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Does 22 Minute Hard Corps Work? Workout Reviews (Complete List)



22 Minute Hard Corps Review


22 Minute Hard Corps Review… Does it work?


We will see with my 22 Minute Hard Corps review. Similar to the popular website articles for my detailed P90X3 workout reviewsdetailed Insanity Max:30 workout reviews and detailed Hammer and Chisel workout reviews, I plan to take a very CLOSE look at all 22 Minute Hard Corps workouts to decide for myself. I am really excited about this military-bootcamp inspired program in only 22 minutes per day. Yes, you can get amazing results in only 22 minutes. Tony Horton has also been a favorite trainer of mine since getting amazing results with his original P90X 8 years ago!


You’re too busy. The workouts are too difficult. You don’t have the space or the budget for tons of equipment. Tony Horton has heard every excuse imaginable for not getting in shape, and his newest fitness program, 22 Minute Hard Corps, puts an end to three of the biggest obstacles holding people back: Time, experience, and convenience.


22 Minute Hard Corps Review


22 Minute Hard Corps is a program dedicated to the men and women of the United States military based on workouts Tony has hosted on numerous military bases around the World. I am personally very thankful and appreciative of the U.S. military and military families for their service, and this program is an amazing way to honor them. The cast members are real Vets helping to teach us new ways to get in the best shape of our lives. The 8-week program consists of eight routines that alternate between total-body cardio and resistance workouts — one a day, six days a week. 22 Minute Hard Corps does not require a lot of equipment, just some weights and way to do pull-ups such as pull-up bar or resistance bands. There is an optional variable resistance Beachbody sand bag that is awesome to generate even more instability and resistance in unique ways since the sand is constantly shifting during lifts. Cool stuff. The workout also includes a dedicated modifier that demonstrates moves at a lower intensity and adapts exercises for those with limited access to equipment.


22 Minute Hard Corps Review


The success stories from the beta test groups for 22 Minute Hard Corps are insane for only 22 minutes a day. My goal here is to simply demonstrate the efficiency-effectiveness of the 22 Minute Hard Corps workouts based on my personal experience with this 22 Minute Hard Corps Review. Again, given that I am a science guy:),  I will leverage heart rate analysis for each workout to draw conclusions and comparisons including the data in my perspective. I have a Polar H7 Bluetooth enabled heart rate monitor (chest strap) synced to my iPhone using the free Polar Beat Mobile App and Polar Flow (used “other indoor” setting as default). Warmup and cooldown time is included in the heart rate analysis. I will also try to draw links to other Beachbody programs for additional perspective where applicable. I have done P90X, P90X+, P90X2, P90X3, P90X One-on-Ones, P90, 10-Minute Trainer, Insanity, Insanity Max:30, Insanity Asylum Volume 1, Insanity Asylum Volume 2, T25, Body Beast, Hammer and Chisel, CIZE, RevAbs, 21 Day Fix, 21 Day Fix Extreme, PiYo, Les Mills Combat as we all as other programs and hybrids thereof. Nutrition targets during this review are consistent with the 22 Minute Hard Corps nutrition guide. Supplements include Beachbody Performance Ultimate Stack of ENERGIZE pre-workoutHYDRATE during workoutRECOVER post-workoutCREATINERECHARGE casein protein before bed and Shakeology snack. Also, BE SURE TO GET MY FREE 22 MINUTE HARD CORPS WORKSHEETS HERE!! Now on to my 22 Minute Hard Corps Review!!


The Workouts

Cardio 1 (Beachbody on Demand streaming access)

Resistance 1

Core 1

Cardio 2

Cold Start

Resistance 2

Core 2

Cardio 3

Resistance 3

Spec Ops: Core (extra DELUXE workouts!)

Spec Ops: Resistance (extra DELUXE workouts!)

Spec Ops: Cardio (extra DELUXE workouts!)

Battle Buddy (exclusive for ordering from Team Beachbody Coach!)


The Data Analysis Summary

So the question on everyone’s mind… DOES 22 Minute Hard Corps WORK? You will see in this 22 Minute Hard Corps Review that the answer from my perspective is a resounding, “YES!” Now, with that said, some people will want to workout for more than 22 minutes in a day. If that is the case with you, then there may be options like stacking more workouts in a given day or leveraging a hybrid schedule. However, this is NOT necessary to get great results from the program. The test group results have been AMAZING following the 22 Minute Hard Corps 8-week schedule and Rations for Results Nutrition Field Guide, as is. Based on my review of all the workouts below, I am confident that anyone can follow this program (easy-to-follow, simple moves) while seeing improvement toward your goals and overall health and fitness performance. I love the addition of the sandbag. Very cool and brings a new element to the workouts.


The table below demonstrates the VERY detailed results from comprehensive heart rate analysis for all 13 workouts for 22 Minute Hard Corps (click to expand for easier reading).  The data includes calories burned, average heart rate, max heart rate, time in each of 5 workout zones plus the percentage of time in max zones 4 and 5. The data is sorted with the highest calorie burn workouts at the top ranked toward lowest calorie burn at the bottom (not surprising, Cold Start and shorter Core routines).


22 Minute Hard Corps Review Heart Rate Table Summary



Below is a graphical summary that visualizes each workout sorted by calories burned and average heart rate. Regression fit of normalized calories (total calories burned/total workout time) vs. average heart rate provides an excellent fit with R2 = 0.9936 (y = 0.1413x – 9.0612). One additional regression of max heart rate vs. average heart rate gives fit with R2 = 0.74892 (y = 0.7415x + 63.18). Overall, I feel really good about this data set for my conclusions.


