April 5, 2011 posted by

Asylum Vertical Plyo: “This Is Not Insanity”

Jack LaLanne used to have a challenge where he’d give $10,000 to anyone who could keep up with him exercising for an hour. In his 80s he was contacted by a journalist from a fitness magazine asking if he was still game. Jack said sure and told him to show up at his house the following morning. The next line was something about how old Jack looked “like my grandfather” and how the writer was going to feel bad taking his money. This was followed by, “Five minutes later I’m about to throw up, during the warm-up. The bet is over. (sic)”

And that’s how I felt during the warm-up of Vertical Plyo. I seriously had to slow my pace down so that I didn’t puke. In fact the only thing that was worse than the warm-up was the “active recovery” as Shaun called a series near the end when we were doing, among other things, one leg explosive hops, as high as we could get while landing on the same leg, for one minute per side. Active yes. Recovery?!

In between I spent most of my time in the air while attempting a bunch of super explosive moves using bands for resistance and targets for accuracy. However, if I’d been in the cast I would have spent it doing push-ups as that’s how Shaun would penalize them for losing form and landing outside the lines.

While it’s needless to say that I didn’t on sight this workout, I often found myself exceeding the cast and, on one occasion, even out dueling Shaun. But this in no way means that I mastered anything. Far, far from it. On every individual move I sucked compared to most of the cast, hence the push-ups. Compared to the height and distance Shaun was getting on his jumps I felt like an old man. Sure, I’ve got some decent aerobic fitness but my explosive capability bites ass. The competitor in me wants to do this more. No, make that; absolutely has to do it more.

I felt a little less feeble when Shaun says to the cast “this is not Insanity,” as if that program were some kind of namby pamby cardio workout instead of this puke fest. At least I’m supposed to be dying, right? Shaun even cops to failure at one point. But again, to me it wasn’t the dying so much as the lack of flying that showed how much work I need to do. I used to be a basketball player fer crissakes! There’s got to be some hops left in there someplace. And, damnit, I’m going to keep doing this until I find them.

This morning as I write this I feel an interesting pattern throughout my body. It’s similar to how I feel after doing PAP workouts. Something inside me is trying to change, or adapt. Long dormant neuromuscular patterns that have been lost through age and endless hours traipsing through the wilderness have been awakened and are trying to remember what they used to do. It’s a physiological fact that we lose fast-twitch muscle fiber as we age but I’d say workouts like Vertical Plyo can not only slow the process but reverse it to some degree. We’re going to find out.

pic: who says white men can’t jump? Image credit: Robert Beck/SI via Sports Illustrated (h/t Reddit)


  • Reading this makes me all the more excited for Asylum! I am a white guy and I definitely can't jump – yet 😉 It's too bad I'll have to wait till ~June to get it.

  • Not sure where everyone's getting these rumored release dates but I have it on good authority it's going to be a lot sooner.

  • I seriously can't wait to get my ass beat by Asylum.

  • I cannot wait to get my ass kicked by Asylum. CANNOT. WAIT.

  • I've beent trying to dig around the hardware requirements for Asylum. Doing P90X I have the dumbbells, pull-up bar, and yoga mat. Any other requirements?

  • The release date rumors are coming from Beachbody coaches Steve. Beachbody needs to put out some concrete information so people stop spreading rumors.

  • I've never been so excited at the prospect of hurling on my living room floor. All I know is this 40-something-year-old mother of two is definitely ready for the Asylum challenge. Love your writing style, Steve!

  • I'm assuming your good authority is Shaun himself… Can you give us a specific time frame? puhlease lol

  • Ok, I've been going back and forth, but this post makes me want to buy The Asylum. I practice taekwondo, and have been using Insanity as part of my conditioning for sparring. I'm on my second round now.I need this type of explosive power!And btw, I'm 40… maybe I'll ask for The Asylum for my birthday this summer!

  • The last I heard, it had been pushed back to May, Steve. I know you can't give a release date until it's been released, so I'll just say that I very much hope the April 20th date was correct, so that I may join you in pushing with Shaun and the crew for higher jumps, faster movement, and stronger body.

