Chisel Endurance

In Coaching, Fitness Programs, Reviews by Dale HillLeave a Comment

Increase muscular endurance and strength in this time-under-tension workout 


Building a strong, sculpted body doesn’t require hours spent working out—just an expert approach. And with The Master’s Hammer and Chisel, seasoned trainers Sagi Kalev and Autumn Calabrese have compiled their best, most efficient techniques into 30- to 40-minute resistance-training workouts to help you craft a powerful, perfectly defined physique in just 60 days.

Throughout the entire 60 days, you’ll focus on Stabilization, Strength, and Power to rapidly build, sculpt, and refine your physique. Combine this training with proven portion-control nutrition-the way Sagi and Autumn do in The Master’s Hammer and Chisel-and you’ll build a body that’s strong, chiseled, and defined.

As I  embark on my own 60-Day Journey with The Master’s Hammer and Chisel, I will be reviewing each workout as they present themselves in the program calendar. I will add my own insights and observations about the workouts; the comments I make are my own as an Independent Certified Personal Trainer and do not necessarily represent the Celebrity Trainers or Beachbody. Full disclosure, I am also an Independent Team Beachbody Coach and a distributor of this program and all other Beachbody products. I hope the information I provide is beneficial in your personal fitness journey.

Chisel Endruance735x1102Chisel Endurance is designed to increase strength and muscle endurance by keeping your muscles engaged and under tension for 60 seconds at a time. You experience Time Under Tension in Iso Speed Hammer however unlike that workout, you will be focusing your energy primarily on Type I muscle fibers or your slow twitch muscles – there’s no speed work in this one!

The format is two rounds each consisting of 10, 60-Second sets. There is minimal rest between each set in the round and only one minute rest between rounds. You can see the individual movements below and you’ll note as with other workouts, major body parts are alternated to allow recovery and prevent over-fatiguing the muscle. The big picture view has you hitting the following primary movers in this sequence: legs – back – legs – chest – back – chest – core.

As you concentrate on the primary muscle engaged in the movement, also be conscious of the stabilizing muscles, you will maximize the benefit of the workout by learning to keep your core engaged throughout all movements, drawing the belly button in towards your spine, contracting and tucking your glutes in, pulling your hips into alignment beneath you, squeezing at the top of contractions. Initially some of these actions may seem exaggerated or forced because you’re unaccustomed to adding them in, however you will find your gains can increase dramatically by engaging your full body in the movement.

Breathe. That’s right, just breathe – it sounds simple enough, but there’s often the tendency to hold your breath when you get tired. Exhale as you’re exerting and inhale through your nose on the recovery, you need to keep the oxygen flowing.

Safety is paramount and as with all moves that involve stepping up and down from your bench, you want to be sure your bench is stable, the surface is dry and you have good footing. As you get tired, you may experience difficulty clearing the edge of the bench with your foot and that could become a tripping or falling hazard. Move with purpose and pay attention to what you’re doing.

Bench Run Ups are a great way to start to elevate your heart rate. Using either a bench or other stable step (I use an 18″ Plyo Box) Place your right foot in the center of the bench, left foot is on the ground. To begin, bring the left foot up, right foot down, left foot down, right foot up and repeat. You can introduce a slight hop both at the transition at the top of the bench and at the transition on the floor. The pattern is simple up-up-down-down, be sure to land softly and place your foot squarely on the bench when stepping up.

The modification if you don’t have a bench is to do “Surrenders”. The move is begins by kneeling down with your right knee, then bring your left knee down, step up with your right leg, then step up with your left, it’s a simple down-down-up-up count. The first round you start with the left knee down first, the second round you begin with the right knee down first.

Negative Pull-Ups are a great way to build strength while working multiple muscles of the back, shoulders and arms. The latissimus dorsi (“lats”) are the primary mover in this exercise back-musclesand you want to focus on those muscles as you move through the full range of motion, however you will find that your posterior deltoids, biceps and most other major muscles of the back play a significant role in stabilizing your body during this move. The focus of this exercise is on the eccentric lowering from the “top” position of a pull-up. Take a wide, overhand grip on the bar and pull-up so your chin is above the bar, this positioning is the same whether you use the Assist or not. Slowly lower your body down to a full hanging position then repeat.

