Insanity is a 60 day program that consists of 11 workouts, a nutrition plan, fitness guide and workout calendar. If ordered through Beachbody.com you also get a bonus workout Fast and Furious (this workout is also available individually). I, of course, got the deluxe set which includes 3 more workouts and a body fat tester. This is a cardio based program with no equipment required except the workout DVDs and you. I would recommend mats however, because of all of the jumping. Beachbody offers a jump mat, which is really a very thick yoga mat. It’s nice, but for a program like Insanity it is too small/narrow. My husband surprised me with 12 thick interlocking mats to cover a large portion of the floor of our workout room: http://tinyurl.com/6td6nwy It is perfect for Insanity and any other plyo heavy workout. Insanity is led by Shaun T and he does an amazing job. He is motivating, likeable and his cuing is spot on. The catch phrase for this workout is Dig Deeper and that is exactly what Shaun T pushes you (and the exercisers in the DVD) to do but never in a mean way–but boy does he push!
This program is called Insanity for a reason–it is INSANE. Extremely advanced cardio/plyo/HIIT training. The background art for Insanity is a pool of sweat on the ground. This is no joke. I use thick mats (mentioned above) when I do plyo workouts and those mats are covered with sweat when I finish an Insanity workout. Gross but true. The basic structure of Insanity workouts is an approx. 10 minute, very intense cardio warm up, followed by stretches, then into the workout–which is kind of a joke because the long, difficult warm up felt like a hard workout had already begun! In fact, if you aren’t in good cardiovascular shape, you might not be able to make it through the warm up without stopping! The training period consists of intervals. But not your typical intervals where you do a period of recovery that is equal to your HIIT–for instance, 30 second HIIT, followed by 30 second recovery. Not even the tabata format–20 second HIIT and 10 second recovery. No, Shaun T. makes you do an approx. 3 minute interval then gives you 30 seconds of recovery before the next 3 minute interval. And that continues throughout the training period–3 minute HIITs followed by 30 seconds of recovery. The HIITs are generally done in circuit format. Each circuit is repeated 3 times before moving on to the next circuit. Two things that are quickly observed in these workouts: 1. there are no fatties or out of shape people in these workouts. No beginners. They are all in excellent shape; and 2. Not a single one of them can make it through an entire workout without taking their own personal breaks. These workouts are hard–if they can’t get through them w/out stopping then I shouldn’t be ashamed when I have to stop! And trust me, I did/do take “breaks”! I never turn off or even pause the DVD player. “Breaks” for me, is pausing the move for 5-10 seconds before pushing forward again. So no long breaks. I always wait for the 30 second recovery period to get a drink and towel off.
Overall, I loved these workouts, but I also have a lot of mixed feelings about the program as a whole. First, most of these workouts do come with the “dread” factor. I did the 60 day program as outlined and I cannot say I enjoyed it. It was HARD. However, these are some of the best, most intense cardio workouts I have ever done and I still do them frequently. However, I don’t do them day after day after day as I did when doing the program. I do 1 or 2 Insanity workouts a week, and sometimes I go several weeks without doing any Insanity workouts. Used in that fashion, I enjoy the workouts and even look forward to them. And second, everyone NEEDS strength training. Yes, there is some element of strength training in this program–primarily body weight/power/jump-training type of strength, but that isn’t enough. Plus, by the time you get to the “level” drills (which is where a lot of the push ups are) and other plank/push up type moves, you are often wasted and unable to give it you full energy, plus I was often taking personal breaks. And yes, there is one (deluxe) workout that uses weights, but it is one workout and it is primarily upper body; and the calendar gives no indication where that workout should be inserted–so I worked it in once a week, which, in my opinion isn’t adequate. A better way to do this program would be as a hybrid with P90X. Beachbody does provide a calendar/worksheets for a hybrid on their website: http://www.beachbody.com/category/p90x-online/worksheets.do . Because of my dissatisfaction with both P90X and Insanity–for opposing reasons (Insanity–not enough strength and P90X–not enough cardio), when I finally do P90X2 and Asylum, I will do them together as a hybrid–not each program individually. I’m not a Beachbody coach so I am not plugging Beachbody workouts in any way, other than that they are very good programs (the ones I’ve done at least). However, I have yet to use Insanity as a true hybrid. I have many other strength workouts (non-Beachbody related) that I do and I use Insanity all the time as my cardio. So, the point is, they are great cardio workouts that can be used any way you want to use them.
Workout Literature: Insanity comes with a pamphlet that describes the program, a Fit Test card (to record the results of your fit tests), workout calendar/poster and Elite Nutrition, the nutrition guide. The only thing that needs some explanation is the nutrition guide. It includes the usual calorie calculator to help you determine how many calories you need to be eating each day. The meal plan is broken down into 5 daily meals. The recipes are categorized by meal. For instance, the first section recipes are for Meal 1, the second section for Meal 2, and so on. Each recipe in the the guide is approx. 300 calories. If you require more than 1500 calories a day, each meal has suggestions for how to increase the calories. At the end of the guide it also states you should increase your calories when you start month 2 and gives suggestions for how to do that as well. Insanity’s nutrition plan looks very doable and satisfying to me. True, I did not do it, but the recipes look yummy and most of them not too complicated. It is one I am interested in trying at some point.
On to the workouts.
**Note: Though I do often round up or down, the workout component minutes in the Insanity workouts may not always add up to the workout’s total minutes–that’s because there are always various mini breaks ranging from 15 seconds to 30 seconds between each component.
Fit Test: 26 minutes; 2 minute cardio warm up, 1:30 minute stretch, 18:30 training period and 4 minute cool down/stretch. The purpose of the Fit Test is to track your progress through the 60 days that you do the Insanity program. You do it at the beginning of the program and every two weeks throughout the program and then of course at the very end of the program. In addition, it is a nice little interval workout. The two minute cardio warm up gives you a brief little glimpse of what you have in store for you in the upcoming workouts, but it is extremely tame in comparison! Only two minutes. But you get all of the month one warm up moves–however, the circuit is only done once and each move is only done for approx. 15 seconds each: jog in place, jumping jacks, Heismans, 1-2-3 Heismans, butt kicks, high knees and Mummy kicks. After a brief stretch you move into the actual Fit Test workout. It is 8 moves and each move is done for one minute. The object is to do as many reps as possible during that one minute. So you are going all out for a minute, after which you get approx. one minute to recover. So it is a HIIT workout! And a nice one, too! The 8 moves are switch kicks, power jacks, power knees, power jumps, globe jumps, suicide jumps (burpees), push-up jacks and low plank oblique. I actually did this program almost a year ago (the full 60 days) and since then have continued to do most of the workouts 1-2 times a week as my cardio (and to construct this review I did every Insanity workout again in a 6 week period)–so I’m going to post my Fit Test results in this review. There will be three numbers. The first numbers are how many reps I did before I did Insanity, the second number is how many reps I did at the end of the 60 days and the third number? How many I did when doing the Fit Test again to review the workout for the blog post (nearly a year later). Switch Kicks 90/121/121, Power Jacks 43/62/54, Power Knees 90/115/104, Power Jumps 37/48/53, Globe Jumps 10/13/13, Suicide Jumps 18/26/26, Push-Up Jacks 18/32/30, Low Plank Oblique 49/66/60. So as you can see, nearly a year later, I only improved on Power Jumps and the rest I either stayed the same or didn’t do as well. However, on all of them I am still better than I was before I ever did Insanity!
Month 1 Workouts:
Plyo Cardio Circuit: 42 minutes; 10:30 cardio warm up, stretch 7 minutes, 20 minute training period and 4 minute cool down/stretch. The Insanity cardio warm ups all follow a basic structure. A circuit of different moves, each done for approx. 30 seconds, and generally repeated 3 times. The first time slow, the second time fast and the third time as fast as possible. The cardio warm ups are exhausting. For Plyo Cardio Circuit the warm up circuit consists of: jogging in place, jumping jacks, Heisman, 1-2-3 Heisman, butt kicks, high knees and mummy kicks. Then you repeat that two more times with no break, then on to the stretch. After the stretch you go into the first training period circuit: suicide drills, power squats, standing mountain climbers and ski downs. You do each circuit 3 times, but you do get 30 a second recovery between each circuit. On the third circuit he adds two new moves, making it longer: switch feet and football sprints. Then you start the second circuit, which will also be repeated 3 times with 30 second breaks in between. The second circuit consists of: basketball jump shots, level 1 drills (4 push ups and plank mountain climbers to the count of 8), ski abs and in/out abs. This circuit is especially hard because you spend so much time in plank–and you’re already exhausted from all that came before! At the end of the 3rd time repeating the second circuit he adds 4 new moves! Jabs, cross jacks, upper cuts and some MMA move called attack–similar to a jab. And finally, a well deserved and earned cool down stretch.
Pure Cardio: 38 minutes; 11 minute cardio warm up, stretch 6 minutes, training period 15 minutes, cool down/stretch 5 minutes. The minutes given do not add up to 38 because there are various mini breaks (20-15-30 seconds) here and there–no breaks during the training period. Pure Cardio is one of the most difficult workouts in the entire Insanity program. The only other workouts that are comparable is Max Interval Circuit, which clocks in at 60 minutes, and Max Cardio Conditioning (48 minutes). And Pure Cardio is only 38 minutes! But it is brutal. Even Shaun T admits during the warm up stretch that he is nervous about doing the workout. And when it’s over? He is laying on the ground and says “That $hit is bananas!” And it is. The warm up consists of: jog, jumping jacks, Heisman, 1-2-3 Heisman, butt kicks, high knees and mummy kicks. This circuit is repeated 3 times with no breaks between and each time you do it, you do it faster. After your signature Insanity cardio “warm up” which is a difficult workout in itself, you get a nice long stretch, then you start the interval/HIITs. But unlike the other programs there is no 30 second break! None! 15 minutes of non-stop moves! You take your own breaks–and trust me, I did! You do 15 moves for one minute each. The training period drills are: suicides, switch kicks, wide football sprints (fast feet and sprints), pedals (sprints and jump lunges), hook punches w/ high jumps, power jacks, level 2 drills (HATE THESE–8 push ups and 8 plank mountain climbers), frog jumps, power knees, standing mountain climbers, ski down, scissor runs, suicide jumps (burpees), push up jacks (hate these, too). You then get a one minute water break and finish with 4 minutes of well-earned stretches. During the first 30 days of Insanity, I came to dread Pure Cardio days. But now I do Pure Cardio once every other month or so as a challenge. And I like it when used in that fashion!
Cardio Power and Resistance: 39 minutes; 10 minute cardio warm up, stretch 7 minutes, training time 19 minutes and cool down/stretch 3:30. More than any of the other workouts (in the first month at least), this one is more strength focused. The cardio warm up is also slightly different and, in my opinion, the hardest warm up (in the first month that is). With that said, this is probably the easiest of the Insanity cardio workouts overall (not counting recovery workouts). The warm up consists of a jog, power jacks, log jumps, 1-2-3 Heisman, butt kicks, high knees and vertical jumps. The warm up circuit is done 3 times with no breaks. After the stretch the first training circuit is: power jumps, belt kicks, hit the floor and V push ups. The training circuit is done 3 times with a 30 second break between each circuit. At the end of the last circuit he adds tricep dips and tricep ball push ups. Then it’s on to the next circuit: hurdle jumps, globe jumps, moving push ups and floor sprints (or plank mountain climbers). The circuit is done 3 times with a 30 second break between each circuit. At the end of the last circuit he adds 8 hop squats/8 push ups. Cool down/stretch.
Cardio Abs: 17 minutes; 4 minute warm up, 11 minute training time and 2 minute cool down/stretch. The warm up for Cardio Abs is no different from any other Insanity warm up–hard cardio! However, you do not repeat the warm up circuit–it is only done once, then you hit the ground for some ab work. The warm up is jog, high knees with arms over the head, high knees with a twist, jump rope, tuck jumps and wide tuck jumps. Now you move to the floor and get into the C-sit position. In C-sit you do twists, twists with knee raise, A-frame ab twists, and A-Frame twists with knees. After a short break you remain in C-sit position but bend one knee, with the other leg do knee in and out then straight leg up, knee in and out then straight leg up and so on; then switch to the other leg. Next you do the exact same move, but with both legs! Hard! After another short break, get into high plank position. Alternate knees to shoulders at a slow pace, then speed the pace up. Do the same move in low plank position (on elbows/forearms). The final move is pulse tucks in both high and low plank–you pulse 5 times in each position, 4 sets total. Then a nice stretch.
Cardio Recovery: 33 minute workout. Just because this workout has the word “recovery” in it does not mean it is an easy workout. The only thing you are recovering from is the insane cardio! For this workout there is a “warm up” but it was a little odd. It was about 3 minutes of lunge-type stretches where you round your back repeatedly–in a very uncomfortable manner. The first section of the actual workout is the plank section. You crouch then jump back into plank and jump back in. You do that once the first time, twice the second time and 4 times the third time. Next is plank pulses. Jump back into plank and raise the right leg and pulse it 8 times, jump back up to standing. Repeat on the other leg. Repeat both sides again, except pulse 16 times. Then do a nice downward dog stretch. Next is squats and lunges. Do 16 very slow low squats. Hold in low squat and do 16 pulses. Get into lunge position; do 16 static lunges and 16 pulses. Get back into squat and do 16 low squats but at a faster pace followed by 16 pulse squats. Repeat the lunge sequence on the other leg. Next is plie yoga stretch. Get into a deep plie squat, drop your right hand to the ground right in front of your right foot and raise your left hand/arm into the air and hold. Do the same thing on the other side of the body. Next is some leg work. This one is really hard. Get into tabletop position on all fours. In this position lift your knees a few inches off the ground, but with toes on ground holding you in this position. Raise right leg out behind you and pulse it 16 times, repeat on other leg. Get into the exact same position, lift right leg out behind you, and bend it to your shoulder for oblique work–16 reps on each side. Next is what Shaun T calls Table Top balance pose, but is actually Warrior 3. Next is knee to chest. Standing, you bring your knee to your chest and hold it there for about 30 seconds. You do each leg, then you do it again, but to the side in an oblique stretch. Finally you do hip openers. Get into a deep squat with elbows on inside of knees and press–stretching the inner thighs and hips. This is not an easy workout; however you will be wishing for it in month two when you are subjected to the nightmare of Max Recovery.
