Today I did the P90X2 Total Body workout with Tony Horton because I literally couldn’t hold back the excitement since getting my shipment of P90X2 in the mail! Christmas was fun, New Years was cool, but I was probably most excited when the delivery man hauled in my big ass box of P90X2 gear in the mail which included: medicine balls, a stability ball, a foam roller, and all of the DVD’s. Hopefully he remembered to use good form and didn’t throw out his back hauling it to the door.
Anyways, since the world didn’t end and I’m still alive, I decided that today would be a good day for a strength routine. Since I normally do Strength routines on Monday, I decided to cherry pick a workout of my choice – which ended up being X2 Total Body. I guess I’m kind of being a rebellious mofo and cherry picking DVD’s in the order that I want partly because I want to experience them all at least once before starting up my 90 days.
I purchased the P90X2 Deluxe Edition and there are 14 workouts – I plan on writing a review of each before I embark on my full 90 day journey. When I start my 90 day journey, I will likely keep track of each day in a journal format on my website for peeps to follow if they want. Hopefully my initial 14 reviews are extensive enough as to provide you with some insight as to what you can expect during these new P90X2 workouts.
P90X2 Total Body Review
My first impression of the P90X2 Total Body workout was that it was a great routine and a lot of fun. Nearly all of the exercises were new to me and I was able to challenge myself as much as I wanted with maximum reps and adjusting my weights to as heavy as I wanted. This routine gave my body a great workout from head to toe. It is a fast paced routine that will challenge people of even elite fitness levels. I noticed that nearly every exercise managed to either directly or indirectly engage the muscles in your core. This workout contained a little bit of everything including variations of pull ups, push ups, curls, tricep extensions, and shoulder presses.
P90X2 Total Body Workout (Video Preview)
What I really liked about this routine is that Tony decided to not only make sure that my muscles get worked hard, but that I was maintaining proper control and balance the entire time as well. The medicine balls were used effectively and the stability ball was used brilliantly in the specific case of the exercise appropriately dubbed “Boing Push Ups.” I thoroughly enjoyed nearly all of the exercises with the exception of the 1 Arm Chest Press. The only reason I didn’t like that move is because I wanted to use heavier weight, but I was afraid that if I did, I would lose my balance and control (it is still a great move though).
By the time I had finished the Total Body routine, the sweat was pouring, my muscles were pretty tired, and I felt like my body had been worked in a completely different way than ever before. I freaking love new workouts and this one was awesome because nearly every move was both fun and challenging. I not only was happy with the workout that I got, but I was so excited to have done my first P90X2 workout that I was tempted to do the entire routine again later in the day. No way I would have been able to handle it though, I was pretty tired after this routine coupled with the new abs workout.
The X2 Total Body routine is divided up into 2 Rounds of 12 exercises over the course of about 40 minutes (the warm up and cool down make the total time over 60 minutes). There are 4 water breaks evenly dispersed after every 6 exercises to help you stay hydrated. After you have finished the first round, you repeat the same 12 exercises from the first round in the exact same order. The only difference between the first and second round (besides the fact that you’ll be more tired in the second) is that for some of the balance curls and kickbacks, you will have to remember to balance on the opposite leg of that in the first round.
Jeremy (this guy is to P90X what Jared is to Subway; dude used to weigh 370 lbs.) but he became a total P90X2 boss and lost a shit ton of weight (oh and he’s wearing Zigteks), Dreya Weber (she definitely OD’d on Shakeology cuz she is literally way too amped for this routine), Andy (the guy with an “X2” haircut just to be extra cool) and Tony Horton (his comedy was slacking a little bit – but still made some hilarious comments about aliens coming or something). Tony says that Dreya has worked with the likes of Cher and Pink and jokes that people demanded that she return for P90X2 or they wouldn’t buy the DVDs…haha.
To do the X2 Total Body workout, you should have the following: Stability Ball, Foam Roller, a set of Dumbbells, Chin Up Bar, and 2 Medicine Balls. Obviously you can still do the workout if you don’t have a foam roller (it’s only used for some stretching). Hopefully you have a stability ball and a couple of medicine balls that came with your deluxe package. Dumbbells are way better than using bands, but bands are better than nothing. I recommend buying a set of dumbbells or Bowflex Selecttech so that you have a full set and are ready for everything. Choosing heavy dumbbells will help you build muscle faster and be way more of a challenge than using bands. In case you don’t already know, bands suck.
P90X2 Total Body Workout
Tip of the day: “Flex it; flex everything!” (Quads, pelvis, butt, core – the whole 9 yards).
The warm up for this routine was really long at 13 minutes, but I felt really loosened up by the time it was over. I honestly thought that it was a little bit too long – especially with some of the stretches that we did, but I guess it’s better to be loose than tight and pull something. I have never pulled anything while doing a workout and I’m more of an advocate for stretching after workouts because before isn’t really as necessary as people think. It was cool to see some new warm up moves though.
- Twist – You grab the stability ball (or a towel) with fully extended arms and twist your body from side to side, while maintaining locked out arms. You are to grip the ball with one hand on each side and rotate your hips and feet as the move for 10 total reps. This was surprisingly a good exercise for a warm up.
- Squat – After the Twist, you do 10 squats with the stability ball. Stand with parallel feet, keep a grip on each side of the stability ball, and as you squat down, you lift the ball up over your head. When you rise up, the ball comes back to chest height and you repeat.
- Side Stretch – Holding the stability ball over your head, you simply lean to the side so that you feel a stretch. Holding the stability ball does a nice job at keeping your arms engaged and will give you a good stretch. Switch sides for a total of 10 side stretches before moving on. If your ceiling is low, the ball may come in contact with the ceiling at the top of each hold, so just substitute in a towel if that’s the case.
- Alt Back Lunge – Here you do 10 step back lunges with the stability ball; alternating feet with each step. Watch Tony’s legs on this one because instead of keeping your back leg straight like traditional lunges, he wants you to do them with bent knees (apparently it engages the glute more). Also, make sure that you lift the ball above your head with each lunge; bring it back down as you step back in.
- Atlas – Separate your legs pretty wide just like you are doing loading dock. You basically do a side lunge turn. Hold the stability ball down near your ankle and bend your back leg just like you did for the previous exercise. Then twist your body and lift the ball diagonally up above your head as you turn your body. You will do a total of 6 reps per side.
- Foam Rolling – I personally would rather just stretch on my own than mess around with the foam rolling in the warm up, but since I have a spiked foam roller a.k.a. the rumble roller, I decided to try it out. Then I stretched out my shoulders and triceps with some of my own stretches. I did do some rolls on my back and it felt amazing on my upper back – I got a few snap crackles and pops too…haha.
- Roller Angel – Lay on your rumble roller so that your spine is vertically lined up with your roller and do some wide shoulder pulls. So reach up above your head, and pull your elbows wide while you are lying down.
- Roller Sphinx – Put your elbows and forearms on your roller and flex your body. Basically you are in sphinx position, but you need to squeeze your butt, drive your heels back, and keep your core engaged.
- World’s Greatest Stretch – You drop down into Runner’s Stretch which Tony calls “World’s Greatest Stretch” for some reason. It is a great stretch, but world’s greatest? Nah nah nah man. To do this stretch, you get down into runner’s stretch, then lift your arm to the sky, then switch arms (exactly like what we do in Insanity’s warm up). Then we come to a Frog Squat, and alternate sides and do the same thing. You alternate back and forth until you’re feeling loose.
- Inch Worm – Stand with straight legs, then bend your waist and drop your hands to the floor in front of your feet. After your hands are on the floor, you walk your feet into your hands like an “inch worm.” Then come back up, drop your hands to the floor, walk them forward, then walk your feet to your hands and repeat.
- Scorpion – I actually really liked the Scorpion because it felt really good in my leg and back. You lie down on the floor on your stomach, spread your arms out to the side like you are being crucified, and bend one of your legs while lifting it as high as possible. After it is lifted high, you twist to the side, then bring it back down and switch legs. This cracked my back a few times and it felt awesome.
- Groiners – This is a movement that is designed to get your groins loosened up. To do the “groiners” you get into a lunge position and bring both hands on the instep of your foot. While keeping your hands on the floor, you hop your front foot back and your back foot forward and alternate for 20 reps. If you are doing it properly, you should feel the stretch in your groins.
- Table – This is the same Table from Yoga X where you plant your feet on the floor, plant your hands on the floor (aligned with your shoulders), and lift your chest up so that you look like a table.
- Scapular Retraction – Go to your pull up bar, hang on it with fully extended arms, and contract your shoulders and back a few times to get the muscle groups warmed up.
Round #1: X2 Total Body
1 Arm Chest Press
The very first exercise in the Total Body routine is the One Arm Chest Press. For this particular exercise, you need your stability ball and one fairly heavy dumbbell. Instead of using a bench, you need to lie back on your stability ball (keeping your feet on the ground) and find optimal balance. After you have found your balance, you lift the single dumbbell with one arm so that it is in position for an upward press. The hand without weight rests on your hip as you complete as many presses as possible in the time duration.
After you have finished your presses on one side, you switch the weight from one arm to the other and go for maximum reps for the remaining time. Once again the other arm rests on your hip (on the same side) as you maintain balance and control through this chest press. If you want, you can even add a little twist of your wrist as you move the weight from low to high.
I managed to do 8 reps per side during my first round with a 70 lb. dumbbell. It was honestly pretty damn tough to maintain control with 70 lbs. and my arms couldn’t handle any more than 8 reps with that weight. I recommend choosing a light weight because if you lose your balance with a weight that’s teetering on the edge of being too heavy, you might get hurt. So stay safe with this first move out of the gate.
