Beachbody Reviews

A Review of T25 Beta Upper Focus (it’s nothing like Insanity)

September 29, 2016

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I don’t much like Shaun T in the T25 series. There are a few routines in T25 that are pretty good (Ab Intervals, for instance) but I’m giving Beta Upper a B-. Let me tell you why…

Here’s a reminder of what the program looks like:

I think it’s because I’m familiar with the Shaun T from his Insanity and The Asylum workouts.

He’s kind of a beast in those programs with all the screaming and jumping around.

And I could write an entire post about his abs in those workouts.  They’re like part of the team–you can’t help but look forward to seeing them.

Shaun T in T25 is on Xanax or something.  He’s so calm and flat (I want to say bored). 

I miss his tarzan yells of ‘Let’s Go!’  But, then again, that attitude wouldn’t work in these videos because Focus T25 just isn’t very intense.

Let me explain why I gave this Beta routine (Upper Focus), from the T25 series, a B-…

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Instructor-Shaun T


Equipment8, 10, 12 lb. dumbbells

*The girl in the video (Jan) uses 8 lb. weights.  I use 8, 10’s, & 12’s.  You can also do this workout with a band but use dumbbells (use the link to check out my favorite dumbbells) if you have them.

Length-25 minutes (add 3 minutes if you do the cool down/stretch)

HRM-179 calories


My rating- B-

Don’t avoid Focus T25 just because of my rating. (Remember my rating is for this one routine in the Focus T25 series.  I think some of the workouts (like Ab Intervals) are much better).

There are a few fun exercises in this routine.  Read more about my ratings here. As always, I recommend you read all of this post and try out the workout for yourself.  Let me know what you think.   My rating for this one is based on how interesting (or not) I felt the routine was as well as its effectiveness.

The Important Stuff about Focus T25 Beta Upper

T25 Beta Upper would pair perfectly with a long run, an intense cardio workout (like you can find in Insanity Max:30, also Shaun T) or a good ab workout

Beta Upper is also ideal if you’re just getting started with a weight routine or if you’ve missed several days of resistance training for whatever reason.

I have to ask one more thing regarding Shuan T in this particular video:  What is he wearing?  He’s sporting a black polo and black joggers.  The first time I did this video I kept waiting for him to rip that shirt off (*or calmly pull it over his head and fold it up in the corner*) but, sadly, it never happened (the other guys in the video are shirtless so it would have fit right in).  He looks like he’s there to take your order or on the way to the first hole to tee off.  I don’t get the outfit.

The pattern in the main workout for T25 Upper Focus is a cardio segment (for about 1 minute) followed by an upper body weight move.  The exercises in each segment build on each other.  Some of the segments blend together better than others.

I wouldn’t follow Tanya for any of this video.  (You’ll recognize her from the Insanity workouts.)  She’s the girl doing the modified ‘easy’ version of each move.  You’ll burn more calories walking to the mailbox than if you follow her the whole time.

Shaun T strolls around during some of his videos but since the pace of this routine is so slow I find it slightly more annoying that he still walks around for a lot of the workout.  I wish he would do this entire program with the team.

Every team member in this video has an incredible body.  I don’t believe they got that way from only doing T25 workouts.  (No way.)

TIP-If you’re using Focus T25 to start your fitness journey then you’ve done the right thing.  But once you master this program move on to something harder (like a Cathe Friedrich workout, P90X3, or one of the Insanity programs).

Remember to read to the end of this post for links to a few places you can compare prices on this video 🙂


There’s a short cardio warm-up (about 4 minutes long).  Don’t miss a single rep here if you want to burn any calories at all today.  You’ll have plenty of time to rest coming up.  I think the warm-up ends at the plank.  Here are the warm-up moves:

Split Lunge Agility

Low Switch Kicks

Double Switch Kicks

High Switch Kicks

Static Uppercut

Jack Uppercut

Main Workout (The Exercises in Beta Upper Focus)

Starter Drill Burpee (1-minute cardio segment)

This is where the workout starts.  Remember you’ll do cardio for about a minute and then do an upper body resistance exercise.  The push-ups are the strength move in this section so you won’t need any dumbbells yet.



It’s a mystery how many push-ups you should strive to do here because there’s no vocal prompt and your head will be down trying to squeeze out those push-ups.  I usually do 10-12.

Starter Drill with a Push-Up.

You’ll do these with the group but the pace is slow.  You can do them all without a problem.  I think there are 7 or 8.

