Tuesday, April 30, 2013


As I have mentioned before, Farrell's consists of three components: cardio, strength, and nutrition.

On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, we are huffing and puffing like crazy while we kickbox.  This is a great cardio workout that burns over 600 calories.  We start the session with a brief warm-up, follow that with five minutes of stretching, continue with ten more minutes of cardio/shadow-boxing, and then roll out the bags to start punching and kicking with power.  We finish the session with a group stretch.

On Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, however, we keep the wraps, gloves, and bags stowed away and instead focus on resistance training.  A surprisingly large number of people forgo strength-training, as they fear that they will bulk up and not look as slim as they would without the muscle-building.  On the contrary, building more lean muscle mass will actually pump up your resting metabolism, causing you to burn more calories for a longer period of time.  So instead of bulking up like a body-builder, resistance-training will actually cause you to burn more calories and shed more weight than if you only focus on cardio.

As opposed to CrossFit or Body Pump that focus on free weights or a gym that boasts top-of-the-line weight machines, Farrell's advocates for strength-training with resistance bands.  The bands are easier on the joints than free weights, and it's much easier to isolate muscle groups using resistance bands.

We alternate upper-body and lower-body days.  On upper-body days, we exercise five muscle groups: the chest, the back, the shoulders (which suck...a lot), the triceps, and the biceps.  On lower-body days, we exercise another five muscle groups: the quadriceps, the hamstrings, the abductors/adductors, the gluteals, and the abdominals.  Regardless of the day or type of set, we complete four exercises for each muscle group (with the exception of abductor/adductor -- we complete one exercise for each -- and gluteals -- we complete two exercises).

There are three ways we workout with bands:
  • Classic Sets: we complete three sets of 16 reps for each exercise.  The first set of 16 is slow, and it is followed immediately by a fast set of 16.  The goal is to burn out the muscles to the point of not being able to finish the second set.  After the fast set, we take a brief pause and then complete another slow set of 16.
  • Drop Sets: we complete three sets for each exercise, but we start with 12 very slow reps with a band two colors above our normal choice, then we drop down a band color and complete 16 faster reps, and then we drop down to our normal color of band and complete 24 fast reps.  The goal here is to find the color of band that makes it impossible to complete the set of 12 reps: we want to achieve muscle-failure.
  • Super Sets: we complete two sets of 16 (one slow and one fast) for each of the four exercises in the muscle group, and then we go back to complete the final slow set of 16 or each exercise in the muscle group.
I really enjoy drop sets, as using a much more difficult band is quite the challenge.  Super sets are also super difficult, but it's too frustrating for my liking since I achieve muscle-failure almost immediately with this workout.

Today was interesting, however: we did more of a circuit-type workout and incorporated classic sets, drop sets, and supersets while mixing up muscle groups (i.e. adductors + quads, for example), and in between sets, we did a pyramid of push-ups, jumping jacks, and mountain climbers.  So in addition to the hellish lower-body workout, I also did 120 push-ups this morning.  Lovely.

In addition to simply completing the workout, we are asked to log our progress by identifying the specific exercises we complete each day, the band color we use to complete the exercise, the type of sets and number of reps we complete, and our goals for the next round.

While I feel like the nutrition part of Farrell's is super logical and just makes total sense, I am also always starving on strength-training days.  Seriously, my stomach generally starts growling when I am halfway through the workout, and my appetite is hugely insatiable for the rest of the day.  My body loves getting stronger, but it also thinks that it needs a whole lot more nutrients in order to do so effectively, apparently.

It's getting better as we progress week by week, but the tummy is still a-rumblin' every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.  Ugh.

But you know what?  My tummy is just gonna have to deal with it.  After all...

Now go do some squats.  Or lat raises.  Or shin tappers.

And love the burn.

What is your favorite strength-training exercise?


  1. Many Strength Bands band kits come with suggested exercises for nearly every major muscle group in your body.

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