Sunday, December 14, 2014

Insanity Max:30 Review: Tabata Power

The second workout on the Insanity Max:30 workout calendar is Tabata Power. This thirty minute workout is considered more strength-based. The Max Out Guide that comes with the program describes the workout as, "Your strength training starts here with a traditional Tabata-style '20 seconds on, 10 seconds off' workout structure. This plyometric-focused workout will leave your muscles begging for mercy."


The Tabata Power workout contains a half dozen rounds. Each contain moves that focus on various body parts and are done back to back. You do 20 second of work and then get to rest for 10 seconds. Mentally, this is a huge help. In reality, your muscles get little rest because the moves you do in each round one after the other all focus on the same area of the body. So, for example, you do a bunch of different chest moves all in a row. Even with the breaks, you are definitely working those muscles as a result.

Here are the moves as they appear in the workout. My notes follow, where applicable, in parenthesis.

Warm-up

Each move is done for thirty second straight through until the four minute mark. You then get a thirty second water break.

Straight Arm Jack: Jack the feet and push the arms straight above your head up and down.
Scissor Chest Opener: Scissor the feet front and back and have the arms at shoulder level closing in front of the check and opening to a t-shape.
Lateral Lunge: Quick lunge side to side.
Downdog Spider: From the downdog position (from plank lift the hips in the air until you are in a downward v-shape), spider lunge left and right.
Straight Arm Jack
Scissor Chest Opener
Lateral Lunge: This time, instead of keeping the hands on the hips, touch the floor with the alternate hand.
Downdog Spider

You then move on to the main workout section. The rule is, "Twenty seconds on, ten seconds off" throughout each round. Then at the end of the round, you get a thirty second break. Rounds alternated between having a lower or upper body focus or core work. The last round incorporated moves from all the previous rounds each done once through without breaks for thirty seconds or a minute.

Round 1

Burpee Lunge - Alt: From a burpee, jump up and into a lunge. First plyo lunge left, then after the next burpee lunge right. After twenty seconds jog it out then repeat the burpee lunges for a total of one minute.
Plyo Lunge Jump - L: Swing arms back and up. As you swing the arms up jump up. Legs are in a lunge position with the left leg in front. Twenty seconds on, then a ten second jog.
Plyo Lunge Jump - R: Swing arms back and up. As you swing the arms up jump up. Legs are in a lunge position with the right leg in front. Twenty seconds on, then a ten second jog.
Splint Lunge Punch: Do a plyo split lung moving feet forward and back in a lunge position. Punch forward with the alternate arm (as front leg). After twenty second, jog for ten, then do another set of twenty seconds with a rest.
Back Lunge Kick - R: With the right leg moving, lunge back with the right leg and then kick it front. Twenty seconds on, then ten second jog.
Back Lunge Kick - L: With the left leg moving, lunge back with the left leg and then kick it front. Twenty seconds on, then ten second jog.

Round 2

Moving Plyo Push-up: Do push-ups, when you come up, you pop off the floor and jump side to side as you push out of the push-up. Twenty second on, then ten seconds of Child's Pose. Repeat for a total of one minute.
Push-up Pop-up: Push-up and then when you come up pop off the floor slightly lifting off arms. Twenty second on, then ten seconds of Child's Pose. Repeat for a total of one minute. (Note: This was a very challenging round with the plyo moves and push-ups all back to back. Many of the women in the workout switched to modified push-ups on the knees. I did this. Some would consider this maxing out, but I was still moving. I made a note of when I switched to modifications, but did not count this as maxing out because, according to the Max Out Guide, you only count it as maxing out when you stop moving, which I didn't do. I ended up maxing out at 25:12. I made notes in my iPhone calendar of both the time I switched to modified push-ups and when I maxed out. I will try to track and improve both metrics.)
Push-up Row: Do a push-up. When you come up, row up your arm against the side of your torso. Alternate arms, left and right. Twenty second on, then ten seconds of Child's Pose. Repeat for a total of one minute.
Knee Push-up Row: Same as the previous move but on the knees. Twenty second on, then ten seconds of Child's Pose. Repeat for a total of one minute.

