“You have to go down to go up” is what Shaun T shouts during the fourth day workout of Insanity: The Asylum called Vertical Plyo. Plyometrics is a type of athletic training that can boost gains on vertical jump, quickness, and other forms of movement that require explosive power. Shaun T utilizes this type of training to create one hellish workout, one that possible aside from the Gameday workout, is the most difficult one of the series. I’ve heard that in other Beachbody products that the plyometric workouts done in those programs are usually the hardest as well and for good reason because it involves lots of jumping and explosive movements. While all of the workouts in the Asylum are tough, I feel that this one takes the cake, and it is definitely the one that had me the most winded of the lot. With that in mind, let’s get into the review for Vertical Plyo.
Jump rope variations start out the DVD’s warm-up section. If you have low ceilings like I do and cannot use the speed rope then you will have to simulate a jump rope, which is what a few of the fitness models in the DVD do. The Asylum package does come with its own speed rope and using the rope will help with coordination but it isn’t necessary. Split squat jump rope is followed by an exercise called the adductor jump rope which is followed by the hop scotch jump rope. This is a really great warm up because of the cardiovascular challenge it presents and the different variations attack the body in different ways which leads to a huge amount of calories burned. This can be flat out exhausting if you are truly pushing yourself and Shaun T goes right into Spider lunges after this barrage of jumping rope.
There is some stretching after a difficult round of rotational jumps and it comes as a welcome break from the intense cardio effort you have already put forth in the Vertical Plyo workout. What I also dig about this workout is the standing long jump exercise, which I guess stems from Shaun T’s background in track and field. A lot of workout DVD’s simply use aerobic exercises but the reason I bought Asylum is its emphasis on athletic training as a means to get the body you want. Sure, there are pushups and other traditional exercises but doing long jumps is a nice change of pace, and by nice I mean another way to punish yourself.
The next series of exercises in Vertical Plyo makes use of the power bands which are not included in the standard Asylum package but they are inexpensive if you want to buy them. I may end up buying some because I think that I will try out Asylum Volume 2 after I get through this round but as of now I am not using any power bands in my workouts. Power jumps and X Jumps are pretty tiring in of themselves but I think that having the power bands would make them a lot more of a workout. It is during this section of the DVD that Shaun T and the crew are getting tired themselves, I’m talking about flat out panting, and having to take breaks in order to get through the workout and there is still 15 to 20 minutes left on the DVD. These are people who are all in great shape, muscular, have six pack abs, and are still burning out. That is one of the reasons you shouldn’t feel bad about having trouble getting through an Asylum workout because they are designed to be brutal but if you keep pushing it does get better and the results will come.
As I’ve said Vertical Plyo is all about jumping so it can be quite rough if you have bad knees, so execute at your own risk if you decide to try Asylum for yourself. While I don’t have knee problems, I do have shoulder problems, which have caused me to have to modify certain exercises or avoid all together some movements in this DVD series but it can be very taxing on your joints, particularly this workout. My legs during this workout burn and are pretty much done towards the end, the first time I couldn’t do the single leg power jumps because I simply couldn’t generate enough force. It was pretty pathetic actually because I looked like I had cement shoes on. The workout ends with lateral jumps using the agility ladder which is adjusted based on how far you can jump with proper form. Lateral jumps seem like they would be a good indicator on your progression to some extent because you can add another rung to make the workout more challenging.
To wrap this Vertical Plyo review up, I just want to reiterate that this workout is the one that people will think is the most ‘Insane’ of the bunch. Vertical Plyo will make you sweat like crazy, be out of breath, and have you tired as hell afterwards. It happens to fall on the 4thday of the first week of Asylum which makes it worse because during that fourth week you will probably be very sore from the previous three workouts and then Shaun T throws this at you. It’s definitely hard and extreme but radical results can require radical action.
READ THE OTHER REVIEWS IN THIS SERIES: