Focus 15

focus15Focus 15 contains 3 body weight workouts from Mark Lauren. The “15” in the title indicates the length of the workouts, but they are all longer than 15 minutes, even without the warm up and cool downs, and approx. 30 minutes with those. However, just like in his other workouts, Mark demonstrates every exercise you will be doing to show proper form and you get your cool anatomy graphics. So if you minus that from the workout time, then they probably are 15 minutes long. And after you’ve done the workouts a few times and feel comfortable with them, you can just skip the demonstrations. The workouts are chaptered–not a menu that you can select from but if you hit the skip forward button on your DVD remote, it skips over segments.

Prior to this collection, his workouts tended to be total body but with this set, each workout focuses on a body part: Upper, Lower and Core. The workouts themselves are different, but like all of his other collections, the warm up and cool down are the same for all 3 workouts. During the exercise demonstrations, Mark also shows modifications you can make if the actual move is too advanced for you.

Mark suggests doing one workout a day on back to back days then taking one day of recovery. The workouts are all structured the same. They started with timed circuits. You do two exercises for 40 seconds each then repeat 3 times. You do two different exercises the same way. Each workout ends with Ladders. For Ladders you do two exercises back to back, first for 1 rep, then for 2 reps, then for 3 reps, then for 4 reps, then go back down the ladder–3 reps, then 2 reps, then end with 1 rep. For the timed circuits there is a timer, but it appears and disappears at random–so don’t count on it being there when you want to check your time! Mark uses some clockwork graphics to separate sections which is kind of cool. Also, there is a woman on the front of the DVD cover with Mark, so I assumed that (unlike his other workouts) he would have someone working out with him. Nope. Just Mark. So… why is there a woman on the cover with him? Kind of weird.

I like these workouts a lot. They were what I have come to expect from Mark Lauren’s workouts. They worked me hard and effectively with zero equipment. His calm focus somehow motivates me and the fact he does the entire workout with you with perfect form always inspires me to work hard to do the same.

Warm Up is 5 minutes:

  1. Hip rotations
  2. Good Mornings (hands behind head, narrow stance)
  3. Trunk rotations
  4. Prisoner squats
  5. Spiderman  Complex (start in straight arm plank; bring right foot up beside right hand, drop right forearm to ground, raise back up onto right hand while also straightening right knee, lower back to forearm while bending the knee, then straighten again; next, with right knee bent, raise right arm toward ceiling, rotating torso and looking up toward ceiling; come up to deep lunge w/ arms raised straight overhead, palms together; lower right hand and reach toward ground while reaching toward ceiling with left hand; repeat entire complex on other side of body)

Cool Down Stretch is 5:30 minutes. These stretches are the same as the cool down stretches used in EFX, but sequenced differently.

  1. “Z” stretch: while still in position of last stretch, bring one heel in toward crotch, bend the other knee in the opposite direction so your other heel is near your bottom; reach arms overhead then reach arms forward, placing hands on floor, torso over front leg
  2. Legs still in “Z” position, lean upper body back and to the side (same side as front leg) so you are on your elbow and twisting your body
  3. Repeat 1 & 2 on other side of body
  4. Lie on your stomach, stretch one arm out to side with elbow bent at 90 degree angle; bend opposite knee and lift, then push up with other hand, twisting body and raised foot toward bent elbow on floor
  5. Sit on bottom with legs spread wide in a V and straight and raise arms overhead then reach arms forward, placing palms on ground; then reach toward each foot and hold; next, reach toward each foot again but this time reaching arm overhead so you are stretching side of body, too

Upper Body is 19:30 minutes. Like most of Mark’s workouts, this one is deceptive. When he demonstrates the exercises it doesn’t seem like it will be so hard. But by the end of many of the segments, whatever body part we were working was screaming in agony, wanting it to just end. And the stretch! I cannot tell you how good it felt to stretch out my aching arms and shoulders. So–consensus? Excellent upper body workout! I feel like I worked muscles that have been laying dormant! For the first two pairings, you do 2 exercises, each for 40 seconds and 3 times. The only break you get is between pairings when Mark is demonstrating the exercises. For the final pairing, you do ladders (described below). The arm swing really wasn’t a very hard exercise and felt like a nice relief each time I got to do it.

  1. Wide Grip Push Up (push up w/ arms wide)
  2. Prone Snow Angel (lay on stomach, feet on ground, arms/shoulders/chest raised as if in superman, palms facing the ground; swing straight arms around to sides of body, then sweep the back to superman position)

Do each exercise for 40 seconds; repeat 3x

  1. Square Press & Reach (2 pike push ups then hold in pike and reach hand back to tap same side calf with each hand without moving hips)
  2. Y Cuff (lay on stomach, feet on ground and arms/shoulder/chest raised as if in superman–except arms wider in a “Y” and this time palms are turned so thumbs are raised toward ceiling; slide arms down along the side of the body, keeping them close, turning hands so that when arms are straight behind you, thumbs are close to the body but pointing to the sky, reverse this motion to return arms to starting position)

Do each exercise for 40 seconds; repeat 3x

Ladders: alternate the two exercises below; first for 1 rep, then for 2 reps, then for 3 reps, then for 4 reps, then go back down the ladder–3 reps, then 2 reps, then 1 rep.

