22 Minute Hard Corps is an army-style training protocol developed by Tony Horton for optimal fitness, strength and stamina with little or no equipment and short, intense workouts.
The military drills target cardio, plyometrics and resistance training to offer real life body performance with low body fat and lean muscle as bypass products, as required by military personnel and desired by regular people. This review will reveal you how this BeachBody program works and whether it is a good tool in your arsenal for fitness.
Who Is Tony Horton?
Tony Horton is a popular author to numerous fitness programs including the famous P90X, P90X2, P90X3, Ten Minute Trainer and finally the 22 Minute Hard Corps reviewed here, all featured @ beachbody.com website.
Before authoring these fitness program, he was personal trainer to many celebrities and also worked as a stand-up comedian. Over the years, he has become a well recognized personality, having appeared in many TV programs as a fitness expert.
What Is The 22 Minute Hard Corps?
The program takes its name from the time it takes to perform the workouts, 22 minutes. It can actually be more than that on the “hell week” toward the end of the program, but overall the workouts are fast and very demanding.
The training protocol is a no nonsense blueprint derived from standard military drills for soldiers or tactical personnel who need to be fit 24/7 anywhere with no access to special facilities or equipment but who need to be resilient, flexible and strong nonetheless.
The 22 Minute Hard Corps is not a bodybuilding program for maximum muscle mass and strength, rather a demanding fitness regimen to gain overall strength and stamina in a lean and ripped package, mostly with bodyweight moves, cardio, plyometrics and little equipment, if at all.
You may need a 6 x 6 foot space to do it and occasionally a resistance band and a pair of dumbbells or a sand bag.
Who Is The 22 Minute Hard Corps For?
Such a minimalist approach may well suit a vast range of people, like busy guys and gals, professionals, moms at home with kids and little free time to workout, generally people who cannot or do not want to join a gym, but still have the will do keep fit.
The army-style exercises and the workout physical settings in navy ships, hangars or green fields of Tony Horton’s videos give an extra allure and boot camp character to the whole plan. The author is a motivator with an engaging style and makes the workouts look fun even though they are not easy at all.
This is not a “mild” bodyweight workout plan, it is tough right from the start and will leave you sweating and panting, so previous training experience may be a bonus, even though the program allows for adjustments for beginners.
Also, if you suffer from knee or joint problems, some of the drills like jumping and burpees may be too hard, but you can make modifications here and there to avoid impact.
What About The Workouts?
The program is structured over 8 weeks, 22 minutes per day, with 6 different workouts, 3 of which are for cardio and 3 for resistance. The workouts are shown on 2 DVDs, one for the cardio and the other one for the resistance moves. Here is a quick breakdown.
Cardio 1 – The workout comprises 7 movements and it is demanding as it is designed to burn calories and raise your heart rate. If you are an absolute beginner, you may need to pause the video and start again. You do not need to stick to the pace to the last second the first time off. Use your own judgment and consult your physician first if you are completely out of shape.
Cardio 2 – This is a 3 rounds of 7 exercises similar to Cardio 1 but even harder. The moves include jumps, planks, burpees, sprints, crawls and mountain climbers. Though indeed.
Cardio 3 – Set on a navy ship, this panoramic workout consists of 3 rounds of 7 exercises, both plyometrics and bodyweight moves. This is really hard and you may need to warm up first to stick through the whole process, making the workout a little longer, though still short overall. If you suffer from knee problems, you may want to skip the plyometrics and do just floor work instead, use your common sense as only you know what your limitations are.
Resistance 1 – again 3 rounds. This time 5 compound movements including push ups, pull ups, squats, presses and abs. The strength exercises are performed in a circuit training fashion, jumping back to back from one exercise to the other to accomplish the same workout volume in less time and boost metabolic rate.
Most exercises are bodyweight, but for military presses you may need a pair of dumbbells. The program offers the option to buy a sandbag for this, but dumbbells work just as well. The only difference is that the beachbody sandbag has handles for a good grip and shifts its weight around, making the military presses harder and allegedly more effective, but your good old iron weights will do just fine.
