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P90X Ab Ripper X Review (Abdominal Workout)

Today I felt like working my abs so I decided to do the P90X Ab Ripper X workout upon finishing my Back and Biceps routine. I have been doing Ab Ripper X about once or twice per week after various workouts because I like the intense burn that it always delivers – it seriously jolts my core every time. Even though I have a pretty fit set of abs and core, there are always times throughout the Ab Ripper X that bring major pain (i.e. are fucking tough). No matter how many times I’ve done this supplemental abs workout, I always have a tough time with a few of the exercises throughout the sequence. By the time I’m done with this ARX workout, my abs feel completely wasted and my core ends up being pretty tired for awhile.

"I hate it, but I love it"...

When I completed my first round of P90X, it wasn’t until the last 30 days that I was able to do the Ab Ripper X routine flawlessly as the crew does. I even did the advanced versions of all the exercises and still was able to do it perfectly my last few times. At this point, I don’t think my core is as strong as it was during my second 90 days of P90X, so I can’t really do everything flawlessly, but I can make it through from start to finish without any stops. There’s no denying the fact that the set of abdominal exercises in Ab Ripper X shreds my core every time; like carving a pumpkin…haha.

The P90X crew in the video does all of these exercises with nearly perfect form at a fast pace, so when you pop this DVD in your player, you need to be ready to rock and roll or you’re going to get left in the dust. I think you’ll agree with Tony Horton when he drops the classic line: “I hate it but I love it” – regarding the Ab Ripper X routine. Personally I usually dread doing Ab Ripper X, but I make myself do it anyways because I know that it will help keep my core strong. Plus the satisfaction I get from finishing this beast at the end of my workout has me feeling like an abdominal beast.

P90X Ab Ripper X Review

Tony Horton: “What’s really really amazing about Ab Ripper X is it gives people an opportunity to get the best, most ripped abdominal area they’ve ever had in their lives. We’re doing over 300 moves here, but the only way that you’re going to get the results and the sculpted abs that you want is that you’ve got to ‘Bring It’. Ab Ripper X: I hate it, but I love it.” I love the introduction from Tony because he’s right. If you hang with the crew for these abdominal exercises and finish the Ab Ripper X routine, you will notice that each time you finish it, you will be one step closer to getting ripped abs. Although this alone won’t get you a ripped core (you need to lose fat in the area first), in combination with the other P90X workouts, it will help you significantly improve.

If you are doing P90X, you should be familiar with the fact that you are expected to do Ab Ripper X three times per week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) after your main strength workouts. Ab Ripper X is scheduled to be done immediately after the following workouts: Chest and Back (or Chest Shoulders and Triceps); Shoulders and Arms (or Back and Biceps); and Legs and Back. Perhaps the toughest workout to do Ab Ripper X after is the Legs and Back routine because in that workout, you end up blasting your core (especially your thighs) through a wicked combination of leg exercises and pull ups. I typically find that doing Ab Ripper X after Legs and Back is a total bitch every single time, but I force myself to fight through the pain because I know there are other people out there making this routine look easy.

The cast for Ab Ripper X consists of Jason a.k.a. The Rib King, Adam (the guy from Yoga X), and Audra (from the X Stretch). The cast for Ab Ripper X consists of a team of total abdominal bosses – I don’t think Tony could have gotten a more abdominally ripped crew. In addition to the crew, the head honcho Tony steps in and shows you how the moves are done if you are confused. Many of the exercises have a standard version and an advanced version (for people that already have super ripped cores).

The time of the Ab Ripper X workout is approximately 16 minutes. The reason that it’s short is due to the fact that it’s a secondary, supplemental workout. By the time you’re done meeting the Ab Ripper X, you will realize that 16 minutes is more than enough time to absolutely demolish your core. Every time I do Ab Ripper X I basically put my core through 16 minutes of hell (despite the fact that during one move my heels go to the heavens) in order to maintain strong abs. If you are doing P90X, you will learn to appreciate the overall toughness of this abdominal routine as you progress through your 90 day journey.

