P90X2 Review: Total Body

P90X2 Total Body[This is the third P90X2 review in a planned series.  I will write additional reviews of the other routines as I do them.]  If you have any questions about this workout, contact me at connectwithjade@gmail.com.

General Impressions

The name of this 62 minutes routine tells you everything you need to know.  Expect to get worked out all over, from head to toe.  Recommended gear are a foam roller, stability ball, medicine ball, chin-up bar, and weights or bands.  You may be able to do without the balls, but since this is a resistance training day that includes pull-ups, the weights and chin-up bar are not really optional.

Joining Tony on this workout are Anie, a BeachBody employee.  He has a Mohawk style haircut with the letters “X” and “2” carved on each side of his head. Talk about bringing the X. I hope Carl Daikeler gives Anie a nice X-mas bonus for that motarded stunt (motarded=motivated + retarded). There’s also Jeremy, a buff looking big dude who you would never imagine used to weigh 370 pounds.  He lost 180 pounds with [intlink id=”11″ type=”page”]P90X[/intlink], and is now a BeachBody coach.  Another great inspirational story. Finally, the queen of P90X, Dreya Weber, is back.  Those images of the shredded Dreya in the P90X promo materials were a big source of inspiration.  While Tony was doing the introductions, I saw a blond woman hopping in the back.  I thought there was something vaguely familiar about those hops until I realized it was our old friend Dreya.  She’s so bouncy Tony tells her she should limit her Shakeology intake to only one serving per day.

This workout consists of two rounds and twelve exercises.  The exercises are repeated in the second round.  There are many exercises where you are balanced on one leg. Tony didn’t make this clear until the middle of the workout, but you should balance on the right side for the first round, and switch to the left for the second.  This would have been better to know in the beginning.

The warmups, stretching, and foam roller exercises are the same as the other workouts.  Because there will be pull-ups, Tony also introduces scapula stretches, where you hang on the chin-up bar and flex your back muscles to heat them up.

The Main Event

One-Arm Chest Press on Stability Ball.  Lie with your shoulders on top of a stability ball, and your body supported by your legs.  Perform weighted chest presses with only one arm.  Complete as many reps as possible and transfer the weight to the other arm and do the same. Works your chest, but also activates your core as you must maintain balance on the stability ball.

Four-Position Pull-ups.  In a nutshell, pull-ups using four different hand positions (wide, front, back, neutral).  Do a single pull-up in one hand position then immediately change to another. You must come off the bar after each rep.  You might think this mini-break would make doing pull-ups easier, but it doesn’t.  You’ll be able to do fewer pull-ups because you won’t have momentum to help you get over the bar. Works your lats and arms.  There is a new camera angle next to the chin-up that captures people’s expressions as they pull up.  I notice that Dreya is using a band to aid her with pull-ups.  It looks like a useful piece of gear for people who still can’t do unassisted pull-ups.

Pushup Side-Arm Balance on Med Ball.  This exercise looks easy to do but is pretty tough.  Get into plank position with a medicine ball supporting each hand. Your points of contact to the floor are your toes, and the medicine balls.  Do a pushup, then raise one hand up into a side balance position with the other hand on one medicine ball.  Alternate sides with each pushup.  This exercise is much easier to do if you had your feet spread apart.  I can do about fifty regular pushups at a time without difficulty, but I can barely do twenty of these on the medicine ball.  Works your chest and arms, but your core is recruited in order for you to maintain balance on the balls.  Your core will probably give out before your chest and arms do.

Switch Lunge Shoulder Press. Another exercise that typifies P90X2’s philosophy of working out more than one large muscle group at a time.  With weights at shoulder level, do a front lunge.  Perform a shoulder press simultaneously as you lunge.  Return to the standing position and do a back lunge with a shoulder press. For the lunges, Tony suggests that you bend the back knee to involve the gluts more. Works your shoulders, and hamstrings and quads at the same time. Your core is activated as well.

Warrior 3 Kickback.  Leave it to Tony to come up with an exercise that will work your triceps, gluts, and lower back at the same time.  Get into the warrior three position with weights on each arm. (Reminder:  With your arms outstretched over your head, bend your torso at a 90-degrees angle to your waist.  At the same time, raise and extend one leg behind you at a 90-degrees angle to your waist, with the other leg on the ground for support.  If done correctly, your arms, torso and extended leg are aligned in a straight line and should form a “T” with the supporting leg).  Remain in balance as you perform triceps kickbacks. For round 1, balance on your right leg.  Not an easy exercise to master.  Balancing in the Warrior 3 position is already tough enough for most people, but adding weights and kickbacks to the mix makes it a real challenge.

