I finally got around to trying the P90X2 PAP Lower workout with the superhuman Tony Horton and company. In case you aren’t familiar with the terminology, P.A.P. stands for “Post Activation Potentiation” which is basically just fancy verbosity developed by Beachbody to make it sound extra scientific and get people like myself hyped for something new and innovative. I like Tony’s description best as “resistance, contractions, explosions, and stabilization (or isolation).” Since it’s a workout that’s meant to be done in Phase 3, I was expecting a hardcore challenge. Although I really enjoyed the workout, it ended up being less difficult than I expected for something in the final month of the program.
Despite the fact that I was dripping in sweat throughout the routine, immediately after it ended I was left wishing that it would have been longer. I think that one more round of four exercises would have left me convinced without a doubt that this routine qualifies as being super badass. I’d say the difficulty of a routine like PAP Lower is moderate to hardcore. It’s probably not something I’m going to recommend to my grandma, but if you’re a fitness freak, it may not be quite as wicked as you were expecting.
What I most liked about PAP Lower was the fact that it combines a series of unexpected exercises that really blast the legs, lower body, and core. It is essentially a hybrid routine that combines exercises that will help you increase agility, improve lower body power, and build strength. I’ve heard that this is how athletes train now, but I’m not fully buying that. I think including PAP in an athletic training regimen would certainly help, but if you are an athlete that wants to reach your peak potential with a home workout, do The Asylum and don’t look back.
P90X2 PAP Lower Review
As I already mentioned, the PAP Lower workout is meant to be done during Phase 3 (Performance) of P90X2. If you notice, in this final month, you basically alternate between PAP Lower and PAP Upper; doing each twice per week. In addition to these two “Post Activation Potentiation” workouts, you also get to keep rocking with the awesome X2 Yoga routine in the final phase. So for the last month you will get extremely familiar with (and maybe even sick of) PAP. Or if you really think this routine is hardcore, maybe you’ll even get sick during PAP, I don’t know. I thought the name should have probably been changed to something like Pretty Average P90X2 routine…haha.
P90X2 PAP Lower Workout (Video Preview)
For most people that are in good shape and made it through P90X, a routine like this may seem a bit underwhelming. It is NOT “easy” per se, but if you completed the original P90X’s, I’d say that you’ll find it easier than most of those routines. When this workout started, I originally thought it was going to be something like P90X Legs and Back because the first move really owned my legs. In my mind I was thinking, damn I had better be focused and ready for this PAP shit because if the entire routine is as tough as this first move, it’s going to leave me dead like a gang fight. As it progressed, I realized that it just wasn’t tough enough to leave me in R.I.P. mode.
What is really great about this routine is that it’s something different, something I haven’t experienced before. Everything from its structured design to combination of exercises is different, which is cool. I’m a huge fan of variety, and really like “muscle confusion” or being “crossfit” in a variety of aspects such as: cardio, upper body strength, lower body strength, balance, agility, flexibility. This way I maintain good overall fitness balance, and I stay healthy without looking too much like Hulk or an Ethiopian marathoner.
I like how the cast starts with super high energy by yelling “1, 2, 3, PAP!” – had me amped. Also Tony is wearing a shirt with the letter “P” on it which is pretty fitting.
Adam – This guy is a former Sniper for the US Marine Corps. Damn I’m definitely not ripping on him or he might go black ops longshot thermal sniper no scope on this review or my dome…haha. Tony says that he’s a “good guy to be friends with” (so that you don’t get shot). He also apparently “reads body language” (mind reader). It is absolutely hilarious when Tony asks him “what is my body language saying?” and he responds with “you need a lot of information for you to decide to change your mind.” Tony says, “And he’s right, damn”…LMAO. I think Tony was hoping for a response like “bring it” or “post activation potentiaton” though.
Cedric (the Entertainer) – This guy is a Dancer, Fighter, Boxer, and Beachbody employee. He is also featured in the Recovery and Mobility routine. During the stretching, Tony says “throw me a move” and Cedric responds with “you’re not ready for me Tony.” Tony then proceeds to attempt to “serve” Cedric in a dance battle while he’s rolling out and Cedric breaks it down with some taps back to the hamstring stretch…haha.
Collette – Two words: smoking hot…haha. This chica is a
former bodybuilder Olympic style weight lifter and current Beachbody employee. Tony gives her a wicked fist pound and says “We are lucky to have you my dear, you walk the talk.” And that she does: Super ripped, insane body, top notch fitness. You should have also seen her featured in X2 Ab Ripper, in which case you know she is French Italian. She works hard the entire workout and was great to have as part of the cast.
