In the first part of this review of the Insanity Workout DVDs I took you through my prep and the results of my fit test. Now I’ve been on the Insanity trail for a week and things are getting tricky. I was not prepared for how much these workout sessions would take it out of me.
This second part goes through the exercises and sessions that I did in the first week. In part three I will go into more detail on my first month’s journey, my thoughts, feelings and the emotional and physical rollercoaster of pain and pleasure that is the Insanity workout.
The first week’s sessions stacked up as follows:
Day 1: The Fit Test (25 minutes)
Day 2: Plyometric Cardio Circuit (40 minutes)
Day 3: Cardio Power & Resistance (37 minutes)
Day 4: Cardio Recovery (35 minutes)
Day 5: Pure Cardio (38 minutes)
Day 6: Back to Plyometric Cardio Circuit again
Day 7: Rest day!!
I had to switch things around a bit, as I was out on Friday night, my Day 5, so used this as my rest day and worked out on the Day 7 (Sunday) instead.
So let’s dive in with Day 2.
Day 2: Plyometric Cardio Circuit
This is the hardest workout that I’ve ever done in my life (so far, but let’s see what Insanity throws at me in the next few weeks).
It takes around 40 minutes and as with all the Insanity workouts, the plyometric cardio circuit workout starts with a standard Insanity warm-up, which consists of jogging, jumping jacks, heismans, 1-2-3 heismans, butt kicks, high knees, and mummy kicks. The warm-up exercise rotation is repeated three times, each time being progressively faster and more intense to properly get the muscles nice and warm. After a short rest you’re straight into a series of breathing exercises and stretches.
The exercise list for this session is fairly straightforward, but dang it is arduous all the same. The first time I completed this workout it destroyed me.
Shaun T starts you off explaining that this is interval training and that your heart rate will shoot up while you work out, then briefly come down again while you rest, before you start the cycle all over again. And then it begins.
Day 2 Exercise List
- Suicide drills – run from side to side, bending down and touching the floor when you reach the furthest point to each side.
- Power squats – Like standard squats except you jumping in and out of the squat position instead of just doing a squat.
- Mountain climbers – like a high-knee jog but you reach upward as you run, kinda like you are climbing up a mountain very fast!
- Ski jumps – jump from side to side, bend your knees and swing your arms like you are skiing down a hill.
- Switch feet – jump up in the air while swinging the feet alternately front to back in a scissor-like motion.
- Football wide sprints – Run on the spot with a very wide stance with your hands out in front of you, then drop to the ground, get set and run on the spot again.
- Basketball drills – Bend down with your hands to the floor in a squat position, then jump up as if you’re shooting a basketball. Drop back down and repeat.
- Level 1 drills – Drop to the floor from a standing position and do a series of pushups followed by a floor sprints, then hop your feet up between your arms, jump into the air and repeat.
- Ski abs – from plank position with feet together, bring your feet up toward your left shoulder in a jumping motion. Jump back to plank and repeat on the right side.
- In-out abs – from plank position, bring your feet up between your arms in a jumping motion. Jump back to plank and repeat.
- Jabs – start with a wide stance, knees bent and alternate between left and right jabs.
- Cross jacks – one armed jumping jacks with feet go from a wide sideways stance to a wide front-to-back stance.
- Uppercuts – start in a wide, low stance, alternating between left and right uppercuts.
- Attack – similar to the jab but in a lower, squat-like stance and with open hands.
Day 3: Cardio Power and Resistance
This Insanity workout session is less about the cardio and more about the strength moves, though it still blitzed my lungs and got my heart pounding.
Day 3 Exercise List
- Power jumps – Start from a squat position and perform a vertical jump, lifting up your knees to hip-height and bringing your hands down to touch the knees.
- Belt kicks – with your hands on your hips, take a step to the right while kicking your left foot out in front of you. Repeat with the right foot while stepping to the left.
- Hit the floor – Jump from left to right reaching up into the air. At the end of each jump bend down and touch the floor between your legs.
- V Push-ups – These suckers hurt! Starting in plank position, walk your feet inward toward your hands so that your body makes is in an inverted V-shape. Point your fingers inward and perform a push-up using your shoulders.
- Triceps dips – sit on the floor with your feet in front of you. With hands on the floor directly in line with your shoulders, push down and lift your body off of the ground.
- One Legged Triceps dips –as above, but with only one foot on the ground.
- Triceps ball push-ups – Start in the V push-up position then bend your knees and come up on your toes. From here, use your triceps to perform push-ups.
- Hurdle jumps – Run in place for a short period and then jump sideways over an invisible hurdle.
- Globe jumps – the same exercise as performed in the fit test. Start with your hands on the floor and jump up and to the right, then back, again to the left, and once more to the front.
- Moving push-ups – these are like regular push-ups but with every downward motion you move one arm and leg to the side in a walking motion. Bring your other arm and leg back alongside with the upward motion. Two steps to the right and then two more to the left.
- Floor sprints – from plank position, bring your feet up toward your hands in a sprinting motion.
- Hop squats to push-ups – the last exercise starts in a squat position, hopping up and down, then drop to plank position and perform a press-up. When Shaun T shouts for you, jump back to squat position and repeat.
Day 4: Cardio Recovery
This is the easiest of the exercise sessions, giving me a break half way through the week and easing off on things a little. That said, there are some tough sequences in there and it still takes a lot of determination to hang in there and complete the full gamut of exercises without dipping out for an unscheduled break.
Essentially, this is a stretching session, but watch out for the quad strengtheners session, it is gruelling!
