Part of my birthday challenge training will be to also prep for a round of P90X2 that I plan to do starting first of the year. I’m easily fit enough to begin it without any special prep but that can lead to some serious breakdown because the fitter you are the more hurt you can put on yourself when you start training in a different realm than you’re used to. This post will have some tips on how to prepare yourself so that X2 doesn’t cripple you out of the gate.
A good example of what I’m talkin’ about can be found on my original P90X blog from 2003 (before we’d filmed anything so I’m training off of notes—re-read it and noted that we’d yet to name the workouts, hence things like “Legs and Pull-ups” and “The Gun Show”). I’d just finished a full bike racing/multisport season, so I was fit. But I’d done almost no upper body training and needed to get ready for a birthday challenge, quickly, and the first few weeks were ugly. I was so broken down that I could barely get my arms overhead to wash my hair. Of course I adapted, eventually, and ended up having one of my more kick-ass birthday challenges that year but phase one was absolutely brutal. That kind of pain is not a prerequisite. With a little forethought you can avoid having this happen to you.
First I should discuss how variable the P90X2 program is. You don’t necessarily need to be prepped if you’re the type of person who’s able to use restraint. Every move in the program offers not only an easier modification but also a band only version that can be done in just about any hotel room. So we’ve set it up so that you can ease into it. However, if you’re the type who’s going to try and keep up with Tony, keep reading.
Secondly there’s a huge group of you who’ve done 90X over and over and are now doing Asylum hybrids. The only possible better way to prep is to have done the P90X One on One MC2 series cause, ya know, those were pretty much the test workouts for X2. If you’ve done P90X or more you are ready, fitness wise, though you will benefit if you add some of these workouts to your program. I also recommend taking a good two to three week long recovery cycle before you begin.
This prep phase will be done in three blocks and is designed for fit people who’ve been away from weight training for a while. This group includes athletes coming off of a season, cardio junkies who’ve been doing Insanity or Turbo Fire or something similar, or those who’ve been training with a general gym program or one of our intro programs, like Power 90 or Slim in 6 and want to start building some specificity for the types of things you’re going to see in X2.
If you’re still struggling in an intro program you’ll want to keep doing it. Harder is only better when your body is ready. Remember that our “easier” programs get the same results as our hard programs because they target a less fit demographic. If you’re un-fit, be realistic and milk the easier programs for all the results you can get. When you start to plateau—usually you’ll notice the program no longer feels as challenging—is when you’ll want to switch. Not before.
non-specific training has many benefits beyond happy dogs and great scenery
My schedule is going to have a ton of non-specific training: climbing, biking, rehab/prehab workouts. I’m only adding a couple of X2-style workouts per week for specificity in block one. For your own training you can keep doing what you’re doing and simply add a couple of workouts from the below list. The main goal of block one is resistance work on an unstable platform of some kind so get yourself a balance ball (45, 55, or 65cm) and some med balls or similar (basketball, football, or anything you can prop yourself on–chair, couch, bed–will work). Prior to the filming of X2 Tony had been working on unstable platforms for more than four years, which you know if you’re a One on One prescriber. It takes a while to get this stuff down. The earlier you get a jump on it the better the program will work for you.
X2 doesn’t launch til X-Mas, so there’s no rush. For the first couple of weeks swap out two workouts per week with something from the following list. I will put these in order of specific effectiveness in case you want to buy from the list. The goal is to get used to instability and increase your unilateral balance. Also, once a week do this workout and some yoga (any yoga).
P90X One on One: Core/Syn MC2, Total Body X, 4 Legs, Upper Body Balance, Base & Back
P90X: Core Synergistics, Legs & Back
P90X+: Total Body Plus, Upper Body Plus