P90X Ab Ripper X Workout Exercises

Tony makes it clear that this is NOT Ab Ripper 100 to 200, rather it’s Ab Ripper 339…haha. I personally love Ab Ripper 200, but this routine is a little bit tougher (especially if you are doing the advanced version of these moves). In Ab Ripper X there are a total of 11 exercises – each of which is done for 25 reps (with the exception of Leg Climbs). Just know that when you start this DVD, you need to be all set up with your yoga mat – no messing around because they begin working out immediately.

My abs look pretty legit when I flex...

In and Outs

The first move in the Ab Ripper X sequence is the “In & Outs.” To do these, you sit on your mat lift your legs and keep your chest up. Your legs should be close to each other in the center and you simply extend them all the way out, then bend your knees and bring them back to your chest – the full extension and knees back to your chest is one rep. The entire time, the only parts of your body that should be touching the floor is your butt and your hands. Your legs and feet should stay lifted until you have finished 25 reps.

If you want more of a challenge from the beginning and are able to do the “In and Outs” easily with your chest up, you could be like Jason and try them with your hands up. If you lift your hands because you want to be a Rib King boss, you had better use good form and keep your chest up still, otherwise you won’t feel the burn. I honestly feel the burn whether I keep my hands up or down on the ground. If you want to increase the burn, try to keep your chest up more and really engage your abs. You should feel this move in your hips, thighs, glutes, and abs if you are working hard.

Bicycles

Immediately after the “In and Outs” are done, you move on to Bicycles. Most people know how to do Bicycles, so these shouldn’t be some mysterious surprise when you get to them. The only thing that may really piss off your abs is that once you finish pedaling 50 times forward (25 reps), you have to pedal backwards 50 times for 25 more reps. If you have never done the Bicycle before to work your abs, it’s pretty easy. You simply stay sitting on your butt just like you did for the “In and Outs,” except for this move, you extend one leg straight out at a time through a pedaling motion (just like you are riding a bike). When one leg is extended, the other leg is bent with its knee by your chest. Then you continue pedaling (your feet basically extend up and out, then drop down and are brought down and in).

While you are doing this exercise, keep in mind that these aren’t the same thing as a single leg version of the “In and Outs” – this move is different because you are making a cycling type (or circular) movement with your feet as you pedal through your 25 reps. I also should note that you have the option of putting your hands on the floor by your side, or extending them straight up. I would try this routine a few times before jumping right to the extended arms version because they are already tough enough to handle for most people.

If you watch the P90X crew, you should be able to figure out Bicycles without a problem. These may seem pretty tough – especially the transition to reverse for 25 reps right after the initial 25, but keep your chest up and push through. If you keep your chest up and your legs up the entire time, you should really feel the burn in your inner thighs in addition to your abs. Hopefully you aren’t struggling too much at the end of your Reverse Bicycles because the next move is a beast frog.

Crunchy Frog

In addition to the fact that the name “Crunchy Frog” is completely awesome, this exercise will blast your abdominal muscles with some hardcore burn. To do the Crunchy Frog or froggy crunch, you sit your ass down on your yoga mat (or just stay seated from the previous exercise). Next you extend both of your arms out to their respective sides at shoulder height and lift your legs together front and center. You then extend your legs in front of you until they are completely straight, and after they have been straightened out, you bend your knees and bring your knees into your chest. As you bring your knees to your chest, you wrap your arms around your shins.

Once you are in a cannonball position, you open your arms back up and let your arms extend back out to their respective sides, and then extend your legs back out. Each time you bring your legs back in and wrap your arms counts as one rep – you repeat until you have done 25 reps. This is certainly among my favorite exercises in the Ab Ripper X routine, but it is tough for me every time. The whole key with this move is to keep your chest up as high as possible because if you lean back, you aren’t working your abs as much. Always try to maintain good balance on your butt and focus on keeping your chest up if you want to get better results.

