Insanity Upper Body Weight Training – Review

This is the last DVD in the Insanity series entitled Insanity Upper Body Weight Training.

Insanity Upper Body Weight Training

As you can tell by the name, there are no plyometric exercises in this DVD, which I think is one of the best things about the Insanity series. The series focuses heavily on plyometric exercises but then throws in some good old honest weight lifting in the mix just to keep you honest.

For a home workout set, I do think the weight lifting part is pretty basic in comparison to the fairly advanced level of plyometrics in the other DVDs. But in terms of what it sets out to accomplish, it hits all the right check mark boxes and, like Fedex, delivers its drugs….er “product” on time.

I am going to assume that if you have gotten this far into the series you will know what I am talking about when I say things like Heisman’s and Power Hooks. If this is your first time reading my website and you are interested in my Insanity reviews, go over to my navigation bar and type in “Insanity” (without the quotation marks) underneath where it says Search Charles Lloyd Fitness.


Speed Jog – In other insanity DVD’s we did a normal jog; not today we are doing a speed jog…so what’s the difference between speed jogging and running?… I have no idea!

Jump Rope

Jumping Jacks

Heisman’s – When you are doing these make sure you are getting your knees up.

123-123 – Just like the Heisman’s just be sure you are getting those knees up

Power Hooks – Make sure you are getting down almost into a squat when you are doing your hooks.

Warm-up Round # 2

  • Speed Jog
  • Jump Rope
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Heisman’s
  • 123-123
  • Power Hooks

Stretch / Rest Break

VERY Basic Weight Lifting Guidelines

Weights vs. PowerBands at home:  In the video the trainers used weights. For this series I used BodyLastics Terrell Owens Power Bands instead of weights, not because I think they are better than weights, but I am already a member of a local gym that has an obscene amount of weights, and I don’t see the point in having another whole weight set at home (unless it’s something like PowerBlocks or Bowflex SelectTech) when bands work just as well, are WAY easier to deal with, and are 1000x more transportable.

Reverse Pyramiding – In the series we will be doing reverse pyramiding sets meaning you will start out doing 12 reps at a certain weigh for one set, then on the next set you up the weight slightly (say 5 lbs.) then do 10 reps, repeat this process for 8, then 6 (if you want). There are only three sets total. Your last set should be the hardest and should be to the point where the last rep can barely be squeezed out (this is called “to failure”).


360 Shoulder Presses – These are simply seated military presses with an added twist. Using a set of dumbbells (or bands) from a seated position with the weights at shoulder height, simply press up with your palms facing forward when you are at the top, rotate your arms so your palms are facing each other then slowly drop them down so the dumbbells are now in front of your face then rotate them out to the starting position. That is 1 rep.  *Be sure not to slouch over, keep your back straight and your abs tight*

Pulse Bicep Curls – If you are familiar with some of the P90X workouts then you will recognize this exercise. From a seated position, you will hold one dumbbell in a “static” position (half way up/at 90 degrees) while curling with the other arm.

In-Out Abs w/Tricep Push-Ups – Here we are combining two different Insanity exercises. By now you should be very familiar with In-Out Abs. What is going on here is combining a plyometric triceps push-up into the mix. The in and out abs “in” portion of the exercise is done normally; however, for the “out” portion of the exercise, instead of just going into a normal plank, you will instead get into a triceps plank position (arms glued to your sides/in the lower plank position chest only a few inches off the ground) then power your way back from that position number one. That is 1 rep.

Floor Sprints – Another staple, you are simply “sprinting” from a stationary position in plank position.


