One U.S. military base has banned these programs over injury concerns. It's not just military personnel. Even the average person is jumping on the extreme bandwagon with some unexpected injuries.
The names say it all: Insanity, Extreme, Get Ripped in 30. The workouts aren't for the faint at heart. Today's consumer wants the maximum amount of exertion in the shortest amount of time
"I stuck with the program for almost 90 days as they advertised, and I lost almost 25 pounds in 90 days," said Scott Walton, 35.
Walton's workout of choice was P90X. Now he's graduated to P90X2. He is riding the extreme workout craze with success.
With so many home video's to choose from, many consumers are gaining muscle, losing weight, and some are also getting unexpected results.
"I thought no pain, no gain so I pushed," said patient Kathleen Quillin. "I really pushed and pushed too much and I hurt myself."
"A lot of times when they jump into it they jump too fast too much too soon, and that's when some possible injuries can occur," said Jason Hafner.
Hafner is a physical therapist at ATI Phyisical Therapy. It's where Kathleen Quillin eventually came after breaking her foot doing an extreme workout video. He says he sees a lot of patients coming in with similar stories.
It happened to ABC7's Ryan Chiaverini, a former college football athlete who still loves to play hockey as an adult. Ryan would seem the perfect candidate for any extreme workout but it even became too much for him. After seeing several doctors for a pain in his leg that left him barely able to walk, a third doctor gave him the surprise diagnoses.
"He said, clearly something has happened in the past six months that has severely damaged the labrum," said Chiaverini. "And clearly it's the extreme workout."
Chiaverini had a labral tear in his hip and needed arthroscopic surgery. Dr. Benjamin Domb of Hinsdale Orthopedics is Ryan's physician. He adds a lot of sports medicine specialists are seeing anecdotal evidence of injuries from extreme workouts.
Dr. Domb says the most common injuries are as result of the explosive jumping, squatting and lunging that many of these workouts require. They are exercises most people have never done, and he says injuries you're less likely to see from something such as a Stairmaster.
"The meniscus, and the knee, the labrum and the hip and the tendons around those two joints. Those tend to be the focal points," said Dr. Domb.
Both Dr. Domb and physical therapist Jason Hafner agree. These extreme workouts really do work. The problem isn't the videos. It's the over enthusiastic consumer.
Maybe it's ego and the promise of the ultimate abs that has many people jumping right in, fast forwarding past warnings that precede the videos, regardless of their fitness level.
But if you think you're up for the extreme, here are some tips from the experts.
First, determine your fitness level. Some of the most popular videos may come with a pre test to see if you're ready. Take it. But proceed with caution. Don't push yourself if you can't finish it. Work your way up and pay attention to your form and your body. Above all, if you're in pain stop.
"Start slow and take off like an airplane not a helicopter and you can be successful with it," said Hafner.
Kathleen Quillin says she's learned her lesson after being on crutches for six weeks.
"I have learned how to work out correctly," said Quillin. "All the form and everything has made a big difference. I don't have pain anymore."
Beachbody, the manufacturer of some of the most popular extreme workouts had this response to the question of injuries. The statement says, in part, "we also consistently reinforce the importance of both recognizing and respecting one's own fitness levels and limitations, as well as consulting a physician prior to beginning any Beachbody program".
The American College of Sports Medicine is currently gathering information on these extreme conditioning workouts trying to come out with recommendations for how people should use them.
Dr. Benjamin Domb
550 West Ogden Avenue, Hinsdale, IL 60521
Phone: 630-323-6116 .
1010 Executive Court, Suites 250 & 350,
Westmont, IL 60559
American College of Sports Medicine