Cross Leg Wide Leg Sit Ups

There are multiple versions of this exercise: Cross Leg Sit Ups or Wide Leg Sit Ups. Both the Cross Legged version and the Wide Legged version can be tough, so don’t think that because one is slightly more advanced than the other that you automatically need to do it; do what you can with good form. The Cross Leg version is the more advanced version of this exercise, but if your core isn’t very strong I wouldn’t try to push yourself through it because you will actually get less burn. If you decide to do the advanced version here, you had better be using good form or you won’t even work your abs.

To perform the Cross Leg Sit Ups, you simply cross your legs (i.e. sit Indian style or “pretzel style” on your mat) and lay back. After you are lying on your back, you place one of your hands on the back of your head, and the other extends straight up to the sky. You then proceed to do a sit up, but it’s a little bit different type of sit up than what most people do. As you sit up, your goal is to reach up and over with your straight arm. When you are finished with one rep, your right hand extends straight out slightly to the left as far as possible in front of your left knee (at an angle). The next rep you switch and reach with your left hand at an angle to the right (aligned with your right knee). With this exercise, you aren’t simply doing a diagonal sit up though, you are reaching up as high as possible first, and at the peak of your reach, you make a diagonal twist to touch opposite hand and foot.

If you are doing the Wide Leg Sit Ups, your overall motion is the same as the Cross Leg Sit Ups – reaching up and over. The only major difference is that your legs are extended onto the floor and are positioned as wide as possible. In other words, you don’t keep your legs in a pretzel the entire time – you extend them straight out. You can still get a really good burn with this version of the move if you do it properly, so don’t think you need to be the rib king and do them the advanced way from the start. During this exercise, you should focus on keeping your chin up (don’t let it rest on your chest) if you want the best results.

Fifer Scissors

I’ll start out by saying that Fifer Scissors are pretty much equivalent to an abdominal nuke. If someone dropped a nuke on your abs, doing Fifer Scissors is pretty much equivalent to what you would feel during the explosion. The contraction of your abs will probably be at an all-time high as you near the end of the 25 reps of this exercise. When I first started doing Fifer Scissors (a couple years back) I had a very difficult time with this exercise. Near the very end of my first 90 days of P90X was when I was finally able to do these flawlessly from start to finish with the crew. These days I have a much tougher time making it through all 25 reps from start to finish because I don’t do Ab Ripper X as consistently as I used to, but I still survive.

To do the wicked Fifer Scissors, you start out lying on your back with both legs extended straight out and your arms on the floor by your side. One of your legs should only be about a couple inches off of the floor and the other should be extended straight up (or as straight as possible) so that your legs look like a pair of open scissors. You change the positioning of your legs (alternating) so that they cut like a scissor whenever you hear Tony count the next number. You do a total of 25 reps here, but they are tough because Tony counts slower than paint dries. Seriously though the fact that he counts slowly is good for your abs, but you will need to dig down deep and fight near the end of these.

I struggle with these almost every single time (and my abs are in good shape), but I push through anyways and am always up for the challenge. If you are just starting out with Ab Ripper X, you may need to pause the DVD and do these on your own or do them at a quicker pace for your initial few times. Always fight to do your best though and make improvements each time you do this routine. While doing Fifer Scissors, you will want to keep in mind Tony’s two tips: flex your feet and straighten your legs the best you can – these will help you get even more burn if you are advanced.

The other tip that you should remember while doing these is to always “breathe.” Although you may have a tough time breathing during Fifer Scissors because your abs are flexed super tight, taking deep breaths will help you last longer before completely collapsing. If you follow the tips and do your best here, you will get great results from the Ab Ripper X routine. You had better be ready though because the next couple moves after Fifer Scissors will engage the same abdominal muscles that just got obliterated during this move.

