My Body Beast training schedule has been on pause for the last week, as my girlfriend and I took some time out to head over the border to Radnorshire in Wales, grab a few horses and some maps from Free Rein HQ and hack out across the Welsh countryside, just the two of us stopping at farm houses for food and lodgings along the way.
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, to make sure you keep making gains and stay on the long-term path to fitness, you need to take two months off every year. This was one of my rest weeks, breaking away from the daily grind and heading into the hills.
If you aim to workout consistently for ten months of the year, then give yourself some down time, you accept that fitness isn’t all-or-nothing and you’re more likely to stick with it for life.
Before we left for our holiday on horseback I’d just completed the ‘Block 1: Build’ section of the Huge Beast schedule, so now I’m back in the game I decided to kick start my body into action with a session of the Beast Total Body workout. This is my review.
Beast Total Body, as the name suggests, works all your muscle groups in one 39-minute hardcore session.
This workout is all about circuit sets, to get as many exercises into the session as possible and get your blood moving from muscle group to muscle group to generate an aerobic element to the workout as well.
All sets are high rep range throughout the Beast Total Body session, pegged at 15 reps, with Sagi Kalev pushing me through the poundage with his usual jibes and jokes.
I dive in with the usual very short warmup session – less than 1.5 minutes – of jogging, arm circles, walk to plank and then more jogging. That’s all there is.
Total Body Circuit Set #1
The first circuit we’re working back, chest, quads and abs, all at 15 reps:
- Pull Up
- Push Up
Then repeat the circuit for round 2. With Sagi’s advice ringing in my ears from the first round – “Go as hard as you can for 15 reps. If it’s too easy, next time you go up” – I add a few more plates onto the Orbus adjustable dumbbells as I go into my second set of squats.
The exercises are coming thick and fast in this workout and there’s no hanging around as I move into the second set of Body Beast exercises.
Total Body Circuit Set #2
Whereas circuit number one was mainly bodyweight exercises, the session is now shifting more towards the dumbbells, though still targeting the back, chest, quads and abs, all still at 15 reps:
- Incline Press
- Bent Over Row
- Reverse Alternating Lunge
- Plank Twist-Twist
As the workout session is moving quickly, I’m glad of my set of adjustable dumbbells, which allows me to make superfast changes to the weight that I’m lifting, so I’m able to keep up with Sagi and the gang, as he says:
“I am more concerned about how you do it than how much you lift, because you can always go back and lift more weights if you make sure you write it down! RIGHT!?”
I do not enjoy the reverse alternating lunge, it’s an exercise that really does blast my legs and is nothing short of arduous. Not quite as bad as the ones that are done stepping on and off the bench in the Build: Legs session, but still excruciating.
The great thing about it is that I know it just has to be working, so I dig in and grind out the reps. Unfortunately, on my second set I mx out at ten reps and can’t push any further. That’s one that I need to beat the next time I do this Beast: Total Body session.
Then on to the plank twist-twist, which is an odd, fun exercise that works the core.
Sagi cuts in here and tells me:
“We’re making sure we strengthen the core of the body, because you know what? That’s the connection from upper body to lower body. If you don’t have a strong core then you can’t connect. You can’t get results. You’re gonna get hurt and we don’t want that!’”
Repeat this circuit and then we’re on to the next.
Total Body Circuit Set #3
Here we’re moving into a full on weights set, using dumbbells for each of the four exercises, with very little rest in between.
This time we’re also bringing the shoulders into play, with a circuit set that runs like this:
- 1, 1, 2 Military Press
- Post Delt Raise
- Stiff Leg Deadlift
- Russian Twist
The 1, 1, 2 military press involves sitting on the bench and raising one arm, then the other, then both, which is one rep. So effectively I’m doing 45 reps in total on this exercise. It definitely gets the delts burning.
From there, straight into the post delt raise to hit the shoulders even more, then get the blood rushing to the hamstrings with a set of stiff leg deadlifts.
The key to the stiff leg deadlifts is to maintain perfect form. Your back needs to stay straight throughout the exercise and your shoulders need to be pushed back.
This exercise can easily cause a back injury if you push too hard with poor form and weights that are too heavy. Keep it tight and maintain the form.
Then into the Russian twist, which involves sitting on the floor with a light weight and twisting your torso from side to side to work those upper abdominals and obliques.
You’ve guessed it, once the circuit is complete we dive straight in for another round, but I up the weight this time around, as I felt I could do more on the first session.
Total Body Circuit Set #4
Here we are, the final circuit set, where we’re moving onto the smaller muscle groups: the biceps, triceps and calves, with a bit more core work thrown in to blast the body and keep me growing:
- Bicep Curl
- Tricep Extension Kickback
- Calf Raise
- Side Forearm Plank
Bicep curls are the usual, both arms together, seated on the bench. From there, we’re straight into the tricep extension, using the bench to hold onto with one arm as the other arm performs the exercise.
I like the feeling of muscle isolation that the kickback gives. I can really feel my tricep working and squeezing.
Five years ago I shattered the humerus bone in my upper left arm while snowboarding on a snow park in Austria, so anything that I can do to really isolate that tricep muscle and strengthen up the arm is great with me.
After these kickbacks I can really feel all that scar tissue stretching out and the blood pumping through the tissue just feels great.
Then we’re onto the calf raises. With no use of the bench to keep me steady, I rest the weights on my shoulders and grind out the 15 reps. As the weights are held at head height, this exercise also is a bit of a full body workout in itself.
The onto the side forearm plank, which involves a very strange side plank pose where I lean on my elbow and put the other hand on my head while moving my hips from left to right.
Sagi jumps in with another few comments:
“’Watch it. You wanna look good in your bathing suit? Then this is what you do. Pose! Hold it! I look good!”
And then to one of his workout buddies:
“Are you gonna make those faces in the pool? Try not to. And the noises, keep it at home.”
Another circuit set repeat and we’re complete.
Cooldown And Concluding Thoughts
The cooldown session is as brief as usual, with around two minutes of stretching. As always, I throw a few more of my own stretches in, to give my body a little more chance of recovery. Doing Shaun T’s Insanity Workout for nine weeks before I started Body Beast taught me a lot about stretching and cooldowns, so I use bits of Shaun’s advice to try to ward off as much of the delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) as possible.
From start to end, this session is fast-paced. I had a little bit of trouble keeping up at times. If I didn’t have my adjustable dumbbells then I would have had no chance.
This is definitely a great workout to do if you’ve been off the Body Beast routine for a few days. It shocks your whole body and gets it working again.
Now I’m all warmed up and back into the groove after my horse riding, I’m going to dive right back into the Body Beast session and start ‘Block 2: Bulk’. I’ll let you know how I get on in a future post.
Did You Find This Post Useful?
If you enjoyed this post, found it helpful and think others would benefit from reading it too, it would make me extra happy if you shared it using the share icons below – thank you, it’s very much appreciated!
Also, if you have any questions or comments that you would like to ask or share, please comment below – thank you.