Round 3

Fast Power Jumps: With legs wide, jump up bringing your knees towards the chest. Go as fast as you can jumping high. Twenty seconds on, then ten second jog. Repeat for a total of one minute.
Slow Power Jumps: Slower power jumps done on Shaun T's cue. Twenty seconds on, then ten second jog. Repeat for a total of one minute.
High Jumps: Swing arms from back to front and jump off the floor as high as you can from a squat up with legs extended. Twenty seconds on, then ten second jog. Repeat for a total of one minute.
Squat Knee Up: Squat and lift you knee. Alternate lifted knee from left to right. Twenty seconds on, then ten second jog. Repeat for a total of one minute. (Note: This move was basic and a nice rest from jumping. Those power plyo moves were intense, and this was a great way to recover.)

Round 4

Switch Kick Abs: Supine, scissor the legs and punch the opposite hand towards leg. Have the shoulders curled off the floor. Twenty seconds on, then ten second c-sit. Repeat for a total of one minute.
Switch Kick Abs - R: Have the left leg hovering straight a few inches off the floor. The right leg moves down and up and the opposite hand punches towards it. Twenty seconds on, then ten second c-sit.
Switch Kick Abs - L: Have the right leg hovering straight a few inches off the floor. The left leg moves down and up and the opposite hand punches towards it. Twenty seconds on, then ten seconds c-sit.
Scissor Abs: With hands behind the head and shoulders curled off the floor, scissor legs up and down. Twenty seconds on, then ten second c-sit. Repeat for a total of one minute.
"L" Hold - R: Hold the right leg up and the right a few inches from the floor. Have the shoulders curled up and the hands behind the head. Twenty seconds on, then ten seconds c-sit.
"L" Hold - L: Hold the left leg up and the right a few inches from the floor. Have the shoulders curled up and the hands behind the head. Twenty seconds on, then ten seconds c-sit.

Round 5

Tricep Dip Reach: In table top, do tricep dips. When you push-up, lift one arm and touch it to the opposite leg. Alternate left and right. Twenty seconds on, then ten seconds rest. Repeat for a total of one minute. (Note: I found it a bit difficult to get the balance right on this move and had to start a bit slowly. This may be a move that I would recommend practicing outside the Max:30 workout so that you can nail it when the time comes.)
Single-Leg Tricep Dip - R: Fast tricep dips with the right leg in the air. Twenty seconds on, then ten seconds rest.
Single-Leg Tricep Dip - L: Fast tricep dips with the left leg in the air. Twenty seconds on, then ten seconds rest.
Speed Tricep Dips: Fast dips with both legs on the floor. Twenty seconds on, then ten seconds rest. Repeat for a total of one minute. (Note: The triceps are small muscles and these back to back tricep moves were what really hammer me into submission. Here's where I really maxed out.)
4-Count Tricep Dips: Slow 4-count dips with both legs on the floor. Twenty seconds on, then ten seconds rest. Repeat for a total of one minute.

Round 6

Split Lunge Punch
Push-up Row
Switch Kick Abs
Speed Tricep Dips
Power Jumps

As with Cardio Challenge, the workout was appended with a two minute cool down that was dynamic and included some modest stretching.

Like all the Insanity workouts where you do bodyweight exercises, you are not going to be building huge bulk here. That being said, moving your body around definitely requires a good amount of strength. Bodyweight training is personally my favorite way to resistance train because it is most like what I do in obstacle course racing. For that reason, I really like this DVD. 

The leg segments are cardio heavy to be sure. In a way I liked that because it mixed things up a little bit. The back to back chest moves were brutal. The push-up section was no doubt the hardest as plyo-style push-up moves never seem to get any easier. (I mean, popping your entire body weight off the ground in a plank position -- how could that be easy?) Also killer was the triceps portion. As I said before the triceps are small muscles and they get a repeat pounding here. 

I definitely felt this workout was a challenge. Was it manageable; overall, yes. Was it still hard; without a doubt. I found the workout to be the perfect blend of challenge and do-ability. Shaun T was inspiring as always. I also felt that I was able to do more because I knew I only had to do 20 seconds. Mentally that was a big thing and kept me going when I may have quit earlier. It was still surprising though how long 20 second felt when you were on the last set of reps in a round. 

This workout plays to the kind of exercising I like to do -- bodyweight moves and some cardio thrown in. It's exactly how I like to structure my strength training days and aligns well with my goals. For someone wanting to be strong, this will work; however, if you want bulk, you may have to look elsewhere. If you've ever done any of the Insanity workouts or workouts with Shaun T you will know that's the case though.

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