Round # 2 – 10 reps

  • 360 Shoulder Presses
  • Pulse Bicep Curls
  • In-Out Abs w/Tricep Push-ups
  • Floor Sprints


Round # 3 – 8 reps

  • 360 Shoulder Presses
  • Pulse Bicep Curls
  • In-Out Abs w/Tricep Push-ups
  • Floor Sprints

Squat Bicep Curls (Concentration Curls) – Alternating Squat Bicep Curls is probably a better name for this exercise, although I am used to the term Concentration Curls. From a squat position grab one dumbbell, place your elbow (the same elbow that is holding the dumbbell) to the inside of your quadriceps, so that it does not sway and stays stationary. Put your other elbow on top of the other quad, now start curling. Remember we are going to be reverse pyramiding so use an appropriate weight. After your set, immediately go to the other bicep.

180 Lateral Raises – Get some weights that you can hold straight out for this exercise (meaning they will be lighter than normal). From a standing position, hold your dumbbells with your palms facing forward and your back 100% straight next to your sides (position the weight so that they are slightly in front of you). Now lift your arms up from your sides to the top of your head.  The weights make a 180 degree circle for each side at the same side like this “( )“ – Then slowly bring them back to the same position, make sure you are controlling the weight at all times.

Elevated Tricep Dips – Of you are not familiar with Tricep dips check out my web post from a few years ago on tricep dips.  The variation for this video is you alternate legs up.

Power Jumps – Yep, more of these.


Round # 2 – 10 Reps

  • Squat Bicep Curls
  • 180 Lateral Raises
  • Elevated Tricep Dips
  • Power Jumps


Round # 3 – 8 Reps

  • Squat Bicep Curls
  • 180 Lateral Raises
  • Elevated Tricep Dips
  • Power Jumps

Rest / Water Break

Full Rotation Flys – This is best done on a flat bench, lying on your back with your heels on the bench. Start out with a dumbbell in each hand and out to your sides palms up (this is a fly position).  Then, using your chest muscles with your arms straight, “fly” the dumbbells up over your chest so that they almost touch. Next move the weights back to position number one, then “fly” again (arms straight) so that the dumbbells are over your head, then return to position number one. This is one rep.

Push-up w/Front Raise – Just like the 180 lateral raise, use a weight that you can lift using straight arms. Starting with dumbbells in your hands and in a plank position (feet at shoulder width), do a normal push-up, when you come back to the up position, use your right arm (straight out) to raise the dumbbell  so that it is in front of your head. This is one rep, repeat on your left side, this is the second rep. All these movements are controlled.

High Knees w/Twist – This is another oldie of the Insanity exercises. This is not a rep exercise but a timed exercise.


Round #2 – 10 Reps – Watch your form….I have said it at least 1000 times but here it is again FORM OVER EVERYTHING!

  • Full Rotation Flys
  • Push up w/Front Raise – Be sure to keep your shoulders wrist and elbows aligned.
  • High Knees w/Twist

Round #3 – 8 Reps

  • Full Rotation Flys
  • Push up w/Front Raise
  • High Knees w/Twist

Water Break

Insanity Upper Body Weight Training

Chest Press / Leg Raise – This is also best done on a flat bench. This exercise is exactly what it sounds like. Using dumbbells, start out with a chest press with your legs at ~6 inches off the ground. As you press the weight up you will also be raising your legs, keeping them straight, at the same time. DO NOT raise your legs so that they come straight up to a 90° angle. The goal here is to always to have pressure on your abdominal muscles throughout the whole exercise. Each press and lift is one rep.

Bent Over Rows / Flys – Start out in a flat back, knees bent, bent over position and dumbbells in both hands. Start to “row” meaning if your arms are hanging down to the ground in your bent over position, use your back muscle to bring the dumbbells to your sides, then back to position number one. Next “fly” the dumbbells just as you did earlier outwards to shoulder height, and then return to position number one. This is one rep.

Ski Abs – And yet another exercise that we have done 1000’s of times.


Round #2 – 10 reps.

  • Chest Press Leg Raise
  • Bent Over Rows
  • Ski Abs


Round #3 – 8 reps.

  • Chest Press Leg Raise
  • Bent Over Rows
  • Ski Abs – After your eight go for extra credit!

Cool Down Stretch.


