Sunday, November 29, 2009

Round 2 / Day 14: Insanity Pure Cardio + Cardio Abs

There's nothing like Pure Cardio to remind you that you're not as fit as you think. After having finished a round of P90X, I thought I was in pretty good shape, but I'm certainly humbled every time I attempt to complete this workout.

Once again, I had to take breaks during Frog Jumps and Push-Up Jacks. On their own, neither of these moves is impossible, but performed in sequence with the other exercises (and without breaks), I find both to be painfully difficult to sustain for a full minute each.

After Pure Cardio was done, it was time for a new workout: Cardio Abs. Cardio Abs is to Insanity what Ab Ripper X is to P90X; it's a relatively short (16-17 minute) session that targets your abs with a series of exercises that blast your core and hip flexors.

It starts with a brief warm-up (unnecessary if you're still having a heart attack from Pure Cardio) that flows right into Twisting High Knees, Jump Ropes, Tuck Jumps (like P90X Plyo Jump Knee Tucks), and Wide Tuck Jumps (with knees out wide to the sides).

Cardio Abs then transitions into a series of ab moves performed from a "C-Sit" position (which resembles the starting position for In-N-Outs and Bicycles in Ab Ripper X):
  • Twists (similar to Mason Twists, but slower and with your heels on the floor)
  • Twists with Knee In/Outs & Up/Downs (same as before, but with alternating knee in/outs and raises)
  • A-Frame Ab Twists (similar to Mason Twists, but with heels on the floor, hands together, arms straight -- your arms go vertical between each side twist)
  • A-Frame Ab Twists with Knee In/Outs (same as before, but adding an alternating knee in/out with each rep)
  • C-Sit Hold (hold in C-Sit position for what seems to be an eternity)
  • Single Leg Raises (pull knee straight in, then extend leg out, then raise leg up, then bring it down -- repeat for 30 seconds, and then do the other side)
  • Double Leg Raises (same as before, but using both legs at the same time)

Next up is the plank series:
  • From a high plank (standard push-up) position, pull one knee up to the side and to your shoulder; alternate sides to work your obliques;
  • Do the same thing again, but from a low plank position resting on your forearms;
  • Alternate between high planks and low planks; while in each position, do 8 hip tucks, contracting your core while shifting your pelvis and hips toward the ground.

Although I had my doubts about an ab routine that doesn't include anything resembling a sit-up or a crunch, Cardio Abs doesn't disappoint. It's intense and challenging -- especially after you're already sweaty and exhausted from Pure Cardio. In my opinion, Ab Ripper X is still the superior workout, but Cardio Abs is a great way to break up the monotony of endless Fifer Scissors and Oblique V-Ups while still blasting your midsection.