P90X Workouts - The Review by Mike Westerdal of CriticalBench.com
Chances are you've seen the infomercials on television touting the P90X Workout system as the next big thing for guys looking to whip themselves into shape. P90X is designed to be a multi-component fitness program that promises phenomenal results in just 90 days. By multi-component I mean that it combines yoga, plyometrics (also known as "Jump Training"), karate and bodyweight work into a single program. If you believe what you see on the infomercial, following the P90X program can transform your body from nothing special to "ripped" in just 12 weeks-let's take a closer look and see.
P90X is a DVD-based program that is built around 12 different workouts-all of which can be done in the comfort of your own home. The only equipment you need are some dumbbells or resistance bands and a pull-up bar. When you buy the system you also get a nutrition plan, supplementation recommendations, a fitness guide, a progress tracking calendar and even access to an online peer support group. Buying P90X will set you back about $120.
The developers of P90X say that the secret to the system's success is grounded in its use of a training technique referred to as "Muscle Confusion." The point of this technique is to be constantly mixing up the moves and routines so that the muscles are always doing something new. They also say that this helps to avoid plateaus and keeps you from getting bored.
In looking over the 12 different workouts-which are a combination of strength, flexibility and cardio training-I can say that they definitely look intense. Here's a rundown of the 12 components: Chest & Back; Plyometrics (Jump Training); Shoulders & Arms; Yoga; Legs & Back; Kenpo (karate); Stretching; Core Synergistics (strengthens the core muscles); Chest, Shoulders & Triceps; Back & Biceps; Cardio and Abs. Most of the workouts take about 45-60 minutes to complete in entirety.
Each workout is basically different combinations of supersets using bodyweight, resistance bands or dumbbells, blended with a variety of different movements so that each session includes strength, cardio and flexibility training.
For the strength training part, essentially what they've done is put their own unique twist on basic exercises (push-ups, pull-ups, etc.), creating enough of a variety of variations that you're always doing something different. In other words, you're not just doing "push-ups," but rather, you might be doing "frog push-ups," "spider man push-ups," iso-climber push-ups, or any other number of variations on the basic push-up presented in the DVDs. They do the same thing with the exercises for the back, legs, arms, shoulders and abs. With this much variety, no one can ever say that P90X is monotonous.
Throughout the workouts you do 2 sets of three different exercises during each session. For example, you do exercise A, B, then C. When you're done, you repeat the sequence again. Next, you do exercise X, Y, and Z and then repeat that sequence again too, continuing like that throughout the workout. The DVDs keep the tempo up but you can go at your own pace and of course, you pick the weight/resistance that is right for you. You also get time in between exercises so you can write down the weight and number of reps you did. This enables you to track your progress towards achieving your goals.
Overall, I'd say that the P90X system is built on solid principles. That shouldn't come as a surprise though because Product Partners LLC -aka BeachBody Products-has been developing and marketing fitness programs for more than 10 years. Most of their other programs have popular and pretty well-received by the public and the reviews I've read about the company and the programs they develop have been favorable.
They say that the P90X program is for anyone but for a guy without any workout or training experience at all, it might be a challenge following everything. So if you're a beginner you might want to start with something a little less advanced before moving up and taking on P90X, because it is challenging.
Also, someone looking to really put on mass or make big gains in strength would not benefit from a P90X-style program. But if you're looking to achieve all-around fitness or to just get back in shape, then this could be the ideal program for you. In any case, if you really follow the program as instructed, I have no doubt that you can achieve the kind of results demonstrated on TV.