4 Position Pull Ups
I guess the only reason I’m glad I have a door mount pull up bar is so that I can do moves like the 4 Position Pull Up. If you have a standard pull up bar, you could still probably think of 4 variations to do here like: wide, standard, chin up, and closed grip. Since I have the Beachbody bar in the house, I am able to do the move just like the P90X2 crew.
The four points for the 4 Position Pull Up include: 1 wide front pull up, 1 inward hand pull up (hands facing each other), 1 close grip overhand pull up, and 1 chin up. You are supposed to do the 4 types of pull ups in the exact order that they are listed. In between each pull up, your feet should touch the ground very briefly just so that you can make the switch to your hand grip positioning.
At first I thought that this was going to be a joke because I hate doing pull ups where I have to constantly make transitions. However, due to the fact that they give you a lot of time for this particular exercise allowed me to build up a nice burn despite the fact that there were constant transitions. Usually when my feet hit the ground and I’m messing around with the switches, it really screws up the burn, but here it didn’t because I was quick, went for maximum reps, and the timer was pretty long.
I wasn’t quite sure how to count the reps for these because it wasn’t totally explained by Tony. I ended up doing a total of 24 pull ups or 6 rounds of the four positions in the time duration. I consider myself to be pretty good at pull ups and they are one of my favorite exercises, so I was happy with what I did here. I probably would have gone for another 30 seconds if the timer would have kept going. This was an exercise that I really enjoyed – people of all skill levels can do these because their feet hit the ground on the transition. If he would have expected us to do these without feet touching the ground, that would have been on some next level P90X3 type shit, but I still would have tried it…haha.
Push Up Side Arm Balance
The Push Up Side Arm Balance is a lot tougher than it looks because instead of doing traditional push ups, you are doing them while balancing on 2 medicine balls. If you ordered the deluxe P90X2 like I did, you should have gotten dual 8 pound med balls for this exercise. Place your medicine balls shoulder width apart, do a push up. At the top of your push up, you turn your body and balance on one arm (lifting your other arm as you turn your body). Basically you will now be in a “side arm balance” position with one hand on the medicine ball. If you don’t flex your core here and really focus, you are probably going to either: A) Fall B) Get hurt or C) Both A and B.
After you’re in the side arm balance position, hold it for a second (i.e. isometric hold), add the leg raise if you want to be more advanced, then come back down, do another push up, and do a side arm balance on the other arm. Go for maximum reps with both speed and control until the timer is done. This is P90X2 so hopefully you made it through the original P90X before doing this program. With that said, if you need to, you can always modify by just doing maximum rep push ups here or by alternating between side arm balances.
I a little bit upset that I didn’t watch this move closely before starting because I was making it more advanced than needed to be done. During the “side arm balance” portion of the exercise, I was stacking my feet instead of just twisting them like Tony and the crew. Stacking your feet will take longer and will make it even tougher to maintain balance. Not only was I stacking my feet during this balance though, but I was adding the leg raise – so my reps were a bit slower. Nostalgia: You do this exact same move in P90X Core Synergistics, but in that routine you aren’t med ballin.
The medicine balls make this exercise a lot tougher because they force you to focus on staying balanced and engaging your core. If you don’t stay focused on this particular move, you might end up snapping your wrist, so get your mind right, channel your inner Zen, do whatever you need to do. In addition to engaging more muscles due to being off balance, the med balls also give you deeper range of motion at the bottom of each push up – which ends up delivering more overall burn to your muscles. I managed to do 18 reps of this exercise on the first round, and I thought I was going at a pretty quick speed. Then again, I was doing military push ups (elbows straight back) instead of normal ones because I like to challenge myself.
Switch Lunge Press
My first time doing the Switch Lunge Press was pretty damn confusing because I wasn’t sure how many reps we were going to do. I was confused as to whether the combination of stepping forward and backwards counted as a single rep or whether taking one step in either direction counted as a rep. It turned out that I ended up doing more than 12 reps the first round because I thought that I needed to take a total of 24 steps for 12 reps. Luckily I quick replayed a portion of the tape and realized that I only needed to do 12 reps for the next round.
For the first round of these, Tony makes it clear that you are stepping with the right leg only. So to do the Switch Lunge Press, you grab some dumbbells (on the lighter side) and hold them above your shoulders with your knuckles facing backwards. Step forwards with your right leg into a lunge and as you are lunging, press the weights up at the same time above your head. The step forward and lunge press counts as one rep. After you have finished one rep forwards, you step back so that your feet are now even.
Your next move is going to be a step back with your right foot into another lunge. On the transition between front and back lunge, you want to turn your wrists so that your knuckles are now facing forward. Then as you step back for the back lunge, you do another press upwards, but twist your wrists so that your knuckles are facing the back by the time your arms are at the top of the press. This type of press is called an “Arnold” or “Arnold Press” because it involves the twist. After your back lunge with the Arnold, you step back up to normal position and you are done with your second rep. Then you step forward and continue the entire sequence until you have completed a total of 12 reps: 6 forward lunges and 6 step back lunges.
I ended up choosing 25 lbs. per side for this move and it was pretty damn tough. My arms were already feeling it from the first few moves (press, pull ups, and push ups) so I couldn’t handle a super heavy weight. I was able to finish all 12 reps with 25 lb. dumbbells, but it got pretty tough at the end. If you don’t feel a burn in your last 4 reps or so, you probably should increase your weights.
Warrior 3 Kickback
Remember good old Warrior 3 pose from Yoga X? Well here you get down into Warrior 3 position – which involves balancing on one leg, keeping your arms extended straight forward, and your back leg extended straight back. In other words, you should look like a tabletop that is balancing on a single leg; your body is completely horizontal (parallel to the floor). This may be a tough position to maintain, but it will really help if you engage your core and focus on balance. I should mention that there are also moves done in Upper Body Plus and Total Body Plus in this position with weights – if you have done those workouts, you should get the general idea.
To do the Warrior 3 Kickback, you grab dumbbells in each hand, get into Warrior 3 position, and bend your arms at the elbow. Bring the weights up to your shoulders, but keep your elbows locked in position by your side. You then do triceps kickbacks or triceps extensions with both arms at the same time. So initially your arms are bent, and then you kick the weights back and your arms become straight. Hold the weight at the top for a second, and then bring it back in towards your shoulders.
The goal here is to maintain a good Warrior 3 pose while doing the triceps kickbacks. Keep your back leg as high as possible, keep your back flat and look down at the ground the entire time. Your elbows should be like a hinge while you are doing your kickbacks, but you shouldn’t be moving your elbows up and down much. I ended up using 20 lb. dumbbells per side and it was the perfect weight for me to do 10 reps. I wouldn’t recommend a super heavy weight here because you need to focus on balance too. Oh and I should mention that in this first round, you balance on one leg the entire time. In the second round, you switch legs and balance on the opposite.
Warrior 3 Curl
Just like the previous move, you need to get into the Warrior 3 position before starting. However, instead of balancing on the same leg for both the Warrior 3 Kickback and the Warrior 3 Curls, Tony instructs you to switch legs. So if you were balancing on the left leg for the W3 Kickback, you need to switch and balance on the right leg for the W3 Curl. This time, instead of doing Kickbacks, you are doing Curls. I recommend increasing your weight a little bit here because curls are easier to do for most people than triceps kickbacks.
I chose to use 25 lbs. per side and managed to do 10 reps of curls while in the Warrior 3 position. These are obviously harder than standard curls because you are using your core for balance, are standing on one leg, and your body is like a tabletop. Do however many reps you can – if you do over 15 curls, you probably should increase your weights. As you get more flexible and improve your ability to hold Warrior 3, the less you will have to focus on balance, and the easier time you will have with the curls.
Flexibility has always been a weakness of mine, and although I don’t care that much about being flexible, I do like the fact that this is challenging and makes me focus on balance. When you have to focus on balancing, while doing something like curls, it makes the exercise tougher in part because more muscles are being engaged; you are using your entire core to balance in Warrior 3 and it is flexed tight.
Water Break – Woop woop, I guess it’s time to party! I was surprised that there was a break here, but I was also glad because I needed some agua. The break is 45 seconds, so shake it out, write down your reps, and get ready for the next exercise.
Boing Push Ups or Plyo Push Ups
First of all, I want to say that Boing Push Ups are insanely fucking fun! If you don’t like these, I don’t like you…haha. I had so much fun with these that I wanted to keep doing them even after the timer had clocked out. If you haven’t yet done this routine, you’re probably thinking cool name, but how do you do a “Boing” push up? In order to do the Boing Push Ups, you need a stability ball – if you don’t have a stability ball (or physio ball), you can’t do them. Hopefully you didn’t mess around when it came to ordering X2 and you just ordered the deluxe because it came with one.
Once you have your stability ball, you grip it so that each of your hands are on their respective side of the ball. Your fingers should be pointed downward and you should have a good grip on the ball before you attempt one of these push ups. When you are ready to begin and have a good grip, place your chest slightly above the ball, and bring your toes to the floor while maintaining fully extended legs. When you are ready, you “push up” so that your body pops up, and while you are popping up, you bend your elbows and bring the medicine ball to your chest while in mid air suspension. When you pop up and are in mid air, your body stays pretty straight – think of your body like a giant lever.
After you have brought the ball to your chest, you extend your arms back out quickly, place the ball on the floor, and do another push up with your ball. If you have trouble with this move, you can rest your chest on the ball at the bottom of each rep to make things easier. However, if you are ready for the X2 workouts, your chest should NOT be “resting” on the ball at the bottom of each rep. As you will quickly find out, the whole “Boing” effect comes from the bounce that the ball provides at the bottom of each rep.
If you don’t have a stability ball, life sucks – get one. Fortunately, although life sucks without a stability ball, there is an alternative option to the fun “Boing Push Ups.” The alternative here is to do Plyo Push Ups (also called “Clap Push Ups). If you watch the crew, Andy does the Plyo Push Ups which involve jumping at the top of each push up and clapping while suspended in air. Both of your feet and hands should be getting air on each one of the Plyo Push Ups.