Hip Rock N Raise

This exercise called the Hip Rock N Raise is easier than the Fifer Scissors that just carved up your abs, but it’s still pretty beastly. To do the Hip Rock N Raise, you stay lying down on your mat, and you bring the heels of your feet together so that your knees flare out to the side. In other words, the lower half of your body (i.e. your legs) should be in a diamond formation – the distance between your upper legs and lower legs is the same. Once again your hands stay by your sides and you do a little “Rock” back with your “Hips” and “Raise” your toes upwards towards the sky.

Once you have rocked your hips and raised your lower half up, you lower your legs back down (while maintaining the diamond form), but you do not bring them all the way down to the ground. Your feet should come within an inch or two of the ground, but they should never touch if you want to follow the P90X crew. Each time you rock your hips and raise your feet up in the diamond position counts as one rep and you are expected to do 25 total just like the other moves. While you are doing these, you should make sure that you aren’t bringing your feet too far back. After you do your rock, you should raise them straight up when they are in line with your waist.

If you start rocking and your feet end up aligned with your chest or shoulders, you aren’t doing the move properly. Tony points out what good form for the Hip Rock N Raise is if you watch the DVD closely. I have a much easier time with these than Fifer Scissors, but this is still a pretty fucking tough move given its respective positioning in this workout (after the Fifers). Anyways, after you crank out 25 reps of these, your abs will feel like they have survived some serious torture, but if you listened to Tony, he mentioned the fact that, “We’re already halfway, parties almost over, what a bummer” – so you know there’s still the second half of the party abdominal murder…haha.

Pulse Ups (Heels to Heaven)

In my opinion, the toughest sequence of this entire Ab Ripper X workout is the trio of Fifer Scissors, Hip Rock N Raise, followed by Pulse Ups a.k.a. Heels to the Heavens. The reason that I think these three moves are the toughest sequence is partly based on the fact that they all seem to contract my full abdominal region and are all back-to-back-to-back. In order to properly do Pulse Ups, you stay lying on your back and bring both legs together while extending them straight up towards the sky. In other words, your legs should be locked straight up and your heels should be towards the heavens.

Once your heels are pointed towards the heavens, you do a little “Pulse Up” just like the name implies so that you are lifting your butt off the ground. Each time you lift your butt up with straight legs, you have done one rep. As you drop your butt back down, but make sure that you keep your heels up and maintain fully extended, locked legs. Another important thing to note is that when you “Pulse Up,” you should not be rocking backwards – your feet should go straight up so that your feet stay aligned with your waist the entire time.

The goal with these is to focus on maintaining straight, locked legs the entire time. When you pulse up and then drop your butt back down, your legs will have a tendency to drift downward, but you need to fight to maintain the straightness. Just like the other exercises, you need to do 25 reps of the Pulse Ups before moving on to the next exercise. I always feel a wicked burn after about 15 reps and my mind wants me to give up because my abs are contracted to the max (and it hurts), but I fight until I reach 25. By the time I finish my 25 reps, I know that the toughest sequence of this workout is over and the rest of the routine should be easier.

V Up Roll Up Combos

The V Up Roll Up Combos are one of my favorite exercises in this routine because they do a nice job at engaging my abs and aren’t nearly as ruthless as the previous three moves. To perform the V Up Roll Up Combos, you start out lying on your back with your legs fully extended on the floor. First you do a Roll Up which is basically nothing more than a sit up with fully extended legs on the floor. While you are at the top of your Roll Up, you touch your toes, then drop back down so that you are in the same starting position. When you drop back, you should maintain fully extended arms by your shoulders and your arms shouldn’t come past your shoulders.

After you have done your initial Roll Up, you then want to do a V Up to complete the combo. To do the V Up, you lift your legs off the ground and extend them skyward and as you do another sit up (this time a V Up) you try to touch your toes with your hands. Then as you drop back down, keep your arms extended out, and lower your feet to the ground to do another Roll Up. You alternate between V Ups and Roll Ups until you reach a total of 25 reps – each individual move counts as a single rep so you really only do like 13 Roll Ups and 13 V Ups (I usually do 26 reps to keep it equal on both the V Ups and Roll Ups).

