Power Chisel

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

Get ripped from head to toe with hardcore resistance training, isometric holds, and powerful plyometrics

  • Power Chisel
  • Power Chisel 2
  • Power Chisel Equipment

The Master’s Hammer and Chisel Deluxe DVD adds 4 advanced workouts to the an already well-rounded program. There are two new ‘Hammer’ workouts and two new ‘Chisel’ workouts. Power Chisel is a total body workout that is going to call upon many of the training concepts that you will have experienced on previous DVDs and roll them all into one program. Prepare yourself for 19 different exercises (rounds) in 30 minutes; you’ll be incorporating resistance training, isometric holds and plyometrics with medicine balls in a circuit training format for an added cardiovascular benefit. If you’re not sucking wind at the end of this workout, you just weren’t trying hard enough!

The rep counts and isometric hold periods are lower and shorter than what you’ve experienced in previous workouts, but the there are more sets…and they’re generally followed by a heavy ‘strength’ set where you’re lifting maximum weight. Safety should always be paramount, but use this opportunity to go as heavy as you can. Ideally you’ll want to follow the tempo and timing of Autumn and Sagi as they move from one exercise to the next, try to minimize additional rest periods to maximize the cardiovascular element of the program.

If you’ve already completed the full Master’s Hammer and Chisel program, or if you are integrating the Deluxe workouts in during the latter portion of your program, this one is going to mix things up for you and provide plateau busting variety. Have fun and get chiseled!

A variation of a simple squat jump, the Squat Ball Jump adds a medicine ball into equation. This round consists of 4 sets completed with no rest in between. Each set includes 4 jumps followed by a 4 second isometric hold. To begin, hold a medicine ball in front of your chest, drop down into squat position.

Explode up, keeping feet wide and the medicine ball centered on your chest, drop back down into a squat position and repeat for 4 jumps.  Contract your abdominals as you jump up and keep your shoulders back.

After the fourth jump, hold in the squat position for 4 seconds, sink low, feel the weight on your heels and prepare to repeat the sequence for a total of four sets.

Select your heavy dumbbells and complete 10 repetitions of a full squat. Stand feet hip width apart, toes pointing forward, keep the weights at your side as you lower down into a squat. Push your glutes back as if you were sitting in a chair, your chest should be up and shoulders back. You should feel the weight of this move in your heels, push your body up driving from your heels and contracting your glutes at the top (you may feel a slight anterior push with your pelvis at the top of the move, recognize it but don’t over exaggerate it).  Your knees should track and stay in alignment with your toes, be alert to your knees either ‘falling’ in (knock-knee) or pushing out to the sides as you squat down; these situations will put unnecessary stress on your knee joint.

Use a moderate weight for this round of upright rows; you will follow the same pattern as the previous round: 4 sets consisting of 4 reps followed by a 4 second isometric hold. Assume a forward lunge position for this move (it doesn’t matter which leg is forward), keep your back flat and form a straight line from neck through your hips to the heel of your extended back leg.

Row the dumbbells straight up to the outside of your chest, stopping when you’ve reached a 90 degree bend in your elbows. There are several muscles of the back that come into play when you’re doing rows; these muscles attach to the scapula (shoulder blade) on one end and either the spine or humorous (arm) on the other end.

When you’re retracting your scapula (fancy talk for pulling your shoulder blades together) you are activating many of these muscles including the Trapezius, Rhomboids, Teres major, infraspinatus and the Latissimus Dorsi or ‘lats’. Your arms will feel the move, but focus the pulling energy on the muscles of your back. It’s not so important that you remember their names, just know that you want them to generating the pulling force behind the row.

You will do a lot of pull-ups in the Master’s Hammer and Chisel program and if you dislike them, this may be your prefered round for pull-ups. This is a straightforward round of 10 reps. Don’t think you can do 10 full bodyweight pull-ups? Do as many sets of ‘natural’ pull-ups as you can then move to the band or assist (not shown)

You can use the band for pull-ups if you don’t have a bar or can’t complete all the full bodyweight pull-ups. Always inspect your bands, handles and anchor devices before use each time. Secure the door attachment to an anchor point above eye level and step back into a lunge position. Keep your hand position wide as shown in the image below.

The Hanging Knee Curl is going to focus on your strengthening your Rectus Abdominus (RA). Hang from a pull-up bar and curl your knees up to your chest, contracting your abs as you bring your legs up. Perform 16 reps. If you don’t have a pull-up bar to hang from, you can perform the same movement on the floor with a bent knee crunch, focus the energy on contracting the RA as you bring your knees up to your chest, you hands may be placed on the mat behind you for stability.

