• Background Image

    How to Modify Insanity Workout Moves

    June 5, 2013

June 5, 2013

How to Modify Insanity Workout Moves

How You Can Modify Insanity Workout So Anyone Can Do It!

One of the biggest things we run into with the Insanity workout program is fear.  Fear of the name first of all, “Insanity” sounds pretty intense. Then there is the fear that they just can’t do it. I wish you knew how many people tell me “that it looks too hard”, or “I could never do that!” Especially people who are 250+ pounds and older ones.

But believe me. It’s possible.

In May of 2013 my wife Alisha and I became Certified Insanity Instructors. While going through the certification we learn all the possible ways to modify moves to the Insanity workout I never would have thought about, the modifiers will allow you to still get a great workout on the right muscle areas but with a much lower level of intensity.

In this post I’ll be sharing many of the moves I learned. And I even made a video you can watch, if you prefer to do that rather than read 🙂

Proof That Anyone Can Modify Insanity and Make it Work

I always thought that if you were way over weight or older that Insanity was just not for you… I was dead wrong.

Insanity is great for those who are older, even elderly, or very overweight.

I wouldn’t have told you that before I got certified, but lucky for you and me, I went and got certified to teach live Insanity classes. In these classes, we learned some really “no brainer” modifications for Insanity that will allow anyone, and I mean anyone to be able to do this workout.

Genelle – our master instructor – told us that her most popular class for Insanity is senior citizens!  You read right, senior citizens.  She told us that they said “We’re old, but we’re not dead! We still want to move.”

Now if that doesn’t put some of you to shame, then I don’t know what would.

Demonstrations of Insanity Modifications

Now, for your viewing pleasure, in the video below you’re going to see several of the moves that we feel are the most challenging, presented in a way where someone who’s 100lbs or more overweight or has limitations can do Insanity. Enjoy!

Discription of the Insanity Modifiers

Each modifier outlined below is what I’ve shown in the video above.

Squat Modifiers

One of the first things that people have issues with is squats. Maybe you have some knee problems or knee issues and you can’t go all the way down. A couple of things you want to do is:

  1. Limit your range of motion. Try not going so deep into the squat. Make that you are into your heels, leaning back pushing your butt to the back. And not go down quite as far.
  2. Don’t do a squat. Pull your knees up. Almost like you are doing an exaggerated march with high knees hitting your hands to workout those same muscle groups but without having to bend over at all.

Level 1 Drill Modifiers

Instead of going down into a plank position, doing a pushup and then jumping back up, all you need to do if that is too much for you is:

  1. Do backward lunges. Stand straight up, step back into a lunge position, raising your arms into the air nice and level with your head, step back into the straight up position, lift your arms back into the air over your head and then alternate stepping back again with the opposite leg you started off with.

You can easily use this as a modified move, it is still a total body movement working the same muscles just at a much lower impact than jumping on the floor, do push ups and jump back up.

Push Up Modifiers

Okay when it comes to push ups a lot of people struggle with pushups. I’m talking about anybody that’s ever not been out of shape or that doesn’t workout the thought of pushups scares the heck out of them. I know that’s how I felt when I first started working out. Or maybe you aren’t scared to do them, but you get lots of pain in your elbows! There are lots of different options that you can choose from here:

  1. Do push ups on your knees. Just position your knees apart (about shoulder distance apart), then just go down and push yourself back up again. This modification uses way less body weight.
  2. Again. Limit your range of motion. Whether you are on your knees, or even your feet, you can limit your range of motion. Even if you are only dropping down 1 inch, that’s perfect! As you get stronger your range of motion will increase.
  3. Use power stands or push up bars. If you have wrist issues, I highly recommend them. They help you keep your arms and wrists aligned and straight so you don’t have to bend your wrists as much.
  4. Do Wall Push Ups. If you have wall space, you can literally lean on your wall. Put your hands on the wall, placing your feet as far back as you are can that’s within your comfort zone so that you are getting a workout in your upper body chest muscles and just do a push up against the wall. This will also help if you are having some wrist issues.
    • This one is similar to a modifier below for Mountain Climbers and Walking/Moving Push Ups, but with a slight… Modification 🙂

Walking, or Moving Push Up Modifiers

Doing walking, or moving push ups is a difficult and advanced move. Use the modifier similar to the wall push up, but with a little twist to take some of the intensity out of it so you can still get a great upper body workout:

  1. Use a wall. Get into the same position as if you are going to do a wall push up, but keep your hands close together, go down for the push up, move your right arm & leg out, do a push up, while coming up bring your left arm & leg back into your right arm & leg, do a push up and go back the other direction.

So it’s the same exact move as a walking/moving push up on the floor, except you are just moving down the wall using far less body weight to do it and far less pressure on your wrists and not as much body weight required.

NOTE: Because you are moving and leaning against the wall, please make sure that you are not doing this in a safe area, not on a slick floor, rug that can move around, OR that you run out of runway on the wall. I don’t want you to slip and fall 🙂

Mountain Climbers Modifiers

Full on Mountain Climbers is a pretty intense move in itself. If you are having issues getting on the floor, again for wrist issues or whatever other reason, a great modifier is again very similar to the wall push up modifier:

  1. Use a wall. Get into a similar position as the wall push ups, leaning against the wall, except you do the move bringing your knees up into your chest, or as high as you can get them keeping the weight on the wall.

Power Jumps Modifiers

Power Jumps are one of my most favorite moves in the Insanity workout, and they are also one of the hardest moves to do. However, they are high impact especially on the knees or if you are having some ankle issues, these will be hard for you to do. SO, here is a great modification to try out:

  1. Squat knee lifts. Go into a squat position, go as deep as you can based on what you are able to do. Then come up lifting your right knee up and touch your hand. Do the same thing on the left side and keep alternating sides.

This is a great modification because it will definitely work you out as much as you need.

Summary On Modifying Insanity Moves

The key with these modifiers is to be safe, listen to your body. If you have an injury, go to your doctor and have it checked out, don’t be stubborn about it, be smart and be proactive about getting help. The worst thing you could possibly do is injure yourself even more, be down more and miss more time you could be working out and changing your body.

Reach out to me in the comments below or go to our contact page if you’d like more tips on modifications.

What modifications are you using in your workouts?

  • Omar

    Nice post… do you have a video explanation for tilt, tuck and tighten or something like that… thanks for sharing experiences.


    • Todd Midgett

      lol, no…not sure you want to see me do that. It’s basically what I was doing. It’s a move from Shaun T when he did Hip Hop Abs.

NC Fit Club