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Thread: DVD workouts

  1. #1
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    DVD workouts

    Hey all,

    I'm looking to change up my workouts a little and am kinda curious about the DVD workouts, like P90X, Insanity, Weider's X-Factor, and others. I've never tried any of them and I don't know what they're like. I currently do mostly endurance-oriented calisthenics workouts - no weights - and run about 5 miles/day. If I do shift to any of these programs/workouts, I'd like to stay on the calisthenics and avoid weights. Anybody have a program that works for you that you'd recommend that fits the criteria?

    DYZ
    Last edited by dyz4035; 04-15-2012 at 04:51 PM.

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    Also, any reviews of the aforementioned programs would be appreciated.

    DYZ

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    I'm a fan of TRX or similar type suspension/body-weight workouts. I'm sure P90X and the like are also good workouts, but personally I prefer my TRX. I often throw in some kettlebell work as well.

    TRX has their force program. Expensive, but they offer a discount to first responders (30% ?) and it's very well made. I have the old Force model and the Force program is excellent. Following this program I went from being able to do 1 or 2 handstand pushups to being able to do 15.

    There's also Lifeline's Jungle Gym XT. I've not used it. Some prefer it over TRX (2 anchor points for the Jungle Gym XT vs. the single anchor point of the TRX). I'm not sure about the workout program it comes with. From what I've read, it's good quality and offers similar workouts as the TRX.

    Many prefer ring training. I personally prefer handles that I can put my feet into if I want to.

    Before I bought my TRX, I used a homemade set-up. 25' of 3/8" rope, a couple of 6-7" chunks of 1.25" or 1.5" pvc, and two bowline knots and two prussik knots. I was able to make something for about $10 that was functionally equivalent to TRX. However, it didn't come with any workout program, wasn't as easy to adjust, and didn't come with a door anchor. I can give you more details of you're interested...

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    I haven't heard of the Jungle Gym or the rings, but I have heard of the TRX. How do the TRX and the other TRX-type "machines" work? Do they have to be attached to a doorway?

    DYZ

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    Quote Originally Posted by dyz4035 View Post
    I haven't heard of the Jungle Gym or the rings, but I have heard of the TRX. How do the TRX and the other TRX-type "machines" work? Do they have to be attached to a doorway?

    DYZ
    I don't think of the TRX as a machine, but rather a set of straps with handles on each end. Hang it overhead and adjust the handles to whatever height you want, and you're in business. Much like pushup handles/the perfect pushup is exponentially more challenging than a floor-pushup, TRX pushups is exponentially more challenging than pushup handles. Fortunately, TRX is useful for hundreds of exercises, not just pushups. To be clear, when I say TRX, I also mean Jungle Gym XT, rings, and other suspension training apparatuses.

    They have to be attached to something overhead (generally speaking). I typically attach mine to an eye-bolt in my basement ceiling joists. I've attached it to a door, a tree branch, playground equipment, or even a pole by wrapping it around a couple of times. I've also attached it to a tree trunk (when the branches were too high) and basketball hoop. It could also be attached to a roof rack of a vehicle that's taller than you, a pullup bar, an over-head beam, or any other sturdy object taller than you.

    Then, you use the handles/rings for exercises. My primary ones are rows, reverse flies, flies, push-ups, dips and variations, etc. You vary the resistance by varying the angle. It's remarkably more challenging than working on the ground because you have to stabilize everything. Doing a push-up is hard enough. When that becomes relatively easy, lift one foot off the ground, thereby changing the balance point, and everything becomes hard again. When that gets reasonably easy, stick that leg out to the side, and it becomes hard again. It seems to have infinite variations for an infinite amount of work.

    The day-to-day variability in angles/vectors/strength requirements lends itself nicely to the dynamic suspect movements we respond to as LEOs.

    I am a big fan of and proponent of kettlebell work (primarily snatches, swings, and bottoms-up presses). However, the TRX or similar system is a stand-alone functional strength system. It is so portable and, for the skeptics, blends so well with other strength work, it should not be overlooked.

    If that doesn't convince you, Will Brink uses TRX...
    Last edited by hopperja; 04-16-2012 at 01:01 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hopperja View Post
    I don't think of the TRX as a machine, but rather a set of straps with handles on each end. Hang it overhead and adjust the handles to whatever height you want, and you're in business. Much like pushup handles/the perfect pushup is exponentially more challenging than a floor-pushup, TRX pushups is exponentially more challenging than pushup handles. Fortunately, TRX is useful for hundreds of exercises, not just pushups. To be clear, when I say TRX, I also mean Jungle Gym XT, rings, and other suspension training apparatuses.

