The Top 10 Questions About P90X2™
By Steve Edwards
What’s the difference between P90X® and P90X2™? This is the question of the year, and it can’t be answered in one simple sentence, or even one article. So I’ve written this series to help you decide whether or not P90X2 is the program for you. I wish I could tell all of you that P90X2 is right for you, but I’m too responsible for that. I’m sure one program in Beachbody’s huge collection will work for each of you, but if you want to know specifically whether that right one is P90X2, read on.
- Is P90X2 better than P90X? How can you beat the most popular workout program in the country? You can’t. P90X2 is an extension of P90X. It’s not necessarily better, but it’s definitely evolved. For a more in-depth look at its development, read the first article in this series (see “The Next X: What’s New About P90X2?” in the Related Articles section below).
- Is it more Muscle Confusion™? You betcha! If you thought your muscles were confused last time around, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!
- Is it harder? Remember the first time you did P90X? Could anything feel harder than that? Probably not. So while P90X2 isn’t technically harder, it’s probably going to feel harder until you get used to it. And since it’s Muscle Confusion, it’s going to take you some time to adapt. During this adaptation period, it’s going to feel very difficult, but you’re used to that, right? And when you take your X2 body back to another round of P90X, that program’s going to feel harder too, because you’ll be prepared to push yourself farther than ever before.
- Is it still 6 days per week? No, it’s only 5, though we suggest active recovery on your rest days. The more intensely you work out, the less time you need to spend doing it. With more breakdown, you also need more rest. P90X2 has evolved to the point where less is more.
- Will there be options like Lean and Doubles? Instead of giving you different program options, P90X2 gives you the option of increasing each phase long enough to get the most out of it. If you’re having trouble with your balance, you may decide to spend more time in Phase One. For bigger muscles, spend more time in Phase Two. Want to get faster, jump higher, or become more agile? Spend more time mastering Phase Three. You’ll definitely want to read the guidebook, because it provides ideas for how to tailor your training personally for you (and much more). In P90X, we made the most versatile home fitness program ever created. P90X2 will open up even more options.
- Is it true that there’s no cardio? Here’s a little secret: There was no true cardio in P90X, either. At least not in the kind of training generally associated with that word. P90X used anaerobic interval training to improve your cardiovascular system; although it’s technically cardio, it isn’t the public perception of cardio. “Cardio” is a training colloquialism for training your heart. So while you won’t see any cardio in the title names, doing Plyocide or P.A.P. Lower will train your cardiovascular system as well as any cardio routine you’ve ever done.
- Will I need any new equipment? There’s a lot of new equipment for P90X2, and you’ll eventually want to own all of it. But the cool thing is that we’ve created an option that can be done with nothing but a few exercise bands and furniture found in any hotel room. This “hotel room” option virtually eliminates excuses for not working out.
- So what is this equipment? Here’s a list of the equipment needed, which we’ll go into in detail in a later article. Did I say “needed”? It’s not, really. Besides the hotel room option, we also do most movements in a variety of ways to make it easy to add equipment as you can afford it. Here’s a prioritized list:
- Bands and/or weights: You need some form of resistance.
- Pull-up bar: Just like P90X.
- Yoga mat: You must have one of these by now, right?
- Stability ball: We highly recommend this, because the benefits outweigh the cost many times over . . . and over.
- Foam roller: You may not have heard of this before, but don’t be surprised if it
changes your life.
- Push-up stands: You know ‘em. You love ‘em. How come you don’t already have them?
- Medicine balls: Mainly used for balance, so easily replaced with substitutes (basketballs, etc.) if need be, though once you’ve used the real thing you’ll wonder why you ever waited to buy them.
- Pull-up assist: While highly optional (we got away with chairs all these years), the pull-up assist will not only improve your ability to finish all your reps, it’ll greatly improve both your form and exercise efficiency.
- Yoga blocks: If you need these, you probably have them already.
- Foam rolling? What the?! Foam rolling is a myofascial release technique. Hmm . . . not much help? Okay, how about this? It’s a form of self-massage that forces your muscles to lengthen and align properly. Used regularly, it’ll increase your mobility and range of motion and actually help you get stronger, because it frees your muscles to work the way they’re supposed to. This one simple practice is often enough to change your alignment and allow you to move freer and easier.
- How has the diet plan changed? For P90X2, the diet has evolved along with the exercise plan. Not that there was anything wrong with the old one, but we’ve been listening to your suggestions, and we’ve revamped the diet guide to give you more options on what to eat, how to increase effectiveness, and how to simplify the entire eating process. This subject is more than we can cover here, so the X2 nutrition plan is the topic of next week’s P90X2 article.