Although the Boing Push Ups are super cool, I was honestly tempted to do Plyo Push Ups because I know how tough they are, but I couldn’t resist the “boing.” Verdict: Plyo Push Ups are harder than Boing Push Ups, but Boing Push Ups are a helluva lot more fun. Additionally, you can still work up a beastly fricken burn from Boing Push Ups if you work hard until the time elapses.
Crunchy Lever Pull Ups
Damn talk about back-to-back favorite exercises, the Boing Push Ups were super legit the Crunchy Lever Pull Ups were almost as much fun. For this particular move you obviously need to head back over to your pull up bar. When it comes to the Crunchy Lever Pull Ups, you have a couple of options as far as hand grip is concerned. If you have the swagged out Beachbody pull up bar with different grips popping out everywhere, you have three options. You can either grip your pull up bar normally like you would for a standard pull up, you can grip the little nubs (the horseshoes that pop out) with standard grip, or you can grip the bar with fingers facing towards the center.
If you are going to grip the bar with fingers facing each other in the center, you just need to remember to grip the two small parallel bars in the center. Just remember that your fingernails will be facing each other and your knucks will be facing out. Once you have whatever grip you think is most badass, you can begin the Crunchy Lever Pull Ups. I immediately started calling these Possum Pull Ups because I think it’s a way cooler name, but the name that Tony gave them is very literal: you are essentially doing a hybrid between a lever and crunch while in a ball.
To start the exercise, bend your knees and while you are gripping the pull up bar, lean back and rock so that your feet (toes) come up to kiss the bar. After your feet have touched the bar, you maintain control and swing (or do a lever) so that your chin comes up above the bar and your feet are lowered. Although you are lowering your feet, you do NOT lower them to the ground – you keep your knees bent so that they are on the bottom again. For this move, you need to focus on keeping your core as tight as possible if you want to survive the full time.
During the first round of these, I was watching closely because I didn’t want to do them wrong, so I didn’t get as many reps as I did in the second round. I managed to complete a total of 12 Crunchy Lever Pull Ups in the first round and they really worked my abs. If you are watching closely, Mason gets some good camera angles on all three acceptable hand variations. Admittedly, I was a little bit worried about my fricken door frame while leaning back and hanging down because if it snapped off or something, I would have been eating floor. Luckily everything held up just fine.
Mule Kick Burpees
When I first saw the Mule Kick Burpees demonstrated, I immediately thought of the Bronco Kicks that I did in Insanity Max Interval Sports Training – but they aren’t quite the same thing. Just two different badass animal kicks with different specifics. Anyways, in regards to the Mule Kick Burpees, you need to make sure that you focus on maintaining control of your body the entire time. In order to do a Mule Kick Burpee, you start standing up straight, then bend at the waist and place your hands on the floor in front of your body, while bending your knees.
With bent knees and palms on the floor, you shift the weight of your body forward and jump with the lower half of your body so that it gets some height. While your lower half is in the air, you straighten your legs so that your entire body is straight before your feet touch the ground. When you land from the Mule Kick, you should be in plank position (i.e. hands beneath the shoulders and toes on the ground with a flat back and tight core). The whole key to a successful Mule Kick is to maintain full control of your body so that when you are suspended in air, you don’t come crashing down like a Call of Duty care package.
You want to land as softly as possible like Tony demonstrates. If it helps, think of the move like this: after you have placed your palms on the floor, jump towards the sky with your lower half (so that your feet are pointing straight up) and then extend your legs straight, and bring them down to the ground with as much control as possible. I’ll admit that my first few of these seemed extremely shitty, but by the end of this first round I think I had them down.
The whole key is to basically land softly and maintain control. As with most exercises in this workout – it helps a lot if you flex your core. Once you have made it through the initial Mule Kick, you are NOT done with a rep. You then need to do a couple of the infamous Prison Cell Push Ups from the classic P90X Core Synergistics routine; they aren’t the same thing, but pretty close. So after you are done hitting em with the Mule Kick, you drop down to plank, bring your right knee into your chest up towards your head, extend it back out, do a push up, then bring your left knee in to your chest, extend it back out, and do another push up.
When you are finally finished with the “knee in, push up, knee in, push up” you jump up like you would for standard Burpees. In other words, after your push ups, you jump up so that you are standing up straight with your hands by your sides. As soon as you are ready to do another Mule Kick, go for it. The following counts as a single rep: a mule kick, landing in plank, a couple of knee-in / push up combos, and hopping back up to complete the burpee. My first round I did a total of 10 MKB’s and felt happy with what I did, but they were tough.
Swimmer’s Curl Press (in Half Chair)
The Swimmer’s Curl Press in ½ Chair was a pretty fun move because it combined balance and core engagement with an emphasis on strength all in one move. To do the Swimmer’s Press, you start out by grabbing dumbbells of an appropriate weight and getting into half chair position. To get into half chair, you bend one of your legs and cross it over your other leg (that is planted on the ground). The leg that is planted on the ground should be slightly bent in the knee so that you are sitting back like you would for a Yoga Chair Pose.