This is the last of all the Insanity DVD’s in the box set. Overall this is a solid workout and a good beginner’s guide to weightlifting if you have never lifted before. There is not much I would have changed for this set, as it hits all the major Upper body muscle groups. I only wish that Beachbody would have included a Lower Body Weight Training exercise; this would have really given the Insanity the mirror spit polished shine of an already great series.

I give this a 4.5 out of 5 Charles Faces!






This concludes my review of Insanity Upper Body Weight Training.

About The Author

Charles Lloyd

Self processed fitness missionary and author of most of the ridiculous fitness articles written on Charles Lloyd 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.


  • McDaanish

    September 12, 2011

    Charles, I appreciate the great resource this site lends itself as. In regards to this particular DVD, is it readily adaptable for use with resistance bands? I chose this program over others mainly for the additional cardio and the fact that there was no equipment required was a bonus. Your thoughts on the matter would be helpful!

  • Charles Lloyd

    September 12, 2011

    Hey, Yep it VERY EASILY adaptable to use with resistance bands, actually I used my Powerbands for the whole Insanity series. The thing with resistance bands is the “load” is progressive vice linear as you would get with standard weights. In some cases it can make it much harder or WAY easier depending on how you use your bands. Let me know if you need anything.

  • Chris Lilje

    March 1, 2012

    I have been doing Insanity for a while now! I have seen great results, I just have a question about the weight lifting video, I do the exercise every other day (try too), I’m only 17 but it is sure showing changes in my strength, I was wondering if I should stick to my routine, or if I should change it up a bit, or what you would reccomend to get great results with the video, Thankyou!

  • Charles Lloyd

    March 5, 2012

    Since you are still growing every other day is probably fine. You really have to base your workout on how you feel, and how your body responds to the workouts.

  • Owen Brown

    March 6, 2012

    How do you recommend incorporating this into the insanity calendar? Does it have a place in either month 1 or 2 or is it something separate?

  • Leslie Smith

    August 4, 2012

    Charles, first, thanks for all the informative and entertaining reviews. I was also wondering the exact same question as Owen. Can I substitute this dvd during the first 60 days, and if so, which would be the best dvd to sub for? I LOVE the Insanity series and want to follow the routine for best results, but I feel like I need a little weight thrown in, particularly for the upper body. It just seems like 60 days is a long time to go without. Look forward to hearing your advice. Thanks again!

  • Charles Lloyd

    August 5, 2012

    Hi Leslie, As far as substitution I cant recommend anything else in the “normal” Insanity series, Almost any of the upper body workouts in The Asylum, or PAP Upper in X2 will suffice nicely. Thanks for dropping by Leslie and comment or email me if you have any questions. 🙂

  • Matt

    August 22, 2012

    I tried using resistance bands for this DVD last night and with some of the moves I had no problem with making the switch to the bands. However, there were others where I couldn’t quite figure out how the replicate using the bands, such as the full rotation flys, chest press and push up with front raise. Is there any where to find descriptions or videos on how to adapt these moves to the bands?

  • Alz Hall

    September 17, 2012

    Hey Charles, I’m from over the pond & just got into Insanity! I’ve been doing functional style fitness for a while now, using a personal trainer every fortnight for a beating session!

    Anyway, I really like your website and background, very inspirational!!

    Keep it up fella


  • hiren

    February 6, 2013

    hey i needed some help! i got this video but on the insanity calender i dont see this workout anywhere! so when am i suppose to do this dvd workout? if you could help me it would be great! thanks

  • brandon

    March 26, 2013

    I think Insanity is an awesome series. I am on my recovery week and it seems I am still struggling at times. I do not like the fact that I am still struggling but I know it’s ok to struggle. I look forward to doing the upper body dvd towards the end of my 60 days if not after. You mentioned that they should include a lower body workout but I think they do not because the whole series had a lot to do with working on the lower body with all of the plyometrics. My legs can testify to this.


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