Insanity Review: Cardio Power & Resistance

Insanity Cardio Power and ResistanceInsanity Review: Cardio Power & Resistance

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Insanity Cardio Power & Resitance General Impressions

This 39 minutes DVD is the second Insanity workout you’ll encounter.  If you are doing the full 60-day program, you’ll repeat this workout five times in the first month.  Don’t get too excited about the fact that it is only 39 minutes.  Every minute is packed with heart pumping action.  There’s not a second that is wasted in this workout.

Shaun T leads a group of 10-15 male and female fitness demonstrators in the Insanity gym.  There are some familiar faces, but most are new to the series so far. All of them are Insanity graduates.  All of them are ripped.  They look like they’re ready to be unleashed.  No slugs in this group!

When I first started Insanity, I had been doing P90X for over nine months.  I was very used to Tony Horton’s cornball schtick and actually enjoyed his sense of humor.  On the other hand, I found Shaun T with his faux street swagger and self serious demeanor to be a little annoying.  However, now that I’m used to Shaun T, I realize the difference between him and Tony Horton are just about style and personality.  Both are good at what they do–motivating people.  Both are role models for health and fitness.  I have to mention this because I sometimes hear people complaining about the personalities of the trainers, and that’s the reason they don’t like to do such and such program.  My response is:  Do you want results, or do you want to get hung up about the personality of a person who you will likely never meet?  It’s about the workout, right?  If you are learning good technique and getting great results, who cares?  There’s always the mute button.

Insanity Cardio Power & Resistance Warmup Exercises

As always, the Insanity warmups are a workout themselves.  Don’t ever expect an easy warmup in this program.   The warmups last about 10 minutes.  There are a series of seven exercises done in order and repeated three times, with each successive series done with greater intensity.  Each exercise lasts about 30-45 seconds, and each series lasts about 3-4 minutes.   There are no breaks between the series.  If you’re doing it right, the last series should leave you ready to hurl chunks.

  • Jog in Place.  This exercise needs no explanation.  Pretend you are running.  It’s purpose is to get the heart rate up.
  • Power Jacks.  Almost like jumping jacks, but you land into the squat position and jump off from there.  It will bring the burn to your gluts and quads.
  • Log Jumps.  Basically, you are leaping from side to side as if you’re sidehopping over an imaginary log.  One leg leads and the other follows.  You should feel it all over your lower body but mostly in the calves.
  • 1-2-3.  You are running from left to right, taking about 3-4 steps each way.  On the last step, bring one leg as close as possible to your chest.  Gets the entire lower body including abs involved, and helps improve agility.
  • Butt Kicks.  This exercise is performed by running in place and kicking your heels backwards into your butt instead of in front.  Activates the calves and quads.
  • High Knees.  Almost the same thing as running in place, but you raise your knees above your hips with each step.  Don’t try to cheat by bending over.  Keep your back straight and use those abs to lift.
  • Vertical Jumps.  Exactly what it sounds like.  Jump up  as high as possible with your arms outstretched.  Land in the squat position and repeat.  The entire lower body is in play, as well as the heart and lungs.  It will take a lot of blood and air to fuel those jumps.

After three insane rounds of warmups, the 30-second water break can’t come soon enough.  Enjoy every second of it because a 7-minute stretching stage follows.  The stretches are not the same ones you learned in grade school, so get ready for a bit of balancing and a lot of discomfort.

Breaking Down the Cardio Power & Resistance Exercises

Another 30-second water break follows the stretches.  Then, the first circuit begins.  There are a series four exercises lasting 30-45 seconds in this circuit.   You will repeat the series three times, upping the intensity with each repetition.  You also get a short water break in between series. Insanity Cardio Power & Resistance emphasizes your upper body, but it wouldn’t be an Insanity workout if it didn’t involve serious cardio work as well.

