If you want a very hard circuit workout, Insanity Plyometric Cardio Circuit is it. I’m going on record and saying that this Plyometric Cardio Circuit workout is the HARDEST DVD WORKOUT I HAVE EVER DONE.  When done properly, it’s at least twice as hard as any other DVD workout I have done. It’s even twice as hard as any of the P90X workouts I have done, including the P90X+!

Put it this way, as of this writing I am 34 years old and I was wearing my heart rate monitor and I touched 162 bpm (beats per minute) in the warm-up which is about 85% of my max heart rate! So I’m ultra-stoked now; I honestly get off on stuff like this. I think I am some sort of fitness masochist, it’s almost like I don’t feel normal unless some muscle hurts….hmm, I think I have my next article ;p Anyway on with the show.

Insanity Plyometric Cardio Circuit


OK, just to make sure you know, this is some extreme plyometric cardio circuits….just as the title says, don’t underestimate what that really means. First we start off with:

  • Jog – Remember this is interval training, so no half-assin here
  • Jumping Jacks – make sure you do the full jumping jacks
  • Heisman’s – If you looked at my P90X articles you will know what they are
  • 123 – These are Heisman’s with 3 steps between
  • Butt Kicks – Make sure you get those heels to your butt
  • High Knees – You are lifting you knees with your abs/core
  • Mummy Kicks – Check out my first Insanity article on what these are.

Good. So now that you have done your warm up guess what? There is more warm-up, but this time with more intensity so here we go again…NO REST.

  • Jog – Again this is serious stuff so do your thang.
  • Jumping Jacks – Make sure your hands are touching.
  • Heisman’s – Just like the first time but this time with more intensity
  • 123 – This is when I started to feel it, again make sure you are not half-assin it.
  • Butt Kicks – Concentrate here and be sure to get those feet to your butt.
  • High Knees – Get those legs up!
  • Mummy Kicks – Yep this is the last of the set, so don’t  stop now.

Great now that we got that out of the way, guess what – Yep we get to do it again….NO REST, even harder this time! This time we are concentrating on speed and accuracy. This is what burns fat quick.

  • Jog – This is the last time so make it count.
  • Jumping Jacks – At this point you may want to only half way do your jumping jack. Don’t go all the way…Push yourself.
  • Heisman’s – If there is a break this is as good as it’s going to get.
  • 123- Make sure your hands are touching the ground and don’t give up.
  • Butt Kicks – Get those feet to that butt.
  • High Knees – Keep that core tight and those knees up.
  • Mummy Kicks – You are almost done, remember speed and accuracy.

If you are not pouring sweat right now, then you didn’t go hard enough. I hit about 165bpm just in the warm-up.

Water Break – Use this 25 second break to get some water or whatever, the key here is to not stop moving.

Stretch – At this point we are doing a series of stretches. And this is my only problem with this video; we go from going from a full blast workout to completely stopping. This is the same as sprinting a 100m race, then immediately jumping into your bed to go to sleep. I don’t like the transition.

As for the stretching, you will be doing a series of leg, hamstring, hip, calf, quadriceps, and back stretches with some upper body stretching mixed in for good measure. I’m not going to go into detail as there are too many.

Water Break – 25 Seconds

Insanity – Plyometric Cardio Circuit

Ok this is it; this is when the fun starts. It’s a good idea to have a heart rate monitor to keep track of how much work you are doing or not doing.

Last year I did a review on my Suunto T6 Heart rate monitor. You do not need anything this fancy, a good Polar or Cardiosport will serve you well. If you are serious about fitness, I highly recommended you invest in one so you can accurately gauge how hard and how long you are pushing yourself. There are days when I feel like I am going much harder than my heart rate monitor indicates, but I am not. Then there are other days that I feel like I can take on the world but my heart rate monitor says that I am at 85% of my max heart rate and I should cut back or risk burning myself out too quick.

Suicide Drills

  • With a name like suicide drills you know it’s fun. Actually they are pretty easy. Suicide drills are just like the 1-2-3’s you just did in your warm-up but every time you move side to side, you are touching the ground with your opposite hand of the side you are drilling on (so for left side). You would touch the ground with your right hand, then side step to your opposite side and repeat with your other hand. Make sure you keep your core tight.

Power Squats

  • Power Squats are just normal squats with a small jump when you come to the top. When doing these, make sure you are pushing that butt out and keeping those arms in front of you for balance.