  • Steve, a lot of the rumors are coming from the official Asylum Facebook page. No one from Beachbody is on the site to correct the rumors. Can you tell us what the plan is and remove all the confusion?

  • ShaunT just held #InsanityCamp in Hawaii a week ago and says that even he doesn't know for sure. It's all on Beachbody…

  • ShaunT just held #InsanityCamp in Hawaii a week ago and says that even he doesn't know for sure. It's all on Beachbody…

  • Agreed. I believe we all need some closure on this release date business. A lot of people on the message boards and facebook aren't too happy about the relative silence.Thanks for giving us some insight for us on Asylum regardless… I cannot wait to give this a go once the company figures out an ACTUAL date.

  • We aren't holding out. We try and get products out as quickly as possible. The issues revolve around everything happening on time, which anyone who works with deadlines on large projects know doesn't always happen. We are still on target for our original original release date. As long as everything gets finished then that's what will happen. But we're scrambling to get everything done so we won't make it official until we know we can.

  • Thanks Steve, I think the anxiety we are showing about Asylum's release date is a testament to how much we value Beachbody products like P90X and Insanity. At the end of the day, I'll buy Asylum the first day it is available becuase I know it will work.

  • OK, I am pretty good at jumps but this not too sure. Your one tough Rockstar and this one is scary :-)Maybe in a good way?!

  • There's no way in hell I'm going to try this workout, but your post was entertaining. I enjoyed it immensely. Thank you!!

  • It is called Asylum and is the sequal to Insanity. What would you be expecting, a Jane Fonda step aerobics workout?

  • Awesome! We are all practically begging for this workout!…. i was kinda hoping this was going to be along the lines of a Richard Simmons workout lol… jk Definitely looking forward to it!

  • R.I.P. Jack La Lanne, Awesome start to an awesome read, and probably an even more awesome workout!!! Released today for coaches… Glad I'm a beachbodycoach!!! Can't wait till it lands on my doorstep!!! So psyched!!!


  • Guys, I am a beachbody coach. I just received my copy of Asylum last week. I just finished Day 5 and guess what I just finished? Vertical Plyo. That is THE hardest workout I have ever done in my life!!!! I too felt like dying after 3 minutes of warmup. It made me feel better to see the supporting cast bow out here and there. Overall, after 5 days, this is an awesome sequel to INSANIY. The Strength workout is my favorite. Some really cool moves to work the entire body! You can get your copy here…

  • I am on week 3 of Asylum and I laughed reading all these comments because it is so true! I am doing my best to keep up while keeping my heart in my chest. I have never been an athlete though and don't really care about my "vertical" but I love how hard Shaun T pushes me. At week 3, I can still feel my legs at the end of Vertical Plyo which is victory and progress to me!! This workout is the hardest I've ever done and I'm loving it!

  • Tonight is ny first time encountering this beast.I got my ass handed to me on my first round of Asylum Strength. Did pretty good on Agility and Speed and had a very good Back To Core Workout (when I say I did "pretty good, it just means I didn't puke). But, I love these workputs. I had been doing P90X for a while and as much as I love those workouts, Insanity and especially Insanity The Asylum cranks up the volume to "11" ! I'm not sure what is the real Insanity-the workouts or the fact that at 53 years old, I'm doing this SOB! But teh results I've gotten is worth every drop of sweat! DIG DEEPER!! YOU'RE GOING TO NEED IT!

  • I'm a sixteen year old girl and finished Insanity and just moved on to Asylum! My fitness is pretty decent (I run 6k in around 35 minutes) but oh my god this killed me! I LOVED Speed and Agility and found Back to Core a little more challenging but Vertical Plyo seriously murdered me. I was pouring sweat throughout the whole thing and seriously felt like I was going to throw up halfway through. I had to go into child's pose during a lot of the movements because I was that exhausted. Glad to hear I was not alone. I can only hope that by the end of this month I'll be a pro!!

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