P90X2 Total Body: A Full Body Workout Starting From the Core
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P90X2 Total Body First Impressions
The name of this 62 minutes P90X2 routine says it all. Expect a workout from your head to your toes. To do this workout correctly, it is recommended that you have a foam roller, stability ball, medicine ball, chin-up bar, and weights or bands. You may be able to get by without the balls, the weights and pullup bar are not optional gear unless you plan to do pullups from your rafters.
Joining Tony in the P90X2 Total Body workout are Anie, a Beachbody employee. For the video taping, Anie shaved his head in the Mohawk style. He also carved out the letters “X” and “2” on each side of his head. Anie has introduced a new way of bringing the X.
I hope Beachbody will give Anie a fat holiday bonus for that motarded stunt (motarded=motivated + retarded). The second person on the workout case is Jeremy, a fit looking fella who used to weigh 370 pounds. Very hard to believe this, but he has an amazing transformation story. I wrote about it here. He lost 180 pounds with P90X, and is now a Team BeachBody coach. He helps other people with their fitness journey. Paying it forward is the Beachbody way. Finally, your favorite aerialist from P90X, Dreya Weber, is back. Those photos of the awesomely ripped Dreya in the P90X promotions were a big source of inspiration for me. The X is not the same without Dreya. Glad to see that she’s on board.
P90X2 Total Body consists of two rounds. There are twelve exercises in total, and they are repeated in the second round. The warmups, which includes stretching and foam roller exercises, are the same as the other workouts. Check out this review of P90X2 Core for a complete description of the P90X warmups. Tony also introduces scapula stretches in preparation for the pullup exercises. Basically, you hang on the chin-up bar and flex your back muscles to get them going.
Breaking down the P90X Total Body Exercises
One-Arm Chest Press on Stability Ball. Lie with your shoulders on top of a stability ball, and your body supported by your legs. Make sure the stability ball is also supporting your neck. Do chest presses with weights on only one arm. Complete as many reps as possible (10-15) and do the same for the other arm. This exercise mostly works your chest, but it also activates your core while you are maintaining balance on the stability ball.
Four-Position Pull-ups. Basically, pull-ups using four different hand positions (wide, front, back, neutral). A P90X chinup bar will help a lot because it has seven different hand positions. Do a single pull-up in one hand position then immediately change to another. Come off the bar after each rep. Believe it or not, this will not make things easier. If anything, you do fewer pull-ups because you won’t have momentum to help you get over the bar. Dreya is using the Chinup Max to help her with some of the pullups. It is a handy piece of gear for folks who need help with doing pull-ups.
Pushup Side-Arm Balance on Med Ball. This exercise looks easy, but looks are deceiving. Begin in plank position with a medicine ball supporting each hand. Your points of contact to the floor are your toes, and the medicine balls. The wider your feet are apart, the easier this exercise will be. Do a pushup, then raise your body into side balance position with one hand on one medicine ball. Alternate sides with each pushup. Even though I can do about fifty regular pushups at a time without too much trouble, I can barely do twenty of these. This exercise works your chest, but your core is also activated while you’re maintaining balance on the balls. Your core might give out before your chest and arms do.
Switch Lunge Shoulder Press. Another exercise works out more than one large muscle group at a time. That is the P90X2 way. With weights at shoulder level, lunge to the front. Perform a shoulder press simultaneously as you lunge. Return to the standing position, and lunge to the back, also performing a shoulder press at the same time. Tony suggests that you bend the back knee to involve the gluts more during your lunges. Works your core, shoulders, and legs at same time.
Warrior 3 Kickback. Tony created an exercise that will work your triceps, gluts, and lower back at the same time. Start in the Warrior 3 position with weights on each arm. Stay in this position as you perform triceps kickbacks. This is not an easy exercise to master. Warrior 3 by itself is already tough enough for most people, but weighted and kickbacks makes this balance move a real challenge.
Warrior 3 Curls. Almost the same thing as Warrior 3 kickbacks, but this time, you’re doing bicep curls. Expect to tumble over. A lot. You’ll also need to use smaller weights.
Boing Pushups with Stability Ball (or plyo pushup). Begin in 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. On the second round, Jeremy crushes this exercise and gets more reps than Tony, which bothers Tony a bit. Nonetheless, you want to cheer for Jeremy because two years ago he was a lardbody and now he’s beating Tony at his own game.
Crunch Lever Pull-ups. If you’ve ever had the urge to do crunches while at the same time doing a pullups, this is your exercise. The pull-ups will rock your lats and arms while the crunches will recruit your midsection.
Mule Kick Burpee. This exercise will take your breath away. 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. Is your core up for this?
Triceps Kickback on Stability Ball. Start in the plank position with one forearm balanced on a stability ball while holding a weight with the other arm. Perform triceps kickbacks while in this position. Your core will scream for mercy and will probably give our before your arms do.
Rocket Launcher Preacher Curl. Biceps curls while in a lunge position. Activates your core, quads, and hamstrings at the same time as your biceps.
After you have completed each of the exercises twice, the remaining eight minutes of P90X2 Total Body is devoted to cool down and stretching.
Final Thoughts on P90X2 Total Body
If your only goal is to build muscle mass, P90X2 Total Body might not be for you. Since many of the resistance exercises are done while you’re in a balance position, you will not be able to heavy up the weights. I normally curl with 30-35 pound dumbbells, but I had to cut this down by half in order to be able to curl using proper form while in Warrior 3 position. Does this mean I am 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 doing each exercise while in a weird balance position? Of course, yes. Will I will lose strength if I stick to P90X2’s exercises? No. I can speak with hindsight on this question because after having completed P90X2, I definitely got stronger. In fact, I was shocked at how much stronger I got even while using lighter weights. People who complain that P90X2 wasn’t hard enough, or they didn’t see improvements probably never completed the program or skipped the foundation stage. Please ignore these idiots.
Just two weeks after I started P90X2, I felt a difference in my core strength and my ability to maintain balance. Elite sports trainers say that explosive power comes from the core. Traditional weight training focuses too much on isolating and building muscles, as opposed to functional fitness. With P90X2, it’s all about getting your body to work together. I didn’t expect to get bigger arms or pecs. My goal was to become insanely strong from neck to toes. Mission accomplished!
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