Insanity: The Asylum Volume 1 Review

Call it a graduate class for traditional Insanity if you’d like, because it feels a lot like it. If you jump into this program without any prior HIIT experience, you are in for a rude awakening. Shaun busted you up for 60 days in Insanity, and then all bets are off. He takes on a more hardcore trainer persona in this first installment of the Asylum series. Be ready to work and work hard.

asylum graphic

You’ll know this thing isn’t messing around when you do the warmup. Where Insanity felt more like a relentless cardio assault, Asylum has more of a sports performance feel to it. Between all of the agility ladder work and jump roping, you really do feel like you are developing the hand-eye coordination, and quick feet of elite athletes. The addition of the strength workout is a welcome one – back strength training was a major deficiency in the Insanity program, but this program addresses that. In 30 days, you will see some tangible improvement in your speed/agility as it relates to overall sports performance.

Continue reading Insanity: The Asylum Volume 1 Review


Buy a jump rope!

If you don’t have a jump rope, you are really missing out.

It’s great as a warm up, its great as a primary workout, its great to take on the road. I’m serious – whenever I travel for work or vacation, it goes in my bag. I get a ton of use out of my jump rope.

It might be one of the best pieces of exercise equipment you can buy. And, they are pretty much dirt cheap.

There are two kinds – regular jump ropes (PVC coated cables) and speed jump ropes (some are bare metal cables). I personally have a speed rope with the cable coated in PVC because I like to do a bunch of different stupid human tricks with mine, and the bare speed rope hurts when it hits your body at high speeds. My buddy had the bare metal cable, and that thing tore me up.

You can get a good inexpensive jump rope here from Amazon – ACCTREND Jump Rope Kit – Adjustable Steel Cable Skipping Rope With PU Coating.

There really is no shortage of ways to workout with a jump rope. Just search the internet for jump rope workouts, and then fall down as many rabbit holes as you’d like. I first got exposed to hardcore jump rope workouts when I dabbled with the Insanity: Asylum Volume 1 workout (review here). Shaun T really takes you through the paces with your jump rope. I became hooked.

These guys are pretty good jump rope technique models:

In my humble opinion, the jump rope provides these benefits:

  • Improved cardiovascular performance (your heart rate will remain relatively high if you are doing sustained bouts of jump roping)
  • Improved hand/eye coordination (your brain is doing double duty as its trying to sync your hand and jump movements – you will create new neural pathways in your brain – give it time)
  • Improved speed and agility (depending on the mode you choose, you can train any number of speed and/or agility drills)
  • Improved lymphatic system and bone health (yes, there are health benefits to jumping on a daily basis – check out this article)

At the start of most of our garage workouts, I’ll program either a 5 minute period of freestyle jump roping to practice skills, or I’ll prescribe a set number of jumps you have to do without stopping (usually 300-500). Some of my favorites include:

  • high knees
  • butt kicks
  • scissor jumps (scissor your feet front/back as you jump)
  • hip flexor jumps (cross your feet in a cross/neutral/cross pattern)
  • one foot hop to scissor (4 hops, then 8 scissors)
  • low abductor squat jumps (you’ll have to slow down your hand motion)
  • double unders

If we do 300-500 reps for the warmup, my goal is to cycle through all of the skills above as one big flow w/o stopping.

I’ve been known to program jump rope as the active recovery during a regular workout. For example:

  • 20 pushups
  • 1 minute jump rope
  • 20 alternating jump lunges
  • 1 minute jump rope
  • 20 drop lunges
  • 1 minute jump rope
  • 20 glute bridges (per leg)
  • 1 minute jump rope
  • 10 rolling planks
  • 1 minute jump rope

Repeat for 3 rounds.

I had a guy do this workout with me and 3 other people, and he was fried the next day. AND, he was a self-proclaimed Crossfitter. He whined about his calves for days afterward. I don’t know what his deal was – the rest of us were fine.

If you are just getting started out, there is a very nice program (for free) on the Darebee website. Click here for Darebee jump rope challenge. Other than that, my advice is to have some fun with it, and try to do it every day. You won’t regret it.