workouts

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For The Hard Core: The Gonzo Grown-Up Playground Workout In 10 Moves

Hanging leg raises (November Project)

Hanging leg raises (November Project)

Last month we posted The Grown-up, Full-Body Playground Workout In 10 Moves, aimed at middling-fit folks who might like to inject some fun, efficient fitness into their playground time. But what about the ends of the fitness spectrum, the beginner and the Herculean athlete?

We’ll do the beginner workout next month, but today, a playground workout for the hard core. Please don’t go beyond your abilities, get injured and sue. For many of us, this is just a spectator workout. Most of these moves make me laugh out loud and say, “Uh uh, no way I can do even one of those.” But I’m already imagining how some might be modified for the less superhuman among us, and I’m eternally impressed by this workout’s creators, The November Project.

What is the November Project? If you’re asking that, you’re probably not a young, fit Bostonian, because the NP is already legend in Beantown. Here’s the full backstory: Two Guys Walk Into A Bar And A Free Fitness Movement Is Born, and the movement has now spread to multiple cities across four time zones and counting. November Project co-founders Bojan Mandaric and Brogan Graham, always game for a challenge, designed this workout for the playground atop the huge hill — Summit Ave. in Brookline, MA — that NP participants run (and run and run) every Friday morning at 6:30. 

For the best results do three to four sets of all 10 exercises, with no rest in between exercises, no rest between sets, as fast as possible while maintaining a good form:

1. Alternating Single Leg Wall Jump: This is an advanced version of the step-up as it requires a jump at every leg switch. The leg switch is completed in the air. Ten reps each leg.

Alternating  single leg wall jump (November Project)

Alternating single leg wall jump (November Project)

2. Burpee Box Jump: From a pushup to a squat, jump on the bench, from the bench back down into the pushups. 10 reps.

Burpee Box jump (Courtesy November Project)

Burpee Box jump (November Project)

3. Corncob pull-up on monkey bars: Grip slightly wider than shoulder width. Do a pull-up, move your chin to one hand, move your chin to the other hand, come back to the center and down. As many repeats as you can, but no more than 10. Continue reading

Why To Exercise Today: Confuse Your Muscles Like Paul Ryan

Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan

Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan (Associated Press)

My head is still spinning as I try to decipher Republican vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan’s plan for Medicare, but this I can understand: Ryan has only 6 to 8 percent body fat. That’s impressive, verging on scary. And the Republican from Wisconsin is known on Capitol Hill for leading a morning killer workout called P90X, made by the same folks who produce the bestselling Insanity Workout.

He told Politico in 2010: “It works because — it’s called muscle confusion. It hits your body in many different ways: Pull-ups, push-ups, sit-ups, lots of cardio, karate, jump-training, yoga. So what it does is it pushes your body in many different ways. So that it gets out of its plateau…I was actually a fitness trainer. I had three jobs when I came out of college. One of them was a fitness trainer. And what people get into is a plateau, they get into an exercise plateau, they’re doing the same thing every day and you plateau ….And people get used to it. This gets you out of that plateau…I keep my body fat between 6 and 8 percent…I’m kind of a skinny guy.”

Time magazine runs an interview with the workout’s creator, Tony Horton, here, and asks: Is P90X for you? (Um, I’ll consider it next time I run for office. But I do like the muscle confusion concept, and the virtues of cross-training are well accepted among exercise experts.)

Time also quotes the Washington Post:

It can only do us good as a nation to have as a role model such a fine physical specimen in high office. Hopefully, Ryan will inspire more Americans to get healthy. That’s important, because if Ryan succeeds in ending Medicare, they won’t be able to afford getting sick.