Since this is “half chair” you are doing Chair with just one leg and the other leg crosses over so that its ankle rests slightly above the kneecap of the planted leg. Once you are in proper position, you start out with the weights by your side, do a standard curl, and at the top of your curl, twist your wrists to do an overhead press or Y-Press. At the peak of the move, your body should look like a “Y” because you will have one leg on the ground, and both arms fully extended over their respective shoulders with weights.
For this entire first round, you are supposed to stay balanced on the same leg for the entire duration. During the second round, hopefully you are cognizant enough to remember to switch the balancing act to your other leg. I chose to use 30 lbs. per side and it was a good weight for the first round – I managed to do 9 reps of the Swimmer’s Curl Press before moving on to the next exercise.
Note: If you have a tough time balancing on one leg, you have a couple of options. Your first option could be to grab lighter weights – it’s easier to balance and complete the move with lighter weights. Your second option is to get down into normal Chair Pose with both feet on the floor and bent knees. Your third option which they didn’t mention is to slightly bend your knees, avoid Chair Pose altogether and just do the Curl Press with bent knees. If you are doing P90X2 though, you should be able to handle at least Chair Pose while doing this move.
Balance Kickback (on Stability Ball)
To do the Balance Kickback, you need to have access to a stability ball. Initially I thought that it was just a gimmicky looking exercise just to make people go out and buy the stability ball, but after doing just one round, I realized that it really made me work harder than standard kickbacks. To do the Balance Kickback, you place the entire forearm of one arm sideways across your stability ball – this is the arm you will “balance” on. Meanwhile your legs are extended back so that your body looks as straight as possible. In the hand of the arm that is free, you are instructed to grab a dumbbell of a weight that will give you a challenge for 10 reps.
To do the “Kickback” you simply bend at the elbow, bring the weight up to your shoulder, and then kick it back so that your arm is fully extended to the back. These are basically triceps kickbacks, but while you are doing them, you need to focus on maintaining balance on the stability ball. Trying to keep your balance is tougher than Tony and the cast make it look – you really need to make sure that you engage your entire core here or you might fall. Additionally if you choose a weight to “kick back” that’s too heavy, you might get hurt.
For this exercise, once you have finished 10 reps, you switch the forearm that’s resting on the ball and do 10 additional kickbacks with your other arm. I chose to use a 17.5 lb. dumbbell for my kickbacks and it turned out to be the perfect weight for the first round. I normally use 20 lbs. for kickbacks, but the balancing act makes these tougher.
Rocket Launcher Preacher Curl
The Rocket Launcher Preacher Curls are the final exercise of the first round. In order to do these, you need to step into a lunge (i.e. one leg forward and bent) with your other leg extended straight back. You then position your body so that it is positioned at about a 45 degree angle with flat back. Your back leg and back should look like a giant ramp that a rocket could launch off of. Okay so now that you’re in that position, you should have dumbbells in each hand so that you can get some Preacher Curls in the mix.
To do a Rocket Launcher Preacher Curl, you simply maintain the lunge Rocket Launcher Position, keep your head down, let your arms hang down, and bend your elbows like a hinge to complete the curl. The reason these are called Preacher Curls is because you aren’t moving your entire arms and using crazy body English (i.e. moving around) to help with each rep. Since you are in this position and aren’t supposed to be flailing your arms much, you may want to consider using a slightly lighter weight than you would for standard curls.
I ended up using 30 lbs. per side and it turned out to be pretty damn tough to keep my elbows in place and my arms from moving around. I managed to finish 9 reps of the Rocket Launcher Preacher Curls, but they were certainly challenging. Fortunately, this marked the end of round one and another nice lil water break was on deck.
Water Break – This marks the second water break in the P90X2 Total Body workout. Just know that you get a brizzeak every 6 moves – so plan accordingly. I think I had a little sip of recovery formula here, got some regular water, shook out my arms, and got ready to repeat the entire sequence.
Round #2: X2 Total Body
The second round of X2 Total Body consists of the exact same 12 exercises that you just completed in the first round. When I reached the halfway point, I was actually pretty excited to do them again because the first time through I felt like I was just learning the moves. Now that I knew what to do, I was ready to kick some major ass. The only problem was that my arms were a little bit more keished out than in the first round, but I still tried to use good form while maintaining the same weight.
1. 1 Arm Chest Press – Here I had to lighten my weight from the first round from 70 lbs. to 60 lbs. because I didn’t want to injure myself by trying to take on too much weight. Instead of just 8 reps per side in the first round, I was able to do 10 reps per side and still felt a great burn in the last few reps. I guess I wish I could have tried a 65 lb. dumbbell, but I don’t have one, so yeah.
