April 22, 2008 posted by

Chest & Back

Ran into Marc and Suzanne at the dog park yesterday. Suzanne–in week 3–asked “when do you stop being sore?” Sheesh, I dunno. In most programs you adapt within a couple of weeks no matter what because that’s how long it takes for your fast-twitch muscles fibers that get blow out in the first few days to fully recovery. The X is slightly different because it changes pace so often that you continually adapt over the first part of the program, meaning that you could stay sore for much longer. And then you factor in workouts where adaptation is just one aspect and trying to master it later on can tear you down even further. Case in point: Chest & Back.

Supersetting these two body parts for an hour is rugged. So much so that when I first showed this workout to my friend Bob–a guy who can knock off 60 pull-ups in a row–his comment was “I couldn’t finish that”. Getting used to it is only step one. Mastering it could take a long time and you’ll never do it unless you’re in peak condition.

Because C&B works two large muscle groups so thoroughly that there’s a huge amount of lactic acid in your system, leading to the feeling like you’re about to vomit–or, many times, actually vomiting. When I was in the office I could always tell when someone was really pushing in during C&B because you’d hear them pacing around the office and trying to force enough air into their lungs to flush the lactic acid bath that was attempting to extract their lunch.


STEVE EDWARDS, Beachbody’s Director of Results, sits in his office typing on his computer. In the background, we hear a door open punctuated by two men hyperventilating. We hear this sound get louder as one of them approaches STEVE’S office. KIP MARTIN, actor/BB marketing dude/Clark Kent look-alike passes STEVE’S doorway waving his arms in a ballistic stretch referred to as huggers, desperately trying to control his heaving chest. STEVE smiles, knowingly.


Chest & Back day, huh?

A beat, with more breathing, as KIP moves up and down the hall. He seems to get control of himself, enters STEVE’S office, where he doubles over, hands to knees.


Killer session. That workout is intense—

KIP shudders somewhat violently, and then moves towards that door.

Back in a minute!

KIP runs out the door towards the men’s room.

CLOSE UP: STEVE sitting at his desk, smiling and nodding.


Pic: climbing in Mexico about a decade ago. My back will look like this again soon.


  • I was actually wondering when the soreness was going to end too.Next to Plyo, Chest & Back is becoming my favorite workout. Probably because I don’t have either and I loved the “pumped” feeling that seems last for five days. Time to go Push Play…

  • I just finished Plyo and it actually felt moderately okay. I still couldn’t quite finish a couple of the sets, taking breaks between hops or stopping 5 seconds early. But… I felt much better and I think I will be able to do the whole workout soon.The funny thing is that I bumped up my weights on C&B yesterday and I’m a little sore from that today. It’s fun getting back in shape, but I’m still at the point where it kind of sucks because you know you’re not in very good shape.So it goes. I’m improving and I know I’ll keep doing so. The only problem area is the left side of my lower back, which has been sore for a few days. It doesn’t keep me from doing my workouts, but it does sometimes keep me from sleeping well. My back might look like that someday too, but it won’t be soon and my would be much burlier. You look scrawny. :-)~R

  • Plyo felt good for me today, too. Even with my slack-ish pace I’m feeling better each workout. Scrawny is where it’s at.

  • Steve, you can flush lactic acid by breathing even harder? Is that what you were saying. I get so sore after this workout at times. Way to go with doing the X. I enjoy reading your progress and the behind the scene look at times.Keith

  • I upped the weights on arms and shoulders today. Man, that was a lot harder. I only have one set of lighter dumbbells, so I did everything with the same weights. Some I was able to do 15 reps and other exercises I was able to do much less. But, I got a real good burn today and my arms felt pretty wasted by the end.ARX killed me again today, but I could see some progress. Still I think the whole thing takes me at least 5 minutes longer to do because I have to pause all the time to get all the reps in.Hopefully YogaX will go better tomorrow.~R

  • Yoga X. Looking back it actually went pretty well, but it was hard for me today. I think it was due in large part to the increased weights I used on arms and shoulders. I was tired and sore and the umpteen updogs and downdogs made my shoulder tired dogs. I think I get to do more Yoga next week, so we’ll see how that goes.2 more days and then I get to rest. Yay.~R

  • we’re a little off due to 2 skipped days. we do yoga today. chest and back on sunday wrecked my elbows so i have to go back to lat pulls. beyond that, the other work outs are getting better, though plyo hurts my ankles a little, but no surprise as i have a lot of metal and no cartilage in either. suzanne feels wasted and is looking forward to a non-x week in hawaii. i may extend phase 1 by a week due to the extra rest days, though we’ll have nice weather and it would be fun to get in some long rides; we’ll see. all-in-all, nearing the close of week 3, i feel better and worse, stronger and weaker and i’ve lost some weight and have some vascularity emerging in my extremities and suzanne smacks me a lot and says i don’t feel as mushy; i love her.have a great weekend everyone!marc

  • oh, a question for steve…i’m not really into the kenpox video. i think the idea is okay, but all in all, it’s the lamest of all the vids and i have a difficult time taking it seriously. do you think that core synergistcs or another round of plyo is a good sub for this one? i think i’m finally getting the idea of the whole p90x plan and don’t want to deviate too much, but i have to on this one. have a good weekend.marc (again)ps- steve and scott, when suzanne gets back, we gotta get a beer!

  • Marc, I will be interested in what Steve has to say. I did Kenpo X last weekend and I thought it was fairly hard and could certainly feel it working. I know that the whole kick and punch thing is a little weird, but my legs and butt were definitely feeling it afterwards. I also don’t have it very dialed and am still learning some of the combinations, so when I get those figured out I might be able to go a little harder.Good job so far.~R

  • I think Reed has it sussed pretty well. It feel weird to shadow box and kick for an entire workout but, for most of us, these motions help us work on our range of motion. But that’s its biggest advantage because physically, it’s the easiest workout. I don’t usually do it because it falls on Sat and I’d usually opt to be outside and it’s certainly the most replacable. If you don’t want to do it your results won’t change much–except perhaps some flexibility–especially since you do so much additional exercise anyway.

  • reed and steveyou are both wise(er). thanks for the info, it all makes good sense.i’m less afraid to keep pushing play.marc

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