    They have to be attached to something overhead (generally speaking). I typically attach mine to an eye-bolt in my basement ceiling joists. I've attached it to a door, a tree branch, playground equipment, or even a pole by wrapping it around a couple of times. I've also attached it to a tree trunk (when the branches were too high) and basketball hoop. It could also be attached to a roof rack of a vehicle that's taller than you, a pullup bar, an over-head beam, or any other sturdy object taller than you.

    Then, you use the handles/rings for exercises. My primary ones are rows, reverse flies, flies, push-ups, dips and variations, etc. You vary the resistance by varying the angle. It's remarkably more challenging than working on the ground because you have to stabilize everything. Doing a push-up is hard enough. When that becomes relatively easy, lift one foot off the ground, thereby changing the balance point, and everything becomes hard again. When that gets reasonably easy, stick that leg out to the side, and it becomes hard again. It seems to have infinite variations for an infinite amount of work.

    The day-to-day variability in angles/vectors/strength requirements lends itself nicely to the dynamic suspect movements we respond to as LEOs.

    I am a big fan of and proponent of kettlebell work (primarily snatches, swings, and bottoms-up presses). However, the TRX or similar system is a stand-alone functional strength system. It is so portable and, for the skeptics, blends so well with other strength work, it should not be overlooked.

    If that doesn't convince you, Will Brink uses TRX...
    Oh, I was already convinced. I was trying to find out more about it, since it is quite a big investment. The first time I ever heard about it was on Stew Smith's website/videos, and that guy's a beast, too...

    Since we're talking about all the exercises you can do with this thing, can you also do lower body exercises with it?

    DYZ

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    Quote Originally Posted by dyz4035 View Post
    ...
    Since we're talking about all the exercises you can do with this thing, can you also do lower body exercises with it?

    DYZ
    Yes - leg extensions (single and double leg), sprinter starts, hamstring curls, supine bicycles, hip thrusts, assisted squats (single and double leg), assisted pistol squats, lunges, etc... I'm sure there are others, these are the ones I do relatively regularly. There are numerous videos you can search for that will show you these exercises. Some exercises are deceptively hard, ie, sprinter starts. They didn't look challenging, but when I started doing them I learned differently.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hopperja View Post
    TRX has their force program. Expensive, but they offer a discount to first responders (30% ?) and it's very well made. I have the old Force model and the Force program is excellent. Following this program I went from being able to do 1 or 2 handstand pushups to being able to do 15.
    I've watched a couple of videos to see how it works and am now seriously considering buying it. Is there a difference between the TRX Tactical and the regular version, besides the 50 dollars?

    DYZ

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    Quote Originally Posted by dyz4035 View Post
    I've watched a couple of videos to see how it works and am now seriously considering buying it. Is there a difference between the TRX Tactical and the regular version, besides the 50 dollars?

    DYZ
    Not sure of the differences, besides price and color. I wonder if the new Tactical Force program has the new upgraded handles whereas the others don't? Here's a thread on the TRX forums about your question.

    Before you buy the TRX, take a hard look at the Jungle Gym XT. I've never used one or even seen one in person. However, they get excellent reviews on-line. I'm also not familiar with the workout program that comes with it. From what I've read on-line, people that have used both are virtually split 50-50 over which one they prefer. TRX Force is going to run you $249.95 - first responder discount (I believe it's 30%, so ~$175) vs. Jungle Gym XT at ~$100. Apples to apples, the TRX Force comes with a door anchor and an extension, something you pay extra for with the Jungle Gym XT (~$160 total). Really, the price of each is closer than it first seemed.

    TRX seems to spend more money on advertising, their user support seems to be better (ie, forums for support), and they offer assorted videos on product usage (via their website). From what I've seen, Jungle Gym XT doesn't offer these extras.

    If you plan to travel with your suspension trainer, it appears as if the handle design (foot cradles) on the TRX is more compact.

    Regardless of what you decide, a suspension trainer is indispensible fitness equipment. Add that to a good pair of running shoes, a Tabata interval timer, and perhaps a kettlebell or two (35 and 53lb), and one would have a complete gym.
    Last edited by hopperja; 04-16-2012 at 10:35 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hopperja View Post
    Not sure of the differences, besides price and color. I wonder if the new Tactical Force program has the new upgraded handles whereas the others don't? Here's a thread on the TRX forums about your question.