22 Minute Hard Corps Review Heart Rate Graph Summary



22 Minute Hard Corps Review Regression Summary



My heart rate data compiled in the table and graphs in the figures shows some interesting findings for 22 Minute Hard Corps. First, it is clear to me based on my reviews that the resistance workouts mostly yield the highest MAX heart rates (weight pushes the anaerobic limits) while the cardio workouts provide the highest average heart rate, average heart rate zone and calorie burns given the cardio endurance aerobic intensity. For example, max heart rates were highest up in the 190-193 beats per minute range for Resistance 2, Resistance 3 and Spec Ops: Resistance while average heart rates ranged from 166-170 beats per minute for Cardio 2, Cardio 3 and Spec Ops: Cardio. 97.4% of the workout for Cardio 3 was in zone 5 “max” at 90-100% target heart rate max. 97.4% redlined for almost 22 straight minutes?! Wow. If the trends observed above hold true, Resistance 3 should have had the highest max heart rates AND average heart rates/calories burned since it combines resistance in a cardio-based endurance challenge. This would have been the case, but there was an extended Yoga-stretch cooldown at the end for well over 3 minutes. Cool stuff. Anyway, Tony Horton fans know that he is NOT a big fan of cardio, but he put together some amazing and challenging workouts here in 22 Minute Hard Corps!


Check out the comparison below to some key performance indicators relative to other top Beachbody programs P90X3, Insanity Max:30 and Hammer & Chisel. Numbers shown are averages of all 16 Insanity Max:30 workouts, all 20 P90X3 workouts, all 19 Hammer and Chisel workouts relative to all 13 22 Minute Hard Corps workouts. Workout times are generally in the 30-40 minute range for the other programs while 22MHC is obviously near 22 minutes for most workouts..


Percentage of workout in upper heart rate zones “4” and “5”:

Max:30 = 78.9% vs. 22MHC = 66.3% vs. Hammer & Chisel = 56.7% vs. P90X3 = 42.8%


Average Heart Rate:

Max:30 = 161 bpm vs. 22MHC = 154 bpm vs. Hammer & Chisel = 147 bpm vs. P90X3 = 139 bpm


Max Heart Rate:

Max:30 = 182 bpm vs. Hammer & Chisel = 179 bpm vs. 22MHC = 178 bpm vs. P90X3 = 171 bpm


Calories Burned:

Max:30 = 369 calories vs. Hammer & Chisel = 349 calories vs. P90X3 = 349 calories vs. 22MHC = 258 calories


Normalized Calories Burned:

Max:30 = 14.01 cal/min vs. 22MHC = 12.73 cal/min vs. Hammer & Chisel = 11.56 cal/min vs. P90X3 = 10.65 cal/min


Of course the 22 Minute Hard Corps workouts are shorter, at least 8 minutes shorter than most workouts in P90X3, Max:30 and Hammer & Chisel. Therefore, the total calories burned will inevitably be less than the other programs, however, normalized calorie burn that takes into account workout length is impressive for 22 Minute Hard Corps at 12.73 cal/min. That is second only to Max:30, which is designed to push you past your limits to failure (i.e., max out). In addition, the percentage of time in max heart rate zones, average heart rate and max heart rate are in line showing 22 Minute Hard Corps possesses efficiency-effectiveness. The time you spend in these workouts will not be wasted. What Tony has done here is maximize the time you are challenged during the workout while minimizing breaks and downtime. It works. 22 Minute Hard Corps works!!


Favorite Workouts: Resistance 3, Cardio 2, Spec Ops: Resistance, Spec Ops: Cardio

Least Favorite Workouts: Cardio 1, Core 1, Cold Start

Hardest Workouts (for me): Cardio 3, Resistance 3, Resistance 2, Spec Ops: Core

Easiest Workouts (for me): Cold Start, Cardio 1, Battle Buddy



The Reviews

Cardio 1

I was excited to get early access to the Cardio 1 workout using the Beachbody on Demand streaming capability prior to the release of 22 Minute Hard Corps. This looks like a straight up bootcamp-style workout with some new moves and old favorites to maximize muscle recruitment that takes place outdoors with the military Vet team.

Described as,

“This 7-move workout gets your heart pumping from Minute One. Keep up with the platoon and earn a massive calorie burn.”

DAILY DIRECTIVE from Tony: Modify to finish (as needed)

So how did I do in 22 minutes of Cardio 1?

Heart rate analysis data…


Cardio 1 Review Cardio 1 Review


Wow, what a workout! I actually did this workout on Superbowl Sunday and felt the afterburn throughout the day (good thing!).  Cardio 1 consists of 3 rounds each of 7 upper/lower/total body moves with different reps each round to enhance intensity and challenge. The moves included T Jacks (Reps of 50, 40, 30), Bear Crawls (Reps of 20, 25, 30), Lateral Shuffle (Reps of 30, 25, 20), Forward Lunge Twist (Reps of 10, 16, 20), Basic Burpee (Reps of 25, 20, 15), A-Skips (Reps of 30, 40, 50) and Run Lunge Squat (Reps of 30, 40, 50). There are SHORT 22-second breaks between rounds. After the 3 rounds are complete there is a burnout series to finish up with 22 reps of bear crawls and 22 reps of burpees. The warmup is not included in the workout itself, but there is Cold Start warmup routine to use with 22 Minute Hard Corps. Cooldown is 2 min 30 sec. Killer workout, loved every minute. The heart rate data confirms I had a strong burn with 263 calories burned in 22 minutes with average heart rate of 147 beats per minute and max heart rate of 175 bpm. Most of the workout was in zone 4 “hard” at 80-90% target heart rate max. The burpees were especially challenging and that burnout series at the end had my heart rate in zone 5 max! I also enjoyed the forward lunge twist and A-Skips moves. This workout was a lot of fun and the bootcamp style is awesome. I am looking forward to pressing play on this workout again. Get some, get done!



