Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Workout Review: P90X3

I've always been skeptical of "extreme" workout programs like P90X and Insanity.  I tend to raise an eyebrow when a workout seems like a fad or claims you will "get ripped fast."  Plus, I had always heard that the P90X style workouts are so intense that they can really be dangerous if you don't know what you're doing.

A few weeks ago, however, Jay's brother showed us a new 30-minute P90X3 program that he was following.  He shared the video program with us so that we could check it out.  Jay loves to have a set workout schedule, so the fact that this exercise program is all planned out with a calendar appealed to him.  I wasn't sure if I wanted to be locked in to anything, but I figured I would join him when I could and see how it went.

I have ended up doing the videos with Jay almost every day, and I am surprised at how much I like the program.  The best thing is that you genuinely get in a really great workout in just 30 minutes, without having to go to a gym or buy a lot of special equipment.  There are about 15 different workout routines plus some stretching videos that rotate, so it keeps things interesting and your body challenged.  It has been really nice to have my workouts all planned out and not have to decide if/when/what I'm going to do.

Aside from free weights and a mat, the only other equipment you need is a pull-up bar.  If you can't do a pull-up (like me) or don't have a bar, you can easily modify with a resistance band.  Jay had been using one of those door-frame pull-up bars, but earlier this week decided to build something more heavy-duty using metal pipes from Lowe's.
My goal is to be able to do an unassisted pull-up by the end of summer!

We are still in the first 4-week "block" (it is 90 days total),  so we haven't gotten to all of the workouts yet.  Here is a recap of what we have covered so far.

Total Synergistics - A total-body strength workout that incorporates a lot of body weight exercises, balance, and even some yoga.  Some of the moves take some practice to get the hang of, and there are some ridiculous pull-ups that I definitely have to modify.

Agility X - Agility training that involves all sorts of "quick-feet" type movements.  You run and jump all over the place in every direction.  It is very challenging but goes by quickly.

Yoga X - A quick, 30-minute stretch session.  Most of the moves are traditional yoga poses, but the video moves quickly and doesn't give a whole lot of explanation on how to do them.  It's probably not the best for people who have never done yoga before.

The Challenge - Alternates between different styles of push-ups and pull-ups for 30 minutes straight.  You try to complete the same number of reps in each set for the entire time.  Holy cow were my arms sore after I did this for the first time!

The Warrior - A full-body, army boot-camp style workout.  It's a great combination of upper-body, lower-body, core, and cardio exercises, with no equipment needed.  One of my favorites!

CVX - A cardio workout in which you hold a weight throughout all of the exercises.  It's easy to follow but will leave you dripping with sweat.

Many of the workouts use high intensity intervals in order to be effective in a short amount of time.  A lot of scientific research has shown that this type of "HIIT" training is just as effective as traditional cardio in a lot less time. These 30-minute P90X3 videos definitely beat spending hours on the machines at the gym.

As for the downsides - Tony Horton really gets on my nerves.  He never stops talking and making goofy comments.  I am constantly rolling my eyes.  Sometimes his banter is entertaining, but most of the time I just want to put tape over his mouth.

Another negative of the program - it is true that a lot of the moves are intense and sometimes complicated. While there are beginner modifications, Tony generally doesn't go into specific detail about form.  I can see how someone without a lot of exercise experience could overdo it or hurt themselves.  Jay and I had to do a lot of pausing and practicing to figure out some of the moves initially, and I am all about the modifications, especially when it comes to the pull-ups.

There are still quite a few videos that we haven't gotten to yet.  I will post another update on how it's going in a few weeks!


  1. Haha, Tony Horton seriously gets on my nerves, too!!

  2. Awesome!! My hubby and I did the first p90x a few years back. By the end I did 12 unassisted pull ups. Pretty rad considering I couldn't do ONE when we started. :)

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