March 22, 2012 posted by

Don’t Break Your Face

Tony’s famous saying “don’t break your face” is an almost perfect analogy for showing the evolution of P90X. Back in the Power 90 days, when our goal was to get people moving and “Just Press Play” was the Beachbody motto, he literally meant that you shouldn’t drop weight on your head. In P90X2, it’s a slogan for staying cool under fire, because the more relaxed your face is the more you can focus energy on your training.

He still jokes about dropping weight but he also talks about face control. It’s a hard lesson for many people to get. When we get tired we get tight. We contract. We scream. We hold stress in places, like our face, when that energy would better serve us elsewhere. Calm, relaxed, and focused on nothing but breath and movement is how we perform best, especially under duress. In Power 90, and to some degree P90X, it was enough to simply show up and try. As you’ve become fitter we now want to coax more performance out of your body and need to evolve our techniques. It starts with your face.

In the above photo I’ll be the poster child of poor form. My screaming looks cool and sells magazines but it’s not efficient. “Focus on pulling with your arms instead of your neck,” was my congratulatory note from distinguished climbing/gymnastics coach Rob Candelaria. In contrast check out the other photos of climbers who are contemplating moves at their physical limits with the serenity of a zen monk. The one in the first shot looks about ready to take a nap.

Don’t get me wrong; screaming at the right time is helpful, even important. The old karate “kee-yaw” has a place but it’s calculated. When you lose control the end it near. The goal is to control your body, saving outbursts for when you absolutely need them.

P90X2 forces you to stay calm. Try screaming during Warrior 3 kickbacks and you’ll fall, or least teeter. You’ll handle heavier weight if you’re under control, which is our grand design. By the time to get to the PAP training your form should be so solid that you’ll know when it’s time to use a calculated outburst to your advantage. Calming your face is the first step to getting the most out of your workouts; at least it is once whether or not you actually do the workout is no longer a question.


  • As I read this post all I can hear is Tony shouting "smile Wayne" as you see Wayne breathing hard through clenched teeth. I for one am grateful he did if only to remind us to switch on our yoga faces.

  • Love is never too strong a word to describe how I feel about A LOT of people. And let's just say you are one of them.

  • Well, just who is that I see sporting the BluBlockers in bottom right? Damned if it isn't The Reverend Speefnarkle himself."Hey man. I think I'm gettin' sandbagged."

  • I always thought you looked very relaxed and so cal in that photo.J

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