Core Cardio & Balance: 37 minutes; 7 minute cardio warm up, 5 minute stretch, 23 minute training period and 2 minute stretch. Core Cardio & Balance is Insanity’s recovery workout. It is done every day for a week between months 1 & 2 (so it is the week 5 workout) and then it is also done during Month 2–unless you purchased the Deluxe package, in which case you substitute Max Sports Interval for Cardio Core & Balance… which is an odd substitution as they are very different workouts at very different difficulty/intensity levels. Core Cardio & Balance is a lower intensity workout, which is much needed after brutal month one–and to give you a small break before launching into the nightmare of Month 2. It also seems appropriate as a workout during Month 2, which as I mentioned before, is a nightmare. Even the “recovery” workout during month 2 is nightmarish, so using this one occasionally is a nice break. But I bought the Deluxe package and substituted Max Sports Interval, so I just brutalized myself every day during Month 2. Oh well! Core Cardio & Balance is a different kind of workout. You have no circuits. Nothing is repeated. Including the warm up moves. Everything is done once. Plus, you never really go crazy in this workout like you do in the others. It’s more of a steady-state cardio workout. Cardio warm up: switch kick heels, Mummy kicks, football shuffle, log jumps, 8 high knees/8 power jacks, 8 fast feet/8 hooks. Then you stretch. Training period moves (each are done approx. 60 seconds): moving ski hops, hit the floor, level one drills (4 push ups and 8 plank mountain climbers), Heisman, 8 switch kicks/8 hop squats, high jumps, side to side plank walks to count of 4, 8 elbow blocks/8 suicide drills, 4 & 4 hops (hop 4 times on one foot, 4 times on the other foot and keep alternating), jab switch squat jumps (jab 8 times then do a 180 squat jump). Now we move on to some strength/balance moves. Hip flexor burners–90 seconds on each leg. You do 30 seconds where you bring your knee up, toe taps floor, next keep your knee up at a 90 degree angle and pulse for 30 seconds, and finally, keeping your leg at a 90 degree ankle extend and lower your leg at the knee. Oblique knee lifts–while standing, touch knee to elbow. The final move is shoulder burners in plie. You get 3 minutes of this one and it hurts! You get in plie and stay there. Hold your arms straight out to either side of your body–and never drop them for 3 minutes. He has you do all kinds of things with your arms though: pulse your arms, then open and close to the side, then up and down so fingers touch over head, then reverse circles and end with forward circles. Stretch it out!
Month 2 (Max) workouts:
Max Interval Circuit: 60 minutes; cardio warm up 10 minutes, stretch 5 minutes, training period 41:30 minutes and cool down/stretch 3:30. Wow. This is the hardest and longest workout in the entire program. I still feel drained and I finished several hours ago. If you have some recovery formula, you’ll need it after this workout. Now that you’re in the Max month some things have changed. The basic structure of the workouts is the same but #1, the workouts are longer and #2 the moves have changed–starting with the warm up. You still have the long nightmare warm up, but you get a bunch of new moves! And it is harder, of course. You’ll recognize some of the “new” warm up moves–because they were main workout circuit moves in month 1. Also, for the training period, you also now have 3 circuits instead of two, and, of course, you do each circuit 3 times.
The workout begins with the cardio warm up: jog in place, straight arm jacks, 1-2-3 Heisman, jump rope with feet going side-to-side, high knees with arms straight out to side, switch kicks, hit the floor, and side-to-side floor hops while in plank. You do the cardio warm up circuit 3 times with no breaks. After the stretch you move into the training period–3 circuits each done 3 times with a 30 second recovery period between each circuit. There is something new in the training period as well. The first time you do a circuit, Shaun T demonstrates the a lot of the moves, so you get mini rest periods before you do each move. Trust me, by the time you get to the third circuit you will be grateful. But the 2nd and 3rd time you do the circuit you get no breaks (other than the 30 second recovery you get between each circuit). Circuit 1 consists of pedal/power lunges (sprint then do 4 jump lunges, keep repeating), get into plank for ski abs/push-up jacks/in-out abs/oblique push ups, power strike and frog jumps. The circuit is done 3 times with a 30 second break between each circuit. After doing circuit one the third time, Shaun T gives us a new move before moving on to circuit 2: football runs/cross jacks. On to circuit 2: jump hooks (2 high hook punches, 2 low hook punches, 4 high jumps with jump rope arms, repeat other side), high knees with twist, high/low jabs with (small) jump squat, floor switch kicks (get in crab position and kick legs). Do circuit 3 times with a 30 second break between each circuit. At the end of the third time doing circuit 2 Shaun T adds a new move–1-2-3 jabs. This is similar to 1-2-3 Heisman, but your knees aren’t as high or fast, and you do a side jab at the end of the 1-2-3. By this time I am wasted. I really have to dig deeper to get through the 3rd circuit! 3rd circuit: side suicide jumps (burpees but to the side), squat hooks (small jump squats with alternating hook punches), full body drill (8 plank mountain climbers, 4 moving push ups, 8 wide leg plank mountain climbers), plank punches (punch in front of you while in plank). Do circuit 3 times with a 30 second break between each circuit. And then finally–the stretch. This workout is brutal and draining. It’s a good Cheesecake Factory workout–meaning if I go to the Cheesecake Factory and have a piece of cheesecake, I will do this workout the next day. Even though it is a hard, intense workout, it probably still won’t burn off a piece of Cheesecake Factory cheesecake, unfortunately, but it sure comes close!
