Plyometrics. The word makes people in the know shudder. It also forms the basis of many different workouts, including most of the Insanity Workout and 'the mother of all P90X Workouts', as its creator states. Which of these two has the tougher plyometrics workout? Are they both effective? What are the differences? Read on to learn about plyometrics in both P90X and the Insanity Workout!
First off, what exactly is plyometrics? Most people just say that they're 'jumping workouts', but that is not it, brother. Plyometrics can be any form of exercise whose goal is to produce fast, powerful movements by improving the functions of the nervous system. This can be anything from explosive jumping power to running faster, throwing farther, or punching harder. It is basically a means to improve how quickly and powerfully you can move. So jumping, yes. But so much more.
So let's look at the P90X Plyometric workout first. Tony Horton claims that this is the workout that puts the 'X' in P90X, and coming in at 60 minutes, there's a lot of truth to this statement. It consists of four or five main sets that are repeated twice, each set composed of about four exercises. They range from variations on the horizontal leap, to variations on squat jumps, to hopping on one foot to sports drills like shooting hoops. What's excellent about them is that they last for an hour, yet never floor you (except for a couple of particularly tough exercises in the middle). You're able to keep a consist level of intensity throughout, so that while you're absolutely dead by the time you reach the 60 minute mark, you're definitely able to hang in there throughout.
The Insanity Workout Plyometric Cardio Circuit is another story. Coming in at only 45 minutes, and with the main Plyo workout itself only about 20 of those, you would think it would be easier. You would be wrong. The workout starts with a brutal, 10 minute warm up (I regularly advise people to warm up before the 'warm up'), goes through a long stretch, and then kicks off with the main workout, which is divided into four sets, reach repeated 3 times with no breaks. It kicks off with Suicide Drills, gets tougher with Football Drills, and then explode into a world of pain with the Basketball Drills (the words 'In! Out!' Will haunt your darkest nightmares forevermore). The last set, Attacks, is only a series of punches and cross jacks, but the previous 17 minutes will have destroyed you, and made these incredibly tough.
So which is the tougher of the two? The award goes to the Insanity Plyometric Cardio Circuit. Shorter in duration, it almost qualifies as a High Intensity Interval Training program, coming just short of that killer intensity so that you're able to keep going for all 20 minutes. As such it qualifies as Threshold training, and trust me, that's punishing enough. The P90X is done at a lower intensity, but for a much longer time, so that those 60 minutes end up chewing you up even as you work your way through them. I would say that the P90X is more beginner friendly as a result, but is still an incredibly tough workout. And the Insanity Plyometric Cardio Circuit workout? It's absolutely an insane workout.