What’s this PiYo stuff all about?

[pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”30%”]Carve an intensely defined physique-without jumps, without weights, and without joint strain. [/pullquote] I’ve done a bunch of Beachbody programs over the past few years. I’m currently doing T25 (second time for this one) and anyone who knows me knows I’m a devoted Tony Horton disciple, having done P90X, P90X2 and P90X3. I love these programs and I will freely encourage anyone who is capable of doing one of these programs who wants to improve their level of fitness to go for it.

The operative word above though is “capable.” There is no denying it, Tony Horton’s and Shaun T’s programs are tough. If you’ve got injuries, or problems doing high impact moves, then these are not the programs for you. If you’ve got joint issues, in particular, Tony or Shaun’s programs are likely to cause more problems than they’ll solve.

There’s been a gap in the catalog for people who want a tough, energetic workout they can do at home, but that doesn’t punish their joints. That gap is about to be filled by PiYo, the latest program from Chalene Johnson and Beachbody. PiYo has actually been around as a group fitness class offered at commercial gyms around the U.S. for several years, but this version is a more extensive workout program than what’s been offered up until now. As Chalene said, “The version of PiYo that people have seen at their gym is just a taste of what’s available in this home version of the program.”

So, who is PiYo for? Obviously, it’s for people who need a program they can do that’s no-impact, but it’s also for folks like me who can do P90X who need to work on their flexibility and mobility. Why work on your flexibility and mobility? Because mobility and flexibility limitations limit strength, and can lead to injury.

[pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”30%”]Using body weight, PiYo uses low-impact, high-intensity movements inspired by Pilates and yoga. The result? Long, lean, muscles, a high, firm booty, and tight, flat, sexy abs.[/pullquote]I sat in on a presentation where Chalene talked about why, after creating the group class version of PiYo years ago, she was drawn back to it to flesh it out more and create this version of the program. She’d had a series of injuries and was starting to feel discouraged about her ability to keep being as active as she was used to. She’d gone to visit her doctor and said to him, “I guess I’m just getting old, huh?” His reply shocked her. He said, “No, you just need to work on your flexibility.”

This is something I learned the hard way a couple of years ago. I started having mid-back spasms that were so bad they were keeping me from sleeping at night. I’ve got a high pain threshold, and these spasms had me in tears more than once. At one point I sat in an orthopedist’s office and had him tell me, “This might just be because you’re over 40.” That was grim news that I did not want to hear. The doctor sent me to a physical therapist and he had better news, “Your left hip flexor is far less mobile than it should be. The lack of mobility in your left hip is causing your back muscles to try to take up the slack.”

What was going on with me was that the big, strong muscles that were supposed to be doing the work weren’t able to because or restricted mobility, so the small muscles in the middle of my back, that are there just to provide stability to my spine, were trying to make up the difference, getting tired out and going into spasms. To stop the spasms I had to do a program that focused on increasing the range of motion in my left hip. Within a few weeks the spasms had abated.

This is the point of PiYo. Even if you’re very fit and very strong, spending a period of the year focused on your flexibility and mobility can push you past a plateau, correct problems and allow you to increase your gains with your next strength or speed program. If you’re injured, well, this is a no brainer.

PiYo will be released at the end of June. If you want to be the first in line to get your copy, follow this link.

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