Max Interval Plyo: 55 minutes; 10:30 minute warm up, 4:30 minute stretch, 35 minute training period and 4:30 cool down/stretch. Of the Max month workouts, this one is the “easiest” workout, though certainly not easy. It has the standard hardcore warm up that is repeated 3 times with no breaks: jog, straight arm jacks, 1-2-3 Heismans, jump rope side-to-side, high knees with arms out straight to the sides, switch kicks, hit the floor and side-to-side hops in plank. You get a nice stretch then it is on to the training period. Max Interval Plyo consists of 3 circuits. The first two circuits are repeated 3 times (with 30 second breaks in between each); however, the last circuit is only done once. Just like in Max Interval Circuit, the first time you do a circuit Shaun T demonstrates the move, so you get mini rest periods before you do each move–that is only for the first circuit in a 3 circuit rotation–when you repeat it two more times you don’t get a break until the end of the circuit. Circuit 1: 180 switch jumps, squat push ups (from a squat position you fall forward, do a push up and push yourself back up to squat position–challenging!), wide in and out abs (in and out abs with legs still in squat position), power jumps. Do circuit 3 times with a 30 second break between each circuit. At the end of the 3rd circuit Shaun T adds one legged V-push ups. Circuit 2: Pogos (this move is done slow–while on one leg touch the floor then jump up–the first circuit you do right leg, second circuit left leg and third circuit you switch from right to left halfway through), power push up (this is a very difficult move–do a push up then jump up to your hands and straighten legs, but remain bent over, then jump back and do a push up–some of the exercisers on the DVD are machines! I cannot believe how fast they can do this move!), globe twists (similar to a globe jump, but jump side to side in squat touching the floor with hands), level 3 drills (YUCK! 16 push ups, 16 plank moutain climbers). Do circuit 3 times with a 30 second break between each circuit. At the end of the third circuit Shaun T adds an extra move–2 power lunges/2 hop squats. Circuit 3: you only do this circuit once. Side push-ups (push ups in a side plank position–but with both palms on the ground), kickstand touch the floor, 8 power knees/4 diamond jumps, balance push ups (do a push up then raise right arm and right leg off the ground at the same time, do a push up then raise left arm/leg off ground and so on, alternating). Cool down/stretch.
Max Cardio Conditioning: 48 minutes; 9 minute warm up, 5 minute stretch, 29 minute training period and 5 minute cool down/stretch. This workout is brutal. Shaun T calls it a cardio endurance workout. It is up there as one of the hardest in the entire set. It hasn’t displaced Max Interval Circuit, but comes close. It is the Month 2 counterpart to Month 1’s Pure Cardio. It is longer, so in theory, that would appear to make it a harder workout; however, they are different. They are both brutal, don’t get me wrong, but Max Cardio Conditioning has two factors that make it a bit more bearable than Pure Cardio. The first is that it is a Max month workout; therefore, there are moves in this workout that Shaun T must demonstrate before you do them. So even though Max Cardio has no “breaks” (like Pure Cardio there are no circuits, you do move after move after move w/out the 30 second break the other workouts provide), you do get mini breaks of 10-15 seconds when Shaun T demonstrates a move. He doesn’t demonstrate every move however, so don’t expect to get a little break between every single move. The second thing that makes this one a bit “easier” is that Shaun T has worked in a few recovery moves. Pure Cardio had nothing of the sort–every move was brutal. I believe he called one move in Pure Cardio a recovery move, but it wasn’t! In Max Cardio Conditioning, there are some genuine recovery moves–so the lower intensity does help you come back stronger. Overall, another excellent Insanity workout. I would say it ties with Pure Cardio as being the second hardest workout in the set.
Max Cardio Conditioning starts with a cardio warm up: jog, jumping jacks with arms straight up, jump rope side-to-side, high knees with arms out straight to side, switch kicks, hit the floor and side-to-side floor hops (while in plank). Unlike other workouts, the warm up circuit is done twice w/out a break, then rather than doing it a 3rd time, you do a new warm up cardio circuit–still no break, you just move straight into doing a different circuit (which is shorter and faster paced): sprint, regular jumping jacks, Heisman, 1-2-3 Heisman and high knees. This new circuit is only done once and you move into the stretch. Like Pure Cardio and Fast and Furious, there are no circuits and no breaks–just one move after the other: high/low jabs with hop squats, football runs (these are HARD! Similiar to a burpee but harder–fast feet then fall into a tricep plank hold then jump up, fast feet, tricep plank hold and so on), basketball shots with hop squats (4 jump shots like your shooting a basketball, then hop squat 4 times to change directions and do it on the other side), right/left kicks (first kick repeatedly on your right side, then do it on your left), diamond jumps, 4 in-out abs/4 push up jacks (and keep repeating), suicide jumps (burpees), high knees/low sprints/floor sprints (floor sprints are plank mountain climbers), ski abs, kick step back (recovery move), squat twist (like a low squat jack except you touch the opposite toe), over the river hops (another recovery move), attack (2 jacks with “smash/punch” hands then 180 jump and do it on the other side), power knees both sides, ski down hooks (jump side to side (ski jump) with hook punches), belt kicks, forward/back suicides (fast feet forward, touch the ground, fast feet backward, touch the ground, keep repeating), pushup abs (these have many names: Spiderman pushups, oblique push ups, crow push ups), plank punches, 8 jump ropes/8 hop squats (jump ropes are double unders with a high jump–almost tuck jump and hop squats are low hops in squat position), squat speed bag (hold static squat and do speed bag). And stretch! You completed an awesome workout!