After a few resistance exercises in a row it’s time for some plyometrics to get the heart rate back up. Grab your med ball for The Ball Plyo Lunge (a single dumbbell works if you don’t have a medicine ball) and move into a lunge position. Autumn starts with the right leg forward, but it’s up to you – you’re going to work both legs anyway! Hold the med ball in the center of your chest, just as you did with the ball squat jumps that led off the program, drop into a lunge with your rear knee hovering above the floor, front knee should be in a 90 degree angle.

Explode up, straighten your legs but keep them open as shown in the image below. Land softly and drop directly back into the lunge position. This round follows the same sequence of 4 sets that each include 4 repetitions with a 4 second isometric hold at the bottom of the move. After completing your fourth set, put the med ball down, grab your heavy weights and prepare for weighted lunges on the same leg.

Follow the series of ball plyo lunges on the right leg with 10 repetitions of weighted lunges on the same leg. Choose a heavy set of dumbbells and drive up through your heel activating the glute and quadricep.

After 10 reps with the heavy weight, set your dumbbells to the side, grab your med ball and get ready to repeat the process on the other leg.

I think I originally learned to curse Plyo Push-ups in the P90X3 program! Following the format you should be getting used to by now, you will do 4 sets, with each set consisting of 4 plyo push-ups and a 4 second isometric hold in the ‘down’ position of the pushup. The key to any plyometric movement is the force generated to explode up. In the case of a plyo push-up, you’re using your chest, shoulders and arms to ‘load’ like a coiled spring…

…then forcefully push away push away from the ground.  Caution: I don’t recommend doing these on pavement or concrete, a rubber gym floor or mat is preferred to protect your hands and your wrists.

You can modify this move by using a bench or other secure surface that raises you up off the floor. Because you are still pushing away from the bench, it’s imperative that you make sure it’s stable and will not move. If you choose this method, I’d recommend putting the bench against a wall or other immobile object so you don’t push the bench away as you push your body up.

The next round is 10 reps of a classic dumbbell chest press. Select a heavy weight to challenge your Pectoralis Major; get into position by sitting at the end of the bench with dumbbells in hand, resting on the tops of your thighs. As you begin to lean back, kick each knee up to assist in getting the weight up. With back flat on the bench and feet firmly on the floor, bring the dumbbells to either side of your chest.

Press the weights straight up, extending your arms and pushing with your chest. Complete 10 repetitions then safely lower the weights back to the top of your thighs as you sit up.

You’re halfway done! It’s back to the floor to work your core. The Half Spiderman is a combo move that targets your obliques, begin in a full plank position, hands placed directly under your shoulders. The movement is to simultaneously move the right hand forward reaching out 8-10″ from your starting position while bringing your left knee outside your body to meet your left elbow. Bring your hand back as your return your left leg to the starting position, this counts as one repetition.

Repeat the same motion on the other side, reaching your left hand forward and bringing the right knee out and up to your right elbow, alternate from side to side to complete a total of 16 repetitions. The reaching motion extends the obliques on one side of your body, as the other side contracts when you draw your knee to your elbow.

The Ball Sumo Plyo move incorporates a medicine ball into a jump from a sumo squat position. Select an appropriate weight medicine ball (or dumbbell) and take a sumo squat stance; feet wide, toes pointing outward, hamstrings parallel to the ground and med ball held close to the chest in front of your sternum.

With an explosive plyometric movement, jump up, keeping your feet wide. Land softly and return directly to the sumo squat position. Complete 4 repetitions and hold in the low sumo squat position for 4 seconds. Complete a total of 4 sets in succession.

In most cases throughout this program the strength move is simple and straightforward. The Sumo Squat with a heavy weight is no different, grasp your weight(s) and take a wide stance, toes pointing outward. There are multiple options for holding your weights, Sagi demonstrates holding a single dumbbell with arms hanging naturally in front of him while Autumn uses two dumbbells held on her hips, a third grip is to hold a single dumbbell (or kettlebell) in front of your chest. I’ve always preferred to use my kettlebells for sumo squats because I find them easier to hold onto, however you work with the equipment you have. I have a broader range of dumbbells, so when I want to go REALLY heavy, I switch back to my dumbbells.