Resistance 1

Resistance 1 is the first weighted workout that I will test drive in the 22 Minute Hard Corps Review. I expect, similar to Cardio 1, that the workout will move fast and keep the heart rate elevated. I am interested to see the calorie burn and heart rate data relative to Cardio 1 as well as progression of exercises for resistance vs. Tony’s other programs.

Described as,

“5 simple resistance moves in 3 back-to-back rounds.”

DAILY DIRECTIVE from Tony: Keep it clean (form)

Simple enough. Let’s do this!

So how did I do in 22 minutes of Resistance 1?

Heart rate analysis data…


Resistance 1 ReviewResistance 1 Review


This workout surprised me, to be honest. For only 22 minutes it pushed me hard. I am still dialing in the weights, but I sure picked some weights for this first run that pushed me to failure (in a good way). The workout consists of 3 rounds of a 5 move circuit with 22 sec breaks between the rounds. There is a warmup in this one unlike Cardio 1. The warmup was around 1 min 10 sec and leveraged running in place, jumping jacks, T.H. squats and egoscue. Although there is a warmup, additional warmup and stretch time is available with the separate “Cold Start” routine. It seems with 22 Minute Hard Corps workouts that the first round goes at a slower pace as the moves are first demonstrated, and then pacing between movements is shorter in later rounds, which keeps the heart rate elevated. You can see in a little over 22 minutes I burned 303 calories with average heart rate 160 beats per minute and max heart rate 186 bpm. 186! That is high. Most of the workout was spent in the “max” zone 5 at 90-100% target heart rate max.

Each round included standard push-ups (25 reps Round 1, 20 reps Round 2, 15 reps Round 3), squat thrust (15, 20, 25), pull-ups (15, 12, 8), chopper lunge (14, 18, 20) and sit-up punch (30, 25, 20). My Sandbag (up to 20 lbs) is in transit so today I used 20-lb dumbbells for squat thrust and 20-lb dumbbell for chopper lunge. Wow. The squat thrust I was able to do the rounds of 15 and 20 with good form, but failed at 18 reps for round 3 and dropped to 15-lb dumbbells to finish the last 7 reps. That move is tough when you push yourself (that is where I had my max heart rate of 186 bpm). I was able to do all the push-ups and pull-ups in cadence with the crew in the workout. Sit-up punch was a nice way to finish up each round (had to be careful of my back). After all 3 rounds were complete Tony adds a bonus burnout series. 9 rounds of sprint/burpee/pushups ON COMMAND, which means there are A LOT more than 9 reps of each. After there was 1 min 20 sec cooldown. I loved this workout. I feel I pushed hard and my work payed off as shown in the heart rate data. As a side note, all of these workouts have modifiers so you can work to improve each workout regardless of fitness level. I can’t wait to do Resistance 1 again!



Core 1

Core 1 is not 22 minutes in length, but rather 10 minutes. There are likely few breaks, if any. I am certain that my core will be blasted by the end based on my understanding of the workout, even though it is short (think, Ab Ripper X from P90X). Core is typically stacked with Cardio in 22 Minute Hard Corps. Of course I will need to be careful given my history of lower back herniation. I am excited to see if this will be a routine that helps with my back recovery.

Described as,

“Get ready to work your lower back, abs, and obliques in this epic, 10-move drill.”

DAILY DIRECTIVE from Tony: Find the edge (maximize range of motion)

So how did I do in 10 minutes of Core 1?

Heart rate analysis data…


Core 1 ReviewCore 1 Review


Core 1 goes fast. Really fast. I started the workout and when I looked at the clock after a few moves there was only 5 minutes left. However, it is deceptively challenging. This may be one of my favorite, shortest ab/core/lower back workouts. It can also be done as a standalone workout. The workout consists of 10 moves, 11 reps each with no breaks in between (other than quick demo for each). Focus on form is CRITICAL. Exercises included V-ups, chop twist (with weight), Boda crunch twist, scissor slicer, cobra crunch, kick twist, rock the boat, plank roll, flutter kicks and belly/side/plank ON TONY’S COMMAND. First, I highly recommend a good, thick foam mat for this one. It was very helpful for me. Second, pay attention to your body and modify as needed. A couple of the moves I had to be careful not to compromise my back and modify as needed. For the chop twist I will use a sandbag when mine arrives, but used 20-lb dumbbell in the meantime (modified Russian Twist type move). Other than that, WHAT was that plank roll all about?!? Ha. That is my new favorite ab/core/lower back exercise that also pushed my upper and lower body. Think plank position and then eccentric (slow in down position or negative) back to ground and roll several rolls to the side and back up in plank. Rinse and repeat on command. LOVED IT. Careful with your knees though. I also liked the flutter kicks and burnout at the end of belly/side/plank. Overall nice short core routine with 113 calories burned in less than 10 minutes with average heart rate of 146 beats per minute and max of 165 bpm. Not bad. Most of the workout was in zone 3 “moderate” at 70-80% heart rate max and zone 4 “hard” at 80-90% heart rate max. Looking forward to what Tony comes up with for Core 2 and Spec Ops: Core. Get some!



Cardio 2

The next workout for my review is Cardio 2. I really enjoyed Cardio 1. It was fun, engaged my total body and the burpee sequences had me pushing hard by the end of the workout. With that, I am looking forward to the challenge of Cardio 2 to see if the next level Cardio workout pushes me even further in calorie burn and heart rate data. Also looking forward to some new moves!

