Fabi’s Functional Fitness Frenzy – WOW part 5

Today is gonna be HARDCORE!

Alright, the headline might be a bit blunt but it simply fits very well. When I’m done describing the Workout of the Week you’ll be saying: yes, fits perfectly. First and foremost it just fits perfectly because everybody’s darling Mr Schumacher is in charge of the workout. And that his workouts come in the variations ‘hardcore’, ‘totally crazy’, and ‘one workout to rule them, to find them, bring them all in the aerobis gym, and with muscle soreness torture them’ I have had the painful pleasure to experience in the previous weeks in Fabi’s Functional Fitness Frenzy No. 3.

This time, again, Fabi is somehow unavailable. So the theory Fabi and Elmar make up a Bruce Wayne/Batman situation gets fueled further. Fabi is probably sitting in the bat cave designing new workouts at the same time we are working out. Or is Fabi the immensly wealthy bon vivant hosting one cocktail charity event after another? Who’s Porsche is that in the parking lot? But maybe we got it wrong and we are comparing them to the wrong comic figures. How else can one make sense of this peculiar photograph that has mysteriously appeared in the company camera:

But I digress. Indepent of the question when the world is safer, whether Fabi or Elmar participate in the Functional Fitness Frenzy, I still have to endure a badass workout that couldn’t present a bigger contrast to my daily office routine. And that is obviously much more important.

The Workout of the Week

Even though the headline might seem a bit blunt at first sight it is actually super clever and smart. You see, the CORE in HARDCORE refers to the targeted muscle groups/body region which is the core. See, a totally awesome play with words! In Germany we have a special kind of muscle which is the laugh muscles. I’m pretty sure that this is not a german-specific muscle group so you probably have it too. And from the funny and incredibly smart play with words you can see that we are also targetting your laugh muscles as well. So we have a holistic approach here. Isn’t that great? Anyway, the HARD in HARDCORE refers to the workout itself which is a high-intense Tabata protocol. He have already done one of those last week, remember? Tabata means 8 sets of 20 seconds with 10 seconds rest between each set. That this may seem like nothing much but makes your brain sweat out that thought right from the start I had the ‘pleasure’ to experience for you last week. This time we are dealing with a real Tabata workout where we don’t switch exercises after each set but instead do one exercise for 8 straight sets before changing to the next one. Nothing could be simpler!

The structure of the workouts

This time the Workout of the Week consists of four simple bodyweight exercises that challeng your core in all directions. This makes it especially great for a pen pusher like me. Nothing suffers more from sitting in front of your monitor all day than your core muscles. Well, nothing really profits from it either, but it is especially worse for the core because it is included in almost every of your daily movements. So this workout is right on time! This is Functional Training! The only piece of equipment that you could use would be a training mat. You’ll need nothing else. Since the workout is also quite short you have virtually no excuse to not do it at home. Here the overview:

  • lateral hip extension
  • Hello Darlings
  • Superman
  • Russian Twist

As I have mentioned before we are doing a Tabata protocol. So every exercise is done 8 times with 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of break between the sets. You can make your own pace (at least in the beginning, then your body takes over…). But please make sure that you keep perfect form while doing the exercises relatively fast. One tends to become sloppy when doing the reps quicker or getting more and more exhausted. But this will absolutely not do you any good. Form comes before anything and everything else. I know I’m repeating myself here but I’d rather say it too often rather than saying it not often enough. What you will also need is a stop watch or a timer but since you are an ambitious athlete I probably don’t have to tell you that.

The exercises

Since I’m insisting so much on perfect form I obviously have to explain the exercises to you. I will do this as always with a couple of pictures. First we turn towards the lateral hip extension. We have dine this exercise before with an aeroSling ELITE in the workout of last week. This time you can do it without any equipment. You just lean on one of your elbows and position your feet one before the other to have an optimal grip. You can also put one foot on top of the other but you will have a better and more secure stand when both feet have ground contact. In the starting position you body is completely straight and forms a line from head to toe. The exercise movement consists of an upward extension of the hip. If you lean on your right elbow you move your hip to your left and the other way round. You can decide whether you want to change sides after each set or first do one side four times and then the other side four times. As you like.

The next exercise is called Hello Darlings and is so beautiful that I will show it to you from two different angles. When you see the photos you’ll know what I mean. For this exercise you lie down on your back and put your hands on your stomach. Then you lift your feet a bit with straightened legs. The exercise simply consists of spreading and closing your legs. Maybe you can guess now why the exercise is called Hello Darlings… Keep a fast pace in which you don’t move your upper body at all. You might feel a tendency to slip into a hollow back position which you will want to avoid. Otherwise the exercise is as easy as it looks. What, you don’t know how it looks? Oh right, I haven’t posted the lovely photos yet:

The third exercise Elmar has probably just inserted to hint at the rumours about him and Fabi never being able to make the same workout (see above). It is called Superman and you have the same dilemma with Superman and Clark Kent as with Batman/Bruce Wayne. That clever bastard! Nevertheless this exercise is great and feels completely natural from the start – NOT. You probably have done this exercise plenty of times before, as have I, but I have never really gotten accustomed to the feel of it. If you’re not quite sure what I’m talking about: you lie down face down, straighten out your arms above your head, and then lift your arms and legs at the same time. Your upper body is still on the ground while your extremities are lifted. Superman looks quite similar when he flies around. Although I’m pretty sure he would choose a much more comfortable position when flying if he were real. Here a picture that shows you the exercise really well:

Now to the last exercise. Thank god, because even though we have relatively simple exercises this time, without any equipment, the workout is really challenging. The Tabata aspect makes it really hard. But I already feel how under that thick layer of fat a six-pack made of steel is waiting to show. As soon as that fat is gone I can work as a body double for David Beckham. I’ll celebrate that with a cookie!

Oh right, the last exercise! Russian Twists are great for the final round because they not only incoporate upper body rotation but also demand that you keep your legs up all the time while leaning slightly back with your (straight!) upper body. At the end of this workout that certainly is pretty easy. You get into the starting position and then turn your upper body to one side, turn back towards the starting position, and then turn to the other side. Rinse and repeat. Keep up perfect form at all times! To keep you motivated you should put on some traditional russion folk song. That really fits perfectly. Due to legal reasons I can unfortunately not give you an example. But I can show you a picture sequence showing you what this exercise is all about:

After this workout my core feels like a steel armor around my waist that isn’t rocked by anything. I have a HARD CORE. Ha! Hilarious, what a clever play with words! A quick peak in the mirror says something different but you can always cover up the mirror. How do you feel? Are you going to try this workout yourself? What are your favorite core exercises? Are you one of those sit up-enthusiasts that James Ferris describes in his post in the Functional Movement blog? Or do you prefer complete body workouts where the core is involved in every exercise? Let me know in the comments! I’m looking forward to your replies!

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