- 2 Rounds
- 4 Exercises Per Round (Strength/Balance, Explosive Jumping, Fast Twitch, Butt/Glute/Thigh)
- 4 Sets Per Round
- 1 Water Break (Halfway Through)
The PAP Lower routine is divided into 2 halves (or rounds). Each half of the routine contains 4 exercises that are repeated for 4 sets (back to back to back to back) without water breaks in between. The first exercise in each half is a Strength and Balance hybrid exercise, the second exercise is an Explosive Jumping (Plyometric) type move, the third exercise is a Fast Twitch (Agility) type move, and the last of the four exercises in each round is an Isolation move that really targets the Butt, Glute, and Thigh area. When you have finished the First Round of 4 moves for 4 sets, you get a nice water break. After you get your water and towel off quick, you are thrown back into the front line of PAP crossfire for the Second Round of 4 new moves for 4 more sets. Although there are only a total of 8 exercises in this routine, the repetition will tire you out.
- 2 Pieces of Tape – Tape them to the floor vertically, approximately 3 feet apart. I like to lay my foam rumble roller on the floor, and extend one piece of tape on each end so that my little column is slightly wider than the width of my rumble roller. You can make the pieces of tape as long as you want. I would suggest making each around 4 feet – although it’s not completely necessary because you just use them to help your brain gauge the distance you are jumping side to side. Make sure these pieces of tape are parallel to each other. I use hockey stick tape and it works awesome, but you can use whatever tape you think shows up best.
- Plyo Box (or Chair) – I don’t have a Plyo Box, but I’m thinking about buying one so that I can do some more Crossfit routines as well as so it makes some moves in X2 easier. Anyways, a sturdy chair works just fine as well. Make sure you have a chair of decent height that you will feel comfortable balancing on with one leg while holding weights…haha.
- Dumbbells – This workout has exercises that require dumbbells, so make sure you get them. There are only 2 moves that utilize dumbbells, but you still need them. Doing the first move without dumbbells is easier than doing jumping jacks. Adding heavy dumbbells will make it pretty damn wicked.
- 2 Medicine Balls – Medicine balls aren’t totally necessary, but they do work well for the first move in the second round. If you didn’t get them in the deluxe version of X2, you can really use anything as substitutes. All you need are a couple of visual targets to place on the floor – the med balls happen to work extremely well, but anything could be used including extra dumbbells.
- Yoga Mat or Towel – The yoga mat works extremely well for helping to maintain balance during some of the isolation exercises. If you are sweaty, it also helps to have a towel around to wipe off the sweat before you hit the mat. With that said, the mat works a hell of a lot better for helping maintain balance than lying on the floor and getting a nice rug burn PAP hickey on your forearm.
- Footwear – It is pretty important to have proper footwear for a routine like PAP Lower. Tony makes a big deal out of the fact that you shouldn’t be wearing “running shoes.” He gives suggestions of wearing basketball shoes, tennis shoes, or court shoes. I personally recommend cross trainers because that’s what Shaun T recommends for crazy lower body routines. I have found cross trainers to work great. As long as you have a pair of kicks that won’t give your feet blisters from hopping side to side, you should be good. Although I didn’t wear running shoes, I personally don’t think they will be THAT bad. The other types of shoes that he mentions are better for stability and will help protect your ankles from injury by providing more overall support. I could be wrong, but it looked to me like one of the crew members was contradicting his recommendation by wearing running shoes…haha.
P90X2 PAP Lower Workout
Tip of the day: (Hmm… No tip drill?!?! Pause.)
This is about power performance, this is what athletes do. It’s gonna help you run faster, jump higher, be better. Tony says he likes “being better!” Chea who doesn’t. He also says that this routine will help you “feel loose and springy like you were a kid again!”
The warm up kind of starts while Tony is explaining what this routine is all about. If you look in the back, you will see the crew jogging in place, jump roping, and getting loosened up. I actually followed what they were doing right away because I didn’t want to get left in the dust. I didn’t know whether there was going to be an actual warm up here or if I was expected to get my own like the One on One series. Well, there turned out to be an awesome warm up here. Probably my favorite because it’s not dealing with the upper body and stability ball.
- Heel Walk – Lift your toes off of the ground and simply walk around on your heels. You will need to get used to being off balance and make sure that your foot is nice and warm. This is a great start because it activates your calves and achillies. Try to point your toes up as high as possible while you walk.
- Feet Smackers– This is definitely a quasi-gangsta foot stomp because you are slapping the ground in the face with the balls of your feet. Tony says, “Let me hear you smack it!” and you can hear the ground getting slapped by the crews’ shoes. I was a little bit pissed that my thin carpet dulled the sound of my smackers right here. Maybe next time I’m walking down the street I’ll do some smackers or something for better audio feedback. Anyways, while you are doing these, you walk normally, but as you bring your feet down for each step, slap the ground with each step (using the ball of your foot). Keep your heels off of the ground the entire time you do this warm up smack. Get used to being on the balls of your feet – you will spend a lot of time on them during the workout.