Described as,

“This is basic training, but there’s nothing easy about it. It’s 3 rounds of 7 exercises, but these moves will push your fitness even further.”

DAILY DIRECTIVE from Tony: Strive to improve (every day)

Heart rate analysis data…


Cardio 2 ReviewCardio 2 Review


Man. I am already a big fan of 22 Minute Hard Corps after only 4 workouts. I was curious how this would compare to Cardio 1 and it blew it out of the water in terms of intensity from my perspective. For the same 22 minutes, I burned an extra 77 calories in Cardio 2. How? With EVEN MORE total body, cardio intensive body weight moves. No warmup (Cold Start is recommended), no weights and a 40 sec cooldown at the end. Again, modifiers are available for a range of fitness levels. I will call this the “leg burner” since there were several plyometric variations and my legs were on fire throughout. There are 3 rounds of 7 moves each done in cadence with the military Vets in the cast (big shoutout to my buddy Mike leading the cadence!!). As mentioned, my caloric burn was high at 340 calories in less than 23 minutes. Average heart rate was 169 beats per minute and max heart rate 181 bpm. That is a very high average heart rate with almost the entire workout in zone 5 “max” at 90-100% target heart rate max. Listen to your body in these workouts and slow down and take breaks as needed, but, that is not currently in my vocabulary. I pushed.

The rounds included sprint in place (60 reps Round 1, 50 reps Round 2, 40 reps Round 3), mountain climbers (30, 40, 50), straight leg sprint (50, 40, 30), gorilla crawl (16, 20, 26), Jimmie jumps (50, 40, 30), water bug (15, 20, 25) and frog burpee (25, 20, 15). As always, 22 second breaks between rounds. I have to say, the second half of each round was very much cardio and leg intensive. The gorilla crawl is a new move for me, basically side-to-side down low (with plyo option). It was hard, especially later rounds of 20 and 26 reps. Since you are in the down position the entire time your legs are on FIRE! The water bug is another move with a plyo version where you basically plank hop from side-to-side. There is a modifier and easier version. I did the plyo version for the first round, but there was no way in later rounds yet. I need to build up to that. The frog burpee was a good challenge at the end like the burpee sequence in Cardio 1. At that point you are running on fumes. What a workout. Thanks for this one Tony, it will be in my hybrids for sure. Short and can be done anywhere, but extremely effective!



Cold Start

A key observation from my 22 Minute Hard Corps Review is that the resistance workouts have around a 1 minute warmup while the core and cardio workouts do not have a warmup. Presumably this is to make sure some warmup is provided when weights are involved. With that, I recommend getting in a good warmup before starting any workout routine. As such, I was pleased that the Cold Start option was provided and was interested to see how this compares to Cold Start from P90X3.

Described as,

“Optional warmup that will increase your heart rate, warm up your muscles and joints, and prepare you mentally and physically for the movement ahead.”


So what does 10 minutes of Cold Start look like?

Heart rate analysis data…


Cold Start ReviewCold Start Review


I have mixed feelings on Cold Start for 22 Minute Hard Corps. It mixes up cardio and stretch exercises. I definitely recommend doing it before the workouts to prep your body, but I feel like I would have appreciated more time to “stretch”. More on that shortly. Cold Start consisted of a couple dynamic moves to get the blood pumping followed by 6 “cycles”. Each cycle involves running in place followed by stretch type moves. It goes like this… run in place for 31 seconds, A-Skips for 32 seconds, Cycle 1 for 3 rounds each side [run, lunge, reach back, hamstring stretch], Cycle 2 for 3 rounds each side [run, front knee pull, back quad pull], Cycle 3 for 3 rounds each side [run, front leg pull, leg stretch balance], Cycle 4 for 3 rounds [run, cross-foot reach, leg lift], Cycle 5 for 4 rounds [run, T.H. squat, side stretch] and Cycle 6 for 6 rounds [run. mountain burpees]. Overall, the workout definitely got me warmed up and you can see my heart rate was even elevated by the end with the mountain burpee sequence. However, my concern is that the “stretch” portion of each cycle is much too short so I did not get as deep of a stretch as I was hoping to get ready for my next workouts. This is unlike P90X3 Cold Start where you perform dynamic moves followed by Yoga/Stretch for a good part of the 12 minute workout. Otherwise, I enjoyed Cold Start for 22 Minute Hard Corps. Heart rate data shows 90 calories burned in 11 minutes (at 4:30AM, ha!). Average heart rate was 120 beats per minute and max of 152 bpm. Not bad for a warmup. Most of the workout was in zone 2 “light” at 60-70% target heart rate max. Not my favorite warmup, but it will do the job my friends and I do recommend the extra warmup instead of jumping right into the resistance/cardio workouts of the program.



Resistance 2

After the significant challenge I clearly faced in Resistance 1 with a max heart rate of 186, I was intrigued on what Resistance 2 and 3 would look like from a heart rate perspective and calories burned. Of course there are modifiers and breaks are recommended as needed, but I am giving these workouts all I have for my review. Resistance 2 will obviously also use resistance (sandbag or dumbbells) along with some body weight moves.

Described as,

“More resistance, more sweat, and more muscles recruited.”

DAILY DIRECTIVE from Tony: Call it out (align reps with cadence)

Okay then, looking forward to this one!!

So how did I do in 22 minutes of Resistance 2?