Mountain Climbers

  • This exercise is the standing-up version. Just pretend like you are rock climbing, extend those arms way up, and bring your knee to a 90 degree angle. It’s very important to get your knees and arms up. If not, you are just cheating yourself.

Ski Down

  • Imagine you are downhill skiing, keep both feet together and use your arms to propel yourself down the hill, then with each arm propel you are jumping side to side with your feet together, the key here is to find a grove and cover some ground. Land softly on your feet.

Water Break – 30 Seconds

Round #2

You should be tired at this point, but you need to push yourself – This time you are going for speed

Suicide Drills- Go for speed, you gotta push yourself!!! Really push, yeah it hurts, it’s not supposed to be easy.

Power Squats – Butt out and hands forward.

Mountain Climbers – keep those knees up and reach for the sky.

Ski Down- You need to cover some ground if you want maximum results.

Water Break – 30 Seconds

Round #3

You know the drill; this is the time to make it happen. Always go for broke!

Suicide Drills – Do not compromise form *EVER*.

Power Squats – Butt out and keep good form, keep those knees behind the ankles.

Mountain Climbers – Hands up, I know it hurts. I was at 180 bpm at this point and was suckin wind just like you are…better be at this point. This the last exercise of this circuit, but there is no break. You go immediately into the next set. Remember to push yourself and keep the intensity high.

Switch Feet

  • This exercise is a like a ultra-excited kid that just got some ice cream. You are going from heel to toe keeping your legs straight and switching your feet and arms left to right.

Football Wide Sprints

  • If you wanted a break this is as good as it’s going to get. Put both hands up and in front of you like you are making a picture frame with your face (thumbs out, both hands at chin and neck level) then crouch down and sprint bow-legged. Vary your workout by switching left, right, and forward and back, also moving left, right, forward and backwards.
  • Set: After you have moved forward backwards, forward and backwards, the “Set” is you are down in a football stance: Left foot forward, right leg back and place your right hand a few inches next to your left foot. Stay here for no more than 1 second.
  • Sprint: Haul ass right where you are standing.

Repeat the Football Wide Sprints

Water Break – 25 Seconds.

Basketball Drills:

  • Pretend you are in a three point basketball contest and all the balls are on the floor. Reach down, pick up the ball and shoot that long 45 foot three-pointer. This means you have to include a small jump to get the ball in the hoop. If you don’t jump you didn’t make it. Keep the intensity up.  Keep your butt down and jump from the squatting position; this is where your power comes from.

Level I Drills:

  • This is where it starts to hurt because you are incorporating many different exercises into this drill.
  1. Do 4 Push-ups.
  2. From the top push-up position do 4 mountain climbers – Bring your knees to your chest.
  3. Stand up and put your hands in the air – Great you just completed 1 Level I Drill.
  4. Repeat Level I Drill (2nd set).
  5. Repeat Level I Drill (3rd set).
  6. Repeat Level I Drill (4th set).
  7. Repeat Level I Drill (5th set).

Ski Drills

  • Now we are about to do some Ab work.
  1. Start off in the Plank position (keep your core tight).
  2. Use your abs and legs (keep your legs and knees together) to jump out to the right (knees toward your chest) while staying in the plank position.
  3. Use your abs and legs to jump back into the center.
  4. Use your abs and legs (keep your legs and knees together) to jump out to the left (knees toward your chest) while staying in the plank position.
  5. Use your abs and legs to jump back into the center. – Great you just completed 1 Ski Drill.
  6. Repeat Ski Drill (2nd set).
  7. Repeat Ski Drill (3rd set).
  8. Repeat Ski Drill (4th set).
  9. Repeat Ski Drill (5th set).


  • These are just like the Ski Drill you just completed – Keep your core tight.
  1. Start off in the Plank position (keep your core tight).
  2. Use your abs and legs (keep your legs and knees together) to jump your knees into your chest while staying in the plank position. – Great you just completed 1 In-and-Out Drill.
  3. Repeat In and Out Drill (2nd set).
  4. Repeat In and Out Drill (3rd set).
  5. Repeat In and Out Drill (4th set).
  6. Repeat In and Out Drill (5th set).

Water Break – 25 Seconds – If you’re not exhausted, you’re not pushing hard enough.

Round #2

  • Basketball Drills – repeat as described above – Don’t sacrifice form.
  • Level 1 Drills – repeat as described above – Don’t sacrifice form.
  • Ski Abs – repeat as described above – Don’t sacrifice form.
  • In-and-Outs – repeat as described above – Don’t sacrifice form.

