Power and Strength – a P90X review .

You want to know why P90 (especially P90-X/X-2) is so successful? Easy answer: Excellent marketing! Just kidding, but be warned about these P90 programs: once you get into it there is no way back. You get addicted to Tony’s outstanding humor. You will dream of him. You will miss him. Learn more in this P90X review.

You will start dreaming of Tony.

Back to the facts. For 40 bucks you can get started with P90X when you already have the necessary gear. If you start from scratch without equipment P90X can get pricey. Must haves for the P90 programs are the big stability ball and the pull-up bar. You can work around a few things, but since P90X2 Tony uses the foam roller, which is a must have as well. Since stretching is becoming more and more questioned, foam rolling is a good way to pamper your muscles. You see it more and more with professional athletes. Read more about foam rolling in this post by World Champion Alban Lakata, one of the best mountain biker ever.

The P90 series went through an interesting development, form pretty basic movements in P90 at the beginning to sophisticated multi-joint movements and slow motion movements in P90X2 and X3. A good example for the open mind and willingness to improve this program is the ab routine. While pretty fast (and ineffective) in P90-X the X2 ab moves are mostly slow motion with a hold. Different approach, much more effective.

These programs are made for exercising at home implementing a lot of different routines which include a lot of different movements resulting in the so important muscle confusion. Every day something new, it is very unlikely to plateau with this program. It is based on several DVDs supported by well designed and thought through brochures and tracking sheets.

P90X review – RECOMMENDED ADAPTATIONS:

For runners, bikers, cyclists and triathletes: It is important to train your entire body. You certainly have strong legs, but P90 is definitely focused on core & up. Every time Tony throws his “looks like this when you’re done” at you, he shows his (great!) biceps, no calves or legs have been shown so far 😉 therefore:

Biker! Instead of the plyometric units, add some short serious high gear intervals into your program, e.g. bike uphill 2 sets of 6 times 90 seconds (increase later up to 2, 2.5 and finally 3 minutes) with highest gear possible full out turns. This works magically and easily substitute the questionable “high-injury-prone” plyo units. For racing start and final sprint practice: reduce resistance and increase rpm to your maximum (90-150rpm) with 2 sets of 6 repetitions, but these are shorter ones, 30-90 seconds. Power and strength is not everything, it is important how the power gets released. For specific sports 30 and 60 seconds intervals might be perfect to get the muscles used to the so important fast contraction.

Runner! Marathonisti know the drill: you only get faster by running faster, not by running longer. Add the proven pyramid 1-2-3-4-5-4-3-2-1: run 1 minute full out, jog/walk for 1 minute, run 2 minutes full out, jog/walk for 1 minute, run 3 minutes full out, jog/walk for 1 minute etc.

Beginner! Start with yoga only. 2-3 times a week will bring strength, balance and flexibility. Starting with yoga only will lower the risk of getting injured and maximize the effect of the balance moves from the newest programs. If you are new to yoga visit a yoga studio to begin with. They will teach you the basics, most of them are donation based and you’ll meet the nicest people there. After 3-4 weeks start you program as described in this P90X review.

P90 X review - Tony and the team
Tony Horton and the P90 Crew

PRO:

Pretty good and professionally developed workout. P90X is hard, but for sure effective. 90 days of sweat will transform you. Less pure stretching and lots of yoga (X2) which is definitely important. Foam rolling is new in P90-X2, good that they picked up on that. All is nicely designed and videos have flow. Includes a full service package of tracking sheets, brochures, online community and support through the beachbody platform.

CONS:

Every home workout asks for a strong will and self-motivation. Therefore, easy failure through quitting. You will have to bring some patience and an open mind for foam rolling and yoga. For P90-X there is lots of additional equipment necessary, e.g. pull-up bars.
If not performed correctly, there is the danger of injury, e.g. skip stretch&motion moves like the “Inch Worm” and most plyometric moves (“Surfer Spins”, jeix, the 80s are back), do instead intervals in your favorite sport (run, cycle a HIIT pyramid instead).
Designed for 90 days and after that? … no plan established to maintain your newly V-shaped body.

AVOID:

Skip all stretching, do lots of yoga to keep your body flexible.
Avoid high impact, don’t do the plyo units: You unnecessarily risk hurting yourself by unnatural moves and you anyway are only getting a cardio exercise impact. Read more about high impact and why you should not run for weight loss or fitness. Take a bike, do yoga or go to the gym with a trainer. If you are older your joints will say thank you for avoiding high impact moves. Remember, programs like P90 are adapted from athlete programs: Most athletes are VERY fit but seldom healthy. Big difference!

P90X review – CONCLUSION:

P90 and its successors X/X-2/X-3 are definitely worth trying. It is a good alternative to the gym for both men and women. There is kicking, jumping and lots of multi-joint movements and yoga. You never get bored. Start slowly when you are a beginner. Tip: After 90 days pick your favorite workouts and maintain 2-3 times of exercise/yoga a week, mix with outdoor interval training.

TIP:

The six-pack is made in the kitchen: With such an extreme workout like P90 you will get hungry, eat wisely and stay fed to achieve results. On very active days you might need more proteins than usually.

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