This is one of the easier abdominal exercises in the Ab Ripper X routine, but if you are using good form, are straightening your legs, and touching your toes at the top of each of the V Ups, you will feel the crunch. When you have finished your V Up Roll Up Combos, the next move shifts total focus to the murdering of your obliques.

Oblique V Ups

Although Oblique V Ups can be a byatch sometimes, I still enjoy them because I know I can survive 25 reps per side without too much trouble. The nice thing about the Oblique V Ups is that they specifically target your obliques, so even though your abs will still have to work, your obliques will be the primary victim in this particular move – your abs may feel the pain from some ricocheted bullets though. To perform the Oblique V Ups, you lie on your side and allow the arm (on the same side of your body that you are lying on) extend out straight on the ground towards your knees (keeping it close to your body and parallel).

Me doing Oblique V Ups... swag

Once you are lying on your side and have one arm down, bring the hand of your other arm behind your head – bending at the elbow so that your elbow flares out. Next, you stack your legs and position your legs so that they are slightly angled from your waist. After you have your legs stacked and angled, you simply do a crunch so that you lift your shoulder off the ground and legs off of the ground at the same time. Your goal here is to touch your elbow to your knee at the top of your crunch. After your knee and elbow have made contact, you lower your legs and shoulder back down close to the ground (but neither should actually touch the ground). You then proceed to crank out 25 reps of these Oblique V Ups on each side of your body.

After you have finished 25 reps on one side, you simply roll on your other side and do the exact same thing for 25 more reps. You should notice that your obliques are heavily engaged during this exercise – if you don’t, then you may need to check your form and make sure you are following the protocol set by Tony and the crew. Your body should look somewhat like a V formation while you are at the top of each V Up.

Leg Climbs

When you have finished your Oblique V Ups, you are probably wondering when the eff this routine will end (especially if it’s your first time) because your abs are straight up toasted, but there’s more abdominal goodness on deck. Fortunately though, there are really only two more exercises so you’re in luck if you feel like your abs are undergoing a scientifically engineered implosion process. Anyways, this exercise called Leg Climbs should seem easy as fawk compared to the other moves in this workout.

Leg Climbs are the easiest exercise in this entire routine not only because you are only expected to do 12 reps per side, but because you can use your hands to climb up your leg. Despite the fact that they are easy, there is a more advanced version for people that think they are “too easy.” Additionally, if you are using good form throughout these Leg Climbs, you will still feel the abdominal engagement. These still give me a pretty nice burn before I’m through with them and I think you’ll realize the same thing if you use good form.

To properly perform leg climbs, you lie down on your back, place the soles of your shoes flat on the floor like you would for standard sit ups or crunches. While you are back, you keep one foot planted on the ground and you extend your other leg straight up – this is the leg that you will “climb.” Keep your leg extended and do a sit up, reach out and “climb” up your leg until your hands reach your toes (or as far as possible). After you have reached the toes of the leg that is fully extended in the air, you reverse the sit up, drop back down, and then repeat for 12 leg climbs.

Then you put the leg that was extended in the air on the ground (planted with the foot) and extend the leg that was planted so that you are now climbing the opposite leg for 12 more reps. I honestly don’t know why it’s only 12 reps per side here, I could have managed 25 reps per side, but it’s all good (I usually do 13 per side just so that I’m doing over 25 reps total and keeping it consistent). If these seem easy for you, there are a couple ways to make them more advanced. The first way to make them more advanced is to not climb your leg at all – just reach straight up and grab your toe with zero climbs. If you can’t yet reach your toes without a climb, try to use less climbs – the lesser number of climbs, the tougher these will be.

Tony Horton also points out another way to make these tougher by moving the foot that is planted on the ground further inwards towards your butt. The exact opposite also applies: If you want to make these easier, you can plant your foot further away from your butt. I always fly through these because they really aren’t that tough, but the advanced version is certainly pretty wicked. I’m not quite badass enough to reach my toes with zero climbs because I’m not that flexible in my hamstrings, but I usually tuck my foot inward and go for minimal climbs to make these tough.