- World’s Greatest Stretch – You should know it and love the WGS by now. Although I never really thought it lived up to the name, it’s still a pretty good stretch. Do a lunge with one leg forward (bent knee), straighten the other leg back, and place your hands on the instep of your front foot. Assuming your right foot is out front, keep your right hand on the floor near your instep, and lift your left arm straight up towards the ceiling. Look up at your hand and feel the stretch. Then bring that left hand down, placing the palm on the instep, while lifting your right hand towards the ceiling. Now look up at your other arm while feeling the stretch. Then bring your arm down, move your back leg forward, and come into a squat position. From here simply switch legs and repeat the same stretches with your opposite leg extended back. Keep alternating between legs
until you are convinced that this is the World’s Greatest Stretchfor 3 sets each.
- Inch Worm – The “inch worm” is another X2 warm up stretch that you should be familiar with at this point. From a standing position, reach your arms to the ground so that you feel a stretch in your hamstrings. Then slowly bend forward as you engage your hamstrings for a stretch, and lower yourself to plank – always keeping your core tight. From plank, inch your feet up with mini steps and continue to feel the stretch. When you are nearly standing, walk your hands back forward to keep the inch worm going. This move is great because it gets your legs moving and stretches them at the same time. You do a total of 7 inch worm reps before moving on in the warm up. Tony makes some hilarious commentary at this point about America seeing their butts. He calls them the “fearsome foursome butt people”…haha. Another guy says “the butts be with us” or something also.
- Fire Hydrant – Oh hell yeah, I’m officially more excited, a new warm up move in the fiyah house! If you’re ever in a scenario where there’s ever a fire hydrant nearby and you have the urge to open it with your leg, this is probably your best practice. To perform the Fire Hydrant, get in “cat stretch” position; palms on the floor, knees on the floor, shins on the floor and roofs of feet in contact as well. From here, you want to lift and extend one leg straight back – get as much elevation as possible in your heel. Then after it is lifted, turn the leg so that it looks like a right angle. In this position you will look more like a dog peeing on a Fire Hydrant, but you will feel the stretch. After you have twisted your leg (and hip) so you’re your quad and shin are forming a 90 degree angle (with a bent knee), you slowly bring it down while extending out. You should end up in the same position in which you started. It’s complicated to explain, so just watch the warm up carefully. Continue this motion for 10 reps per leg. For the second 5 reps of each leg, you switch directions and start by extending out, then raising the heel straight back, and bringing it in; not rocket science, just fire hydrant science.
- Scorpion – This is probably my favorite stretch in any of the warm ups because it always manages to crack my lower back. Although Whitney Houston has said “crack is whack,” in this case I tastefully disagree, I love it… I usually only ‘rock’ with the scorpion crack though cuz it’s the best. Anyways to perform this move, lie down on your stomach, extend your arms straight out to the sides (keeping shoulders on the floor), bend one knee, lift that leg up as high as possible, and then twist it over your other leg. The reason this is called the “Scorpion” is because the leg that is extended looks somewhat like your stinger. Alternate legs and keep this up for a full minute to warm up the glute, hamstring, and lower back.
- Groiners – Although the Groiners aren’t a personal favorite, they do the job at getting my legs ready to roll. To perform these, get in a runners stretch (or runners lunge), place both hands on your instep, and lunge your legs back and forth for 20 quick reps; float with your hips.
- March Skippers – Oh my god, I’m pretty sure these are my new favorite warm up move. I used to skip around like this all the time as a kid and loved it, just a lot of fun and will continue [an already great] warm up. All you do is “skip” while making sure you land on the balls of your feet – smack them if you can. If you don’t have fun with this move, we probably wouldn’t get along.
- Leg Swings – Take out your foam roller, stand up straight, and use your foam roller for balance as you swing your leg. Do 10 leg swings forward and 10 swings side to side with each leg. If you are really godly, you can probably even manage without a roller. I use the roller here for balance because it gives me more range of motion on my swings. Do what works best for you. If you don’t have a foam roller and need balance, use anything: chair, couch, wall, pillar, monitor, short uncle ((c) Plyo X), etc.
- Speed Slalom – Tony makes it clear that this is still part of the warm up. Hopefully you have your tape positioned on the floor as I described in the “equipment needed” portion. For the Speed Slalom, you simply hop with both feet (synchronized) back and forth over your tape for a “slalom” motion. You can go for speed if you want, but make sure you land on the balls of your feet, bend your knees, and keep your body square the entire time.
