How It Works

P90X is a set of 12 high-intensity DVD workouts that you do over the course of 90 days. You've probably seen the infomercials about it on TV.

You'll commit to working out 6-7 days per week, for 1-1.5 hours at a time.

The DVDs keep you moving from exercise to exercise, like circuit training. Some of the DVDs focus on strength. Others include plyometrics (explosive "power" moves), kickboxing, cardio, abs/core, and yoga. The plan also includes a fitness guide and nutrition plan.

Your muscles will get stronger, you’ll boost your cardio health, and you’ll shed fat on this plan designed and led by celebrity trainer Tony Horton.

With any program that's this tough, there's a chance of injury. It may be too much for you if you're not active now or if you have certain conditions, so check with your doctor first.

Intensity Level: Very High

This high-intensity interval training workout challenges your muscles and heart to make them stronger.

Areas It Targets

Core: Yes. With workouts called “Ab Ripper X” and “Core Synergistics,” you can count on working your core.

Arms: Yes. One workout targets your shoulders and arms. Another targets your biceps.

Legs: Yes. Plan on doing lots of squats and lunges in a workout called “Legs & Back.”

Glutes: Yes. The “Legs & Back” workout will fire up your glutes.

Back: Yes. Some workouts include exercises that specifically target your back.


Flexibility: Yes. You’ll do a workout called “X Stretch” for flexibility.

Aerobic: Yes. You’ll work up a sweat with workouts called “Cardio X” and “Plyometrics,” which is an explosive jumping cardio routine.

Strength: Yes. This is a total-body program that works many different muscle groups to build strength.

Sport: No.

Low-Impact: No. This is not a low-impact workout.

What Else Should I Know?

Cost: About$120 for the basic 12-DVD program. For $240 you’ll also get a chin-up bar, resistance bands, and 30-day supply of post-workout drinks. Pay $330 for the Ultimate package and on top of that, you’ll get 5 advanced workouts and two more pieces of equipment.

Good for beginners? No. This workout pushes your muscles and your heart. You may want to try another type of workout if you are out of shape before plunging into this program.

Outdoors: No. You’ll need to follow the DVDs, so plan on working out in your living room or home gym.

At home: Yes. This fitness program is an option if you don't belong to a gym.

Equipment required? Yes. You’ll need the DVDs. If you buy a more expensive package, you’ll get equipment like a chin-up bar and resistance bands that can be used in the workouts.

What Physical Therapist Ross Brakeville Says:

P90X is a well-structured exercise program that you can easily adapt for most fitness levels.

The workout is demanding, taking 60-90 minutes of exercise 6 days a week. It may not work for you if you have a busy schedule or if you haven’t been active in a while.

If you're new to this workout, you can help yourself avoid injury and illness by starting slow and staying hydrated during and after your workouts.

Is It Good for Me If I Have a Health Condition?

If you are looking to help lower your cholesterolblood pressure, or manage diabetes, P90X may be a great choice. Get the OK from your doctor first. If you have diabetes, your doctor will likely need to adjust your diabetes treatment plan, because you will be burning a lot of calories with the workout.

During a P90X workout, you may do more than 100 reps with your legs, arms or back, which could worsen any knee or back injuries you may have.

There are variations that may be better for people with arthritis, but check with your doctor first. If you have other physical challenges, there aren’t many alternatives to the moves.

If you're pregnant, you may be able to do P90X workouts if you have been doing them before the pregnancy, as long as your doctor approves. Because a session can last over an hour, it’s important to drink water and not get too hot or exhausted. As your baby grows in your belly and your center of gravity shifts, certain moves may become dangerous.  You will likely need to switch to a safer workout at that time.

WebMD Fitness A-Z Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on August 02, 2020



American College of Sports Medicine: “News Release: Top fitness trend: High-intensity interval training.”

American Council on Exercise: “Does P90X Really Bring It?”

BeachBody, LLC/ P90X Extreme Home Fitness.

P90X Workout Schedule.

Amazon.com: "P90X DVD Workout - Base Kit."

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