Monday, December 06, 2010


This week we introduced the group to Level IV workouts. You might recall that the basic machine strength training circuit was Level I. Replacing the movements with dumbbells and exercise balls was Level II. Last week we combined cardio intervals (ran ¼ mile) with body weight exercises (pushups, body squats, sit-ups for Level III.

What makes Level IV workouts unique and difficult is the type of exercises you do, with little or no break between them. For their workout, we used five different exercises:

(1) Wall Ball—this was a new movement for them, holding a soft medicine ball on their shoulder, executing a body squat, and then tossing the ball up overhead against the wall before catching it on the opposite shoulder and then doing another body squat.

(2) Dumbbell Curls—this was a familiar traditional weight lifting exercise, curling a dumbbell in each arm, alternating right then left.

(3) Kettle Bell Swings—another new movement for them, holding a kettle bell by the hand in both hands, swinging it down between their legs, and using their hips, arms and shoulders to swing it back up overhead. Make sure you have a tight grip so you don’t hit yourself in the head!

(4) Bench Jumps—another new movement, standing on one side of a weight bench, gripping it with both hands with most of your weight on your arms, jump from one side to the other, swinging both feet together as one.

(5) Abs Routine #1 to #4
—this was familiar to them from previous workouts. Crunches with knees bent; crunches with legs straight up; crunches to each side; and leg flippers.

Here’s how it worked. Each person performed one exercise for 50 seconds. During a 10 second rest period, they moved to the next station and then did the next exercise for 50 seconds. At the end of five minutes they had rotated through all five exercises and completed one round. They did this four times for a total of four rounds and 20 minutes.

It sounds easy, but because Wall Ball, Kettle Ball swings, and Bench Jumps are compound movements using several different muscle groups at a time, it quickly gets intense. Since they did everything without any breaks—just the 10 seconds to move over and get ready—it became a cardio workout too!

Give it a try sometime, but make sure you’ve eaten something before hand. This type of workout will make you light headed and nauseous if you try to do it on an empty stomach—it’s too tough!

This week’s Biggest Loser was Nicole Shaughnessy, who lost 1.1% of her body weight and 1.8 lbs. Second place went to Nicole Clodfelter, who lost 0.7% of her body weight and 1.5 lbs.

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