By October 3, 2011

Spartacus Workout: Week Two

So I completed my second week of the Spartacus television series workout in order to honor the late Andy Whitfield.

In some ways, this week was easier than the first. I was definitely not as sore, but that’s like saying you’re only half as beat to hell. Before I started the program, I decide to add one workout per week. That meant even though I was pretty beat up doing three sessions a week, I had promised to do four during week two.

Here are some of my survival tips. Warning: there will be more photos of me without a shirt on.

  1. Drink more water. Yes, more than that.

    However much water you are drinking, drink more. The workout itself made me sweat profusely; the rebuilding process that followed each session sucked up whatever water I had left. I started drinking more water, and that helped with the soreness throughout the day, as well as any tenderness I had at the start of a session.

  2. Working out an extra day helped.

    I felt that the first movement or two every session was really rough on my. My body was sore, my muscles were tight, but by the end of the one-arm kettlebell swing movement I felt “fine.” As long as fine can be defined as being out of breath, sweating like it was raining inside, and my body begging me to stop and just play StarCraft 2. I also would like to think that I got stronger as the workouts ticked by, but I was concerned about overtraining after going through week one.

  3. Stretching was key

    . I stretched longer before and after each workout during week 2, and I feel like that was the biggest thing I could do to not only reduce post-workout pain, but also increase recovery time between workouts. The rest of this post will be about the stretches I do pre- and post-workout. Maybe it’ll help you, too.

As with any exercise or stretching regime, please consult a physician. This is not meant as exercise or stretching advice and just represents my experience and routine.

  1. Wide arm pulldown back stretch

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    Start with your hands at your sides. Inhale deeply as you raise your arms directly over your head, and then exhale as you pull your shoulder blades together. Then follow up with:

  2. Wide open arm chest stretch

    IMG_7471
    From the wide arm pulldown back stretch, extend your arms and put your palms together in the center of your chest. Inhale, and spread your arms wide. Turn your arms so that your hands are pointing upward. Extend wide and as far back as you can comfortably go, then exhale and return to the starting position; hands together and arms straight out in the center of your chest. Repeat the back stretch, and do this three times or so.

  3. Arrow

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    Start with your feet together, and your hands at your sides. Extend your right arm over your head and curve your arm and body to the left. Imagine you are pointing at the spot where the wall and ceiling meet. Push your right hip straight out to the side for a bigger stretch. Hold for ten seconds, then do the left side. Repeat so that you stretch both sides twice.

  4. Standing quad stretch

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    I center my hips, make sure my core is stable, and then stretch my quad by pulling up and back gently on my ankle. If you need to, use a wall or chair for stability. Push your hips forward for an extra stretch.

  5. Wide leg hang down

    IMG_7472
    Widen your legs as far as you can go and still maintain stability. Exhale gently and hang as far down as you can go. I like to cross my arms for stability, but you can put your hands on the floor if you want to. If you can, lower your hips down for a bigger stretch. Hold for ten seconds and then …

  6. Wide leg stretch to one side

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    I always start on my left side but it doesn’t matter — slowly grab your leg as close to the floor as you can. In my case, I feel the best stretch / stability compromise when I grab ahold of my ankle or the top of my foot. Hold for ten seconds, and then do the other side.

  7. Right angle inner thigh stretch

    IMG_7475
    This used to just feel good when I did the BeachBody routines. Thanks to the side lunges in the Whitfield workout they are critical to keep me from over-tight leg muscles. Those of you familiar with the Right Angle Pose in yoga will recognize the base posture here. Bend your knee so that it’s approximately at a right angle. You don’t want your knee traveling over the ankle. This should stretch the inside of your thigh on the opposite leg. If you need a bigger stretch, lower your hips. Hold for ten seconds, then switch to the other side.

  8. Runner’s stretch

    IMG_7476
    Switch to your opposite leg, keeping your knee over your ankle. I rotate on my back foot to keep my hips in alignment, and my body faces the same direction as my lead knee and foot. This stretch really works my groin and hips. Hold for ten seconds and then switch sides.

    Taking pictures of myself revealed how stiff and shitty some of my stretches were. A more limber person’s rear leg would be completely straight; as you can see here mine is quite bent.

  9. Double leg hanging hamstring stretch

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    Slowly return to a standing position. Put your feet as close together as possible, and then bend over. Try to reach as far as you can. Some may stop at the knees, some may grab the backs of their heels. Most will wind up somewhere in between. Hold for ten seconds, then slowly stand up.

  10. Double leg cross hamstring stretch

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    This is the same as the first movement, except I cross my left foot over my right foot. Hold for ten seconds, slowly stand up, switch feet, and then stretch again for ten seconds.

  11. Sitting torso stretch

    I love this stretch. It’s hard to explain, but if you’ve done some of the BeachBody workouts you’ll know exactly what this is. Sit down, and bring your right heel so that it’s as close to the left side of your butt as possible. Your knee should be pointing relatively straight out from your body, and your leg will be mostly flat to the ground depending on your flexibility. Then bring your left leg over your right. I hug my left knee to my body before proceeding to make sure my legs are as tight to my body as possible. Rotate your body so that your chest is on the same side as your upright (left) knee, and reach back as far around your body as you can. You’ll be twisted here, so if you have any history of spine or back problems be careful.

    Here’s a photo from the front of my body, which shows the position of my legs from one angle:
    IMG_7483

    and here’s a photo of my back, while I’m stretching my right leg:
    IMG_7486

    Hold for ten or fifteen seconds, and then switch legs.

  12. Prone double leg torso stretch

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    These are two of my favorite stretches because I like lying down after a hard workout. 😉 Lie flat on your back and extend both arms straight out. Bend both legs. Turn your head to the right, and then rotate your body so both of your legs drop to the left side of your body. Try to make your knees touch the ground while you keep both shoulders flat on the ground. Hold for ten seconds, then switch your head and knees.

  13. Prone cross-leg torso stretch

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    Start this stretch like the prone double leg torso stretch. Flat on your back, both knees bent. Extend your right leg, then grab the top of your left knee with your right hand, and pull it down to your right. Try to bring your left knee to the ground. Hold for ten seconds, then switch.

I do these movements plus some moving around and bouncing to get my heart rate going before I do the Spartacus workout. I usually do this for one song, then I get to work. After the workout I cool down and stretch for another song.

I expect my pre- and post-workout stretches to help me survive a Monday through Friday week three of the Spartacus workout.

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