Heart rate analysis data…


Resistance 2 ReviewResistance 2 Review


193 max heart rate. Yes, my max heart rate was 193 beats per minute in Resistance 2, which is 9 bpm higher than the 186 achieved in Resistance 1. I don’t think I would want to go much higher than that, to be honest. Hopefully Resistance 3 doesn’t elevate my heart rate further! I burned 307 calories in a little over 22 minutes with average heart rate of 161 beats per minute. Almost half of the workout was in zone 5 “max”! It seems to me based on my reviews thus far that the resistance workouts yield the highest MAX heart rates (weight pushes the anaerobic limits) and the cardio workouts provide the highest average heart rate, average heart rate zone and calorie burn given the cardio endurance aerobic intensity. The heart rate data for Resistance 2 is also cool in that you can see the heart rate profile maps the 3 rounds in the workout (with the 22 sec breaks being the valley in the curves).

Resistance 2 consisted of 3 rounds of 5 moves each with a 1 min 10 sec warmup and 1 min 10 sec cooldown. The warmup was similar to Resistance 1 with 10 reps each of running in place, jumping jacks, T.H. squats and egoscue stretch. The main workout rounds included burpee press (Reps of 20 Round 1, 15 Round 2, 10 Round 3), weighted jump squats (20, 25, 30), chin-up L crunch (12, 10, 8), weighted punch pull (16, 20, 24) and corkscrew lift (20, 15, 10). There were 22 second breaks between the rounds. I ended up using 15-lb and 20-lb dumbbells throughout (20-lbs in the sandbag will be a challenge for most so adjust accordingly). The 15-pound dumbbells (30 lbs total) was more than enough for burpee press, which was a challenging way to start each round as the heart rate data shows. I also used 15-lb dumbbell for weighted jump squats and 20-lb dumbbell for punch pull. By the time I got to the chin-up L set each round I was gassed, but I was able to finish all reps unassisted and good form. That is where I peaked my heart rate each round. Overall, AWESOME workout and I love how these resistance workouts are all done under the lights in basecamp. I am loving this program thus far and the cadence keeps me focused. 22 minutes is plenty to get a great workout. Get some, get done!



Core 2

Core 2 is the second of two core-specific workouts in the Base Kit for 22 Minute Hard Corps. I will review a third, Spec Ops: Core from the extra deluxe workouts available. Core 1 had some unique moves (and unique names for the moves!) that challenged my abs, core and lower back. I am excited to see what Core 2 has to offer.

Described as,

“The reps are doubled in Core 2 to test your limits and maximize the burn.”

DAILY DIRECTIVE from Tony: Get every rep (pause or take breaks, but do all reps)

Doubled reps? Killer.

So how did I do in 12 minutes of Core 2?

Heart rate analysis data…


Core 2 ReviewCore 2 Review


Well I guess they were telling the truth in the description! Core 2 is IDENTICAL to Core 1 with the exception of performing 22 reps instead of 11 reps per move. But, those extra 11 reps made the workout MUCH harder. The 10 moves again included V-ups, chop twist (with weight), Boda crunch twist, scissor slicer, cobra crunch, kick twist, rock the boat, plank roll, flutter kicks and belly/side/plank ON TONY’S COMMAND. Honestly this one reminded me a lot of Ab Ripper X. Most people, including myself, tend to burn out as you reach higher and higher reps. I remember it took me a good month or so to be able to do all of the P90X ARX moves without breaks and I expect practice is needed here too. For several of the moves I burnt out around 15 reps of the 22 required. I took a short break and jumped in paying close attention to good form for my lower back (Tony’s daily directive is to do all reps, there are modifiers too). I also needed to reduce the weight on the chop twist given the higher reps from 20 lbs in Core 1 to 15 lbs Core 2. The sandbag is a great option here given the position of the handles on the sandbag. Boda twist I had to modify given my back history. The plank roll for 22 reps was tough for sure and you have to be very careful with your shoulders, hips and knees during roll transition. The data demonstrates 135 calories burned in 12 minutes with average heart rate of 146 beats per minute and max heart rate 165 bpm. 165 is significant for a core workout, but not surprising with all of the reps and no breaks. Most of the workout was in the mid-zones of 3 and 4 for nice elevation of heart rate throughout. This ab workout will be in my schedule for awhile. I WILL master it!


22 Minute Hard Corps Review


Cardio 3

Gonna be honest, the idea of Cardio 3 is scary (if you go all out) as my heart rate redlined for most of the workout in Cardio 2 with average heart rate 169 beats per minute. That is smoking hot for sure. At the same time, pumped to see what I can do with this workout. Bring it.

Described as,

“This cardio routine alternates between floor work and plyo moves for 3 hard-driving rounds.”

DAILY DIRECTIVE from Tony: Move with enthusiasm (move double time with focus)

Sounds intense, so how did I do in 22 minutes of Cardio 3?

Heart rate analysis data…


Cardio 3 ReviewCardio 3 Review


As expected, Cardio 3 was no joke. Now, with that said, again, I don’t want to scare people. You can make this workout and any others in this program or otherwise as challenging or modified as needed for your conditioning level and goals. That is what is nice about this program as the modifications are excellent. But, man, Cardio 3 was a rocker for me today. I burned 344 calories in 22 minutes with AVERAGE HEART RATE of 170 beats per minute. That is really high. Thus far, Cardio 3 has given me the highest calorie burn, average heart rate and time in zone 5 “hard” max at 90-100% target heart rate max (Almost 20 of the 22 minutes was max zone!). Max heart rate was 181 beats per minute.