2. 4 Position Pull Ups – For my second round of 4 Position Pull Ups, I wasn’t able to do as many reps as the first round. I ended up managing 20 total pull ups or 5 rotations through the “4 positions.” I actually expected myself to do just as well as round one or better, but the last few reps were actually pretty tough for me here. With the little foot taps in between each rep, I thought I was going to spaz on these during the second round, but the last few got tough. I still went all out until the timer hit zero, but my reps were slower than in the first round.
3. Push Up Side Arm Balance – I kept doing the “stacked foot” version of these, which is considerably harder than just turning your ankles with each push up, and raising the arm. Additionally I kept up the leg raise for the second round and my core was getting murked. I kept up my super advanced version for a total of 17 reps. I probably wouldn’t have even made it to 17, but hearing Tony flying through these was good competition and made me want to keep up.
4. Switch Lunge Press – Since I did the Switch Lunge Press stepping with my right leg in the first round, I stepped with my left leg in the second round. I stuck with 25 lbs. and it got really fucking tough for the last four reps – this verified the fact that 25 lbs. was the perfect weight for me here. I was tempted to give up after 9 reps, but I fought through to 12 and did my best to maintain good form.
5. Warrior 3 Kickback – For this round of the W3 Kickback, you balance on the opposite leg of the first round. Since I went with my left leg in the Warrior 3 position in round one, I was now balancing on my right leg for Warrior 3 Kickbacks in the second round. Here I ended up doing 12 kickbacks with 20 lbs. (so I actually did 2 more reps with the same weight as round one).
6. Warrior 3 Curl – Here I switched feet again and was now balancing on my left foot because I rolled with the right in the first round. So I got my ass back into W3 and did the damn thang with some more curls. I remembered this second round being really tough for me to curl all the way to the top of my shoulders while hanging like a yoga boss in the proper position. I ended up doing 10 curls with 25 lbs. per side which was plenty tough.
Water Break – You already know what it is pimpin, you get another water break, so go get a Big Mac, some doughnuts, maybe a 12 pack of soda, and plow that shit down quickfast before the next exercise…haha. Umm, yeah, or I guess if you want to ruin the fun you could have some water and a little recovery protein here while you shake it out like me.
7. Boing Push Ups – Head back to your exercise shrapnel with your official P90X2 stability ball and go for maximum rep Boing Push Ups. I managed to kick my ghost of the first round’s ass with 18 reps here in the second round, but my arms were exhausted after these. Remember, try not to let your chest rest on the ball unless you are having a full blown heart attack or something. Boing boing boing boing boing…haha.
8. Crunchy Lever Pull Ups – Heading back to the pull up bar after the push ups I just finished was pretty tough, but these aren’t really legit pull ups anyways, so I knew I could handle them fine. During this second round, I tried a different hand variation to investigate whether one grip is tougher than the others. If you grab the two tiny parallel bars so that your fingers are facing each other on the inside – know that you are doing the easiest version. I used a standard pull up hand grip in the first round and it was tougher. With the new hand grip, I managed to do a total of 14 reps in the exercise I call the Possum Pull Ups.
9. Mule Kick Burpees – I actually feared for my legs during the second round of the Mule Kick Burpees because I wanted to use good form and control, but my arms and core were pretty wasted at this point. I had to dig down deep during this second round, and I actually surprised myself by completing 10 reps (the exact same number as I did in the first round).
10. Swimmer’s Curl Press (in Half Chair) – Get back into half chair by balancing on one leg. Remember which leg you used in the first round so that you can balance on the opposite leg during this second round. I chose to use 30 lb. dumbbells again, but fell short with my reps – only managing to complete a total of 7 reps. I generally always make sure I complete 8 reps per exercise, so I quick grabbed 25 lbs. and did more reps.
11. Balance Kickback (on Stability Ball) – Balancing on your forearm on the stability ball once again, do 10 kickbacks, then switch forearms and do 10 more kickbacks on the opposite side. Once again I decided to go with 17.5 lbs. on my kickbacks and this second round was definitely tougher than the first round, but I still managed 10 reps per side. Once you are done with these, you only have one more move to go before the routine ends, so amp up.
12. Rocket Launcher Preacher Curl – Although I would have liked to have had a more hardcore exercise to end the routine, I was fine with ending on Rocket Launcher Preacher Curls. I stayed with the 30 lbs. per side that I used in the first round and managed 9 reps – the exact same number as the first round. My arms were pretty damn tired at this point, but I was tempted to do the entire second half of the workout over again because I wanted to keep going. I talked myself out of doing a third round and went to the cool down.
Cool Down Stretch
- Huggers – Hug yourself to loosen up your shoulders and arms; alternating right and left arm high and low.
- Head Rolls – Roll your head if you want to loosen up your neck.
- Lat Stretch – Using your stability ball, place your hands on the stability ball (with your thumbs pointed up) while moving your lats. You then can isolate each individual arm and roll the ball in small cycles so that you get more of a stretch.
- Forearm Stretch – Place your wrist on the stability ball, lift your fingers up and down, while playing with their angles to get a forearm stretch.
