Bob Harper Inside Out Method: Pure Burn Super Strength (a Review)

I've already review his Yoga and Cardio Conditioning DVDs, but the final post in my review of Bob Harper's Inside Out Method DVDs is also what I think is the most difficult: Pure Burn Super Strength. This total-body workout focuses most on building muscle while also burning fat. Most of the exercises are based on using lighter weights and higher reps, so your heart rate is constantly up while building strength.

I began the workout with 10 lb weights, which I used for the first set of squats, biceps curls and bent-over rows. When I got to the second set of bent-over rows (while lunging), I had to downgrade to 5 lb weights, and stayed with the 5'ers the rest of the workout (which was about 40-45 minutes longer). I went through plenty of sets of squats, lunges and biceps curls, but the muscle groups that really got the most work throughout the DVD were my shoulders and triceps. Let's just say holding out weights like a "T" for 20 seconds is pure torture. My shoulders were SCREAMING, and even just holding up those measly five pounds was extremely hard work.

You spend about 45 minutes lunging, curling, pressing and extending (the triceps extensions followed by skull crushers made my triceps absolutely melt), and then comes what I believe it the most difficult part of the workout: push-ups into side t-planks. Holding a straight-armed plank, you do a push up and immediately shift your weight to one arm, while holding the other up in the air, and hold the side plank for about 10 seconds until going back down to do another push up, and shifting to the opposite side, then repeat, repeat, repeat. All the plank-holding really exhausted my already burnt-out shoulders, and my abs were shaking holding me up. On the DVD, you can hear the girls groaning, crying out for the torture to end, but Bob just pushes them (and you!) further. I definitely "expressed my frustration" with him during this set.

After the planks from hell, the work out ended with some abs and some light stretching. I definitely felt taxed at the end of this workout, and the high, fast reps made my arms feel like Jello. And though it is supposed to be mostly a strength workout, it's also a test of cardio and endurance, as well. My heart was always pumping hard, and I was dripping sweat at the end.

I feel completely different after Bob's Super Strength workout than I do after a session of P90X. P90X makes me feel pumped up, muscles swollen and absolutely maxed out and shaky to the core. Because lighter weights are used in Bob's workout, I don't have the pumped up feeling, but muscles do burn and they definitely feel tired by the end of the long workout. I figure, in my regular workout routine, I will incorporate one intense P90X upper-body workout, and another day of this Super Strength workout, to keep things balanced and my muscles confused.

I loved this DVD for its focus on the entire body - it's a long workout (about an hour and six minutes total), but that's because you need to hit every part of the body in just one workout. Again, Bob is a stern trainer, but also has that sweet demeanor, reassuring you that you can do everything the trainees on the DVDs are doing (and honestly, you'll be amazed at what they can do!). He gives you a modified, easier option for almost every exercise, so if you feel overwhelmed, you shouldn't feel bad about dropping to your knees every once in a while for the planks.

I'm definitely glad I gave Bob Harper's Inside Out Method DVDs a try - they've got enough similarities to P90X and Insanity that I'm confident doing all the exercises, and they are challenging enough for me to sub them in for a P90X or Insanity workout any day (and sometimes, I feel these workouts may be harder). Bob's a fantastic trainer, and he's a great personality leading you through these workouts. His Inside Out Method DVDs will most definitely be in regular rotation in my workout routine, and I'm happy to have a few more ass-kicking programs to keep me on my toes.


  1. I was looking at these videos thinking of trying them out. Recently got a few of them second hand so I'm excited. I did the 20 minute strength workout earlier this month and can't wait to do the full workout!

    I used to workout a lot then slowed down and fell of the wagon for a bit so I'm trying to get back onto it now..

  2. Yesterday I tried this workout and had to downgrade to the 20 min strength first. Today I hit it hard! I can honestly say the only other workout that makes me feel this badass is the Chest and Back from P90X...and this one hits the entire body CONTINUOUSLY! "You wanted Bob as a trainer, you got Bob as a trainer"


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