Workout Review: 6 Weeks of the Work
For someone who's completed dozens of fitness programs over the last six years, this program was the perfect new challenge.
It somehow burned out my muscles (and helped them get stronger) with mostly lighter weights than I was used to using. It somehow left me so sore I could barely walk the first week, even though I had just completed a program with lots of intense plyometric cardio work.
For all these reasons, I loved 6 Weeks of the Work! You might think I'd have tried every single workout move known to humankind, but this program somehow incorporated new moves I hadn't tried before! The use of compound movements and unusual combos (for example, combining a straight leg lift with a reclining chest press or combining a bicep curl with pressing the dumbbells forward like throwing a basketball, thus integrating core work) adds a new challenge and keeps the mind entertained.
The program is led by celebrity trainer Amoila Cesar, who specializes in training NBA players who are at risk of getting cut from their teams. He's been responsible for some incredible transformations! And I could totally see the basketball influence: lots of moves similar to throwing a basketball in various formations, and lunge/jump variations with fast feet and switching directions.
The program is mostly strength-focused—there is just one cardio day every other week, and one workout every other week that incorporates agility drills—but it will get your heart rate up and get you sweating plenty!
This program is helping me build some serious muscle FAST, and it's definitely challenging my body in new ways. I was surprised when, during the first week of the program—after coming off of a very challenging program with a lot of plyometrics and high-intensity intervals—I found my legs so sore I could barely walk. That's what 6 Weeks of the Work can do, even to someone who's already in good shape! Proceed with caution.
(Good news, though... for anyone who's not quite up to the level of starting this program but wants to get there, Beachbody recently released 4 Weeks of the Prep, a series of workouts designed specifically to prepare you for 6 Weeks of the Work... and it's included at no additional charge in all 6 Weeks of the Work packages!)
Read more below, or head over to YouTube to try a sample move. Scroll all the way down to see some before and after pics!
Program length: 6 Weeks
Workout length: 40 to 50 minutes a day
What equipment is needed? Weights, resistance loops, strength slides; a pull-up bar is optional, and if you don't have one alternatives are shown (using weights, not the resistance band with door attachment as some other programs use).
How is it structured? Even though the workouts are hard, I felt this program flew by because of the variety! It goes through three two-week cycles where the styles repeat, but even in the same workout style, the moves vary from week to week (or rather, every two weeks since that's how often each style repeats). Some workouts (Push, Pull, Legs) focus on a specific part of the body, while others provide a full-body workout with a specific focus (e.g., Isometrics). Each individual workout style has a different structure in terms of the number of blocks, sets, and reps.
What kinds of moves are involved? The program mostly takes familiar resistance training moves (push-ups, pull-ups, bicep curls, chest presses, triceps kickbacks, deltoid raises, squats, lunges) and adds new twists in the form of combinations, variations, plyometrics, and more. I would contrast this to something like LIIFT4, which is a really straightforward lifting program with classic moves presented in simple ways—6 Weeks of the Work won't have you lifting anywhere near as heavy, but the compound movements will make you sore in muscles you've somehow escaped working up until now!
Low-impact? Other than the cardio and agility sessions, the program is mostly low-impact and may be suitable for someone with a physical issue that requires that—but the larger issue is the sheer intensity. This definitely is not a program for someone just getting started with exercise. If someone dealing with an injury or other limitation wanted to try this program, I would want to talk it through with them first to discuss which moves might need to be modified, and how. I would also want them to talk with their doctor or physical therapist before starting the program.
Appropriate for beginners? No, but I can recommend programs to start with that would get you ready for this! There's also a new program called 4 Weeks of the Prep that was just released that is designed for exactly that. Four weeks might not be enough time to get your body in shape for this program starting from being sedentary, but 4 Weeks of the Prep has the advantage of specifically introducing some of the movements from the program itself, in less challenging combos or at a lighter weight—so I would recommend trying that first. 6 Weeks of the Work also has a pre-test that it's recommended you be able to pass before attempting the program.