- Quad Stretch – Place the top of your foot on the ball, roll down so that your knee balances on the floor and you get a quad stretch. Then switch legs and stretch out the other quad.
- Groin Stretch – This particular stretch was a little bit much because we didn’t really work our groins, but I did it anyways. You place one of your shins on the floor, and the other leg extends straight out to the side and rests on the top of your stability ball to work your groin.
- Hamstring Stretch – Sit your butt on top of your stability ball, place your heels on the floor with your toes up, and reach down to stretch your hamstrings. After stretching both hamstrings, you cross one leg over the other and isolate the hamstring stretch, then switch.
- X Angel – Lie down so that your back is on your ball, reach up above your head, and pull your elbows wide. In my opinion, not as effective as the “plug your fingers into the ceiling stretch” without a ball, but it’s all good. When you are finished with this, all you have left is X2 Ab Ripper and you’re done.
Thoughts on the Cool Down Stretches
Let me get to the point and let you know that the cool down was way too long for my taste. I understand the importance of stretching after a workout, but some of the stretches we did here weren’t even directly related to the main muscle groups that were worked. Things got a little out of hand when we started doing cross-legged balance stretches on the stability ball – totally unnecessary.
I guess we could have just kept it going for a full hour and just stretched because after all, we did do a “total body” workout. I recommend using the stability ball and roller when you want to, but don’t think you necessarily need to use them to get a good stretch. The foam roller basically just loosens up muscle groups and the stability ball is just something supplemental that makes some stretches easier. I’m glad that I have both tools, but I ended up doing some of the traditional stretches from P90X that Tony didn’t include here.
Oh and one more random thought… Where thee eff were the “World Famous” Karen Pot Stirrers? I wanted to stir up some Wonton Soup like Lil B, but I guess that’s impossible since there were a bunch of other stretch moves that were way less cool. I guess I can only hope that it’s included in a different routine or at least the coming up like an elephant trunk swangin from side to side. Those were both awesome closing cool down moves that I did on my own. I also plugged my fingers into the ceiling for the wide elbows chest stretch.
P90X2 Total Body Review (Conclusion)
The first time you do the X2 Total Body routine, you might be like damn the cast is cruising through these exercises, and you’re right. Although there are a few breaks built-in to this workout, the breaks are short and you need to be ready to pwn yourself again. During the first round I was a little bit slow, but I still made sure I was going as hard as possible the entire time. In the second half, I pretty much tried to out-do the ghost of my first round, but couldn’t quite do it because my arms were recovering from the major rapeage in the initial round. I know Tony has emphasized in his One on Ones that you should always try to be as consistent as possible with reps and weights because it shows stamina and muscular endurance.
Middle core and upper body burn
I felt the most burn from this workout in my middle and upper body because I used as heavy of weights as I could physically tolerate and I did maximum reps whenever possible. There were a couple of times in this routine that I felt a little bit “pukey” but I swag surfed through the intense burn and dug deep. The lightheadedness and puke-like feeling was most intense during the final six exercises after the third water break when we started doing more Boing Push Ups. However, once I got through those and the Mule Kick Burpees, I felt fine and got to chill for the lengthy cool down.
Will your legs get worked too?
I thought that for having the words “total body” in the title of this workout, it did a nice job at working all muscles. I think that the legs could have been directly worked a little more for a “total body” routine, but they got worked a lot more in comparison to the P90X+ Total Body Plus workout, so I was pretty satisfied. The fact that we got down into the Warrior 3 position for some moves and did the Mule Kick Burpees, made me focus on maintaining leg control.
Perhaps the move that worked the legs most during the entire routine was that of the Switch Lunge Press because it involved doing lunges while holding weights. I still think the legs could have worked a little harder (more emphasis was on middle and upper body regions) but I still love the way this routine turned out as a whole.
Ab Ripper X2: A Nice Little Treat
I’ll write up a full length review for Ab Ripper X2 when I have time, but for now all you really need to know is that it’s a great abdominal slash core workout. In comparison to the P90X Ab Ripper X routine (from the original series), it is slightly easier. It is hyped up as though it’s going to be a lot tougher, but I’m glad it’s not harder because the original was plenty tough for my abs. There was a lot of thought and creativity that went into the development of this abdominal workout, so enjoy it. I always do the abs routine immediately after the workout as is scheduled, so that’s how I ended everything today.
Final Thoughts on X2 Total Body
The P90X2 Total Body workout packs a badass muffuggin punch, so be ready to bounce, swing, balance, and lift heavy weights as you get worked from head to toe. As Tony mentions, the series of exercises in this routine takes most people about 90 minutes to complete at a gym (wiping down sweaty machines…yuck), whereas in this routine, you are basically condensing everything into a 40 minute torture chamber (assuming you choose heavy weights and push yourself). I thoroughly enjoyed everything in X2 Total Body except the long warm up and the excessive usage of the stability ball during the cool down. Other than that, this routine has something to offer for everyone that wants to get their entire body in better shape.