Elmar hat seine ganz eigene Liegestütz-Variante

Workout of the week part 3

Revolution at Fabi’s Functional Fitness Frenzy!

This Functional Fitness Frenzy is the first of its kind that has to take place without Fabi. Instead of getting my fat behind in shape Fabi unfortunately has to go save the world. That this prioritization is somewhat debatable and doesn’t work well with my priorities is an issue of conflict that, for now, should be pushed back to another day. It isn’t actually that big of a deal anyway because there is always our boss, Elmar Schumacher. If he isn’t busy inventing another brilliant Functional Training game changer (like the revvll ONE which is nominated for the FIBO Innovation Award 2014) he is working hard becoming wider than your average door frame. Which is not a bad start if you are to take Fabi’s place and design a Workout of the Week especially for me. What’s the worst that could happen? It can’t possibly be harder than one of Fabi’s workouts, right?

Well, if I had known before that this guy does crazy stuff with the aeroSling like that (see below, and no, the picture is not upside down)

crazy exercise with the aeroSling Sling Trainer

maybe I had decided to join Fabi in his quest to save the world. Instead it is “Push it to the max!” for me.

As the name suggests this workout consists of push exercises only. Push movements in all directions. This workout, however, is quite different from your standard 3 sets, 12 reps routine. Similar to the first and second Workout of the Week in Fabi’s Functional Fitness Frenzy this workout has a time limit, which is 7.5 Minutes this time. This 7.5 minutes time limit, however, applies to each of the four exercises we will do. So 30 minutes total of pushing. A little hint right from the start: things that require you to lift one or both arms should be done before starting the workout. You won’t be able to lift your arms after this…

The second feature of this workout is its special design. The repetitions are organized like a pyramid. You start with one rep and increase the number of reps every time by one until you reach the maximum (4 reps), then you decrease the reps until you reach 1 again, just to raise the reps back up to 4 again. This is repeated as long as the time is running. The whole procedure looks like this:

1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 … and so forth.

The break between two sets is the exact same amount of time that it takes for you to complete the first set or reps. So if you need 2 seconds for the first rep you take a break of 2 seconds before you do 2 reps. For those 2 reps you need 4 seconds, so you take a break of 4 seconds before doing 3 reps. For 3 reps you need 6 seconds so there is a break of 6 seconds before you do 4 reps. Doing 4 reps takes 8 seconds, resulting in 8 seconds of break before you do 3 reps again. You know how it goes on from here. To make sure that you can keep up with this strictly timed regimen you should get a stop watch or download an equivalent app for your smartphone. There are a lot of free apps out there, I personally use Intervall Timer for Android.

You might ask yourself why the amount of reps per set is so small. Why do you need to take a break after one rep anyways? The reason is quite simple: after only a short time you will be willing to sell your first-born for every additional second that you can add to your break. And you can’t do that kind of thing that often. Sure, the breaks will automatically get longer as you take longer doing the required amount of reps but your body generally prefers to rest longer than it is in motion. And it will make you feel that. Additionally, since this workout follows the motto “Push it to the max!” it is very heavy on the triceps (that’s why I like to call it “triceps thrasher”) because all exercises are upper body exercises. Let’s see what exercises there are:

  • wide Push Ups
  • Dips
  • Overhead Press
  • Triceps Press with a Sling Trainer

The first exercise is a wide push up. This means that instead of doing a normal push up where your hands are basically at shoulder height (see sequence below) we place our hands siginificantly farther apart from each other. This way we disburden the triceps a bit (in retrospect a really smart idea) and focus more on the pectoral muscles. An important tip by Fabi when it comes to wide push ups: be sure to point forward with your fingers. Your hands should not be turned towards your body. Also make sure that both your arms have the same angle in relation to your upper body. Should keeping up an optimal movement pattern become a problem you can always just rest your knees on the floor. This way you make the push ups much easier and this exercise becomes less challenging. After this exercise I was somewhat surprised that I could do it without struggle. I had expected a lot more pain and effort from a workout by the boss. However, I very soon came to realize that I was simply too impatient. The next exercise made all my fears and apprehensions a reality…

Fabi - push up instruction

I probably won’t have to explain the second exercise much as well. Dips are an absolute classic when it comes to bodyweight training and can be done almost anywhere. You can lean on the back rests of two chairs at home, you can place your hands on a park bench and position your feet far away from the bench, you can give it all at the A-Bars of the verso360 training frame like I did, or you can hang yourself in a Sling Trainer like Elmar (especially the Blackthorn Sling Trainer is a great option because of its dual suspension mode). All of these variations have one thing in common: they are incredibly challenging. With regard to the following 7.5 minutes straight out of hell you should organize yourself a support on which you can rest your feet. With this you can keep up an optimal movement pattern even when you can’t push yourself up with your arms alone. I have placed a stool underneath the A-Bars from which I can push myself off with my feet. Thus, I relieve my arms from some of the weight and can maintain a good movement even after several minutes. You can also adjust your Sling Trainer to a low position from which you still have ground contact even in the upper position. The boss obviously doesn’t need to do any of that. You could easily have hung him over a volcano with his Sling Trainer. He probably wouldn’t have broken into a sweat even then.

Dips at the verso360 A-Bars

After we have pushed forward and downwards in the first two exercises we now push upwards. After the dips I couldn’t imagine pushing ever again but miraculously it worked anyways. I used a barbell for the overhead press, the boss loaded up a blackPack nice and heavy, he was bound to lose his wind at some point, right? As you might have experienced during the first two exercises less is more (as in the first two Workouts of the Week as well). You would be well advised to take slightly less weight than you think. Optimal form is always the priority. There is absolutely no upside to moving a huge weight at the beginning but losing all form soon. You won’t gain nearly as much as you could have when doing it right and the injury risk is unnecessarily high. The movement pattern itself is quite easy. Make sure to stand up straight and avoid a hollow back. Be reminded that you won’t have time to put the weight down and pick it up again during the short breaks. This should be another factor when it comes to choosing the weight! After this exercise I feel like my triceps is about to explode. The boss doesn’t look challenged. Is that a drop of sweat on his forehead?

Overhead Press with a barbell

The last exercise’s sole purpose is to power out your triceps completely. My triceps was clinically dead at this point but as the boss was slowly beginning to warm up he insisted that I carry on. And when the boss tells me to carry on I carry on. My triceps has no say in that decision. For this exercise, the triceps press, you’ll need a sling trainer. This has the great advantage that you can easily adjust the difficulty to your power reserves by adjusting your position. The further you lean forward the bigger the portion of your bodyweight gets that you have to move with every rep. In the starting position your forearms are bend in a 90 degree angle in relation to your upper arms, then you just stretch out your arms without moving your shoulders at all. The movement comes solely from your triceps. It’s really simple and quite easy. Especially at the end of this murderous workout. NOT.

Triceps Press with aeroSling ELITE

After this workout the boss has probably put in another session, to me he looked like he was just getting started. For my part I had trouble holding my glass of water up to my mouth. So if you are looking for an extremely demanding workout that really makes you give it all you should try this one. I now face the dilemma that I could avoid Fabi’s Functional Fitness Frenzy only by facing Elmar’s monster workout. Caught between a rock and a hard place. Maybe I get lucky next time and Fabi and Elmar both have to save the world…

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