Insanity is a 60-day DVD workout program designed by fitness professional Shaun T. and Team Beachbody. This workout is well known amongst the home-fitness gurus for its max interval training sets and minimal use of equipment. All you need is a mat, and even that is optional. The program consists of 10 workouts, ranging from 20 minutes to 60 minutes, divided into two 30-day phases, with the latter phase being more difficult. Insanity combines plyometrics, traditional cardio, calisthenics, sports drills and core work to create a distinct workout with broad health benefits.
Body Fat Reduction
Most people adopt a workout regime to get in shape, which may have different meanings to different people, but typically encompasses body fat reduction. The Insanity HIIT-style workout is a proven method for body fat reduction and weight loss. Insanity’s training style has been shown to result in more caloric expenditure and fat breakdown than traditional steady-state workouts. A study published in "Metabolism" established that this training style results in a nine-fold greater reduction in skin-fold thickness compared to steady-state training.
Insanity workouts revolve around a max interval training design, which is a more intense style of high intensity interval training, or HIIT. HIIT workouts consist of short, high intensity periods followed by a longer, low intensity recovery period. Insanity’s max interval training reverses this, yet still maintains the HIIT design, by incorporating long periods of high intensity followed by a short, low intensity recovery. HIIT is a popular training style for improving cardiorespiratory fitness. According to a study published in "Strength and Conditioning Journal," HIIT training may result in greater improvements in maximal oxygen consumption, or VO2max, and the ability of the heart to contract, than traditional training methods.
Insanity incorporates strength training in each workout through bodyweight exercises, or calisthenics, and plyometrics, or jump training. Calisthenic moves in Insanity range from inverted V-pushups to the more common squat. Throughout the program, the number of calisthenic moves in each set steadily increases as strength is developed. For example, the first workout has sets of four pushups; by the final workout, this number has increased to sets of 16 pushups. Plyometric exercises in Insanity include hop-squats and plyometric pushups, which also increase in number throughout the program.
Insanity’s workouts vary in length. The first 30 days of workouts are all less than 40 minutes in length. The final 30 days include workouts that are up to 60 minutes long; workout intensity is maintained or increased. This maintenance of intensity coupled with increased workout duration develops endurance and stamina.
Flexibility is determined by body-type as well as training. Throughout the workout program, Shaun T. emphasizes the importance of stretching after warming up, and his workout design adheres to this concept. A study published in the "Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research," in 2008 states that, by warming up before stretching, you improve strength and flexibility, and prevent injury. By training this way, you increase range of motion and strength more than if you were to stretch before an activity.
- ACE Fitness.org: Does the Insanity Workout Program Produce Insane Results?
- Metabolism: Impact of Exercise on Body Fatness and Skeletal Muscle Metabolism
- WebMD: New Ideas on Proper Stretching Technique
- Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: Acute Effects of Static and Ballistic Stretching on Measures of Strength and Power
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