Consistent with the workout description above, there is A LOT of up/down in Cardio 3 and Tony enjoys this type of training, clearly. Ha. What is even more challenging with this one is that there are no scheduled breaks, unlike most other workouts that have 22 sec breaks between rounds. There was no warmup (Cold Start recommended) with a 40 sec cooldown at the end. The exercises included 3 rounds of 7 moves involving spider crawls (15, 12, 10), skip flys (30, 40, 50), cross climbers (40, 35, 30), fast feet/up/down ON COMMAND (8, 12, 15), sphinx kickers (30, 25, 20), knee drop lunges (10, 15, 20) and spin burpees (20, 15, 12). My shoulders/forearms/legs were all on fire from all of the up/down circuits in this workout. My favorite moves were the knee drop lunges where you hold your hands behind head and drop down to one knee, then other, then back up one at a time to starting position (with hands behind head at all times). I highly recommended a thick foam mat for this move. The sphinx kickers were tough at that point of the workout (sphinx plank on ground and kick your behind alternating feet). Spin burpees were not as bad as I imagined at the end, but still a challenge. I am honestly looking forward to this one again and it will be a favorite in my future hybrid schedules!



Resistance 3

Resistance 3 is the last of 3 resistance routines in 22 Minute Hard Corps in the Base Kit. There is one additional resistance workout in the Deluxe series, Spec Ops: Resistance, that I will be reviewing as well. Resistance 1 and 2 were a challenge and I fully expect Resistance 3 will take it to the next level. Excited for it!

Described as,

“This resistance workout adds plyometric strength training to challenge your endurance.”

DAILY DIRECTIVE from Tony: Engage the cage (get most out of move and protect yourself)

This one almost sounds like a hybrid of resistance and cardio. Oh fun. Ha. This one may get the highest max heart rate AND calories/average heart rate. We will see. Let’s go.

So how did I do with 22 minutes Resistance 3?

Heart rate analysis data…


Resistance 3 ReviewResistance 3 Review


Turns out I was not too far off with my prediction that Resistance 3 would have not only the highest max heart rate, similar to the trend of Resistance 1 and 2, but also the highest calorie burn/average heart rate similar to trends for Cardio 1 – 3. The rationale was that Tony developed this workout as resistance performed at a cardio intensive pace. Well, I was wrong, but ONLY because Tony used the last 3 minutes and 20 seconds as Yoga/Stretch. The other workouts had a much shorter cooldown, if any. Amazing. You can see I burned 336 calories in approx. 23 minutes (really closer to 19 minutes taking the warmup/cooldown out of the calculation). That is only fewer calories than Cardio 3 (344 cals) and Cardio 2 (340 cals), and again, if the workout had less cooldown it would have easily been the highest calorie burn. As is, it was 29 calories higher than Resistance 2. Average heart rate was also one of the highest at 166 beats per minute, but that number would be higher as well taking out the extensive cooldown. Max heart rate was 190 bpm, which is second only to Resistance 2 (193 bpm). Most of the workout, around 15 minutes, was spent in zone 5 “max” at 90-100% target heart rate max. Great workout.

Resistance 3 begins with the usual 1 minute 10 sec or so warmup used for the other resistance workouts (egoscue was 20 reps this time vs. 10 reps). There were 3 rounds of 5 moves with 22 sec breaks in between. Moves included pump jumpers (Reps of 25 round 1, 20 Round 2, 15 Round 3), split lunge thrust (20, 25, 30), arm balance row (16, 14, 12), mountain squats (14, 18, 20) and scissor clappers (50, 40, 30). Again, there was a 3 min 20 sec cooldown at the end with a mixture of Yoga and stretch. The cooldown actually would be a great addition to the Cold Start warmup routine. You DO NOT need a lot of weight in this workout. Split lunge thrust I used 15-lb dumbbells and had to reduce to 12-lb dumbbells in rounds 2 and 3. Arm balance row I started at 15-lb dumbbells and went to 12-lbs and 10-lbs in rounds 2 and 3, respectively. Mountain squats were brutal and I had to take great care in protecting my back (use a foam mat!). This exercise is a rocker. You start in the standing position with one dumbbell or sandbag on one of your shoulders, squat down and lay flat on ground with weight still on shoulder, stand back up one leg at a time on Tony’s command. I used a dumbbell since my sandbag is on the way and I highly recommend a sandbag to protect your shoulder. The dumbbell was rubbing on my shoulder and caused a little discomfort (started with 15-lb and moved to 12-lb for rounds 2 and 3). Again, you do not need a lot of weight in these dynamic resistance moves done at such a rapid pace. I also enjoyed pump jumpers, which are a plyo pushup variation. I was able to get all of the reps. This workout moves so fast you need to plan your weights ahead of time. For example, if you are using a sandbag choose wisely since you will not have time to pour sand out or add more sand during the workout. For that reason you may end up with a combination of sandbag and weights for this one. Anyway, loved this workout and look forward to the challenge again. Get some!!



Spec Ops: Core

Spec Ops: Core is part of the extra DELUXE workouts from 22 Minute Hard Corps. Core 1 and 2 were challenging enough, and Spec Ops: Core should bring some entirely new, ab/core/lower back exercises to the program.

Described as,

“This elite 10-move core workout hits your midsection hard to help you get ripped and ready for action.”

DAILY DIRECTIVE from Tony: Try. Struggle. Repeat.

(this is the hardest core routine Tony has developed and the moves take practice)

Wow, this workout sounds amazing(ly hard). Bring it.

So how did I do with 16 minutes Spec Ops: Core?