If you don’t have a pull-up bar you can use a resistance band secured to a door or other attachment (preferably at least 12″ overhead to achieve an optimal angle) Grasp the handles with your palms facing down and simulate a wide grip by keeping your hands further than shoulder width apart, ideally when you have the band pulled in towards you (full pull-up) your elbows should form a 90 degree angle. The eccentric move is to slowly release your arms back to full extension while maintaining the relative position of your hands.

Another alternative (not shown) is to use a bench, step or chair to begin in a full pull-up position, then step off the bench and perform the negative portion of the pull-up. Starting in a flexed arm hang position allows you to feel your body weight while focusing primarily on the eccentric component of the exercise.

Autumn loves to work legs and the Step-Up Cross Over is really going to engage all aspects of your legs. This exercise can be performed with or without a weight, I recommend a medium weight to begin with, held close to your chest throughout the move. Avoid leaning forward as you complete this move, if you find your shoulders and chest are falling forward, choose a lighter weight. Begin with one foot firmly on the bench, the other foot on the floor in a slightly wider than hip width position. Step up driving with the foot on the bench, lift the other leg up and cross it over so when you land it back on the floor it’s crossed behind you (modification of this without the bench is to perform curtsy lunges). Repeat the movement going back up and returning your foot to the original starting position. The foot on the bench stays firmly planted.

This is a continuous move and you’ll want to perform as many repetitions you can in 60 seconds. To get the most out of this move, contract your glutes at the top of the move as you’re crossing your foot over behind you. Land your foot softly with a slight bend in your knee to help protect your knee joint. Complete 60 seconds with your left foot on the bench and repeat for 60 seconds with your right foot on the bench.

You want to focus on bringing your leg up high as you perform the Step-Up Cross Over, imagine that your leg has to clear an obstacle as you step up and over.

Decline Push-Ups are fairly straight forward and engage the Pectoralis Major, Clavicular or the uppermost part of ‘pecs’ or your chest muscle. Position yourself in front of a bench or other riser that you can put your feet up on. Place your hands on the floor in a slightly wider than shoulder width position, put your feet up on the bench and assume a plank position. Perform the push-up, lowering your chest to the ground by flexing your elbows, push yourself back to the starting position. You don’t want too wide of a grip as that will restrict your range of motion and limit the movement.

Decline push-ups may also be performed using a stability ball. Start by putting your chest on the ball and roll forward over the top and place hands on floor with arms extended down supporting your upper body. Walk your hands away from ball until either your thighs or shins are positioned on top of ball and hands are slightly wider than shoulder width. If you stop with your thighs on the ball, bend knees so feet are up above knees otherwise catch the ball between the top of your foot and your shins. Decline push-ups on a stability ball provide the additional challenge of maintaining lateral stability and activate your abdominals and other muscles of your core.

1-Hand Row with Leg Extension. This is a variation on a traditional one arm row in that you are introducing a lifted leg extension which has a the dual purpose of working on balance and activating your core and glutes. I like this move and personally I look at it as a form of a rest but I like balance work 😉 I choose to go with a heavier dumbbell to get the most out of the row while concentrating on keeping the raised leg extended straight out, foot in dorsiflexion (heel up, toes pulled forward), if you can maintain this leg position you will begin to feel this in the glute of the raised leg. Staying balanced, keeping your back flat and your shoulders level as you execute the row will emphasize core stability. Remember to pull with the lat and not the bicep.

The real benefit from the Incline Press is going to come from selecting a weight that will challenge you for the 60 second set, too light and you get the time in, but not the tension, too heavy and you can’t keep going the full 60 seconds, again losing the benefit of achieving optimal time under tension. You want to be able to finish the full set with the last 15 seconds pushing you to the limit. The incline press, like the decline push-up, targets the Pectoralis Major and depending on the angle of your incline bench, you will hit both the Sternal and Clavicular heads. Push the weights straight up keeping them over your chest as you raise them.

Don’t think you’re getting a rest with Plank Hold Knee Taps! Remember, you’re still going be holding a low plank for 60 seconds – and that will work your core. Focus on body alignment throughout the move, the back and hips should stay in alignment, the glutes should be down and your belly button drawn in. Alternate tapping one knee to the ground and then the other without rocking your body. This one is placed at the end of the round for a reason, you’ll want the break before starting round 2 and when you’re done with it at the end of round 2, you’ll be happy to move into the cool down. Plank work is probably one of the most effective things you can do for your core, and there are a lot of variations on a traditional plank – this one will help you begin to hold your planks longer without overthinking it.

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