Resistance 2 – The usual 3 rounds for 5 exercises format in circuit pattern, only different to give a partial break to the muscles you used in resistance 1 by focusing on other muscle groups.
Resistance 3 – Again 3 rounds of 5 exercises even harder than the previous ones. The plyometric and resistance moves are mixed together with energy-sapping mountain squats, balance rows, scissor slappers push ups, split lounges.
What About Warm Up And Core?
As you have seen above, the workouts can be quite a challenge right from the start. So Tony Horton decided to give 3 more workouts to complete the package, 1 for the warmup and 2 specifically for the core section.
Cold Start Pre-Workout Drill – For some of the hardest workouts in the program, you may need to follow this warmup protocol first or you won’t be able to keep up with the main workout pace.
This means that the total workout time will go beyond the standard 22 minutes, but it is well worth the extra time to prevent injury and get the most out of the regular workouts.
Core 1 Workout – A 10-move workout specific for your abs, obliques and back, very important as your mid section is the pivot for all the forces passing through your body.
Core 2 Workout – Same movements as the first one but the reps are doubled up. Really excruciating.
What Are The Components Of 22 Minute Hard Corps?
The program is a mix of physical an online format. The bulk of the program with the workouts comprises DVDs and guides, plus there is also an online support. Here is a break down.
- 1 Cardio DVD – It contains all the 3 cardio workouts.
- 1 Resistance DVD – With the 3 resistance workouts.
- Quick Start Mission Guide – Here you will take your Physical Training Test, so you can track your progress.
- Rations for Results Nutrition Field Guide – A simple nutritional plan with all the main meals and snacks laid out for you.
- 8-Week Basic Training Action Plan – An 8-week tracking calendar to check on your progress and plan the workouts.
- Cold Start Pre-Workout Drill – Very important warm up drills before you tackle the main workouts.
- Core 1 Workout – Your mid section targeted to strengthen abs, obliques and lower back.
- Core 2 Workout – Same as above but doubled in volume.
- Hell Week Challenge Card – This is an optional part of the program. The workouts are mostly doubled and take way longer than 22 minutes to accomplish.
- 24/7 Online Support – Free tips from Tony Horton plus support and advice from fitness experts.
What Are The Benefits Of 22 Minute Hard Corps?
This program offers several benefits to a vast range of people as it was designed with a minimalist, no nonsense approach for real life fitness.
- For a start, you do not need a gym membership or even a home gym or expensive equipment. But you do need some basic gear for the resistance workouts of the program. 2 dumbbells or a sandbag won’t make you bankrupt though.
- You can implement the program at home or anywhere, perfect for those who travel for work or for moms at home.
- It provides a very simple, uncomplicated blueprint for good all round fitness, from cardio to strength, from balance to flexibility.
- It comprises multiple disciplines like interval training, circuit training, bodyweight moves, plyometrics and cardio.
- It gets a lot done in little time for maximum effectiveness, no need to camp in a gym, you only need to “boot camp” for 22 minutes from the comfort of home.
- It provides a simple, no frills nutritional blueprint.
- 60-day money back guarantee.
What Are The Cons?
- Being part of a large fitness corporation, you may come across the usual upselling strategies common to this type of programs. However, you are always in charge of your decisions.
What’s The Bottom Line?
22 Minute Hard Corps is an effective and time saving total fitness program that makes use of multiple techniques to reach optimal body conditioning with short and effective workouts.
The plan is also very flexible and minimalist in terms of gear and location, as it can be done anywhere. As such, it may be particularly interesting for those with a busy life and little time to workout but who still want to be very fit with a hard, lean, low-fat body.
While simple, the program is not by any means easy. It is indeed demanding right from the start and you may want to consult your doctor first if you are overweight or in bad shape.
22 Minute Hard Corps also requires discipline and commitment for results, as you would expect from a no nonsense military drills program. The workouts may be just 22 minutes but you need to perform them every day, 6 days a week, and stick to it.
It is not a bodybuilding program for maximum muscle size and strength, but a fully comprehensive fitness plan for real life performance, fat loss and lean muscle.