P90X2 P.A.P. Upper Review

P90X2 PAP Upper reviewP90X2 P.A.P. Upper: A Scientific Approach to Training the Upper Body

If you have any questions about this P90X2 P.A.P. Upper review, contact me at connectwithJade@getresponse.com.

First Impressions

P90X2 P.A.P. Upper is the second routine in Phase III of P90X2. As the name implies, this workout is designed to activate your upper body with a full complement of resistance, plyometric, and stabilization type exercises. Each type of exercise will blast your muscles with different techniques so that they are trained in a comprehensive manner. It’s not just about strength, speed, or agility. It’s about all these things. This approach should lead to better athletic performance overall. The techniques in P90X2 P.A.P. is developed through Dr. Marcus Elliott’s Peak Performance Project, a training facility in Santa Barbara for elite athletes.

In P90X2 P.A.P. Upper, Tony is joined by Robert, Christina, and Wayne. These three are some of the most successful coaches in the Team Beachbody coaching network. They have turned their love of physical fitness into financial fitness. They achieved their elite level of success by walking the walk, and sharing their fitness success stories. I’ve noticed that many of the fitness demonstrators in P90X2 have come from the ranks of Team Beachbody coaches. It’s a nice way for Tony Horton and Beachbody to reward their most ardent supporters.

P90X2 P.A.P. Upper Warm Ups

With the exception of the band pull part (shown below)

P90X2 PAP Upper-band pull apart

and the planche pushup (shown below),

P90X2 P.A.P. Upper

the warm ups for P90X2 P.A.P. Upper should be familiar to you because they are the same thing as what you’ve seen in P90X2 P.A.P. Lower. Follow this link to read about them. If you’re wondering why P90X2 P.A.P. Upper has so many lower body warmups and stretches, it’s because the workout has several isometric moves that will recruit your entire body, including your legs. Check out my description of each exercise below.

Breaking Down P90X2 P.A.P. Upper

The format of P90X2 P.A.P. Upper is similar to the P90X2 P.A.P. Lower workout. That is, P90X2 P.A.P. Upper is comprised of two distinct “complexes.” There are four unique exercises in each complex. Each exercise is repeated four times. The various exercises are selected to activate certain functions such as contraction/resistance, plyometrics/explosive, and isometric/stabilization. There are no breaks between each exercise. To get the full benefits of P.A.P training, you must do the exercises one after the other in quick succession. Similar to P90X2 P.A.P. Lower, once a complex begins, do not stop, pause, or slow down. There is a break between each complex, but not within.

You should also not change the order of the exercises. Their purpose is to get the different types of muscle fibers working synergistically. P90X2 P.A.P. Upper is a short workout clocking in at less than 50 minutes, which includes the warmups and cool down. The shortness of the workout is misleading because some of the moves are so hard that you’ll feel an eternity has passed while doing them.

The specific exercises in P90X2 P.A.P. Upper are intended to recruit your back, arms, shoulders, and midsection. Your vocal chords and eyebrows will get a workout, too, from all the screaming and facial contorting you’ll be doing during this workout. If you think I’m just joking, you haven’t tried P90X2 P.A.P. Upper.


Renegade Row. This is the resistance exercise in the first complex. Begin in plank position with each hand resting on a dumbbell. With a smooth rowing motion, lift one dumbbell to chest level, then lower to the ground. Repeat for the other side for at least ten reps. You should try to remain in plank position throughout the exercise. Don’t let your butt stick up or sag. This requires a lot of core and arm strength to do properly and smoothly, especially with heavier weights.

P90X2 PAP Upper-renegade row pushup

Plyo Push-Ups. To really blast your chest muscles after the first resistance exercise, immediately perform this followup explosive move. Start in plank position. Do a pushup, exerting enough explosive force to launch your upper body off the floor. Clap between each pushup for extra flair. You can modify this move slightly by getting on your knees.

P90X2 PAP Upper-plyo pushup

Plank on Medicine Ball. This exercise lasts for sixty seconds. Each second past 30 was pure hell. You’ll have to hold yourself in plank position for a minute while your feet are balanced on a medicine ball. The balancing part really activates the entire core, making it doubly tough. Halfway through, your butt will feel like it weighs two tons, and it will take every bit of core strength to prevent your butt from sagging to the ground or poking into the sky. Having ripped abs won’t necessary help you, because this exercise recruits your entire core, not just your abs. If you want proof, you’ll notice coach Wayne screaming and panting on each set. Next to Tony, he has the most ripped abs in the group, yet he is still suffering. This move is freaking painful. Just one set will have your core begging for mercy, but there are a total of four in the complex. My core is crying just thinking about this exercise.