Chest Opener/Chest Opener with a Jump (cardio segment)

The chest opener exists simply as a building block for the next move.  It’s so easy it’s irritating, though. Then you add a jump.  I’m not impressed with this one either.  Out of all the exercises to choose from I just don’t understand why they chose this particular combo.  (I understand the arm motions are a perfect warm-up for the weight move that comes next but there are other combos that would have been more interesting for me.)


Overhead Press, Arnold Press and Front Raise

Jan is using 8’s for these.  I use 10’s for the Overhead/Arnold Press and 8’s for the Front Raise.  These exercises are done really S-L-O-W.  The speed makes me a crazy person.  It’s just a half beat too slow.

I realize the T25 workouts are done in stages (Alpha, Beta, and Gamma) but I really expected the Beta workouts to be more challenging.

Sprint + jab punch (cardio segment)

Do not wimp out on these.  This is one of the fun exercises in Upper Focus.  Do every single rep.  You have no reason not to get them all in.  You’ll feel these in your shoulders if you go hard and do them the whole segment.


Single Arm Fly/ Dual Arm Fly

You’ll want your mat and 10 or 12 lb. weights.  I used 12’s but these go on for a while so you may want to use 10’s the first time you do it.

Dual Arm Fly with V Leg Hold

Keep your lower back in contact with the floor.  Your legs should be together.  You shouldn’t have to lower them far to engage your abs.  I keep my 12 lb. DB’s for this exercise.

Straight Arm Double Jacks/Double Jack + Alternating Toe Tap (cardio segment)

This is my favorite cardio exercise in this routine.


Sumo Alternating Wide Row/Sumo Dual Row

You need a heavy weight to work these muscles.  The crew on the video all use very light weights.  The guy Shaun T uses as his prop to point out proper form is doing this exercise with 12’s.  That’s too light for (almost) any guy.  I use 15’s for these exercises. Stick out your butt and keep your back flat for these.

Sumo Hip Thrust

I’d never done a sumo hip thrust before this video.  I like them.  I feel my back working right where I want it to.

Sumo Upright Row

You may want 10’s for this one.

Shuffle & Heisman (cardio segment)

These are fun but just don’t last long enough to matter.  Prepare to jiggle all over when you do them (I hate moves that make me jiggle).


90 Degree Hold Bicep Curl/Dual Bicep Curls/Reciprocating Curls

Grab 10 or 12 lb. DB’s.  I use 12’s.  Jan is using 8’s.

Cardio-Single Arm Jabs


Bent Knee Hip-Ups

These are for triceps but they aren’t that effective.

Shaun T is hilarious at this part.  He bows his head and expresses how overcome he is with Jan’s focus.  Don’t miss it.  (Yeah, I get it, the whole series is about focusing all your energy for 25 minutes, but this is priceless).

Tricep Dips

Holy cow, this section is painfully slow to me.  I suggest you go at your own pace, not theirs.

Straight Leg Hip-Up Hold/Straight Leg Hip-Up

The dynamic version of these is ok, the static hold not so much

Shuffle + Half-Tuck Jump (cardio segment)

Now we’re talkin’.  This is a good cardio section.  Your heart rate will suddenly come out of a coma.  Do them all.  No excuses, seriously.


Side Planks Up & Over

These are good.  You’ll have to move your feet around to find the right position.  It’s tricky.

I have a hard time balancing on the side blade of one foot.  Maybe it’s easier if you have big feet?  I like the exercise, though.

Overhead Press/Alternating Bicep Curls at a snail’s pace.  Use your 10’s or 12’s.


Stay on your toes.  Seriously.  This was an easy workout.  Make the most of it.  I usually do about 15. 

It’s hard to decide how many to shoot for because there’s no beat to follow and no vocal cue from Shaun T.  Just do as many as you can without stopping.

Hip Up + V Hold

Cool Down/Stretch

Keep the video running for the short stretch that comes next.  That will bring your workout to about 27 minutes.

Now What??

T25 Upper Focus has its place in the world, especially if you don’t have any other video for strength training.  It’s a great place to start.  To get the most out of your 25 minutes I’d recommend building up to using at least 10 to 12 lb. weights for almost all of the exercises that are done with dumbbells.

You can find the T25 series by Beachbody on Amazon and in the library of workouts with a Beachbody on Demand (BOD) Membership.

The Focus T25 series is a PERFECT reason to join BOD.  Before you invest in the series you can try out the workouts and see what you think.

You can learn more about Beachbody on Demand.

Thanks for stopping by!  


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