Saturday, December 20, 2014

Insanity Max:30 Review: Pulse

Today I decided to check out the Max:30 "recovery" workout, Pulse. This workout clocks in at a brief 20 minutes. Beachbody describes the workout this way, " Aka Shaun's version of a recovery workout, a low-impact combo of stretching and small "pulsing" movements, so you still feel the burn as your body rejuvenates for the week ahead. (Note: You will find Pulse on both Friday Fight DVDs.)"

I am going to get right out there and say that I do not really feel that this is a good recovery workout. The only reason that it could even qualify as recovery is because it's non-impact and you so some quick light stretching. I happen to like the recovery / stretch workouts from Asylum 1 and 2 and Focus T25 much better (Note: The T25 workout Stretch is one of the best recovery / stretch workouts I've seen.) Those three workouts are true recovery workouts that really focus on active and static stretching. I was hoping that Pulse would be a bit like the P90X3 workout Dynamix, a workout with a lot of dynamic stretching, but no such luck. This "recovery" workout was more in-line with some of the original Insanity recovery workouts that I am also not too keen on. Too much work for a rest day.

I think the moves list will give you a good idea. We did each movement for about 30 seconds (for a total of 20 minutes for the entire workout).

Chest Open Knee: Lift knees left and right and open and close arms. Arms should be in an L-shape and open and then close in front of the chest.
Back Lunge Fly: Lunge back left and right. While doing this, have arms open straight to the sides, open and close.
Lateral Lunge: Lunge side to side with hands on the knee.
Downdog Spider: Go from downdog into a spider lunge, alternate right and left.
Squat Pencil: Squat. Then stand up and bring one leg straight up in front of you until it's even with your waist. Squat and then lift the other leg. Squat and alternate the pencil left and right.
Calf Stretch: Alternate left and right. Extend leg in front and then bring your hands to the foot. Bring feet together and then roll up.
Lunge Pulse - R: With the right leg back in a lunge, pulse up and down. Hands in guard position.
Lunge Pulse - L: With the left leg back in a lunge, pulse up and down. Hands in guard position.
Quad Stretch: Alternate standing quad stretch. Stand on one leg and bring the foot into the glutes to stretch the quad in the front.
Runner Stance Pulse - R: Stand on the right leg with the left leg in the air behind you and bent. Have arms in a runners stance. Pulse on the standing leg up and down slightly.
Runner Stance Pulse - L: Standing on the left leg with the right leg in the air behind you and bent, pulse up and down.
Hip Opener Stretch: In plie position with hands on the knees, twist side to side stretching the shoulders forward.
Plie Pulse: Stay in plie and pule up and down. Arms are straight to the sides held in-line with the shoulders.
Hamstring Stretch. Keep feet wider than hip distance apart. Bend over from the hips and touch one foot with the opposite hand. Move left and right.
Plank Lat Pulldown: In plank, lift on arm to the front and bring it straight to the side and then back to above the glutes. Bring the arm back around and down. Next do the same on the other side. Alternate side to side keeping the hips level and square as you move the arms.
Child's Pose - Cobra: Move fluidly from child's pose, sitting back on the glutes on all fours, and then cobra.
Plank Walk - Shoulder Tap: In plank, move left then right. Then tap one hand to the opposite shoulder. Move that hand to the floor and then tap the other shoulder with the other hand. Repeat the entire sequence.
Chest Stretch: On your knees, take your arms behind you and clasp your knees. Lift to stretch the shoulders. Then stretch to the front and ceiling.
Bear Crawl Walk Out: In squat, touch the floor and walk into plank. Jump the feet in and out (back into plank). Then walk the hands back to the feet. Stand and lift the hands into the air. Repeat the entire sequence.
Chest Open Stretch: Make you arms into and L-shape on either side of your body, keeping arms shoulder height. Open and close the arms.
Reciprocating Knee: In plank, tap on knee to the floor and then the other. Alternate back and forth with the knees while maintaining plank position.
Downdog - Plank: Move from downdog (with the body in an upside down "v") into a plank position. Move back and forth.
Switch Kick Abs: On the back, scissor legs up and down and punch opposite hand to raised leg.
Back Stretch: In c-sit position, round back slightly to stretch the lower back. Come up and stretch the chest, then round back again.
Crunch Extension: From c-sit, open up legs and arms lying back completely on the floor. Stretch the arms overhead and the legs out in front. Arms and legs are four inches from the floor. Pop back up into c-sit. Repeat move over and over.
Hamstring Reach: In a seated position, extend your legs in front of you. Lean forward and touch your fingers to your toes. You can walk your hands down your feet as far as you want to engage the hamstrings.
Backstroke: Lie on your back with your head off the floor and feet four inches off the floor and flexed. Have on arm against the body and the other over head. Move the arms in a backstroke manner alternating the arm above the head and against the body.
Shoulder Stretch: In a c-sit position, do a shoulder stretch bringing you arm across the chest and pulling. Change arms.
Table Balance - R: On all fours in table top, lift both your right arm and leg. Balance. Foot should be flexed. Engage the core to maintain form.
Table Balance - L: On all fours in table top, lift both your left arm and leg. Balance.
Child's Pose: From all fours, sit back onto the heels. Keep arms stretched in front of you to stretch the arms and back.

As you can see, many of the moves required a good bit of strength focus. You are not doing any cardio work and you are not jumping, but you are working your muscles. This was the bit that I have umbrage with on a rest day. Brief stretches -- remember each segment is only about 30 seconds -- are mixed in. I would have liked to see a bit more time spent on stretching and a bit less time spent working the arms and legs. They get enough attention the rest of the week!

All this being said, Pulse is an optional workout -- you can do it on one of the two rest days on your weekend. I'm not entirely sure that I get a lot out of this workout. It's not really a stretch, which is what I most likely really need. It's also not enough of a strength workout to be worth adding to my calendar for a non-rest day. 

Pulse probably won't get a lot of play from me -- I'm more likely to use my second rest day on the Max:30 calendar to go for a hike or do some other long sustained cardio. I might bring it out if I'm doing a taper for an OCR event and want to keep myself from getting stale without putting my body through too much. It's a bonus workout, and I can take it or leave it. The rest of the program is fantastic enough that I don't care so much about this small extra workout. 

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