Shoulder Injuries With the Insanity Workout

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The Insanity workout is a high-intensity conditioning program developed by fitness expert and personal trainer Shaun T. While this workout may increase your overall strength and level of physical fitness, working out beyond your capabilities may put you at an increased risk of injury. If you have a pre-existing shoulder injury or experience chronic shoulder or arm pain, you should consult your doctor before performing the upper body portion of the workout.

About the Workout

The Insanity workout is a home workout program based on MAX interval training, a form of extreme interval training that alternates between bursts of aerobic and anaerobic exercises, coupled with short periods of rest. The entire Insanity program contains 10 workout programs in total, designed to give you a total body workout that can help burn calories and tone your muscles. According to Beachbody, the fitness company that helped develop Shaun T's program, you can potentially burn up to 1,000 calories per hour with the Insanity workout. Each workout provides workout "packed with plyometric drills on top of nonstop intervals of strength, power, resistance, and ab and core training moves."

Upper Body Workout

The upper body portion of the Insanity program provides an intense workout for your chest, arms, back and shoulders. Shaun T leads you through a 43-minute upper body circuit training program that uses variations on traditional strength-building moves, such as the chest press, plank pose and push ups, with a focus on increasing resistance while simultaneously decreasing the number of repetitions. While this can be an effective method of building upper body strength, you may run the risk of developing serious shoulder injuries if you perform the exercises incorrectly or increase your intensity level too quickly. Additionally, you should consult your doctor before performing this workout if you have a pre-existing shoulder or arm injury.

Common Shoulder Injuries

Common shoulder problems that may be caused or exacerbated by strain or improper form during the Insanity workout include muscle aches, shoulder pain and rotator cuff injuries. While a certain level of muscle soreness, tension or pain is normal due to the overall intensity of the workout, any shoulder issue that interferes with your ability to perform everyday tasks or activities should be investigated by a medical professional. In particular, rotator cuff tears are one of the most common shoulder injuries caused by weightlifting, overuse and strain, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. If you continue to work out with a rotator cuff injury, you can increase the risk of further damage and a worsening of your symptoms.


Since it is an extremely demanding program, the Insanity workout is not recommended for individuals with a low level of physical fitness, pre-existing injuries or serious medical conditions. If you experience chronic shoulder or arm pain, you should consult your doctor to obtain a proper diagnosis and to discuss treatment options before continuing any exercise program. Generally speaking, rest, ice, anti-inflammatory medications and activity modification can help alleviate pain and improve shoulder functioning in about 50 percent of patients with rotator cuff injuries, says the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.