Insanity: The Asylum — DAY 2 – “Strength”

Day 2 of  The Asylum is entitled “Strength”.

I don’t know about strength. Strength is usually built with low reps, size with 8 to 12 reps, and endurance with high reps. We were doing a lot of reps, and, of course, there was a huge cardio aspect to the routine. This is, after all, a Shaun T program!

But when I question the title, I am picking nits. This is strength building, for sure, compared to the original Insanity program.

Shaun T's AsylumSo let me drop the nitpicking there, because this is the best Shaun T workout I’ve ever done.

I really enjoyed “Strength”. The moves were challenging and I felt that my body — my whole body, including back, legs, chest, arms, shoulders, abs — were all worked — I will be sore tomorrow. And this was all done in only 50 minutes, including warm-up and cool-down.

The equipment needed is a set of dumbbells, fairly low weight (I used 12.5s, but will probably go to 15s for the next time through), and a mat. Again, as I mentioned in my review of Day 1, I really needed more space to complete this workout, but only for one move toward the end, and I was able to adapt the move to accommodate my smaller space.

This routine is really well constructed, starting right out of the gate with using a single dumbbell during the warmup, and progressing from there.

The best sets of the day consisted of a multi-move piece that involved a curl, a squat, a pushup, two lateral moves, another pushup, and 8 plank runs, with a jump up at the end. Try doing that 8 times fast. Wow!

I cannot wait for the next time this comes around and will definitely be adding it to my hybrid workouts.

Day 3 is called “Back to Core” and I’m thinking, “Right. When has Shaun T ever left the core to need to get back to it?” Looking forward to it!

Insanity: The Asylum — DAY 1 – “Speed & Agility”

Today I started The Asylum. I didn’t mean to start it today. I needed to do a cardio workout, and I planned to do one of the Insanity month two DVDs.

Then I got to thinking. I have to take a break in about a month to do some traveling and partying. Hmmmm…. Now would be a good time to start The Asylum, which is a 30-day program.

So I did.

The Asylum Volume 1 (currently there is only one volume of The Asylum, but I guess they’re leaving room for sequels) is marketed as a sports training workout. I’m not an athlete and I’m not involved in sports of any sort, but, what the hell, right? I’ll give it a go.agility ladder for Shaun T's Asylum workout

The first DVD is “Speed & Agility”. It incorporates extensive use of the agility ladder that was included with the program. The ladder is thin plastic rungs that are connected with nylon bands. You can see a picture to the right, but the ladder is in its collapsed state. Expanded there is about a foot between the rungs.

The ladder is designed to lie flat on the floor, and you use it to know where to put your feet and hands during the moves.

For this workout, anyway, the ladder was really less help than hassle for me. I have limited area to workout in, about 6 feet by 6 feet, so I had to keep rearranging the ladder, depending on which exercise we were doing. In addition, the ladder is pretty flimsy, so it was hard to keep it straight.

However, I did find that the ladder, while it’s nice if you have room and probably does provide incremental benefit, was mostly unnecessary, so I did most of the moves without it.

As for the workout itself, well, it’s a Shaun T workout, and if you’ve done Insanity, you know what that means. It’s tough. I had to stop and rewind the DVD a couple times to try to figure out what the heck he was doing. Hey, I am not the most coordinated person in the world. Sometimes it takes me a minute to figure moves out.

The title of the workout is “Speed & Agility”, so there is a lot of jumping, some balancing, a good amount of moving pushups and bear walks. All in all, a very good total body cardio workout that lasts about 45 minutes, including warmup and cooldown.

I had to take extra breaks along the way — that’s the way Shaun T designs his workouts: impossible — but I got all the way through “Speed & Agility” without ever thinking about quitting early. The workout is varied enough to hold my interest.

Oh, btw, in case you’ve looked at The Asylum and seen the jumprope, you may be concerned, as I was, about space restrictions. For this routine, the jumprope was only used during the warmup, and I was able to simulate the movements without the rope.

Tomorrow is “Strength”. I’m looking forward to that and will report back on it.

How Does Insanity Affect Upper Body Strength?

When I started Insanity in early May, I was concerned about what it might do to my upper body strength. After all, the workouts really emphasized lower body and abs, and while there was some shoulder work, there was not a whole lot of concentration on the chest, arms, and lats.

I had toyed with the idea of adding some pullups to the workouts, but, what the heck, I figured I’d go ahead and experiment on myself yet again, and see just how Insanity affected my upper body.

And let me caveat this for any of you who think I am knocking Insanity — I’m not. I loved Insanity and recommend it to everyone!

Shaun T's InsanityNow, as you may know, I completed Insanity a couple weeks ago, took last week off to do only yoga, and started today with my favorite gauge of upper body strength: 30/15 from Tony Horton’s One-On-One workouts.

30/15 is a workout that alternates 12 sets of various pushups with 12 sets of various pullups, so it was measuring what I wanted to measure.

The results?

Pushups were barely affected. Prior to Insanity I was doing 26 pushups per set. Today I cut that back to 25, expecting to have to cut it further as the workout progressed toward the end, but, happily, I didn’t need to drop below 25 at all.

I did have to cheat a bit during the last couple sets, not going down quite all the way, to get to 25, but finish I did. I was pleased with that result. It won’t take long to get back to 26, and, in fact, I expect to be fully back next Monday when I do the 30/15 workout again.

I suppose this was to be expected. After all, Insanity does incorporate quite a few pushups in month two, so the chest and triceps are not totally ignored.

However, let’s talk about the lats.

During the pullup sets of 30/15, I do as many reps as I can do in one minute. Pullups are my weakness, so I try to maximize my workout by putting a time on it, instead of just doing them to simple failure.

My pullups were off 20% to 30%!

Again, this was to be expected. There are no pullups and no real lat work in Insanity, plus, my pullup numbers were not that impressive to begin with. Still….

To anyone who is concerned that Insanity will affect your pullups negatively, I can say that, if my experience is any indicator, then, yes, it does. You should add pullups and chinups to your Insanity workouts, or else expect to lose back strength.

Pushup strength is only mildly affected, so no worries there.

As I read through the literature that came with my freshly delivered copy of The Asylum, I saw that there is a pullup bar incorporated into those workouts, so I’ll be looking forward to that. My current plan is to start The Asylum in about a month, but we’ll see how that schedule holds up.

Right now, I am enjoying developing a Tony Horton’s P90X and Insanity hybrid, because the ones I’ve found online that others have created aren’t floating my boat. I’ll be incorporating Tony Horton’s One-On-One workouts into my hybrid. Look for that program here soon!