Hokay SO. Plyometrics. Somehow every time I do this workout (this is... maybe the sixth time I've done it?), I convince myself that it's not going to be so bad. Then, inevitably, during the second set of the first 4-exercise block is where I start to hit pause after each exercise so that I can just stand, hunched over, gulping air, tears squeezing out of my eyes over the pain in my legs. I can't figure out why this workout is so fucking brutal, but it is. Dear Lords of Kobol, it is.
For me, the hardest exercises are:
Swing Kicks: I have no clue why this is so hard for me, but the combination of quad/hip flexor brutality, plus the balance required, really kills me. I'm not so much breathing hard during this one as just trying to stay on my feet. If it were just kicking the legs over the chair out from the body one after another, that would be easier; but you kick each leg in the same direction. So it's right leg kicking out and over, then left leg following kicking in and over, and somehow the movement towards the body is so much more difficult to me, both strength- and balance-wise. On the other hand, I think this move is going to actually help my yoga balance and strength. So there's that silver lining.
Twist Combos: It's not the Ski Hops portion of this that gets me, it's the part where we spin 180. I get SO DIZZY. I probably do only about half as many as Tony & Crew because I'm trying not to fall over the whole time. They're not especially hard, either, just dizzying.
Rock Star Hops: Motherfucker, this one hurts. You think you've been a badass with your Jump Knee Tucks earlier in the game, but then these, where you jump up, heels touching butt while twisting 45 degrees to the side, are just brutal. Plus you have to swing your arm like you're playing a guitar. It's hard, then harder, and then Tony screams "DOUBLETIME!" and does it twice as fast, and you want to die. This is one of those exercises where I pause the video after and lay spread-eagled on the bed so my chest is as open as possible while I try to catch my breath. If I had/wore a heart rate monitor, as Tony recommends during this workout, I'm sure it would be screaming at me to chill out halfway through the Rock Star Hops.
Military Marches: This is another one where the form is more difficult for me than the actual movement. It requires a lot of balance and flexibility that I don't have. Also, it's tough on the quads, which by this point in the routine are usually shaking.
Hot Foot Jumps: Hop on one foot for 30 seconds, then the other foot for another 30 seconds. Sounds easy, right? Eat a dick. It's the most painful exercise in the whole workout. Today I pleased myself by actually finishing the whole thing with no breaks, so a full 30 seconds on each foot, but I was screaming "ow ow OW MOTHERFUCKER" by the end.
Now, to inject a little positivity, here are the exercises in Plyometrics that I enjoy, because some of them are actually really fun. I think it's because Plyo brings out the kid in me that just wants to play and hop around.
Airborne Heismans: You leap to the side and bring the opposite leg into your chest, making the Heisman Trophy pose. This one is fun and promotes balance and abs because Tony makes us hold the pose for a couple seconds instead of just hopping into the next one.
Circle Run: Put your towel on the floor (I use a brightly colored knit hat I always have laying around) and run around it as fast as you can go, first clockwise, then counterclockwise. This is fun because it's a challenge to see how fast your feet can go without tripping, and also because you feel like a boxer training footwork for a match.
Jump Knee Tucks: High jumps where you slap your knees as they near your chest. This is a Bodyrock favorite, so I'm used to the form and can do them really well, and also I feel pretty badass doing these.
Mary Katherine Lunges: Really hard, but really fun, because how many of us in middle/high school would spontaneously break into the Molly Shannon "SUPERSTAAH" lunge? Brings back memories. Really hard, though. My legs scream after this one.
Gap Jumps: Leap over a pretend ravine/river/earthquake crack in your floor. I like exercises that seem like they'll have practical use in the world.
Monster Truck Tire Jumps: Any exercise where I can visualize a real-world scenario instead of just focusing on how tired and in pain I am, gets the "fun" stamp. This one has you pretending there are four diagonally-spaced monster truck tires that you're jumping one-legged through, up to the top of the field and then backwards. I envision being in military boot camp during this one. Fun.
Pitch & Catch: This one is during the Bonus Round, which I always do because it's not hard and serves as a nice cooldown. What could be more fun than pretending to pitch and catch a baseball? Besides, you know, sitting on the couch and eating ice cream? Obviously that's more fun. But this exercise is probably the most fun you can have doing Plyo.
Btw, the exercises listed above are maybe... half? Two thirds? of the actual exercises. It's a solid hour of pain. Good gravy it's hard. But Tony is at least pretty toned-down in this one and actually keeps repeating what ends up being the most useful thing to keep in my head while I'm near tears from pain: "You can do anything for thirty seconds!" Fuck yeah, it's only thirty seconds, and I certainly can do anything for just 30 seconds.
Yesterday was when I was planning to do Plyo, but fuck, it was St. Paddy's Day and I had to go have a beer with my dad at a Herndon pub that was playing live Irish music. When I got home, I knew I'd have no time/stamina for Plyo, so instead I took River for a 2-mile hill run in my Vibrams. BIG hills. It was hard. I felt good about it. But this means that I have to do P90X for the next three days straight, including today, in order not to get behind. Whimper.
One nice thing about Plyo is that I can practically feel myself losing weight while doing it. It's that hard. And I sweat that much.