Insanity is an intense cardio-based workout program designed to help you lose weight and tone up fast. Requiring 40 minutes of intense exercise a day, it is marketed as the hardest home workout program available and promises stunning results in just 60 days.
In general, exercise is crucial to back health. That said, not all exercises are good for your back. Should you pursue the Insanity program if you have back pain? Can the program give you back pain? There are a number of ways in which this program can affect the muscles of the lower back and the spine. Consider the following when deciding whether to pursue this workout program or not.
Insanity is not a workout for beginners. Some of its past users have become spokespeople for the program; they say that it was out of their comfort zones and advocate powering through, but these statements are countered by the disclaimer that comes with the DVDs. The disclaimer states officially that beginners shouldn’t dive into Insanity. If you don’t already have a solid foundation of cardio and strength fitness, you can expect widespread body pain and may be susceptible to injury.
Jumping And Your Joints
Many of the cardio workouts performed during Insanity involve rapid jumping. If you have any joint problems, such as instability or arthritis, the motions required by Insanity will likely be harmful to your joints. Steer clear of this program particularly if you have knee or spine problems.
“Cardio Abs” And Your Hip Flexors
Like many popular ab workout programs, Insanity boasts of its ability to sculpt your “show muscles,” meaning, in terms of your stomach, the “6-pack” superficial layer of ab muscles. There are a couple ways in which this approach to ab strength can lead to back pain.
First, the transversus abdominis, the deep, large layer of abdominal muscles, is responsible for protecting the spine. Workouts that focus on the front layer of abs tend to neglect the deeper layer, which is more important to back health.
Second, the first half of Insanity ab workouts requires you to sit with your knees bent and employs leg motions to work the abs. This positioning encourages tight, shortened hip flexor muscles. Hip flexors stretch from the upper thigh bone to the lumbar spine and are already tight in the general population due to prolonged periods of sitting. Tight hip flexors pull forward on the lumbar spine, straining discs, joints and lower back muscles. These workouts can create postural distortion as well as lower back tightness.
See the video at www.youtube.com to find out what the Insanity ab workout looks like.
Single Leg Exercises And Your SI Joints
One likely under-recognized cause of lower back pain is sacroiliac (SI) joint dysfunction. The SI joints are formed where the large hip bones meet the sacrum at the base of the spine on each side. When either hypo- or hyper-mobile, these joints can cause pelvic instability, spinal instability, neuropathic pain and severe lower back and hip pain.
Exercises that involve single leg weight-bearing are hard on the SI joints. Insanity contains many exercises throughout its cardio series that require jumping quickly from one leg to the other. If you have hip pain or known problems with an SI joint, Insanity is likely not the best exercise option for you.
Choosing a workout program should always involve consideration of its overall impact on your body. Avoid Insanity back pain by learning the risks and deciding whether this is the best program for you.