  1. Stagger Hands Push Up (start in plank/straight arm push up position and place one hand in front of your shoulder and one hand behind your shoulder; do push ups in this position; Mark will tell you which hand to have in front each time you return to this exercise)
  2. Arm Swings (get on knees, legs close together; swing straight arms up to side until palms touch overhead and hold them there; twist torso to left then twist torso to right)

Legs & Glutes is 22 minutes. Just like any of Mark’s workouts, if done with the perfect form he demonstrates, this is tough. My lower body was burning by the end and I suspect there will be DOMS. This workout is set up in pairings. For the first two pairings, you do 2 exercises, each for 40 seconds and 3 times. The only break you get is between pairings when Mark is demonstrating the exercises. For the final pairing, you do ladders (described below). Mark is working very hard in this workout, too–just like he does in all of his other videos. With perfect form, of course.

  1. Crossover Lunge (forward curtsy lunge w/ hands behind head, knee taps the ground; alternate sides)
  2. Trailing Leg Squat (single leg squat w/ arms held straight out in front of you; 2 reps each leg and keep alternating)

Do each exercise for 40 seconds; repeat 3x

  1. Jumping Lunge (He calls these Iron Mikes in YAYOG; get into a lunge position with back knee on the ground; you will jump lunge from this position, lowering yourself back into a lunge with the back knee almost touching the ground)
  2. Glute Bridges (lay on back, heels close to bottom; bring one knee into chest and raise hips 3x, change legs and repeat; keep alternating sides)

Do each exercise for 40 seconds; repeat 3x

Ladders: alternate the two exercises below; first for 1 rep, then for 2 reps, then for 3 reps, then for 4 reps, then go back down the ladder–3 reps, then 2 reps, then 1 rep.

  1. Saxon Back Lunge (start standing with both arms straight overhead; reverse lunge w/ right leg back and drop left hand toward ground keeping right arm raised to ceiling; alternate sides)
  2. Lateral Lunge (do a side lunge and hold, then draw the trailing leg in toward the lead leg; alternate sides)

Total Core is 22:30 minutes. Another deceptive workout. It is set up just like the other two workouts; for the first two pairings, you do 2 exercises, each for 40 seconds and 3 times. The only break you get is between pairings when Mark is demonstrating the exercises. For the final pairing, you do ladders (described below). The first pairing wasn’t terribly difficult. I did feel it where I was supposed to feel it, but it didn’t really tax me. Many times when you do long core workouts, your actual abdominals (front of body) are screaming in agony. So I wondered if the fact Mark was making sure to literally work your entire core–front, back, sides–that maybe it wouldn’t be excruciating. Enter pairing two… Ouch. That’s when I really started working hard and hitting failure. The Ladder pairings were a little easier, but I was still pushing through. And he does work your entire core–including hip flexors.

  1. Up & Overs (lay flat on back with arms out to side in a “T” and legs straight in front of you with feet flexed; elevate left leg to ceiling, reach up with left hand and touch your foot, return arm to “T” then reach across your body with your left hand toward your right hand w/out moving your hips; alternate sides of body)
  2. Double Hip Up (start in plank; rotate to side plank, drop hips to ground, raise hips back to side plank, drop hips to ground again, raise hips again, return to plank and rotate to other side; alternate sides)

Do each exercise for 40 seconds; repeat 3x

  1. Streamline Scissor Kicks (lay on your back, head on ground, arms straight overhead on floor with palms together and legs straight with feet flexed; raise legs to a 45 degree angle and flutter kick your feet)
  2. Planking Scissor Kick (get into straight arm plank with legs very wide; raise one leg and bring foot to meet other foot then return to start; alternate sides)

Do each exercise for 40 seconds; repeat 3x

Ladders: alternate the two exercises below; first for 1 rep, then for 2 reps, then for 3 reps, then for 4 reps, then go back down the ladder–3 reps, then 2 reps, then 1 rep.

  1. Straddle Curl Up (sit on floor with legs in a wide “V”, lay on back with straight arms extended to ceiling, palms together; sit up, reaching arms overhead, reach your right arm past your you left foot then your left arm past your right foot and return to starting position)
  2. Mountain Climber Variation (in straight arm plank bring knee to same side elbow then knee to opposite elbow; repeat on other side–this is one rep)

 

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One response to “Focus 15

  1. Pingback: You Are Your Own Gym Volume 2 (YAYOG-2) | 2 Lazy 4 the Gym·

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