Back to Core is one of the more interesting core routines I’ve done, and unlike any other core routine in that its focus isn’t on your abdominal region. Right now my back is sore in spots I’ve never felt. My back. Not my abs or obliques.
The core is not just the front side of the body and by the time most people reach the entry level for Asylum they’ve done requisite ab work. Back to Core puts its focus on areas of neglect, which are mainly in areas of the back that aren’t strengthened doing traditional back exercises. The net effect is that you can feel your posture improve after each workout.
On the challenge factor—important for both Asylum and Insanity—it ranks below many of the other workouts in the series as it’s not explosive. You can do these movements. The only question is whether or not you can do them with good form and for the requisite amount of time, which results in a dialog with yourself about pain tolerance. I have good core strength and was able to “on sight” this workout (do all of it first try). But it didn’t get easier second time through; it was the opposite. This is because as my form and range of motion increased, as each exercise can be made harder and then harder still.
I begin each set thinking “this isn’t too bad” but by around 15 seconds it’s hurting. By 30 seconds I’m thinking there is no way I’ll finish. The rest of the movement becomes about concentration and staving off pain. My focus is clearly placed on only the next breath and, if I’m still standing I re-focus on the following one. Somewhere in this pain exchange I would find the zone, which allowed me to finish sets that lasted as long as three minutes.
The benefits of this workout are already apparent. I’m standing taller, my shoulders fall further back, my stomach tucks in a more natural position, and I move in a more aligned position. It’s going to stay in my arsenal of workouts long after I’m through with this training cycle.
pic: of shaun, in case you’re questioning the six-pack factor