Max Recovery: 47 minutes; 7 minute warm up, 37:30 training time and 2:30 minute cool down. The only thing you are recovering from with this workout is hard cardio. It is a hard workout. In fact, for Month 2, it is the bulk of your strength work (unless you got the Deluxe package and found a way to work Upper Body Strength into the rotation). No weights are used in Max Recovery–it is all body weight strength training. And it is challenging–and no fun. I’m not a stranger to difficult workouts–I like my workouts to be hard and challenging, but also like them to be enjoyable. Even tho this workout is difficult and a challenge, it just isn’t enjoyable. The warm up starts with the odd flat back/rounding stretch that was present in Cardio Recovery and is very uncomfortable–for me, at least. I don’t like it. You do it in bent over flat back, side lunge flat back and while in runners stretch. The training time is broken down into “workouts”–not sure why, but that is how they are labeled on the screen.
Workout #1 is 14 minutes long: after a few more flat back stretches you go to plank and bring your knees to your chest 4 times. You stand, go back to plank, knees to chest 8 times. Stand. Back to plank, knees to chest 16 times. Do 3 slow tricep push ups. Down dog to plank, plank to runners lunge. Get into a lunge position and do 16 lunges–when you rise you lift your back leg to work the glutes. Move into a hip flexor stretch, which is similar to a warrior–at least the feet position–but your arm presses against the inner thigh/knee to stretch the hip. Do the whole thing on the other side of the body.
Workout #2 is 6 minutes long: side planks and tricep push ups–you do a side plank, then tricep push ups, side plank, tricep push ups and so on–first 2 push ups, 4 push ups, then 8 push ups. Each set is done twice. Spidermans/oblique work in low plank–first 4 times reps, then 8 reps, then 16 reps. You rest in child’s pose between each set.
Workout #3 is 6 minutes long: this one is the plie workout. You will do plie pulses then stretch with one palm on the ground next to the foot and the other arm in the air. First to the count of 8, then to 16. Then you do it again but with one heel raised–first 8 then 16 pluses. You do do two sets of each. You end workout #3 with with both heels raised–8 and then 16 pulses. Each set is done once.
Workout #4 is 6 minutes long: high/low planks (or military crawls). You do 4, then 8, then 16 on the right. Then you do 16, then 8, then 4 on the left. You do child’s pose between each set to rest.
Workout #5 is 4:30 minutes long: standing abs. Bring your elbow to your knee at the side of your body–on each side you do 16, then 8, then 4, then 2 reps. Next is standing “hammer.” While standing bring hands over head. Raise straight right leg and bring hands down at the same time. On each side you do 16, then 8, then 4, then 2.
End with the cool down stretch. This workout is not fun! It is not one of the workouts I have come back to after I finished the 60 days. In fact, after I finished the 60 days I planned to never do it again! But I did it one more time for this blog. I didn’t enjoy it, but I did it! And I have to admit–it is a very good workout. It just sucks.
Insane Abs is a 33 minute abdominal workout; 6:30 cardio warm up followed by a 1 minute water break, 23:30 training time and a 3 minute cool down. Insane Abs comes with the Deluxe package. If you purchased the deluxe package you substitute it for Cardio Abs in the second month of the program. The warm up is done in two sets. The first time it takes 5 minutes to get through the warm up circuit. It is done at a reasonable pace and there are pauses between several of the moves as Shaun T demonstrates. The moves are jog, high knees, high knees with twist, tuck jumps, power jumps, T-kicks and T-jumps. The moves are all repeated, but fast and for a total of 1:30 minutes. You get a 1 minute water break then it’s down to the floor for ab work. In C-sit position you will do 6 inch leg hold, flutter kicks, scissors and knee ins and out. You repeat this circuit but only do each move for approx. 15 seconds. The next circuit is a long one. You are still in C-sit position. Power abs with hands on the mat, power abs no hands, over the mountain, core adduction hands on mat, core adduction no hands, bicycle runs hands on mat, bicycle runs no hands. You repeat this circuit doing each move for approx 15 seconds this time. Next you get into plank position. The plank circuit is only done once. The first move is low plank hops, alternating balance holds (still in low plank), alternating knee to elbow (still in low plank). You move into high plank and do oblique rotations: bring left knee to right elbow then left knee to left elbow; you alternate these moves for 30 seconds then do it for 30 seconds on the other side of the body. You finish with plank walker: similar to a walking plank/military crawls but more complex (but I really liked it); starting in high planks you step outside yoga mat one foot at a time, then drop to low plank one arm at a time, bring your feet back in one foot at a time, then back into high plank one arm at a time. That equals one rep. You do it 30 seconds leading with your right foot/arm and 30 seconds leading with left foot/arm. You finish with a nice 2 minute stretch.
