P90X2 Shoulders and Arms: Lifting from the Core Through the Arms and Shoulders
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P90X2 Shoulders and Arms First Impressions
Tony’s workout crew for P90X2 Shoulders and Arms includes Jason, a musician/singer who used to live in the same apartment complex as Tony (and played in the band Chicago), Josh, a Team Beachbody superstar coach who has a serious case of hat head, and Monica, a mom of three whose body is shredded beyond belief. If I were a woman, I would covet her physique. [Aside: I have met Josh and Monica in person and they are both really great folks who live and walk the health and fitness life 100%].
This is going to be a brief writeup of P90X2 Shoulders and Arms. It’s a short workout with few exercises, so there’s not much to discuss. I admit it’s a nice change of pace to write a review of P90X2 Shoulders and Arms because there are only seven exercises to describe. Most of them are based on classic weight lifting moves that anyone who has ever lifted a dumbbell will have already done. If you don’t know what a biceps curl or shoulder press is, then you need to close this page immediately and go back to reading your house decorating blog. Get out of my wheelhouse because you have no business doing P90X2!
The only thing about P90X2 Shoulders and Arms worth reporting is that all the exercises are done while you are balanced on one leg or lying on a stability ball. This is how Tony Horton connects each exercises to the core. The idea being that when you are in an unbalanced position, you are forced to recruit your stabilizer muscles, the biggest one being your core. When you do P90X2 Shoulders and Arms, you will feel the burn in your abs and lower back as much as your shoulders and arms. This should strengthen and tighten your midsection. Because the core is the base for all movement, a strong core translates to increased strength and performance everywhere else. Do the following things to test this theory: (1) stand up and press down on your right thigh with you right hand; (2) cough; (3) lift a 20-pound dumbbell. Each time, you should be able to feel your core activated. Your core is working to stabilize yourself even when you’re not doing a abdominal exercise.
In Phase I of P90X2, you developed greater strength in your core. In P90X2 Shoulders and Arms, you will learn to channel the strength from your core out and through your arms. If you’re prone to swaying from side to side or front to back when you’re lifting, P90X2 Shoulders and Arms will put an end to most of this, because lifting while maintaining balance has the added benefit of preventing you from cheating with your reps. You will not be able to use momentum while trying to remain stable. Jerking the weights around will only cause you to lose your footing.
The downside of P90X2 Shoulders and Arms is that you’ll likely have to use lighter weights to complete the workout. Lighter does NOT mean easier. Because you must use perfect form, you may find that the exercises are actually harder. Tony and the gang demonstrates several different ways of doing each exercise—balanced on one leg, one leg on a raised platform, one leg on a stability ball, or with resistance bands. To break up the monotony, I use a different method in each round, mixing resistance bands with dumbbells. This makes me feel like I am doing a different exercise each round.
Breaking Down P90X2 Shoulders and Arms
Balance Curl. Basically, biceps curls while balanced on one leg. You’ll do one set of these in each of the three rounds, so decide which leg you want to start with and alternate to the other in the following rounds.
Arnold Press. Biceps curls to shoulder presses while balanced on one leg. Alternate arms with each press. With one leg off the floor, I feel my lower back being activated bigtime while I do this move.
Overhead Triceps Pull. Overhead triceps extensions while lying on a stability ball. Try not to smash your face if you lose balance.
Six Direction Shoulder Fly. It is exactly as its name implies. Shoulder flies up, down, right, left, forward, and backwards while balanced on one leg.
Crazy Eight. Perform eight bicep curls on one arm while the other is holding a weight in the flexed position (similar to the Static Arm Curl from P90X). Switch the curling/flexing arms after eight reps. Go for at least sixteen reps on each arm. Do this while balanced on one leg. Switch legs each time your switch arms.
Y-T Fly. Lie with your chest supported by a stability ball. Grasp a light dumbbell in each hand. Keep your thumbs facing up. Your arms should be extended and positioned in a “Y” position relative to your torso. Raise the dumbbells as high as possible towards the ceiling. Lower them and position your arms directly to your sides so that they form a “T” to your body. Raise them up as far as possible towards the ceiling. Alternate the “Y” and “T” position with each rep.
Rocket Launcher Triceps Kickback. Triceps kickbacks while in a deep lunge position, or with one leg on a raised platform or stability ball. I think doing this exercise on the stability ball creates the best overall burn.
Final Thoughts on P90X2 Shoulders and Arms
I said at the beginning that having only seven exercises to write about makes my job easy. This doesn’t mean I like the workout. I can’t say I’m too excited about P90X2 Shoulders and Arms. Although it is a solid workout, the lack of depth and variety turns me a off little. There are only seven exercises, but you will do each one three times for a total of twenty-one sets. Compared to the other routines in P90X2 which were brimming with imagination and creativity with the the different moves, P90X2 Shoulders and Arms is a bit of a letdown in my book. There are many different types of exercises for the biceps, shoulders, and triceps, they’re not featured in this workout. The fact that you’re doing the exercises on one leg doesn’t make up for the lack of variety. If you were to stand with both feet on the floor, you’d be doing the original Shoulders & Arms routine from P90X.
Some people will appreciate the old school approach. I don’t like to repeat exercises and having to do each three times was a bit of a chore. I have a Jungle Gym XT suspension trainer rigged to my pullup bar. I used it on some of the exercises to add variety and intensity to the moves. Despite my minor complaints, I should end by saying that you WILL get a strong pump in your shoulders and arms from this workout.
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