P90X2 Review: Recovery + Mobility

P90X2 Recovery and Mobility[This is the fourth 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

Strictly speaking, this DVD routine should not be considered a workout.  It’s actually an opportunity to learn more about how to do foam roller exercises and their benefits, and listen to Tony philosophizing about recovery and stretching.  Doing this routine is optional.  If your muscles don’t need any tender loving care, you can skip it altogether and take a rest day from Tony.  Or, you can join team Shaun T for the day and do hardcore cardio.   Recovery and Mobility is similar in format to the Stretch X routine from [intlink id=”11″ type=”page”]P90X[/intlink], but this time, the emphasis is not on classic stretching moves, but foam rolling.

This low intensity, low impact routine is about 57 minutes long.  Recommended gear are a foam roller, weighted bar, and yoga mat.  The last two items you can do without, but with about 50% of the routine devoted to foam rolling, it would be pointless not to have one handy.  Joining Tony today are Juan, Cedric, and Christie.  Nice, every major ethnicity is represented.  I’m obnoxious, so the nickname The Rainbow Team instantly came to mind.

Juan has an interesting life story because he suffered two heart attacks and had a cholesterol level of 300 before turning his life around with P90X.  Now, he looks like a buff dude and his cholesterol level is down to 95.  I love hearing these types of stories. Cedric is a BeachBody employee.  I hope he’s not in customer service because he seems a bit prickly. Don’t know much about him other than that.  Oh yeah, he’s extremely flexible for a big dude.  Don’t know anything about Christie, except that she’s tight in the shoulders (she complains about her shoulders at least four times) and has questionable taste in athletic wear.  I noticed as a whole that there is an odd lack of chemistry in the group, unlike the teams from the other workouts.  I guess it’s because this workout is so low intensity that there’s not much high fiving, fist pumping, or other displays of camaraderie.  Unlike doing 20 pullups, finding a muscle knot is deeply personal and not something your other team members can get too excited about.

The Main Event

The routine begins with a couple of sun salutations, back bends, and hamstring stretches.  Nothing too exotic.  It then progresses to leg and hip openers.  Stand on one leg and using an upright foam roller for stability, swing the other leg front to back as high as possible.  Use momentum to help you open up the kicks.  Do so for both sides, then swing your legs from side to side to open up your hips.  I remember doing these types of active stretches many times as a kid in martial arts classes.  I start daydreaming about my idol Bruce Lee while swinging my legs.

Next up are step back lunges with a torso twist.  You can get serious extensions on this stretch if you use a weighted bar.  If you don’t have one, use a towel or broom handle as Tony suggests.   Then, you’ll do a series of squats and shoulder presses with the weighted bar.  The first round of exercises ends with your doing single leg squats with touches to the toe.  If you’re pooped from this routine so far, you have no business doing P90X2.

The next 25-30 minutes of the routine can be described as foam roller porn.  There is so much groaning, grunting, and moaning that if you turned off the video and only listened to the soundtrack, you could easily imagine that you were on a set of a porn movie rather than a workout DVD. It’s all in there—the agony and the ecstasy.  Such is the power of the mighty but humble foam roller.

Tony will show you how to foam roll out the knots and kinks in your muscles from head to toe. He doesn’t’ scrimp on time showing off his new favorite fitness device.  He works on the inner thighs, calves, IT band, chest, shoulders, arms, triceps, quads, back, gluts, outer thighs, forearms, wrists, lats, and everything else in between.

Everyone will have different trouble areas.  The key is to roll around and search for “hotspots.”  If you find one, stay on it and put some pressure until the knot recedes.  There’s a tendency to avoid the hotspots because they cause discomfort, but the idea is that if you work on them enough times, they will go away.

I have some issues with my lower back from doing [intlink id=”13″ type=”page”]Insanity[/intlink], and the foam roller does help a lot.  Regular stretching didn’t do much, but the foam roller made the knots go away.  Since using it for only two weeks, I have not felt any type of lower back soreness or discomfort.  I’m a foam roller convert.

Just to prove that foam rolling works, Tony has the team repeat the previous exercises with the weighted bar.   He asks if things were easier or better after half an hour of foam rolling.  Everyone reports improved mobility.  I agree with them, but am concerned that I might have fallen victim to the power of suggestion or Tony’s Jedi mind trick.  You decide on your own.

The last series of stretches should be familiar to P90X grads:  pigeon for the gluts, frog for the hips, and forward bends for the hamstrings.

Final Thoughts

I know from my own experience that stretching and recovery are the things that are most likely to be ignored in a workout program, especially if it’s listed as optional.  I recognize now that I was shortchanging myself because stretching and recovery are important components of any fitness program.  It helps your muscles to heal, keeps the body properly aligned, and reduces soreness.

For a fitness program that is marketed as being intense and hardcore, it was a bold move on Tony’s part to include in P90X2 a routine that is dedicated almost exclusively to foam rolling.  I’m glad that he did, because I believe it has made a difference in my workouts, and has allowed me to push myself more intensely knowing that I won’t suffer too much for it the following day, because I’ve got my trusty foam roller to smooth out the aches and soreness.

The bottom line is that I would not ignore the benefits of this routine.  If you don’t want to do it for the recommended two days per week, do at least one day.  The payback is worth the time you put into it.

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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