P90X2 PAP Upper-plank on medicine ball

Superman with Weighted Bar. Flip over on your stomach for this move because we have to make sure that both sides of your core are worked. While lying on your stomach, raise your legs and arms off the floor as if you’re Superman. To make things more intense, hold a weighted bar in your hands with your arms as straight as possible. You only have to maintain this isometric move for 45 seconds, but that’s plenty of time to feel pain and agony.

P90X2 PAP Upper-superman


Towel Pull-Ups. Pullups while hanging from two towels. Easy enough? You’ve done them before in Phase II in P90X2 Chest, Back and Balance. They are super tough to do because you’ll need well developed hand strength to be able to properly perform them. Not only will your lats get blasted, but your forearms as well (where the muscles which control your hands are). The first time I did this exercise, my hands were stuck in a death grip position for the whole day.

P90X2 PAP Upper-towel pullup

Medicine Ball Pike. Lie on your back while holding a medicine ball over your chest with outstretched arms. In a crunch-like motion, bring the medicine ball and your feet together, then return to starting position. Do this as fast as possible using good form for 10-15 reps.

P90X2 PAP Upper-medicine ball pike

Step-Up Hammer Press. This is a combo move to simultaneously work your shoulders and biceps. While holding dumbbells on each hand, stand with one foot firmly planted on a raised surface (15-20 inches off ground). Try to engage your core as much as possible by pushing your body forward. Curl the dumbbells using the “hammer” hand position (palms facing body), and transition directly to shoulder presses when you reach the top of the curl. Do five reps and switch the support legs and do another five.

P90X2 PAP Upper-convict step press

Roller Angel. This exercise offers a slight respite because it is strictly low intensity. Lie on your back with a foam roller underneath you. The length of the foam roller is aligned with the length of your spine. Keeping your shoulders as close to the ground as possible, and move your arms back and forth to stretch out your chest and back. While doing so, keep your shoulders, hands, and elbows close to the ground.

P90X2 PAP Upper-roller angel

There’s a short cool down and stretch period right after the last set of the second complex, but it’s the same thing that you’ve already seen before.

Final Thoughts on P90X2 P.A.P. Upper

I thought P90X2 P.A.P. Lower was kickass, but I found P90X2 P.A.P. Upper to be kickasser. It is a beastly workout that had me panting, screaming, and begging for relief. If you follow along with Tony and the kids without taking any unscheduled breaks, the pace is brutal. There won’t be any time procrastinate or daydream because the sets are stacked on top of each other. In some discussion groups, I’ve heard people complain that they were “bored” with this workout because of the repeating exercises. I wonder to myself if these folks are putting in the right amount of intensity. Frankly, I was too damned exhausted from the pace to ever get bored. My only thought during each complex was to make it to the next exercise and then to the end. There’s simply no room for boredom. If you find yourself bored, please consider turning up the intensity by adding more weights. Put the pink dumbbells down. I promise the boredom will go away quickly when you’re fighting the pace instead of half-assing it. Even though P90X2 P.A.P. Upper is not a cardio routine, I noticed that my metabolism remained elevated for almost the entire day each time I did this workout in the morning.

Does P90X2 P.A.P. Upper work? Yes, but only if you put in the work. I remember fretting a little bit at the beginning of P90X2 that there weren’t many pullup exercises in Phase I. Phase II put my concerns to rest and Phase III buried them. Before P90X2, I had plateaued in the number of consecutive pullups I could do. For over a year, I maxed out at 27. Two weeks after completing P90X2, I was able to do 33 pullups in a row. I was shocked by my new personal best. I think the towel pullups had a lot to do with it because they really blasted my lats like nothing else. Beachbody touts P90X2 as the most scientifically advanced workout on the market. It’s made a believer of out of me.

To purchase P90X2 P.A.P. Upper, click here. If you want to know more about P90X2 or  P90X2 P.A.P. Upper, feel free to email me at connectwithJade@getresponse.com, or send me a private Facebook message.

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 Khoa Nuyen

Aging and feeling crummy are for people who don't know any better. If a middle aged dude with a sedentary job can get these results, you can too.
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9 Responses to P90X2 P.A.P. Upper Review

  1. Pingback: P90X2 P.A.P. Upper Review « BuildAHardbody.com

  2. Dear Khoa,

    This is a great and comprehensive review of P90X2 P.A.P. Upper. I completed P90X2 and agree this is an amazing workout. The Renegade Rows and Plank on Med Ball are killers. The 2nd complex is still challenging but definitely easier than the 1st. Bring It!

    Stewart Forscher

  3. dang you did an awesome job with this.

  4. Rick McKee says:

    Awesome review – one of the best I’ve read. Keep up the good work!

  5. Great review! Really breaks it down and takes the “scary” and “intimidation” factor out of P90X and showcases that anyone at any fitness level can do this! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Great workout program, thanks for sharing!

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