Warrior 3 Curls.  Almost the same thing as Warrior 3 kickbacks, but this time, you’re doing bicep curls.  Expect to fall over.  A lot.

Boing Pushups with Stability Ball (or plyo pushup).  Get into plank position with your hands resting on top of a stability ball.  Do a pushup.  As you push off, use enough force so that your body is propelled off the ground, along with the stability ball.  Drop to the floor and repeat as many times as possible.  Works your chest, arms, and core. On the second round, Jeremy crushes this exercise with 30 reps while Tony only did 24.  Tony’s a very competitive guy, and you can see that this bothers him a bit.  He complains, “I created monsters.  Powerful monsters.” You want to cheer for Jeremy because it’s not every day that someone can beat Tony at his own game, and considering the fact that just two years ago Jeremy was a lardbody.

Crunch Lever Pull-ups.  Ever had the urge to do crunches while at the same time doing a pull-up?  If that’s you, then this exercise is tailored to your unique tastes.  The pull-ups will work your lats and arms, and the crunches will rock your core.  In the second round of this exercise.  Anie lost one of his contacts.  Without missing a beat, Tony finds it on the ground and pops it back into his eye.

Mule Kick Burpee.  This exercise will knock the wind out of you.  Start in the standing position.  Drop down to your hands while at the same time kicking your legs towards the ceiling as if you are an angry mule.  As soon as your feet touch the ground, do an oblique pushup on each side (touch your knee to your elbow as you do down).  Hop back into the standing position and repeat.  Works your entire body.  If you can do ten or more reps of this exercise, then you are a grandmaster of fitness.

Curls and Swimmer’s Press in 1/2 Chair Pose.  Balance yourself on one leg, with the other leg crossed just above the knee.  Bend the supporting leg slightly as if you were sitting on an imaginary chair.  While in this position, do biceps curls and shoulder presses with weights.  As much as it works your arms and shoulders, this exercise requires a strong core.

Triceps Kickback on Stability Ball.  Get into the plank position over a stability ball while balanced on one forearm and holding a weight with the other arm.  Perform triceps kickbacks while in this position.  Your core will scream with agony and will probably give our before your arms do.

Rocket Launcher Preacher Curl.  Basically, biceps curls while in a lunge position.  Works out your quads and hamstrings at the same time as your biceps.

The remaining eight minutes is devoted to cool down and stretching. Tony introduces a new Tonyism: “Emancipation Flexation.”  Not sure what it means, but it sounds cool.

Final Thoughts

For people whose only goal is to build muscle, this workout might not be your cup of tea.  Because you will have to do many of the resistance exercises while in a balance position, you will not be able to max out on the weights.  For instance, I normally curl with 40 pound barbells, but I had to cut this down by half in order to be able to curl using proper form while in Warrior 3 position.  Am I getting less of a workout? No, because my entire body is engaged.  At least three major muscle groups are working together at the same time while I’m doing a single exercise. Could I do more weights if I wasn’t forced into a weird balance position?  Most definitely, yes. Will this mean I will lose strength if I stick to P90X2’s new-fangled exercises?  I don’t have the answer to that yet, but judging from Tony himself, he is just as ripped (maybe even more so) as ever.

This I know for certain–in just two weeks, I already feel a difference in my core strength and my ability to maintain balance.  Elite sports trainers say that explosive power comes from the core.  I tend to agree with this view.  Traditional weight training focuses too much on isolating and building muscles, as opposed to functional fitness.  With P90X2, I’m going to put the new philosophy to the test.  I don’t expect to get bigger arms or pecs, but my goal is to be insanely strong from neck to toes.

Sign up for my free Fitness Success CourseDo you have any questions about this article or anything relating to health, fitness, and weight loss? Email me at connectwithJade@getresponse.com. I love to hear from my readers!



About Jade Nuyen

You know the people who tell you that life goes downhill after 40, or after you've had children? They're full of crap. I prove it to myself every single day that life begins after 40 and you don't have to accept being a frumpy out of shape mom as a lifestyle.
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