I was doing six rounds which equals 120 reps an exercise and a whopping total of 720 reps of work for the whole routine in less than 30 minutes! This amount of work performed with minimal rest and led to some unbelievable muscular endurance gains.
Time to go again!? No sweat...
One of the most positive changes I immediately began to see was how fast my body would recover from the work being performed. My muscles, my respiration rate and my heart rate all saw rapid improvement within the first two weeks. By pushing the tempo in each session I really challenged my body to quickly adapt to the high workload being placed on it. When I entered Week five, which was the first week at six rounds, I literally could blasted through the first four rounds with nearly no rest and when I hit round five, I'd take a 20-30 second rest then begin again. The craziest thing I noticed: after that short rest I literally felt like I was starting over again and fresh after four rounds of work! I know it may sound impossible, but these workouts made me feel like Ironman!
I hadn't lifted in how long?
Believe it or not my muscular strength stayed the same even though I hadn't touched a weight in a month and a half. My first week back at the weights wasn't as rough as I expected it to be. I didn't notice a decline in pure strength as much as I noticed a decline in the volume I was able to perform with weights. Now into my second week of weights, I feel like I've caught back up to where I was at.
Am I ready for the NFL combine?
Perhaps my favorite part of the whole program was the conditioning aspect of it. I based the conditioning in every workout on agility and sprint based interval type training which has been proven time and time again to have tremendous fat loss, cardio and overall health benefits. Not only that, but I quickly began to feel very dynamic, agile, flexible and light on my feet. For the first time since I was playing football I felt like my body was functioning at an elite level and the best part about all these great benefits: I was feeling this was after only 10-15 minutes of conditioning a day!
Better flexibility than I've ever had...
For months I had been battling patellofemoral syndrome (serious knee cap grinding) due to tight muscles in my right leg. After about two weeks of doing the BWP routines I noticed my knee pain was nearly non-existent and my flexibility was better than it has been in a couple years. Not only that, but my shoulders felt extremely stable and pain free. I immediately attributed these results to the carefully crafted resistance program and the dynamic drills that were incorporated every day, including the dynamic warm up before each routine. If you go back and review the routines, you will notice there is movement in all planes of motion and a lot of drills that target the transverse (rotational) and frontal plane (side to side). These two planes of motion are often neglected in many training programs simply because people don't even think about moving their bodies in such a way! Getting consistent work in all planes of motion greatly increased my flexibility over the course of my six week project.
There you have it, my own testimonial for the Body Weight Project I constructed with the help of friend and fellow trainer Brandon Reina. If you want to take a look at the workout routines CLICK HERE and if you'd like me to send the routines to you with some tips so you can try it out, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can hear how BWP works for you.
All Photos by Rich Cruse at Rich Cruse Photography