February 18, 2011 posted by

P90X2 Core: The Opening Engagement

I’m not necessarily going to post these workouts in sequence but mc2 Core is going to be the first workout on the schedule. This will remind those who’ve done P90X Lean of opening with Core/Syn but this workout is even more applicable to the journey of this particular program.

To talk about what’s right with this workout I need to begin by explaining what’s wrong with us. We are out of balance, which is not just because we watch too much TV and don’t exercise enough(I explained yesterday most injuries are due weakness in hip and shoulder stability). Our general lifestyle activities create imbalances because certain muscles in your kinetic chain take over movements that were once done by other, smaller muscles. The longer this goes on the worse it gets, and training can even exacerbate the situation by making the active muscles stronger, thus creating greater imbalances.

To combat this we’re changing the platform that you train on to create instability in order to force these forgotten muscles back into action. When you free these stabilizer muscles to fire it allows the muscles that were doing double duty to work more efficiently and, thus, your performance increases even before you’ve seen tangible muscle strength increase. Furthermore, for those only interested in how you look in the mirror, this forces your body back into the alignment it was born with so that you’re appearance will improve as well.

The keywords you’ll hear in this workout are open and engagement—especially if Steve Holmsen’s cueing rubs off on Tony (and they spend a lot of time together so this only makes sense). In order to keep your body stable you’ll be forced to engage areas that may be foreign to you, which is all designed around getting your body to open up. We tend to get smaller by doing the things that function as life and training the wrong way can exacerbate it more as you force your body to finish exercises without good form. As your muscles contract you get smaller, and our natural tendency is to continually force them at expense of our posture. So a cue you’re going to hear a lot about is staying open during a movement.

To answer a couple of inevitable questions: it’s called a core workout because you are learning to engage your core in every movement that you do. If you learn to properly engage you core, and stay open as you move, your body’s potential for improvement will dramatically increase.

The next inevitable question:is this going to get me pumped and force me to bring it? In a word: yes. While you do spend a lot of time balanced in precarious stances there’s plenty of resistance movement to make you sweat and even have you screaming to finish off sets. At least that’s how it is for me.

vid: boudering legend malcomb smith describes the importance of staying open.


  • Thanks for the info. Sounds great. PS, you might wanna proof read the blog again. A few you/you/you're problems

  • Veeerrry sloppy of you, old man.

  • You need any help, boy?

  • I think this is the wrong video.

  • Proofread? What's that? No, Steve likes to fly by his pants in a more stream-of-consciousness manner. I've pointed out things before and unless it's pretty egregious he just reads it the way he thought it should have read, regardless of what's printed and leaves it in there.

  • Steve I'm not the richest man in the world, but I really like where it seems MC2 is headed.In terms of equipment is there anything that I could begin to purchase, outside of typical P90X equipment that would help me be "equipped" for MC2 ?

  • Steve,I hope people can realize and appreciate the concept(s) and purpose of MC2. While there are numerous benefits to the program that people tend to focus upon (ie. strengh conditioning, getting ripped, "bringing it", etc.) there lies beneath a more subtle (yet extremely significant) benefit … creating a "core" foundation that can support a longer (and more healthy) life. I have MANY friends in the 35-50 year age range that are prospective back surgery candidates, and even more that have already undergone spinal fusions. The ONLY solution (aside from surgery) that has worked came from one friend that has spent TONS of money working with a "movement" specialist. The specialist's solution: exactly the same principles Steve is discussing in the premise for MC2 (strengthening and balancing in specific areas to counteract our imbalances and posture). So, not only do you get to feel and look fantastic (as so many people find out), BUT you will also get an opportunity to add quality years to your life. My apologies in advance for the "rant", but this program is so much more than six-pack abs :)- Joshua

  • Nope. Just having a little trouble with my adding.

  • Any news on Ab Ripper X 2 becoming a full core program? On the video, Tony mentions it's time for us to vote whether to make it a full core program or shorten it. My vote is for full core; I love all the new moves from ARX2! As far as the revamp of Core Synergistics goes, I hope it is entirely different from the P90X version. Into my third round, I tend to use Total Body Plus or ARX2 instead of Core Synergistics because I feel they do much more for me.

  • very interesting and makes a lot of sense. It harkens back to when I started my Beachbody journey – the primary directive for me if you will was to finish the program. Meaning to finish it healthy. I had encountered a rash of injuries from imbalanced training of one form or another over the years. Commitment and intensity were never an issue it was keeping everything in balance. The muscle confusion worked for me in that way. I think yoga also has that effect – of making strong range greater and rebalancing me for growth. I like the fact you are training the weak muscles first. Great idea

  • Mc2 will be a full core program. Every has abs. You see them by reducing your body fat, so "ab" programs that only target the abdominal muscles are just silly. Equip is optional, but you'll want to have as much as you can. Pull-up bar, a stability ball (45, 55, 65cm–larger is easier), some medicine balls (I have four and a basketball I use) of varying weights. A stretching strap and/or resistance bands (I use a variation of things. For a stretch assist I've use hotel towel and belt loops on my pants), one resistance band for pull aparts (the same style of band we'll use with Asylum is best but anything stretchy works), and a pull-up assist, which is very optional but also one of the most beneficial pieces of equipment because it makes it easier to stay open while doing pull-ups.

  • Oh, yeah, I'm not that big on survival or 'this saved my life' kind of stories but working on this program has fixed my back, after all the docs and chiros I went to just wanted to manipulate bones or do surgery. When you get the body to move like it's supposed to you simply have fewer problems.

  • Good job on getting with the P90X program. It IS hard work and it WILL make a difference, but it seems you've been through it before so you'll know all about that :).

  • Hey there Steve! Alright so I heard that in quote for the Mass program that is being created for P90X MC2 is that you said, "I think you’ll be surprised at how much mass we can create without a squat rack and 1,000 pound Olympic set." After hearing that, because I body-build, it sounds like you're STILL just going to be be using your own body weight, dumbbells/resistance bands, and a pull up bar all over again…I know dumbbells can be used as a barbell for squats and chest exercises but when you're putting on mass…wouldn't you want to use a large group of muscles all at once with the barbell so you don't waste time trying to improve everything at with one shot?

  • Keenan,That was in reference to a different program that we are creating. MC2 is not a mass program, and neither was 90x. You can focus on hypertrophy and gain size but at some point mass takes total dedication and 90x is based around performance, not mass. That said, everything you learn in mc2 is going to increase your ability to gain mass because you'll be working off a more stable/efficient platform.

  • what is the difference P90x MC2 from the classic P90x, should I wait MC2 or just start P90x right now.?

  • I would absolutely not wait. These programs will work great together.

Leave a Reply to Tommy Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *