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Insanity - lack of strength and flexibility holding me back!

(13 Posts)
Seminyak Thu 06-Feb-14 18:13:56

I am doing Insanity and really enjoying it, however I'm starting to find it really frustrating because of my lack of upper body strength and hamstring flexibility.
I work really hard during Insanity and go to my limits with the strength side of things - the exercises in plank are really tough, for example, and I work really hard. But I am so much fitter than I am strong that I then have to go out for a 20-30 minute run to push my cardio. I really want to push my cardio because I have fat to burn.
I also find the stretches so difficult because of my lack of hamstrings. I seem to be fine flexibility-wise in other areas (hips, arms etc) but the straight-leg stretches are really hard.

The people on the DVDs who are doing the Insanity workouts are clearly sooooo much fitter than me but SO much more exhausted. I physically can't get that exhausted because of the discrepancy between strength and fitness. My muscles give up before my cardio.

So 2 of my lifelong aims have been:

Do a handstand - I never tried in primary school because I didn't want anyone to see my fat thighs sad and have never had ANY upper body strength so probably would have been embarrassing anyway. I really want to do one!!

Do the splits - I have NO hamstrings, I have never been able to touch my toes with straight legs, or even sit on the floor with my legs straight, ever, even when little. Think this runs in the family! I have regular dreams about doing the splits, I would LOVE to do it grin

So does anyone have any exercises I can do to help my hamstrings/upper body strength? Any good YouTube videos? Should I just bite the bullet and pay for a personal trainer?

Sorry for the essay!!

Jayne75 Fri 07-Feb-14 20:20:16

Wow you sound like you are doing well with running after insanity!
I started it at the v end of December and I'm into month 2 now. I do know what you mean though by upper body strength - I struggle with the press ups etc...but I'm plodding on and trying my best.
Keep with it and persevere is all I can say...not much help but that's all I'm doing.

Sleepwhenidie Fri 07-Feb-14 21:02:39

Hi, I agree, sounds like you are doing well!

Re your goals, I think (but am very happy for someone to come and tell me I'm wrong) that the splits may be an unrealistic goal. I have - based on very unscientific observation of people in various different sports I've done - come to the conclusion that we each have a finite level,of flexibility. You can improve it but not necessarily to the point where you will ever get to splits. Maybe a couple of sessions of yoga a week would help with this? That wouldn't hurt your strength either, but strength definitely can be built up and up, but the only way is to keep working at it, using modified versions if necessary, and really pushing yourself. You will get there smile

Sleepwhenidie Fri 07-Feb-14 23:36:11

Just coming back to this, i really do think asthanga yoga would be a good option for you to try to build strength and flexibility, especially if you don't want to splash out on a PT. JM Shred would also be good for building upper body strength, though i doubt you'd find it a challenge on the cardio front - easy to do before or after a run as its less than 30 mins smile.

CynicalandSmug Sat 08-Feb-14 13:28:09

My upper body strength was embarrassingly poor before Insanity but I just kept at it, but by the time I finished that very last workout my strength was through the roof! Perseverance is key - the whole point of these 30/60/90 day programmes is to build up strength & endurance as designed by the trainer.

Adding a lot of other exercise may not be a good idea on top of Insanity, have you tried posting on the Beachbody forums?

Sleepwhenidie Sat 08-Feb-14 20:26:41

Oh to be clear, I didn't mean doing shred as well! Yoga may be possible as well though smile

Seminyak Sun 09-Feb-14 09:25:42

Ah thanks for the replies!!! I think I will try a yoga class, I have a DVD but want a teacher to make sure in doing it properly.

Owh I don't want the splits to be unrealistic! Haha Will probably just have to accept it is.

Seems like yoga will be a good option though so will look into it smile thanks everyone.

hazelnutlatte Mon 10-Feb-14 17:41:04

Yoga is really great for increasing flexibility, if you do the right class. Look for ashtanga / power yoga / dynamic yoga as some other yoga classes would be too gentle for you. Iyengar yoga is also good for flexibility but tends to be at a slower pace so you can get to know how to do the moves properly.
I've been doing various forms of yoga for about 2 years on and off and have seen a big change when it comes to hamstring stretches. Like you I couldn't touch my toes but now I can get my head to my knees! My upper body strength has increased too - still got a long way to go, but I can do a couple of proper push ups now, where I could barely do them on my knees before.
Have never tried insanity though, so not sure quite how strong and flexible you need to be for that.

PopiusTartius Wed 12-Feb-14 20:13:15

Watching this as we're just coming to the end of Shred and talking about getting Insanity next, and also because I have decided I want to work towards doing the splits! So it's nicer to see someone else crazy out there grin

I find the cardio on Shred much harder than my H, but then I can sit in lunges / squats for hours whereas he cramps up really quickly. But the main thing is that we are improving in our weak areas, even if it's not as quickly as in our strong areas. Do you feel like your strength is improving, albeit slowly? How long have you been doing Insanity?

Sleepwhenidie Thu 13-Feb-14 09:13:33

I think strength increases can be funny, not necessarily incremental iykwim, it can seem like you make no progress for ages then suddenly progress, so don't be discouraged. Re the splits, if anything is going to get you there, unless you are up for adult gymnastics classes, possibly ballet, it's yoga grin!

Sleepwhenidie Thu 13-Feb-14 09:14:16

I think strength increases can be funny, not necessarily incremental iykwim, it can seem like you make no progress for ages then suddenly progress, so don't be discouraged. Re the splits, if anything is going to get you there, unless you are up for adult gymnastics classes, possibly ballet, it's yoga grin!

Sleepwhenidie Thu 13-Feb-14 09:14:34

Oops [blush ]

Suzannewithaplan Thu 13-Feb-14 09:33:54

My suggestion is search you tube for hamstring stretches, as has been said yoga is good but it's essentially stretches and you dont have to go the whole hog and pursue it as a religious practice in order to get some flexibility benefits.

The yogatic channel on you tube is very good imo

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