Day 4 Exercise List
- Plank work – starting from an upright position, drop to the floor and jump back into plank position. Jump forward so your feet and hands are back together and return to an upright position. Repeat.
- Plank pulses – very similar to the exercise above but you are in plank position, raise one leg and repeatedly pulse it up and down. Repeat but with the other leg.
- Wide downward dog – start with a wide stance, hands and feet on the ground and your body forming a large upside-down V. Hold this position until given the cue to move on.
- Hamstring stretch – from a wide stance, drop your upper body to the floor, pull your chest toward the right leg and hold. Repeat on the left side.
- Squats – here you perform standard squats, but very slowly. Much harder than it sounds.
- Squat, hold and pulse – at the end of the squats you just performed, hold in the lower position for a bit before pulsing up and down. Finish by once again holding in the lower position.
- Lunges – standard lunges, performed very slowly the way you previously did with squats.
- Lunge, hold and pulse – same as the squats above: hold lower lunge position, pulse and then hold in the lower position once again.
- Plie yoga stretch – from a wide stance with feet turned out, lower your body into a squat. Hold your arms in an outstretched position and lean to the right, putting your palm on the floor and connecting your shoulder with your knee. Hold in this position, return to upright and repeat on the left side.
- Quad strengtheners – start on your hand and knees and lift your knees off the ground with your toes. From this position, lift your right leg and pulse it up and down. Come down and rest for a bit and then repeat on your left side.
- Oblique work – same starting position as the quad strengtheners but instead of pulsing your leg bring, your knee up your side toward your shoulder. Rest and repeat on the other side.
- Table top balance pose – start by balancing on one foot. Lift the other leg into the air, positioning it parallel to the ground. Stretch your arms out in front of you (also parallel to the ground). Hold and then repeat on the other side.
- Knee to chest stretch – start standing upright, lifting one knee and bringing it to your chest. Wrap your hands around your knee and hold it up using your biceps. Repeat with the other leg.
- Knee to oblique stretch – same starting position as the knee to chest stretch above, but pull your leg out to your side, supporting it with the arm on the same side. Hold your opposite arm out to help you balance. Repeat with the other leg.
- Hamstring stretch – reach down toward your feet, rounding your back. If you can, plant your palms on the floor close to your feet. Hold.
- Hip openers – In a squat position, place your hands on your knees. Lower so that your elbows and knees come together and push outward to open your hips.
Day 5: Pure Cardio
On this Insanity session as the warm up draws to a close, Shaun T tells me and his crew that: “I have to be honest right now, I’m actually really nervous for this workout.” That’s a bit worrying the first time I hear it and I’m not looking forward to this session
As always, the warm up is followed by the ever-important stretches and breathing exercises.
The main part of this workout is about 17 minutes of pure non-stop cardio. There are no rest or water breaks, so it’s a monster of a full-on, kickass Insanity session. The first time I did this session I think I was collapsed on the floor with my chest heaving almost as much as I was performing the exercises.
Day 5 Exercise List
- Suicide drills – running a few steps from right to left, then stop at each side, turn inward, squat down and touch the floor.
- Switch kicks – hopping from left foot to right foot, kicking the opposite leg into the air at waist height every time.
- Wide football sprints – with feet in a wide stance and arms outstretched forward, run in place. Still running, turn to the right, then front, left and front again. Still sprinting, shuffle to the right, then left, then back. Drop to the floor and set for a sprint, then get up and sprint in place.
- Stance jacks – These are similar to a jumping jack, but your hands go down instead of up. Hand should be at your sides when feet are together and when feet open up you are going into a squat position, alternating between touching the ground with your left and right hands, twisting your body as you go.
- Pedal – sprint in place for a bit and then drop to a lunge, hop up into a lunge on the other side, then get back up and sprint in place again. Repeat.
- Hooks and jump rope – start by punching the air with right arm, then mock jump rope, switch sides and repeat.
- Power jacks – like a normal jumping jack but when you spread your legs and bring your arms down you should be lowering your body into squat position.
- Level 2 drills – from upright position, drop to the ground and jump back to plank position, do eight push-ups followed by floor sprints, jump legs back up to your hands and stand upright, repeat.
- Frog jumps – squat down touching the floor and then jump backward, squat down touching the floor and then jump forward, repeat.
- Power knees – same as fit test, balancing on one leg, knee slightly bent, bring the opposite knee up to meet your hands at waist level. Repeat on the other side.
- Mountain climbers – jogging in place with high knees, but reaching into the air so it looks like you are speed climbing a mountain.
- Ski down – hopping from left to right while keeping your feet and knees together, squat down as you land and swing your arms as if you were using ski poles.
- Scissor runs – these are the worst! hopping up and down as you alternate your feet forward and backward, i.e. jump and land with left foot forward and right foot back, jump and land right foot forward left foot back, repeat. Make sure you are swinging your hand in tandem with your legs and that heels and toes are touching the floor both at front and back.
- Suicide jumps – start upright, drop to the floor and jump back to plank position. Jump feet forward toward hands then jump into the air landing in upright position. Repeat.
- Push-up jacks – like regular push-ups but hop your feet off the ground and separate your legs every time you make the downward motion.
…and then to top it all off, at the end of the session, Shaun T says:
That shiiiit is buh-naaaa-nas yo!
Day 6: Plyometric Cardo Circuit
Day six and we’re back round to the plyo session again and that completes the first week.
In part three I will go into more detail on my first month’s journey, my thoughts, feelings and the emotional and physical rollercoaster of pain and pleasure that is the Insanity workout, rather than the more technical explanation that was this installment. See you for part three of my Insanity workout journey!
PS – remember to share this article if you like it, we’re counting on you!