Mason Twist

Mason Twist is the final exercise in the Ab Ripper X workout and was named in honor of the (infamous) camera man (the guy that films Tony) Mason Bendewald. The Mason Twist offers one last chance to inflict a lasting burn to your abdominal region before the Ab Ripper X routine ends. I personally love the Mason Twist because it is challenging and always leaves me feeling completely dead in the mid-section. The Mason Twist is definitely a badass way to end the workout, especially since Tony initially leads you to believe that you are only doing 40 reps (you end up doing 50).

To perform the Mason Twist, you sit your butt down on the floor, clasp your hands together, and lift your feet up off of the ground with your legs together in the middle of your body. It should also be noted that your chest and head should be up as high as possible. Once you are in this position, you simply touch the floor with your clasped hands (i.e. interlocked fingers) to the right of your body, and then bring the clasped hands to the other side of your body and touch the floor to the left of your body. Touching the floor on both sides (right and left) counts as one total rep and your goal is to do this for 50 reps.

Depending on the workout that I usually do before Ab Ripper X, the severity of the Mason Twist ranges from pretty intense (on days with Back and Biceps) to super fucking intense (on days with Legs and Back). My tips for you during this move are to focus on lasting as long as possible. When I first started doing the Mason Twist, I had a tough time making it through 20 reps, but over time, you will improve if you keep fighting the pain with your mind.

I recommend breathing and picking up the pace if you need to, but always fight through the pain for as long as you can if you want to improve. Finally, make sure you keep your back and chest as straight as possible until you are finished. When you are done with your 50 reps – the Ab Ripper X routine is over, so throw a party, dance, scream, punch something, or just roll over in your sweat…haha.

UPDATE: Med Ball Mason

Med Ball (Mason) So Hard... MF's wanna fine me...

I decided to add my own version of this move that I like to call the “Med Ball Mason” to Ab Ripper X.  It’s the EXACT same move as the original Mason Twist except I decided to add an 8 lb. med ball that I got with P90X2.  If you decide to try it with a medicine ball, make sure you are first able to handle the Mason Twist without one.  A lot of people get hyped up with new equipment, new techniques, etc. and it’s pointless to add more if you can’t first master the original version.  Ab Ripper X has NEVER gotten “easy” for me, but I do like mixing things up and keeping it intense.

If you are wondering about rep count, I generally stick with the 50 reps (over and back counts as 1 rep) for this final move.  Once again it is imperative that you keep your chest up and try not to smash your fingers if you bring the med ball all the way down to the floor.  I have done this variation multiple times and was actually kind of surprised that it wasn’t a new move in X2 Ab Ripper (maybe they are saving it for X3? Haha, IDK).  Above is a picture of me doing the move – simply raise the legs together, grab your medicine ball (of whatever weight you think is adequate) and carry it over and back.  If you find that you are smashing your fingers each time (I did my first few times trying this move) either adjust your grip on the ball or use more control; or both.

Adding 50 to 100 or Maximum Rep Sit Ups (Advanced)

Sometimes if I’m feeling like a major boss, I will add 50 sit ups to the end of Ab Ripper X just to completely demolish my core.  I have a lot of variations of sit ups that I use, but I generally just do them standard.  I place two hands behind my head (do NOT interlock fingers), keep my elbows pointing straight, and bring my elbows up to my knees with each sit up.  I place a 45 lb. dumbbell over each foot so that my feet are anchored while I am doing these.  What’s great about Ab Ripper X is that you get to blast your abs without sit ups.  BUT, after that is over, why not just add sit ups.  I generally have a tough time doing 50 legitimate sit ups in a row after ARX, so I sometimes take little mini-mid set breaks.