    Before you buy the TRX, take a hard look at the Jungle Gym XT. I've never used one or even seen one in person. However, they get excellent reviews on-line. I'm also not familiar with the workout program that comes with it. From what I've read on-line, people that have used both are virtually split 50-50 over which one they prefer. TRX Force is going to run you $249.95 - first responder discount (I believe it's 30%, so ~$175) vs. Jungle Gym XT at ~$100. Apples to apples, the TRX Force comes with a door anchor and an extension, something you pay extra for with the Jungle Gym XT (~$160 total). Really, the price of each is closer than it first seemed.

    TRX seems to spend more money on advertising, their user support seems to be better (ie, forums for support), and they offer assorted videos on product usage (via their website). From what I've seen, Jungle Gym XT doesn't offer these extras.

    If you plan to travel with your suspension trainer, it appears as if the handle design (foot cradles) on the TRX is more compact.

    Regardless of what you decide, a suspension trainer is indispensible fitness equipment. Add that to a good pair of running shoes, a Tabata interval timer, and perhaps a kettlebell or two (35 and 53lb), and one would have a complete gym.
    After doing a little bit of research, I concur with your finding of the two suspension systems both getting good reviews. One thing the XT seems to be better with are the handles - people claim they're easier to clean; another is that pullups and dips are easier to do with the XT with the handles being separate.

    The new TRX Force has rubber handles, according to the website.

    Gonna be a tough one to choose between...

    Quote Originally Posted by hopperja View Post
    a Tabata interval timer
    What...?

    DYZ
    Last edited by dyz4035; 04-16-2012 at 10:53 PM.

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    Tabata intervals - an approximation (for the detractors, Yes, I know there's more to it) is 20 seconds work and 10 seconds rest. In other words, pick your exercise (ie, pushups, sprints, squats, virtually any exercise), do it for 20 seconds at maximum intensity then rest for 10 seconds. Repeat. One can get a decent cardio workout while doing resistance exercises using an interval timer.

    Gymboss makes a good Tabata timer. I've used it and it works well.

    You can also find various Android and iPhone apps, some of which are free. Personally, I mostly use Impetus for Android.

    Others: I use my watch's countdown timer and speedbag forum's interval timer.
    Last edited by hopperja; 04-17-2012 at 01:31 AM.

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    I am currently on my second 90 days of P90X and absolutely love it. Most workouts are about an hour long and seem to passs very quickly. You can either use free weights or get resistance bands (I use both) and either will work great. If you do the workouts and follow the diet plan relatively closely I promise you will see results. I am about 6'03" 195 and started out at about 202. I am already thin so I have lost whatever fat I had and have turned it into muscle. I would recommend a protein shake and maybe some natural supplements to help as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by apc149 View Post
    I am currently on my second 90 days of P90X and absolutely love it. Most workouts are about an hour long and seem to passs very quickly. You can either use free weights or get resistance bands (I use both) and either will work great. If you do the workouts and follow the diet plan relatively closely I promise you will see results. I am about 6'03" 195 and started out at about 202. I am already thin so I have lost whatever fat I had and have turned it into muscle. I would recommend a protein shake and maybe some natural supplements to help as well.
    So this system/program has to be done with weights or some other kinds of resistance? You can't just do calisthenics?

    DYZ

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    You can actually do the Lean program which incorporates more agility/calisthenic type workouts. There are 12 DVDs in all so there is plenty to do. Believe me the plyometrics and the cardio x workouts are killers. I am dripping in sweat by the time I am done. If you are looking to not do weights I would definitelt suggest the Lean program. If not P90X you could try Insanity which is almost exclusively cardio based and sounds like it is more what you are looking for. I have had a few friends try it and really like it. Very intense.

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    Quote Originally Posted by apc149 View Post
    You can actually do the Lean program which incorporates more agility/calisthenic type workouts. There are 12 DVDs in all so there is plenty to do. Believe me the plyometrics and the cardio x workouts are killers. I am dripping in sweat by the time I am done. If you are looking to not do weights I would definitelt suggest the Lean program. If not P90X you could try Insanity which is almost exclusively cardio based and sounds like it is more what you are looking for. I have had a few friends try it and really like it. Very intense.
    Yes, if I were to try one of these programs, I would like to keep on calisthenics and avoid weights.

    DYZ

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    Virtually any resistance exercise to Tabata intervals will also give you a cardio workout.

    I've heard Convict Conditioning is the bible of body-weight excercise and is an excellent program. If you're looking to avoid weights, the TRX or Jungle Gym XT to Tabatas may meet your needs. Or, look into Paul Wade's Convict Conditioning. Incidentally, it also gets good reviews.

