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Before doing Insanity, do these exercises

If you’re planning on doing Insanity with Shaun T, you’re in for quite the journey ahead of you. As a physical therapist, I’ve heard countless horror stories of people who have tried to complete the 60-day behemoth and just couldn’t make it due to injury. So, I’ve checked it out myself and the exercises are undoubtedly difficult. The positions that you must contort your body into during Shaun T’s workout are intense, and they generally go beyond the range of flexibility to be performed correctly by most people.

So, how can you prepare yourself for the insanity that is Insanity?

Well, Insanity is a combination of jumping, push-ups, squats, and forward bending which are all motions that require some level of fitness to achieve. I’ve designed a warm-up to help prepare you for performing these motions based on stability, range of motion, and strength at each joint. This warm-up should take about 15 minutes and we also have a great video that you can follow along with on our YouTube channel below.

*This warm-up and set of exercises is not only good for Insanity but can be used as a warm-up to most plyometric exercise routines.

Here’s the Warm-up

Heel Raises

The ankles are a good place to start and it’s amazing how rarely we do a full heel raise. If you don’t think about it, you may never need to perform this motion during a normal day. This makes most people’s ankles woefully unprepared for Insanity. Heel raises are a good place to start. If this seems a bit too easy for you, you can do a single-leg heel raise to increase the difficulty. (find another person’s youtube video)

Terminal Knee Extensions

A terminal knee extension can be performed with a yoga ball against the wall like in the video shown below. This can also be performed using an exercise band wrapped behind the knee and securely fastened to something in front of you such as a table leg. This should be done very slowly especially going from straight knee to bent.

Hip Hinging

Squatting, suicides, burpees (or level 1 or 2 drills as Shaun T calls them) all require bending at the hip. If this motion is done improperly and you bend at your back too much instead, then this can cause back issues. Hip hinging is a great exercise to teach your brain to use your hips instead of your back to move. To progress or make this exercise more difficult, you can do a squat while trying to keep your back straight with the dowel.

Scapular Clocks

The scapula, or shoulder blade, is an extremely important structure where both stability and mobility of the shoulder comes from. This exercise teaches you how to be aware of it and control this important bone that is oftentimes underrepresented. Your goal while doing this exercise is to move into each hour of the clock smoothly, slowly, and in the correct direction. Spend more time on the hours that you have trouble doing.

Wall Plank

The wall plank is a great place to start integrating all of the previous exercises together. This is also a great warm-up for pushups and core exercises. You can make this a bit more difficult by hovering one arm off the wall and trying not to twist or bend your spine. See which side is weaker and work on that side.

Postural Rebalancing

Now let’s progress the wall planks to a more difficult position. This exercise can be graded and really helps to establish stability in the push-up position. It is important that as you do this exercise, you do not utilize your hip flexors which are your psoas and quadriceps muscles.

Body Weight Squatting

Finally, let’s work in the squat. Making sure that your knees are tracking properly during the squat is essential to maintain knee health. Slow it down, and make sure your knees are tracking between our big toe and second toe.

Great job! Now that you’ve warmed up your joint stabilizers and neuromuscular system, go ahead and warm-up your cardiovascular system with the insanity warm-up. And remember, the models in the video are going at the pace of professional trainers. So, start slow and go at your own pace. 

Dr. Joey Luo

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