On the eve of the day when 91% of Americans eat turkey, according to the commentators of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the FFT class crushed the second annual “Let the Lion Loose” workout. The inaugural event happened last year when Matt and Kerri expressed their desire to make that nights class particularly hard to help balance the scales a little bit against the deluge of food to come the next day. Therefore, I had some extra time this year to write up a particularly interesting workout.
As our workouts have been a basic mix of heavy squats, some deadlifts, and lots of gymnastic movements for about the past month, I wanted to largely stick with what we have been doing. So we started off with squats, like we do every Wednesday night.
Prior to every squat session, we do Ido Portal’s Squat Clinic Routine to loosen up the hips and various joints. After prepping the posterior chain, we usually do the classic routine of 5×5 or a reverse-pyramid set but for this workout I wanted to make it a little special and what’s more special than one set of 20 ‘breathing’ squats. If you’re not familiar with what a breathing squat session is, it is one set of 20 squats using your 10 rep max weight. Obviously this should make you ask the question of, “How are you supposed to get 20 reps with a weight that you could previously only do for 10 reps?” This is why they are called ‘breathing squats’.
Reps 1 through 10 are usually pretty typical, reps 11 through 20 is where it starts to get “fun”. As you get closer to 20, you will have to take more deep breaths in between each rep to enable you to do one more. The higher you go, the more breaths you have to take. What makes ‘breathing squats’ special is that they require so much concentration and personal will to get through them. You must go into it with a clear head and only one thought in mind: I will get 20 reps, even if I have to be under that bar for 5 minutes.
Now the cool thing about ‘breathing squats’ is that while they are quite hard, they offer great rewards. Outside of the fact that you ‘only’ have one set of squats to do, they also provoke a great growth stimulus from the body. Due to the work that has to be done to keep the back flat for all 20 reps, the torso gets quite tired along with the legs and hips. After you finish your 20th rep, you won’t have anything left for another set. If you do, you didn’t go heavy enough.
With that introduction, I can’t tell you how proud I was of everyone. Kerri, Ann, and Matt crushed their first encounter with 20 rep breathing squats! They all went into their sets with focus, determination, and got the job done.
Here is the weight that each person used, in pounds:
After the squats were out of the way, we moved onto the met-con section of the workout. While we haven’t been doing many met-con’s lately, due to our focus on gymnastics and strength movements, they are always fun to throw in here and there.
In writing the met-con, I wanted to use as many movements as possible that require not only physical effort but mental concentration as well. This is what I came up with:
5 rounds of:
Tripod Headstand Hold, 5 seconds
Finger Tip Push-Ups w/ a Hop if possible, 10 reps
Ring Rows or Chin-Ups, 10 reps
One-Legged Squats, 5 reps per leg
Lizard Walk*, up and down the racquetball court
Circular Sprint around the court, one in each direction
Back Bridge Hold, 10 seconds
Standing Hamstring Stretch Hold, 30 seconds
Standing Hip Stretch, one in each direction
We all finished the workout in a little over 30 minutes and were pretty exhausted, mentally and physically. It was the perfect workout to do before heading home and getting Thanksgiving started a little early with my favorite mudslide cookies, thanks hun.
I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and now I will embark on a four-week period of eating only good food. Stay tuned for a post on the guidelines that I am giving myself, why I am following those guidelines, and what I hope to achieve. At the end of those four weeks, it will be Christmas Eve and I will be ready to celebrate one of my favorite days of the year.