Heart rate analysis data…


Spec Ops Core ReviewSpec Ops Core Review


Dude. Insane. Spec Ops: Core was the hardest ab/core workout I have ever done, I think. Think Ab Ripper X from P90X, but much more challenging moves. Some of these moves will take a lot of practice to master (I am looking at you “sidewinder”). You can see for a relatively short core workout I burned 204 calories, which compares to 113 and 135 calories for Core 1 and Core 2, respectively (granted, it is approx. 5 minutes longer). Average heart rate was 149 bpm and max heart rate was 175 beats per minute with most of the workout in zone 3 “moderate” at 70-80% target heart rate max. Modifiers are available and I had to use modifier for a couple moves to maintain the integrity of my lower back recovery. There were 10 exercises of 22 reps each. No warmup/cooldown. No weights other than body weight. No breaks between moves other than quick demo. Definitely use a Yoga or impact mat. The movements included cross crunch bicycle (had to modify), low plank plange, pistol crunch, spiderman crunch, cucumber crunch (had to modify), hi-low jack, sidewinder (come on man, had to modify), cross crunch hold (similar to bucket drop from Body Beast), X crunch and bird dog side arm crunch. Most of these are new moves developed by Tony and I would say that almost all of them involve isometric hold in the engaged core position (P90X3 isometrix type challenge!). It was tough. I really liked the low plank plange, which is almost like doing a crunch while in the plank position. Bird dog side arm crunch was a challenging way to finish up after fatiguing the core. Let’s address the sidewinder move. That one is ridiculous. Ha. It will take lots of practice and a move I will likely not practice for awhile given my history of lower back challenges. You basically lay flat on your back (use a mat) and move lateral only using your core and arms to move side-to-side WHILE ON YOUR BACK. Come on man! Anyway, many of you will love this move, perhaps the hardest one I have seen for core exercise. With that, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND these extra Deluxe Spec Ops workouts. It is clear they will bring a lot to the table to enhance your results!



Spec Ops: Resistance

Based on the fact that the extra DELUXE Spec Ops: Core routine was the most challenging core workout of the program, I am going out on a limb here to say perhaps Spec Ops: Resistance will be the toughest resistance-based workout in the program. By the way, my reviews here have shown that the resistance workouts in my 22 Minute Hard Corps Review are primarily total body workouts for maximum muscle recruitment. Seems to be very effective. Spec Ops: Resistance should be fun.

Described as,

“Three rounds of 5 advanced exercises that incorporate the variable-resistance Beachbody PT Sandbag to challenge your fitness even further.”

DAILY DIRECTIVE from Tony: Challenge to change (consistently)

I am a big fan of the sandbag in this program.

So how did I do with 22 minutes Spec Ops: Resistance?

Heart rate analysis data… 


Spec Ops Resistance ReviewSpec Ops Resistance Review


Spec Ops resistance is really cool and a lot of fun, although it turns out this workout did not provide the highest calorie burns and average heart rates. I pushed hard and ended with 307 calories burned in a little over 22 minutes with average heart rate 160 bpm with most of the workout in zones 5 “max” and 4 “hard” covering 80-100% target heart rate max. You can see the heart rate tracks with each round with peaks and valleys depending on the exercise and rest period between rounds. Max heart rate was 190 beats per minute during the clean squat press – track star pull-ups sequence. Similar to the other resistance workouts in 22 Minute Hard Corps, Spec Ops: Resistance workout consists of 3 rounds of a 5 move circuit with 22 sec breaks between the rounds. The warmup was again around 1 min 10 sec and leveraged running in place, jumping jacks, T.H. squats and egoscue. Although there is a warmup, additional warmup and stretch time is recommended with the separate “Cold Start” routine. Each round included plange push-ups (12 reps Round 1, 10 reps Round 2, 8 reps Round 3), clean squat press (10, 15, 20), track star pull-ups (12, 10, 8), California roll (4, 6,8 each side) and high low boat (20, 15, 12). There was a 20 second cooldown at the end, after a unnecessary amount of high fives by the cast! Ha. I ended up using 20-lb dumbells for clean squat press and then 15-lb dumbbells toward the end of the last round as I went to failure with 20s. The 20-lb sandbag is great for this one (or weight aligned with your capabilities and goals). Going straight from clean squat press to track star pull-ups was really challenging, and that is where my max heart rates were achieved. Track star pull-ups require a standard pull-up and back down. While down you have to bring your knee to opposite side of body in front of you, then do the other. That is 1 rep. I was actually able to hit the reps in all rounds unassisted, but my grip started to fail on the last reps of each. What a workout! The California rolls are my favorite… squat and then jump lateral to one side, go to plank position then roll back to the side you started and up for 1 rep. Make sure you are careful during the roll to protect your hips, knees and shoulders. I had to modify the high low boat for my lower back, but still was challenged throughout. I am a big fan of these DELUXE workouts and will be pressing play on this one again soon. Get some!



Spec Ops: Cardio

This is the first cardio workout in 22 Minute Hard Corps that incorporates resistance. Resistance 3 leveraged weights with a more cardio intensive focus and it was one of the tougher challenges of all workouts. I expect much of the same here in the DELUXE Spec Ops: Cardio.

Described as,

“These weighted cardio exercises utilize the Beachbody PT Sandbag to boost endurance and obliterate calories with extreme prejudice.”

DAILY DIRECTIVE from Tony: Embrace the suck (push past the limits)

Well the description and daily directive are INTERESTING. Appears we are in for a killer challenge!

So how did I do with 22 minutes Spec Ops: Cardio?