Water Break – 25 Seconds

Round #3

  • Basketball Drills – repeat as described above – Don’t sacrifice form.
  • Level 1 Drills – repeat as described above – Don’t sacrifice form.
  • Ski Abs – repeat as described above – Don’t sacrifice form.
  • In-and-Outs – repeat as described above – Don’t sacrifice form. I keep repeating this cause I want to drill it into you noggin.


  • Take your boxing stance and throw your jabs (fists) with both hands.
  • Repeat for 30 seconds.

Cross Jacks

  • These are like traditional jumping jacks, but instead of moving just going up and down with all hands and legs at the same time, here you a alternating your hands (left to right) and doing switch kicks with your feet like the exercise you just did earlier.
  • Repeat for 30 seconds.


  • Just like the jabs you did two exercises ago, take the exact same boxing stance and throw your uppercuts.
  • Repeat 30 seconds.


  • You are using the same stance as you used in your football drills you did earlier. In that same stance you are throwing open palm hits against an imaginary opponent.
  • Repeat 30 seconds.

Water Break – 25 Seconds

Insanity Plyometric Cardio Circuit


Cool Down Stretching

You are doing various cool down stretches to gain flexibility in your now hot muscles. Make sure you replenish your muscles with some type of protein and carbs, whether through a shake, a light meal or whatever.

Charles Rating

4.5 out of 5 Charles Faces! I would have given it a 5 Face rating but, that beginning transition or lack thereof prevented this.



Good Job and great workout. Thank you for looking at my Insanity Plyometric Cardio Circuit review.

Charles Lloyd
Charles Lloyd

Self processed fitness missionary and author of most of the ridiculous fitness articles written on Charles Lloyd Fitness.com. I am not really a writer, but a workout fiend who happens to have a blog. The single mission of this website is very simple: Get You In Shape. I have been blessed with the gift of good health and want to share it with you. Join Me.

    13 replies to "Insanity Plyometric Cardio Circuit – Review"

    • aaron

      level 1 drills are HARD

    • Charles Lloyd

      Yeah those Level 1’s are a son of a gun.

    • Athena Ahenakew

      we did this workout for our first day of volleyball camp, that is seriously the hardest workout i have ever done, it makes your muscles really sore! it is really intense but it makes you really fit, i am so glad that we only have to do it once a week!

    • Charles Lloyd

      Yeah this workout is serious business!

    • Mike K

      What do you think increases vertical jump better, p90x plyo or insanity plyo? And if insanity, which plyo workout?

    • Charles Lloyd

      Neither Insanity Asylum is geared specific to sports training.

    • Nick

      L1 drills+ski abs+in-outs are kick ass sequence. Pouring sweat like crazy! Love this workout

    • Bruce

      To mikek.

      p90x plyo an insanity plyo will both help u perform better when executed properly and with max effort. Asylum plyos the best though.

    • Jessie

      I appreciate the breakdown of the workout. I started the 60 day insanity challenge and did my fit test yesterday, which means I have to do the plyometric cardio circuit today. I mainly did Jillian Michaels before this then transitioned to some Bob Harper DVDs, which are harder. I think Insanity will be much more difficult though. My abs are a little bit sore from just the fit test lol. I just gotta push myself through the 60 days.

    • Helen

      Started Insanity yesterday, did the Plyo cardio this morning, sweated like crazy, puffed and panted but felt great at the end (if not achy!). Wonder if I might be a little masochistic too…..gonna really try and push for the full 60 days, lost one stone ten pounds since new year and want to push it further and tone………..bring it on!

    • Anne

      Hi Charles,

      I read most of your insanity reviews and I still have questions. Now I go to gym 6 days/week for lifting weight. I do 2xLeg, 2xShoulder/chest/tri, Back/Bis, and Arm, my rest day usually I do cardio. I have started my journey 5 months ago and see a progress everyweek however now I feel like I hit my plateau. So I want to start doing insanity but do not wanna give up my weight training. I’m planing to cut leg and shoulder to 1 day and cut out arm routine, so I will hit gym 3time/weeks. Do you think that’s good plan? Or I should keep my routine and do insanity in the morning and lfit in the evening. Thanks

    • Nice write up. I agree… I regularly burn 700cals in 40mins with this workout and it’s my go to if I’m pushed for time! I have done insanity, the asylum and I’m now on the insanity / asylum hybrid! Love asylum vertical plyo…those one legged power jumps are nuts!

    • This Site

      I value the information on your site. Cheers!

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