Max Interval Sports: 55 minutes;6 minute cardio warm up, no warm up stretch, 45 minute training period and 4 minute cool down. Max Interval Sports comes with the Deluxe package and you substitute it for Cardio Core and Balance in the Max month, which is bizarre because Cardio Core and Balance is a recovery workout and Max Interval Sports definitely is not! But that’s how they recommend using it during the Max month. Max Interval Sports is much more intense and difficult than Cardio Core and Balance (and longer, too!). Max Interval Sports is one of my favorite Insanity workouts (my absolute favorite is Upper Body Weight Training) and a nice departure from the other Insanity workouts. They are all excellent, intense, difficult and highly effective workouts–but they are all similar, too. With Max Interval Sports we still get a excellent, intense, difficult and highly effective workout–but we also get to mix things up! To begin with, the warm up is different. Completely different moves, the warm up circuit is only repeated once and overall, the warm up is shorter. Not easier–in fact, this warm up actually hurt! Then there is no stretch after the warm up–you just go straight into the workout. As for the workout, it is not done circuit fashion. You do each move once then move on to the next move. The moves are grouped according to the sports they are associated with. This is also more of a HIIT workout than the other Insanity workouts. You are doing genuine HIITs. The majority of the moves are done for 60 seconds and are followed by a recovery period anywhere from 15 seconds to a full minute. So as you can see, it is a nice break from the regular Insanity workouts. I really enjoy it. On to the review!
Warm up: jump rope, switch heels, switch heels higher (just kick higher), jump rope side-to-side, cross jacks, knee pulls: high, low, hand to floor–30 seconds in each position (this one HURTS!). Repeat warm up and do knee pulls on other side.
Boxing drills: cross jabs, cross jabs 2 & 2, cross jabs 4 & 4, cross jabs 8 & 8. (What this means is for cross jabs 2 & 2–two cross jabs to one side, two to the other and so on–4 to one side, 4 to the other, etc. ) Water break. Upper cuts, upper cuts 2 & 2, upper cuts 4 & 4, upper cuts 8 & 8. Water break. 8 fast (front) jabs and 8 power jumps.
Football drills: fast feet then drop to floor into low plank position and “walk” in low plank to the right to count of 8 then spring up and do fast feet and drop to the floor and low plank “walk” the other direction. Water break. In low plank position do tricep pulses for 30 seconds. Water break. High intensity tackle–squat low and hold arms out wide, pretend to grab a person while hop/shuffle 4 times to right and 4 times to left. Water break. Offensive line elbow–similar to the tackle but instead of the grab you do an elbow “block”–as if pushing someone away. Water break.
Basketball drills: 3-point shot–8 “3-point” jump shots then sprint 8 steps in a semi-circle and do another eight 3-point jump shots on the other side and sprint 8 steps semi-circle, keep repeating. Water break. Guard drills–low squat with arms held out straight to side hop back wards 3 times then do a 180 switch jump and hop back 3 times do 180 switch jump and so on. Water break. 2 minutes of suicide drills. Very short water break. Basketball dribbles–alternating jump lunges, pretend like you passing a basketball between legs as you jump. Water break.
Gymnastic drills: pike jumps–in pike position jump with knees bent slightly (keeping palms on ground) and straighten legs as you jump but landing softly with bent knees. Water break. Pike pendulums–staying in pike, pendulum your legs side-to-side (you should feel it in your obliques). Water break. Ab work–in C-sit position do 6 inch leg raises, flutter kicks and scissor kicks. Short water break and repeat ab work. Water break. 20 V push ups. Water break. 20 bronco jumps–start in squat position fall forward onto palms and kick legs out behind you, when you land hop 3 times and repeat. Water break.
Track and field drills: ladders–ladders are high knee sprints. These are done in HIIT/interval format: 15 second ladders, 15 second break, 30 second ladders, 15 second break, 45 second ladders, 15 second break, 60 second ladders, 15 second break, 45 second ladders, 15 second break, 30 second ladders, 15 second break, 15 second ladders, 15 second break. Water break. Long jumps–jog in place, sprint in place, then run 1-2-3 and “long” jump off of right leg and land in squat. Do 5 long jumps on each side. Finish with cool down stretch.
Upper Body Weight Training: 47 minute cardio + strength workout; 6 minute warm up, 39:30 minute training time and 1:30 minute cool down/stretch. Upper Body Weight Training is the only “real” reason Insanity is a cardio + strength program and then you have to purchase the deluxe package to get it! In addition, unlike Insane Abs and Max Interval Sports, they give you no suggestion on where to insert UBWT into the rotation! So you have two choices. Either do it as a “doubles” workout–meaning add it on to any other workout in the rotation–or substitute it for a workout. I did the substitution method. In the Insanity rotation calender, one workout is always repeated each week. I substituted UBWT for the repeated workout and did it once a week. I love UBWT for so many reasons. It is my favorite Insanity workout. Which is perhaps blasphemy because is it a big departure from the signature Insanity workout. During the 60 days it was a welcome reprieve and I looked forward to it every week. Another reason is that I just love weight training and there is zero weight training in Insanity outside of this workout. And finally, UBWT is structured in the manner that I love my weight training programs to be set up–weight training alternated with cardio bursts so you get the best of both worlds.
