Xena, Warrior Panther

Holy smokes, is it Tuesday again? Well, it feels like someone smacked my entire body with a bag of sweet Valencia Oranges, so I think so!

Today’s adventure was a bit special. My good buddy Todd came to work out with me and cheer me on as I spent the entire workout session attempting not to throw up. He’s one of the fittest people I know, so he cruised through the workout. I, on the other hand, got stuck in first gear and nearly stalled, but finished (15 minutes past the hour, for a somewhat soul crushing total of 75 minutes!).

The workout is called “The Xena”. Why Xena? Well heck I have no idea, other than the tv show. SFF said it was a Crossfit routine from way back and they just called it that. It is definitely not for the faint of heart.

Of course it all starts with a mile on Old Bertha the treadmill, followed by 10 45 second sprints with 15 seconds of rest in between each one. That’s the warmup, and has nothing to do with Xena.

The Xena is a pyramid workout, starting at 100 reps, and dropping 10 each exercise (climbing to the top). Technically you are supposed to then climb back down but… well, technically that would kill me. So we just went one way. Guess I’ll be camping at the top.

The first exercise is an air squat. No weights, just good form. 100 reps. Doing 1 is easy. Doing 10 is easy. By about 30 your legs start to feel it. By 80 you’re hoping for a hammer to fall from the ceiling. It did not.

Legs burned out, now we move to upper body. Next movement is 90 reps of pushups. To make it interesting I did the first 30 in a standard position and the next 2 sets of 30 in offset position, with one hand back towards my hip. This moved a lot of the weight to my tricep. It is exactly as painful as you might think.

We moved onto 80 walking squats with a 30lb plate held, extended, over your head. If you’re thinking “Gee, that seems like a good way to drop a 30lb plate onto your head” you’re correct. Luckily I did 20 at a time.

Now that the arms were shaky from holding that damn plate up, we did 70 dips. I managed to chunk them out 20, 20, 30. The last few I made noises like a squirrel being eaten by a Dachshund.  And I did them on a bench, not the dip bars, which made them a lot easier.

Another arm exercise? Yes… yes indeed, though more shoulders and back. 60 pullups. Now you and I both know I can’t do 60 pullups. I doubt I could do 6 in a row (ok maybe 10). So I did them with a bit of help from the ankles, with some jump motion. Trust me, you do that 60 times and you feel it.

Then we did 50 kettlebell sumo squats. Essentially you do a toe-out squat and on the way down you bring the kettlebell up to your chin. I thought at first that the 30lb bell was too much but the motion is actually not super difficult if timed right.

Then we did 40 “slams”, where you take a medicine ball and throw it to the ground as hard as you can. Normally these don’t really bounce, but if done right it will get up off the ground just enough to land back in your hands. I mostly did them wrong. This completely wrecks your shoulders and arms (not that they weren’t pretty toast already).

Now we did 30 “wall balls”. We all remember wall ball right? LOVE WALL BALL! Again, a good way to get a face full of heavy rubber ball.

20 kettlebell swings seemed like a good number, and it was the number we did. By this point Todd was long finished with his workout and came back to do these again with me. You hold a kettlebell in a wide semi-squat with both hands, dangling between the knees. Keeping the arms straight you swing the bell out until it is straight up over your head, then allow it to swing back down. It looks brutal, but actually the motion is nice and felt good on the shoulders.

Our journey nearly done, we finished with 10 “thrusters”. Why they are called thrusters I haven’t a clue. You hold a barbell overhand with your hand straight down. Do a reverse curl to bring the bar even with your shoulders. Squat a bit then push the bar up over your head, bringing the arms back a bit. Reverse the motion to bring it back down.

This workout was both exciting and sobering. One thing is for sure, 3 months ago I couldn’t have completed it. Not a chance. I would have thrown up and possibly died. I didn’t exactly blow through it but I completed every rep of every exercise and did it in just over an hour. That’s exciting and awesome (also I’ll be spending tomorrow whimpering in bed).

The sobering part is that the “standard” for that workout is to work your way back down the pyramid.  I quite literally spent about 80% of the workout trying my best not to throw up, and I “adjusted” several of the exercises. It pushed me to my limit and a bit beyond. It is a reality check, I’ve really only been pushing this hard for just over 3 months. In the grand scheme of things, that’s not a long time. It makes me wonder how long it will be before I WILL be able to climb up the pyramid and all the way back down again, doing every exercise as it is meant to be done. Only time will tell.

And, just because it has to be done, XENA WARRIOR PRINCESS YELL!

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