Sit Ups end up knocking my core fully out of commission, but so does Ab Ripper X.  Most days when I finish ARX, I am not looking to make it more advanced by adding sit ups.  However, certain days when I feel like taking out the hammer, putting nails in the coffin, and burying my core 6 feet deep, I add standard sit ups.  If you are a pro athlete or just want to out-work everybody, you could even go for maximum rep sit ups here.  Just remember though, it is good form to come up as soon as your shoulders hit the ground and to make sure that you are NOT using momentum to get yourself up.  All of the lift should be coming from your abs and core – not from your legs or momentum.  Minimize momentum and take things slow if it helps – the burn will still arrive and deliver an R.I.P. (in multiple ways) to your abs…haha.

P90X Ab Ripper X Review (Conclusion)

As you may already know, Ab Ripper X is a phenomenal supplemental set of abdominal exercises in the P90X program. With that said, doing this routine or even mastering this routine is not necessarily going to get you a six pack or amazing abs. There are several other components that I think are even more crucial than directly working your abs for a six pack. Obviously your dietary choices are going to play significant role in helping you achieve solid abs, so make sure you are eating healthy foods and aren’t overeating unnecessary foods.

Most people are brainwashed by TV and media to think that directly working the abs through sit ups, crunches, and the other shit products that are being marketed will get them a good looking set of abs. The way to get awesome abs is by constantly mixing up your exercises and going for total body fitness. That means doing a combination of cardio, strength, and making smart dietary decisions. I think that what most helped me improve my abs is from doing push ups, pull ups, and challenging myself with weights. Cardio helps too, but I think most people neglect strength exercises and focus too much on cardio.

If you continue to work on your diet, commit to varying your workouts, and do a combination of strength and cardio exercises, you will get a six pack over time. Throwing in an abdominal routine like Ab Ripper X basically just offers an additional abdominal boost to supplement what you already did. You really don’t even need Ab Ripper X or any direct abdominal workout at all to get a six pack, but if you add a routine like this to supplement your other main workouts, it is going to help you highlight and make your abs bolder than they were before.

How does Ab Ripper X compare to other abdominal routines?

Until recently, Ab Ripper X was really one of the only abdominal routines that I had included in my workout itinerary besides standard sit ups, bicycles, and incline sit ups. Recently I have incorporated other awesome abdominal workouts into my regimen such as Killer Abs, Insane Abs, and Abs Core Plus. Each of these routines is unique in its own way and does a nice job at getting your abs in shape. So if you are ever sick of doing the same old moves in Ab Ripper X like me, you should probably try something new. Below are three of my absolute favorite routines. I actually like them all just as much (if not more) than Ab Ripper X.

  • Killer Abs – If you are a person that thinks Ab Ripper X is easy, I will personally say that I don’t believe you. But if you do want more of a challenge, this will put your abs in a chokehold until they feel like they are ready to explode. This is a routine from the One on One with Tony Horton series and you will feel the hurt by the time you are done. This is approximately 26 minutes and it’s really nothing too complicated. The first half of the workout is Ab Ripper 200 and the second half is Ab Ripper X. Although you do 20 reps per exercise here, the Ab Ripper 200 is (in my opinion) just as tough as (if not tougher than) Ab Ripper X.
  • Insane Abs – If you are sick of Tony’s ab routines and want to mix it up, you could try Shaun T’s Insane Abs from the Insanity series. This is actually a DVD that only comes with the deluxe version of the program, but it is great and I highly recommend giving it a shot. This is one of the longer abdominal routines that I’ve ever done, but it provides great balance, a variety of exercises, and is pretty insane – especially if you do it following a workout.
  • Abs Core Plus – This is my personal favorite abdominal routine because it includes a set of exercises that are unique, effective, and challenging. There are parts during this routine where you use light dumbbells, the pull up bar, and other times when you drop down on your mat. I would highly recommend buying P90X+ just for this routine because it is seriously awesome. Although it may not be as challenging as Ab Ripper X, it has better music, the exercises, are really fun, and the routine itself is longer.