Heart rate analysis data… 


Spec Ops Cardio ReviewSpec Ops Cardio Review


I can’t say enough about these 22 Minute Hard Corps workouts in terms of the potential level they have to push you to be better. The cadence keeps me on track and motivated, and I really have not had a workout program that has been as much fun as this one for my 22 Minute Hard Corps Review. They are basically all total body workouts, so if you are looking for mass gain via hypertrophy you will be interested in the hybrid I will be creating with this program. Otherwise, I am confident you can achieve your goals of getting in better shape with 22 Minute Hard Corps as a standalone program.

Similar to the other cardio routines in 22 Minute Hard Corps, there were 3 rounds of 7 moves with a range of reps progression each round dependent on the exercise. No warmup. As mentioned, unlike the other cardio workouts, this one involved weights (dumbbell or recommended sandbag). The rounds included press jacks (70 reps Round 1, 60 reps Round 2, 50 reps Round 3), burpee rolls (10, 12, 15), tire twist (40, 35, 30), squat cross press (20, 25, 30), A-Skips (25, 20, 15 each side), crawl jacks (18, 20, 25) and lateral squat hop (20, 15, 12). As always, 22 second breaks between rounds and there was a 45 second cooldown stretch. I used 15-lb dumbbells for press jacks (30-lbs total) and that was A LOT of reps! The burpee rolls I had to modify for my lower back so I did spin burpees instead for a couple of the rounds. The A-Skips are not new in this program as they have been in the warmups for resistance workouts, and they remind me of some of the moves from T25. The crawl jacks were killer, but I managed the reps. For crawl jacks you are in plank position on your forearms (sphinx) and then you move forward and back on command from Tony with leg jacks with each rep. Very challenging. There are modifiers for all moves. The lateral squat hop with sandbag around the neck was pure awesomeness at the end! Heart rate data demonstrates I burned 334 calories in 22 minutes with average and max hearts of 166 and 184 beats per minute, respectively. Not the highest of all the workouts, but definitely up there with cardiac challenge. Most of the workout was in zone 5 “max” at 90-100% target heart rate max. Mission accomplished, I highly recommend the Spec Ops workouts to supplement your round of 22 Minute Hard Corps. Get some, get done!!



Battle Buddy

Battle Buddy is a unique workout that is a great opportunity to workout in person with a friend or loved one, using each other as the weight resistance. So cool! You can also do this workout alone by using dumbbells. There are modifiers available as well (DVD gives option to watch modifier only if you would like).

Described as,

“In this workout, you’ll pair up with a “Battle Buddy” to take on this calorie-scorching, partner-based workout challenge.”

DAILY DIRECTIVE by Tony: Keep it safe (modifier available if needed)

For my review, I will be doing the solo workout with dumbbells, but I really look forward to trying this in the future with my wife or friends!

So how did I do in 22 minutes of Battle Buddy?

Heart rate analysis… 


Battle Buddy ReviewBattle Buddy Review


This workout is designed to be completed with a “buddy”, but I had a challenging workout by myself with dumbbells. Actually, I was sweating a lot by the end compared to other 22 Minute Hard Corps workouts. It could be the up/down nature of the workout, but I was pushed throughout the workout, no doubt. Calorie burn and heart rates were recorded lower than most other resistance-type workouts in this program. I burned 281 calories in almost 25 minutes (seemed to be longer demos in this one for each move). Average heart rate was 145 beats per minute with max 171 bpm. Again, these are the lowest for resistance workouts, but do not be fooled this was a strong workout. You can see my heart rate steadily increased throughout the workout. I personally do not think it makes much of a difference if you use dumbbells or a workout partner for resistance.

The workout consists of 2 rounds of 8 moves each with 22 second breaks in between rounds. The two rounds allow for each partner to experience not only lifting the weight (other person), but also being the weight. Again, those doing the workout alone will leverage dumbbells and simulate similar movements. The warmup is around 1 minute 10 seconds and is the familiar warmup from all of the 22 Minute Hard Corps resistance-based routines (run in place, jumping jacks, T.H. squats, egoscue). There is a 35 second cooldown. The workout includes push-up jump crawl (1 min), gyrator (31 sec each side), lever power (30 sec each side), Bulgarian Warrior squat (30 sec each side), leg throws (1 min), squat row (1 min 3 sec), Human leg press (1 min 4 sec) and leg drop (1 min 2 sec). Second round the partners switch positions for each move relative to the first round. I used a 30-lb dumbbell for the lever power move and then 20-lb dumbbells for squat row and Human leg press (it was more than enough weight for me!). The other moves involved primarily core work. The gyrator and leg throws really worked the core. Can’t wait to try this one again with a workout partner, I think it would be a lot of fun. Battle Buddy is a great addition to the program as a 22 Minute Hard Corps Coach Exclusive Bonus!







22 Minute Hard Corps Review


22 Minute Hard Corps Review

22 Minute Hard Corps Review

Thank you for checking out my 22 Minute Hard Corps Review!



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Premiere 5 Star Diamond Independent Beachbody Coach, CEO and Founder of TEAM RAGE, Mike Nowak Fitness, and How Do I Get Ripped, LLC. You are about to learn how I went from out-of-shape busy dad with significant travel, 2 kids and a wife to losing 20 pounds, 16% body fat and 7" off my waist while getting paid more income from home than my Ph.D. in Science & Engineering. Retired my Ph.D. career to focus on FAMILY & FITNESS!



  1. Can you build muscle on this program?

    • Hey Bethany! Thanks for the question, it is a good one. From my experience, you can build muscle with 22 Minute Hard Corps, however, not the best overall option (more cardio and lighter weights to stay safe in the dynamic movements in this program). I do recommend my Hard Corps Body Beast Hybrid found here:

      What are your goals? Hope this helps and talk soon!

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