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    I've done a couple of rounds of Insanity and love it. It is very intense interval/bodyweight excercises. I also just started Insanity: Asylum a couple of days ago and it is harder than the first insanity. Asylum is the followup to the first insanity. Asylum does use a chinup bar, weights/resistance bands, whereas the first does not. If you do either program becareful of injuries...
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    Quote Originally Posted by wildmanbm View Post
    ... If you do either program becareful of injuries...
    Be careful of existing injuries that may get exacerbated or be careful to do the exercises correctly or you may injure yourself??? Just curious...

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    Insanity:
    I am currently doing the 7th week of Insanity (counting 1 week of "recovery" between the 2 months). I will say that the first month of the program was focused more on the lower body, finding the core and balance. The recovery week was simple compared to the first month and was a great break before the horrible second month. I have ready other reviews about Insanity as I was feeling torn down hard when I first started the second month. I learned that most people feel the transition from the first month to the second is truly insane. However, now that I am in week 2 of the second month, it is still insane but one I can manage. Thankfully it has a lot more upper-body work too. My shoulders are punished the most after every workout but I still smile and feel accomplished just like I did the first day.

    Overall, I highly recommend this program but would warn, like the others, of injuries. You have to move slow to save your energy and save your body. I have known a couple people who have injured themselves trying to be as fit as the models. I would highly recommend that you stretch even after the DVDs stop. I do not use the nutrition plan as I have made my own but theirs is just fine as well. Just push hard every workout, be safe, eat right, and keep your core tight (act like you are laughing, for best results).

    P90X:
    I have never done this program but know a lot of people who have. They all loved it and from what I have heard and seen on TV, it is very similar to Insanity. Similar as in the constant movements and changing of routine. CrossFit is similar in this aspect as well. However, where they are not similar is that while, from what I have seen and heard, P90X and CrossFit work with more weights, traditionally, than Insanity (zero weights) and therefore, they do not provide the same level of endurance as Insanity does. All three workouts are made of short bursts of energy use but with the addition of weights for P90X, there is a slight change. Where I have noticed this is during group workouts with those doing P90X and those doing Insanity. The endurance level of those doing Insanity has been much better and those who have later moved to Insanity after P90X have told me that Insanity is like P90X on crack.

    However, I am looking at doing P90X after Insanity but with the requirement of weights (for what I want next) it might not work for me. Doing weight training in the gym seems to be more enjoyable to me even with the upbeat P90X.

    TRX Suspension Trainer:
    There is really nothing much to say that has not already been said and said to where you seem to be rather happy with this selection becoming part of your routine. I bought this system during my last deployment with the 10% military discount (what the heck EMS 30%, lol). It is a great system and one that cannot get any easier to transport. I hooked it to doors, walls, and vehicles with no problem. The workout routine is not easy but gets easier and can be made harder once more by simply changing it up or adding more reps/sets. Their online resources for upgrades is insane although a little expensive. I prefer to simply get creative in my workouts and see what I can manage to do. Again, just be slow and steady until strong enough and comfortable enough. You probably already know this by now.

    Enjoy.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hopperja View Post
    Be careful of existing injuries that may get exacerbated or be careful to do the exercises correctly or you may injure yourself??? Just curious...
    Both programs involve alot of jumping, different types of running, etc...So I would be careful of knee/joint injuries...I don't think you'd want to try these programs if you are in poor shape, to prevent injury.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wildmanbm View Post
    Both programs involve alot of jumping, different types of running, etc...So I would be careful of knee/joint injuries...I don't think you'd want to try these programs if you are in poor shape, to prevent injury.
    Exactly; one of my buddies now has a dead guys ACL inside of his left leg after he pushed too hard and took his out of commission. When they say, "go at your own pace but push yourself but be safe," that is exactly what they mean.
    "I must do something" will solve more problems than "something must be done."
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    A little off topic (DVD Workouts), but I'll digress and provide a brief description of my homemade suspension trainer. It is functionally equivalent to TRX (I have TRX as well) but only cost about $10 to make.
    1- get yourself a 25' chunk of 3/8" poly rope (~$6)
    2- get yourself 2 x 6 to 7" chunks of 1" or 1.25" PVC, whichever fits your hand better (~$1)
    3- get yourself a carabiner capable of holding your weight (~$3)

    Cut off 2 - 4' chunks of rope. These will be your handles. Tie a loop with a bowline knot, putting one chunk of PVC into each loop. There should be a long tail left, perhaps around 12-24".

    Attach the tail of the handle to one end of the remaining 17' of rope using a prussik knot. Attach the tail end of the other handle to the other end of the 17' rope using a prussik knot. Adjust handles toward or away from each other as needed.