The set for this workout is a weight room rather than the gym that the other Insanity workouts are done in. He only has two exercisers with him instead of a room full. It’s also done a bit differently. It looks like he is using his iphone or Touch to time the moves (rather than something off camera that he must be using in the other workouts) and the tone is more relaxed. Shaun T does a great job demonstrating form for each move and not only does he challenge you in this workout, but he really challenges himself by (according to him) sometimes lifting heavier weights then he’s used to. But he also makes sure we keep safety in mind so we don’t hurt ourselves.
The workout starts with the standard Insanity high intensity warm up. However, unlike the other workouts it is only repeated twice (with no break in between): speed jog, jump rope, jumping jacks, Heismans, 1-2-3 Heismans and power hooks. Repeat once moving faster. The circuits in UBWT are set up like the circuits in the rest of the Insanity workouts (especially the Max workouts). You do one circuit 3 times with a 30 second break in between each circuit. However, before you move on to the next circuit that will be repeated 3 times, you get a 1-1:30 minute rest break. In addition, the first time a circuit is done, Shaun T demonstrates the moves, so the first time you do a circuit you get a little break between each move. But the next two times you do it you move from one move to the next with no break. The circuits are set up as reverse pyramids. So the first time you do the circuit you do 12 reps, the second time 10 reps (and increase your weight if possible) and the third time 8 reps (again, increase your weight if you can). And finally, this workout is the only workout that requires equipment. Dumbbells in various weights and a bench of some sort. I used a high step that raises to 14 inches. You’ll need it to sit and lie on. Got it? Now, on to the workout!
Circuit #1: 360 shoulder presses, pulse bicep curls, in/out abs with tricep push ups and floor sprints (plank mountain climbers). Rest break. Circuit #2: squat bicep curls (concentration curls), 180 lateral raises, elevated tricep dips (you put your feet on the bench and hands on the floor), power jumps. Rest break. Circuit #3: full rotation flies, push up with front raise and high knees with twist. Rest break. Circuit #4: chest press with leg raise, bent over rows and flies and ski abs. Stretch.
Fast and Furious: 22 minute cardio workout; 6 minute cardio warm up, 3:30 stretch, 11 minutes of training time and 2 minute cool down/stretch. There are various ways to get this Insanity workout. It is offered as a bonus workout when you purchase Insanity through Beachbody.com, or you can purchase the individual workout separately through Beachbody or on Amazon. For that reason this review is being featured both in the Insanity program review and as an individual workout on the blog.
Fast and Furious is the best stand alone short cardio workout you will find. It is an incredibly intense 22 minutes. For people short on time who want a short effective workout—you’ve come to the right place. For someone who wants an add on workout that will kick your butt—again, this is the workout. There is no recommendation as to where to insert this workout into the schedule, so use it however you wish! It is just as intense as any of the Insanity workouts–it’s just a condensed version. Fast and Furious is not set in a gymnasium like the other Insanity workouts (except Upper Body Weight Training–which is in a weight room). I really can’t explain where it is set. It looks like it had boxing ring or something nearby and it was much smaller than the set of the other workouts.
Fast and Furious starts with the signature Insanity “warm up”—hard cardio! The warm up circuit consists of a jog, jumping jacks, 1-2-3 Heisman, jump rope with high knees, fall squats and plank squats (basically a burpee but instead of coming to standing you come up into a deep squat position). Since this is a condensed workout you only repeat the warm up circuit once, but faster, of course! You get a 30 second water break then move into the stretch. Then it’s on to training time. Fast and Furious can be compared to Pure Cardio (from month 1)—no breaks—11 minutes of non-stop hard work. But don’t worry, Shaun T cannot even make it through his condensed workout without stopping. It is that hard.
There are two other exercisers with him, a female and a male. The female is a trooper, but the male crapped out constantly. It is a hard workout and even I had to stop for 5-10 seconds several times, but this guy seriously couldn’t hack it. Even Shaun T seemed to be getting irritated with him. The training time consists of drills that are done for approx 60 seconds each with no breaks between moves.
1st drill: high sprints/low sprints/floor sprints (mountain climbers)/moving pushups.
2nd drill: power knees/diamond jumps.
3rd drill (in plank): ski abs/in and out abs/oblique push ups.
4th drill: high knees with oblique twist.
5th drill: burpee with push up jacks.
6th drill: power jumps.
7th drill: football sprints/tricep plank hold.
8th drill: plank punches.
9th drill: 100 meter dash.
It ends with the lovely cool down/stretch. I adore this workout. It is advanced but is over and done with fast—just like the title—Fast and Furious. It is my favorite add on workout.