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The P90X System: How It Works continued...

Even the P90X yoga workout is intense: It's 90 minutes long, and quite challenging, especially to those not accustomed to yoga.

The P90X system is based on the concept of "muscle confusion," which means varying the workout schedule and introducing new moves so the body never fully adapts. This is similar to the periodization techniques athletes use to get their bodies in top condition. It also has a basis in science; research suggests that workout programs that offer variation bring greater benefits than those that do not.

What this means is that over the 90-days of the P90X program, you'll change your weekly workout schedule every 3-4 weeks. You can also tailor your routine to the kind of results you want - focusing more on strength, cardio, or going the super-intense "Doubles" route of two workouts in a day.

The classic P90X program involves 13 weeks of alternating the three following weekly routines.

Weeks 1-3, and weeks 9 and 11:

  • Day 1: Chest & Back and 16-minute Ab Ripper DVD
  • Day 2: Plyometrics
  • Day 3: Shoulders & Arms and Ab Ripper
  • Day 4: Yoga
  • Day 5: Legs & Back and Ab Ripper
  • Day 6: Kenpo
  • Day 7: Rest, or Stretching workout

Weeks 5-7, and weeks 10 and 12:

  • Day 1: Chest, Shoulders, and Triceps; Ab Ripper
  • Day 2: Plyometrics
  • Day 3: Back & Biceps, Ab Ripper
  • Day 4: Yoga
  • Day 5: Legs & Back, Ab Ripper
  • Day 6: Kenpo
  • Day 7: Rest or Stretching workout

Weeks 4, 8, and 13:

  • Day 1: Yoga
  • Day 2: Core Synergistics
  • Day 3: Kenpo
  • Day 4: Stretch
  • Day 5: Core Synergistics
  • Day 6: Yoga
  • Day 7: Rest or Stretching workout

To determine whether you're capable of completing this regimen, Beach Body offers a fitness test on its web site. The test suggests minimum requirements for various exercises, such as push-ups, sit-ups, and pull-ups. If you don't meet the criteria for P90X, Beach Body recommends that you begin with a less intense program, such as their Power 90 workout DVDs.

The P90X nutrition plan that accompanies the fitness DVDs has three phases you can follow at any time, based on your current fitness and nutrition level:

  • Phase 1, the "Fat Shredder," is a diet high in protein and low in carbohydrates and fat.
  • Phase 2, "Energy Booster," calls for a more balanced mix of protein and carbohydrates, along with a small amount of fat.
  • Phase 3,"“Endurance Maximizer," has higher levels of complex carbs, a moderate amount of protein, and a small amount of fat.

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