Yoga Inferno

yogainfernoYoga Inferno is the latest offering from Jillian Michaels and it was a huge surprise. I didn’t know what to expect from this workout, but what I got was nowhere near what I thought it might be! I have not done her first yoga workout, but from what I’ve read, this workout isn’t like that one either. Yoga Inferno is tough and unlike any yoga workout I’ve ever done before. The DVD cover says it contains “two 30 minute intense fat-melting workouts.” This normally would make me scratch my head because yoga just isn’t “fat melting.” I’m not denigrating it–yoga and stretching are very important to fitness, but they aren’t fat melting. But this is Jillian Michaels who always manages to cram challenging, exhausting and fat burning workouts into minimal amounts of time, and she succeeds in making yoga fat-melting like no one else. I was breathing hard! I don’t even know how to explain these workouts. There is yoga–but you won’t hold very many poses–it is very dynamic. There is toning, mostly body-weight, there is cardio blasts. Metabolic strength training in yoga format, I suppose. During the second workout she refers to it as a “hybrid” workout.  It is phenomenal. I loved it.

There are two approx. 30 minute workouts on this DVD. They both have warm ups which are significantly longer than a usual Jillian workout–but that’s ok; this is supposed to be yoga–so something a little more calm should be in order. But even the warm ups are challenging. The first workout uses nothing but body weight and the second one uses light hand weights. They are set outdoors in the desert–a very white desert. It is so bright that Jillian and crew are wearing sunglasses. It’s very beautiful though. Jillian’s crew consists of two women, one who is doing easier modifications and one doing advanced levels. These workouts are fast-paced, which is a little unusual for yoga. That’s why these aren’t really yoga. The moves are alternated with cardio blasts done interval fashion and many of the cardio blasts are high impact (most of the higher impact stuff is in workout 1). It really gets your heart pumping! This is more of a fusion workout, fusing yoga with HIIT and metabolic strength training.

Though I will review each of these workouts separately, I am not going to break them down like I usually do. These are somewhat difficult to review, so I am going to highlight some things about each workout.

Yoga Workout 1: 33 minutes; 7 minute warm up, 23 minute training period and about 1 minute of laying on the ground, totally spent, listening to Jillian talk motivationally. As I mention above, these workouts move fast and you rarely hold a pose as you traditionally do in yoga. For instance, rather than chair you do Phoenix to chair and keep alternating, or while in forward fold you alternate with “monkey stretch” which is a squat while holding your toes; or chatarungas and up into lunges. You do lots of chatarungas btw and down dogs with one one leg sweeping high (split dog) before coming through. In fact, every move is done dynamically. These fast-paced dynamic sequences are alternated with cardio blasts with such moves as plank jacks, jump lunges, several different varieties of mountain climbers, chair jacks and more. You finally end this exhausting yoga/HIIT fusion with some core work then collapse in corpse pose. I really felt this in my muscles, so there was definitely strength work going on in this workout. I do have to add the disclaimer that the day before I did an intense STS Meso 3 chest and back workout and was very sore in those areas, so that could have something to do with it, but I really felt many of the body weight moves in my chest. I had actually planned to use this as a “recovery” doubles workout (ha! ha!) but instead I will use it as a doubles workout on days when my morning workout is something intense and high impact (STS Plyo Legs or Tabatacise or Insanity–that type of thing).

Yoga Workout 1: 35 minutes; 7 minute warm up, 26 minute training period and 2 minute cool down, which like in workout 1 is lying in corpse pose while Jillian talks. Another super tough workout. This one is different from workout 1 and not just because of the use of light dumbbells. Most of the high impact cardio blasts are gone. In fact, in this workout, the only cardio blasts present are squat thrusts–all done in plank position (you never come to standing during the squat thrusts). You do the squat thrusts on 4 different occasions but they are the only type of cardio blast in this workout. Instead, Jillian uses the hand weights to increase intensity. She suggests no weights for beginner, 3 pounds for intermediate and 5 pound for advanced. I went with 3 pounds. I will do 5 pounds in the future. Once again, I did this workout after a STS Meso 3 chest and back workout, so all the planks and chatarungas were burning my chest out! The warm up was actually pretty nice–up dog, down dog, split dog, some sun salutations. At one point you will do a split dog, bring leg under body to opposite side, do a push up in that position <!?!?> then side plank. Then just go ahead and chatarunga afterward–when your chest is already burned out. Or mine was at least! I really need to try these workouts when my chest muscles aren’t horribly sore! There is also a lot of balance moves, which isn’t my strong suit–warrior 3s (with reverse flys) and tree pose. You’ll also be doing supermans with hand weights–I really felt those! At the end of the workout are a lot of moves in bridge. I did the advanced versions where bridge was done one-legged and I really felt it. Somehow this one didn’t seem as exhausting as the first workout–but I think that is because all of the cardio bursts were in the first half of the workout. However, after the workout, I felt more drained. I think that was from the difficult “flowing” moves done with a dumbbells. Not very relaxing.

Overall, I really like both of these workouts. Not sure which I like better. They’re both pretty tough.

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