  • Power Jumps.  You’ve seen this exercise before in the fit test.  It is not for the weak hearted.  All you are doing is jumping into the air as fast and as high as you can.   Your knees are raised past waist level as you jump.   In order to do this exercise correctly, you should be able to slap your knees with your hands at the highest point of your jump.  If you can’t slap your knees, that means you have not raised them high enough.   You land in the squat position and start the next jump from there.  This exercise works your entire lower body, and heart and lungs.
  • Belt Kicks.  One of Insanity’s few low impact lower body exercises.  You begin in the standing position, legs apart with both hands on your hips.  Move to one side, squat, and kick up a leg. Alternate legs.  It’s low impact, but because large muscle groups are involved (legs and abs), your heart rate and breathing won’t slow down much.
  • Hit the Floor.  From the standing position, bend over and reach down with one arm to touch the floor.  Immediately straighten your body and leap upwards.  Alternate other arm and repeat.  Works out your calves and core.
  • V Pushups.  Bend over and make an inverse V using your body.  Your hands should be one end of the V and your toes are the other end.  Your arms and legs are straight.  The point of the V is your butt. From this position, lower your head towards the ground by bending your arms.  Push back up.  This works your shoulders.  I noticed in this exercise the difference between Insaniacs and P90X’ers.  The Insanity demonstrators don’t seem to have much upper body strength because most could only lower themselves by a few inches.  Most P90X graduates doing the same exercise can touch the floor with the tops of their heads.

After the third series is completed, you get a 30-sec break.  Then, the bonus exercises in the first circuit begins.  Each exercise lasts 30-45 seconds.  They are done only once.

  • Tricep Dips.  Start in the sitting position.  Raise your body off the ground as high as possible using your core muscles.  Only your feet and hands remain on the ground.  Lower your body by bending your arms.  Try not to let your butt touch the floor as you lower.  Push yourself back up and repeat.  Your triceps (the back of your arms) will feel it the most.
  • Tricep Dips (with one leg raised).  Without stopping, Shaun T will tell you to raise one leg as high as possible, then the other leg as you perform the dips.  This will increase the load on your poor burning triceps, making you hate Shaun T for about 30-45 seconds.
  • Ball Pushup.   You are facing the floor like you’re about to do a pushup.  Instead of your legs being extended, however, they are bent and tucked underneath your body.  Only your hands and toes are touching the floor, and you look like a ball.  Lower and push up with your arms.  I have never seen this exercise before in my life, but it seems to activate my triceps while I’m doing it.  My core is also working at the same time to maintain the ball position.

Before the second circuit begins, you get a 30-second water break.  You’ll need it.  This circuit is comprised of a series of four exercises lasting 30-45 seconds each. Each series is repeated three times, with a small break in between.

  • Hurdle Jumps.   Run in place as fast as possible.  Every few seconds Shaun T will yell “jump!”  You respond by leaping to one side as if you were doing a log jump.  Works mostly the calves but your heart and lungs will feel it too.  I have a lot more respect for hurdlers after doing this exercise.  It takes a lot of energy to jump while running.
  • Globe Jumps.  This exercise is a series of hops:  one to your right, another to your back, another to your left, and another forward.  Your body is tracing a square or rectangle shape as you hop.  Each square constitutes one repetition.  That means each rep is four hops.  If you are doing the exercise correctly, meaning, your hands are touching the floor with each hop and you are raising them over your head at the highest point of the hop, it will not be easy.
  • Moving Pushups.  Pushups, but each time you go down, move to the side.  Alternate sides with every two pushups.  The moving helps to blast the chest, shoulders, and arms.
  • Floor Sprints.  Stay in the pushup position from the last exercise.  Move your legs as if you’re running in place while supporting yourself with your arms.  Try to keep your butt below shoulder level to maximize core involvement.  After the second round of this exercise, Shaun T looked completely spent and could barely breathe.  If a fit dude like him can wiped out by this exercise series, you know it’s no joke.

The second circuit ended but the workout is not over yet, because Shaun T has an additional exercise to ensure that you end strong.

  • 8 Hops/8 Pushups.  This exercise looks fun on paper but is no fun in practice.  It will get your entire body involved doing quick movements and that means your cardio and pulmonary systems will be pushed to their max.  You start off doing eight quick hops up and down in the squat position.  Then jump back into plank and do eight pushups.  Then jump back to standing and repeat the hops.  Do this until the time runs out or your body quits.  It’s the last exercise so dig deep to finish.

Insanity Cardio Power & Resistance Parting Words

When Shaun T calls time, half of the fitness demonstrators were splayed on the floor, not wanting to get up.  There’s a tiny break before you go into finishing stretches.  When you bend over for the hamstring stretch, you might notice globs of sweat dripping from your face to the ground.  Those sweat beads are your fat cells crying.

To read more reviews related to Insanity Cardio Power & Resistance, click here. If you have additional questions about Insanity and Insanity Cardio Power & Resistance, please email me at, or send me a private Facebook message. I love to hear from my readers about their Insanity experiences. Let’s get the conversation started!

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About Khoa Nuyen

Aging and feeling crummy are for people who don't know any better. If a middle aged dude with a sedentary job can get these results, you can too.
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