The Next X: What’s New About P90X2™
“How can you improve on the world’s number one fitness program?” is a reasonable question that I’m often asked when I tell people I’ve been working on its successor, P90X2. As Hollywood has quite clearly shown, sequels rarely live up to the original. But once in a while something bucks the trend, and we’re fairly certain we’ve made The Godfather: Part II and not Staying Alive. In this series of articles, we’ll be giving you a rundown on what to expect from the next P90X®.
The working title of this project was MC2. That’s for Muscle Confusion™ 2, and of course, there’s going to be more of what made the original so special. But this time around, we’re taking Muscle Confusion to a whole new level, maybe even times two. To understand why requires a little bit of history.
P90X was developed to answer customer requests for a program more challenging than Power 90® and Slim in 6®, Beachbody’s original blockbusters. So we set out to make the type of training program that an athlete would use to prepare for a season, except the sport we chose was life in general. Combining the theories of cross-training, progressive overload, periodization, and the specificity of adaptation, we began a series of test groups to try and estimate the tolerance of difficulty that the general public could handle, or more appropriately, would want to.
Turns out this was more than we knew at the time—though the fact that we cast test group subjects because they outperformed professional fitness trainers should have given us a clue. The program was so advanced that many professional athletes began using P90X instead of their own team trainers. This we hadn’t anticipated. We knew we had a solid program, absolutely, but we didn’t count on athletes who make millions of dollars a year ignoring highly paid professionals and working out to a video. If we had, we might have done things a little differently.
Knowing that the world was watching, we began P90X2 development searching for a consultant. We traveled as high up the food chain as possible, where we found Dr. Marcus Elliott. His training facility, P3 (Peak Performance Project), is at the absolute cutting edge of sport. Using the latest in equipment and applied science, P3′s client list reads like, well, the front page of the sports section. Dr. Elliott signed on as head of our Scientific Advisory Board, ensuring we had the means to raise the bar.
That’s not to say we weren’t already succeeding. Anyone who ordered the P90X ONE on ONE® workouts could see we’d been experimenting with many new training modalities. Tony’s newfound love of training on unstable platforms, honed by his relationship with functional trainer Steve Holmson, became, literally, the foundation of P90X2.
Access to P3 and Dr. Elliott also provided challenges. Because our customers are not primarily athletes, we needed to do a lot of homework to determine how to best integrate P3′s elite systems into our demographic. Research was done, numbers crunched, theories were applied and tested, and test pilots (often yours truly) were beaten into submission. In the end, the collaboration resulted in a program that we think improved on our wildest expectations.
While it’s still based around the periodizational principles of P90X, X2 has a broader scope. In short, it’s more versatile, which is saying something, considering that P90X is by far the most versatile training program on the market today. Here are the three training phases of P90X2 and what you can expect from them.
- Foundation. The first training phase is about your foundation, as in your base, or more specifically your attachment to the ground. What we mean here is not just your legs but your entire kinetic chain. There’s a saying that goes, “You can’t shoot a cannon from a canoe” that relates to your base, meaning that if it’s not solid, you’re going to wobble like the visual this saying evokes when you attempt to do anything explosive. The goal of the Foundation phase is to help you create a solid attachment to the earth so you do all other movements without compromising your form. When this happens, you’ll look better, feel better, perform better, and be much more resistant to injuries.
- Strength. Next, we take your strong foundation and strengthen it big time. This training phase will be most familiar to P90Xers because it’s similar in structure to what you’re used to. However, the individual workouts have evolved. You’ll continue to work from instability or athletic positions, because this will help you integrate your strength gains more seamlessly into your real-world movements.
- Performance. Finally, we take all the physiological changes we’ve been making with your body and focus them on pure performance. The key to this phase is something called Post-Activation Potentiation or P.A.P. (which we’ll explain next time), and doing repeat series of movements called complexes. These workouts will destroy you in an oh-so-beautiful way. After a few weeks of P.A.P., your body can feel more springy, loose, and young. It almost feels as if, to borrow a phrase from King Arthur of Camelot, “You don’t age. You youthen.”
In conclusion, we think we’ve created an “Oscar winner.” P90X2 is a training program anyone with a decent fitness base can succeed at. It can be done by someone who has only completed one round of Power 90 and still be challenging to the world’s best athletes. It’s versatile enough so anyone who sees it through to its end can achieve major increases in performance. And while it won’t replace P90X (or make it feel as dated as The Godfather), it should absolutely take your results to the next level.