Memorizing the Ab Ripper X exercises

I know a lot of people that “memorize” the entire Ab Ripper X routine, and that’s great for when you don’t have access to your DVD or are in a hurry. However, if you do the entire thing from memory, my guess is that you probably won’t some of the exercises for as long as the crew. For example, each of the Fifer Scissors are held for a pretty long time and you do 25 reps – if you do this routine on your own, you won’t really know how long to hold each rep.

So if you want maximum challenge every single time, I would make sure that you follow the crew on the DVD. If it still seems easy, try to do the advanced version of every move (i.e. hands in the air during “In and Outs” and “Bicycles”). I honestly don’t know anyone that thinks this routine is “easy” and but if someone does, I would love to watch them go through these exercises and critique their form.

My final tip: Fight through the pain

If you want to seriously get better at Ab Ripper X and improve your abdominal fitness, you need to fight through the pain. Unless you are a genetic freak and were born with oversized abdominal muscles, you will need to work at having a strong set of abs. As with any tough workout, there will be plenty of pain, but you need to breathe deep, welcome the pain, and fight through it as long as you possibly can.

As days, weeks, months, and years pass, you will notice that you have developed a really strong core and have achieved Ab Ripper X mastery. With all of that being said, don’t expect to do this routine on Day 1 and be the Rib King on Day 3. It might take the full 90 days before you get really good at this, but in the end, if your goal was to have a strong set of abs, it will be worth fighting through the pain.

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{ 5 comments… add one }

  • nini February 29, 2012, 11:39 pm

    how many calories does p90x ab ripper burn? If I walk 4miles mon-fri, do the ab ripper mon,wed,fri, and eat 1,200-1,800 calories how long will it take for me to see results i recently lost 30lbs I’m 5’7 160lbs I want to lose 25lbs more.

    • Drew March 1, 2012, 6:58 pm

      Hey Nini, the calorie burn depends on a number of different factors including how well you are able to do all of the exercises in ARX; results can vary significantly from person to person so there is no exact answer here. If I had to guess I would say probably an average of 200 calories (assuming best possible form).

      I definitely would NOT think of ARX as a being a primary calorie burn though… it’s meant to be supplemental to an actual workout (i.e. P90X). If you are serious about getting into shape/losing weight, why not do 90 days of P90X?

      Also if you have recently lost 30 lbs. using your walking + ab ripper x combo, why not keep up that protocol if it’s working and makes you happy? I think that walking is great and underrated by many people, but if you want to lose weight quicker by working out, you need to increase both variety and continue increasing intensity…

      Mix things up. Try doing a yoga routine, try Insanity, try P90X, try a crossfit routine like http://andrewpavelski.com/2011/10/23/crossfit-angie-workout-review-wod-benchmark/ OR http://andrewpavelski.com/2011/10/15/crossfit-chelsea-workout-review-wod-benchmark/ and see if you can handle it.

      The idea is to continue pushing your current baseline fitness threshold. And keep in mind that although calorie counting can be beneficial, try to minimize junk and make sure you are getting adequate vegetables, fruits, and proteins.

      Hope this helps!

  • j-rod May 30, 2012, 5:13 pm

    Drew, dude, get out of my head. Just about everything you typed here i agree with. Especially the fifer, hip rock, and pulse ups trio which is the most damaging and difficult cycle of the workout. I need to concentrate on form and breathing just to make it through fifer and pulse ups, and over the last year I have improved so they are not as painful as they used to be. And even though i could do 26 V Up Roll Up Combos, the first time I actually touched my toes all 26 times rather than hit my ankles or shins on the V up – that was a huge benchmark for me. and you gave me a great idea. Tomorrow when I do this work out after shoulders and arms, I will try my 5 lb yoga ball for added resistance on the masons. Look forward to trying killer abs someday at your suggestion, too.

  • Z December 29, 2012, 3:01 pm

    Hey does p90x work for kids I’m currently 5 ft and weigh 96lb. I want to lose 10lb

    • Drew February 19, 2013, 11:39 pm

      It works fine for anyone, you just need to be aware of what’s going on / using proper form / the correct weight if you’re a kid.

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