    You can sling this over anything you want (playground equipment, a pullup bar, etc) or attach it to an eyebolt using the carabiner. You can also get or make a strap from seat-belt style webbing and use that to wrap around objects (tree trunks, poles, etc). Even an old belt may work for this, or perhaps a tie-down strap you already have at home.

    I have a Hennessey hammock and use one of the hanging straps. It seems to work well. You'll find some on this page. These straps are only needed to be able to diversify your possible anchor points.

    By the way, you can loop one of these hammock straps around a shoe, and use it for a door anchor. They are ~$10 to ~$20 depending on the length you need.

    If you're willing to look up exercises on youtube, use your imagination, and can develop your own workout, I'd start here. However, if you want good equipment that comes with a pre-made workout, TRX or Jungle GYM XT is the way to go.
    Last edited by hopperja; 04-28-2012 at 01:13 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Veritas Aequitas View Post
    Insanity:
    I am currently doing the 7th week of Insanity (counting 1 week of "recovery" between the 2 months). I will say that the first month of the program was focused more on the lower body, finding the core and balance. The recovery week was simple compared to the first month and was a great break before the horrible second month. I have ready other reviews about Insanity as I was feeling torn down hard when I first started the second month. I learned that most people feel the transition from the first month to the second is truly insane. However, now that I am in week 2 of the second month, it is still insane but one I can manage. Thankfully it has a lot more upper-body work too. My shoulders are punished the most after every workout but I still smile and feel accomplished just like I did the first day.

    Overall, I highly recommend this program but would warn, like the others, of injuries. You have to move slow to save your energy and save your body. I have known a couple people who have injured themselves trying to be as fit as the models. I would highly recommend that you stretch even after the DVDs stop. I do not use the nutrition plan as I have made my own but theirs is just fine as well. Just push hard every workout, be safe, eat right, and keep your core tight (act like you are laughing, for best results).
    First of all thanks so much to the OP for posting this because I'm going through this same dilemma. My brother and I are both getting ready for the physical ability tests and we were thinking of trying Insanity, but the biggest issue I had was it being mostly cardio and I'm worried about losing muscle mass. I'm only 5'6 and about 160 pounds so I can afford to lose some pounds, but being a short guy I don't want to lose some of my bulk and look like a twig. Do you guys that have tried these programs think Insanity is up my alley, or should I try a different program, or should I just stick with weights/running? Thanks in advance!

  24. #24
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    You have a very valid question. Like all cardio, when done in mass it will eat away muscle but so too does a strictly weight lifting program. However, what makes the, "if I do so much cardio, I will lose my muscle," idea a myth is when the idea comes without the knowledge of calorie input v. calorie output. If you are worried about your muscle being eaten then you need to simply consume more calories in the form of protein, etc. If you provide your body with enough calories that it never has to resort to cannibalism, you will not see a loss in muscle. Also, Insanity does not turn you into a "twig" anyways for the fact that it is still very muscle oriented but simply uses your own body weight.

    There is a difference between muscle that makes you look bulked and muscle that actually makes you look fit while giving you endurance and greater strength. I could always out lift the competition bodybuilders I knew when it came to strength and endurance. My biceps might have been an inch smaller but when it came to running, jumping, lifting, etc. I always had the upper-hand.

    Hope that helps you.
    Last edited by Veritas Aequitas; 05-07-2012 at 07:21 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Veritas Aequitas View Post
    You have a very valid question. Like all cardio, when done in mass it will eat away muscle but so too does a strictly weight lifting program. However, what makes the, "if I do so much cardio, I will lose my muscle," idea a myth is when the idea comes without the knowledge of calorie input v. calorie output. If you are worried about your muscle being eaten then you need to simply consume more calories in the form of protein, etc. If you provide your body with enough calories that it never has to resort to cannibalism, you will not see a loss in muscle. Also, Insanity does not turn you into a "twig" anyways for the fact that it is still very muscle oriented but simply uses your own body weight.

    There is a difference between muscle that makes you look bulked and muscle that actually makes you look fit while giving you endurance and greater strength. I could always out lift the competition bodybuilders I knew when it came to strength and endurance. My biceps might have been an inch smaller but when it came to running, jumping, lifting, etc. I always had the upper-hand.

    Hope that helps you.
    It does, thank you again very much, and I see your point about the actual strength/endurance vs. just looking the part. I feel at a disadvantage with my height and smaller size than most guys, but your key points you bring up are the most important. Thanks again for your input!

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