Lower into the sumo squat position as shown below, bringing the hamstrings parallel with the ground. Complete 10 full repetitions at a consistent tempo with no pause at top or bottom of the movement.

The Medicine Ball Push Press is another round that includes 4 sets, with 4 repetitions followed by a 4 second isometric hold. The ball push press is mainly focused on developing your Anterior Deltoids (front of your shoulders). Hold a med ball in front of your chest and in one movement press it up overhead, straightening your arms. As you press up with your arms, push your heels off the ground and come up on your toes. This push targets your calf muscles and depending on how heavy your medicine ball is, it may provide a bit of momentum to get the press moving.

The first time I did this workout I was using a 10 pound medicine ball, which for many of the plyometric moves provided a good challenge. However I wasn’t really feeling it on this move so I switched up to my 20 pound ball – the change in weight and size of the ball amped this exercise up a bit.

The standing Military Press with dumbbells was a welcome variation for me. I’ve done the Body Beast program several times and I’ve gotten used to doing seated Military Presses, either with the E-Z bar or dumbbells.

Select heavy dumbbells for this round; it’s a standard military press in a standing position. Bring the weights up so your arms are parallel with the floor, palms facing forward, elbows bent at 90 degrees. Push the weights straight up, fully extending your arms without rotating the weights inward. Return to the starting position. Complete 10 reps without pause or rest during the round. Control the weights through the full range of motion and avoid excessively arching your back.

Shifting gears back to your core and specifically your Rectus Abdominus, the seated toe tap is basically a crunch. Add a med ball between your feet and this simple move just ratchets up on the Intensity meter. The Ball Seated Toe Tap is going to work your adductors as you try to hold the medicine ball between your feet in addition to giving your RA a good workout. Start with the ball on the ground between your feet as Sagi is in the image below.

Depending on how heavy you choose to go with the med ball, you will also be adding additional stress to your RA and legs as you pull the ball up. Truly this is one of those moves where you look at the picture and say “pffftttt…that’s easy”, but execute it with a heavy med ball and you’ll rethink those thoughts! Push yourself, try a light med ball at first to master the coordination for holding the ball in place, but then increase the weight as you gain confidence and control of the ball, your core will thank you.

Step-ups and single leg balance on a bench are nothing new to ‘Masters’ of the Hammer and Chisel. The Ball Knee Driver is another variant to that step-up with single leg balance move. Using an appropriate med ball (or dumbbell) held in front of your chest, place your right foot on the bench or other stable platform. Step up putting all the power into the leg on the bench, come to the top driving your knee up to waist height and step back down – complete 4 reps then drop into a pistol squat position balanced on the bench – hold for 4 seconds. Follow the same pattern throughout the round, 4 step-ups followed by a 4 second isometric hold in the balanced position. 4 sets make up the round.

Trading your medicine ball for a set of heavy dumbbells, start with the same foot on the bench and perform 10 Side Step-Ups. There’s no isometric hold on this part, just 10 continuous reps to complete this round. After finishing up 10 reps on the right foot repeat the a round of Ball Knee Drivers and Side Step-Ups on the other leg.

Coming into the home stretch it’s time to work your arms. First is a round of Bicep Curls done following the familiar pattern of 4 sets, consisting of 4 reps with a 4 second isometric hold with the dumbbells at the midpoint of the curl. Starting position is in a comfortable split stance, feet about hip width apart (it really doesn’t matter which foot is forward), heel of the rear foot is slightly raised, dumbbells at your sides held in a supine grip (palms facing forward).

Perform a full curl bringing the weights up to your chest, keep your elbows in close to your sides and avoid swinging the weights up. 4 Reps/4 second iso hold – 4 times.

The isometric hold is at the midpoint of the curl as shown below.

After completing this round , move to a heavier weight and perform a round of bicep curls consisting of 10 reps without pause.

Rounding out this thirty minute routine are Tricep Kickbacks, the follow the same pattern as the bicep curls; 4 sets , each set with 4 reps and a 4 second isometric hold. The starting position for these will be similar to what you did for the upright rows, begin in a lunge position, draw the weights up to your chest, palms facing inward, stop when your triceps are parallel to the ground.

This is a single joint movement so you will be isolating your elbow joint as you push the weights back; complete 4 reps then hold in the fully extended position for the 4 second isometric hold. Complete 4 sets.

After completing this round , move to a heavier weight and perform a round of tricep kickbacks consisting of 10 reps without pause.

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