- Speed Front Back Hop – Instead of hopping side-to-side, hop forward and back for 30 seconds to stay loose and get your body used to the hops. No toes, no heels, just balls of your feet. Tony says to imagine “hot coals” while you are jumping. Maybe Beachbody could start selling some official X2 coals for the warm ups with an official X2 flamethrower to light them for moves like this…haha. Nah, I guess save that for P90X3.
- Lateral Plyo Skater – For the LPS, you are basically hopping from side to side landing on one leg. So start out balancing on your right foot, then hop “laterally” (clear some ground) to your left foot. When you land, you should do so in the Super Skater formation with one leg back, one arm back, and the other arm bent up front like a speed skater in stride. Continue hopping back and forth to warm up your legs and be sure to land on the balls of your feet. Tony instructs to “load and explode for distance.”
- Foam Rolling – I love my rumble roller, so rolling out and loosening up before this routine starts is awesome. I’m usually not sore, so I don’t sit in one place like Tony suggests because it doesn’t do anything for me but cause pain. I do love my roller, but I think he’s misguided when he says leave it in one position. The thing is meant to roll and it feels a lot better when I roll and loosen up as opposed to feel the pressure mount. I typically roll out my entire body here so that I get everything loose, putting a primary emphasis on my legs and lower back – since that’s what will be working the most. Do this for about a minute and a half. Tony usually talks about how one of his legs is tighter than the other; in this routine it’s his “right glute issue” so that’s what he targets. I do like how he calls the rumble roller “the cactus roller – just add needles.” I love my cactus roller a helluva lot more than the regular rollers. They loosen me a up a LOT more.
Round #1: X2 PAP Lower
Step Up Convict
Assuming you grab some heavy weights, the Step Up Convict is the toughest exercise in the entire workout. If you half ass it or three quarters ass it with some moderate weights, you will feel a burn as well. In order to properly perform the Step Up Convict, you don’t need to be in a jail cell. Just pull up either a chair or plyo box, and position it directly in front of your body so that you can easily “step up” onto it without tripping. You should grab a couple of dumbbells (one for each hand) and before you start this move, realize that is primarily a leg exercise.
When you are ready to start potentiating with the Step Up Convict, step one foot up on your plyo box (or chair), and as soon as that foot is anchored on the box, you lift your other leg straight up so that your knee rises above your waist; drive it as high as possible. From here you should be balancing on one leg on your box with the other knee raised. The foot of the leg with the raised knee then drops straight to the floor and the foot that was on the box steps straight back into a lunge (“step back lunge”). From the back lunge, you step your back foot immediately up onto the box, and drive the knee of your other leg up once again for another rep. Repeat this process until you have done 8 reps per side for a total of 16 reps.
Adam ends up using 20 lbs. per side, which I think is likely a little light for him, but I’m not going to judge or he might snipe me. Collette uses 7.5 lbs. for a total of 15 lbs., which isn’t bad for a girl, however, I think being an “Olympic style weight lifter” even she was probably not using as much as she could have. These reps do go by at a quick pace, so you have got to be ready to go with a good weight. I started out this first round using 25 lbs. per side for a total of 50 lbs., which was decent, but I thought that the burn wasn’t quite what it could have been.
Although using heavy weights here isn’t necessarily the trend amongst crew members if you want good results, you have got to always do your best and forget the rest; sometimes that means forgetting the crew. If you can do more than them with good form, “step up” to the challenge…haha. Anyways, you should keep in mind that you have three more sets of this move. If you use a weight that’s really challenging at the beginning, and want to drop down in the next set – that’s perfectly fine.
I actually moved up and maintained 30 lbs. per arm for a total of 60 lbs. the next three set, and it was super challenging by the time I made it to the final set. But at least I gave it my all and didn’t work below my potential. If you have a tough time with weight here, follow Cedric – he’s demonstrating the modified version. The burn that I got from this move reminded me a lot of some of the moves in P90X Legs and Back.
For the Skater Plyo, you are basically hopping side to side just like you did during the warm up with Lateral Plyo Skater. They pretty much flip flopped the words “plyo skater” to “skater plyo” and removed “lateral.” With that said, it is the EXACT same thing except here you need to elevate your intensity, agility, and lateral distance. To do this move, simply start on one side of your vertically taped parallel lines and hop side to side – balancing on one leg with each landing. When you hop to the right, you balance on the right leg, your left arm bends forward, and your left leg extends back (in the air).
Then you immediately hop laterally to the left and land on your left leg as your right arm bends forward, and right leg extends back (in the air). The reason that this is called “Skater Plyo” is because when you land, you are essentially in a Speed Skater stride formation, and you immediately hop to the other leg, hence the “Plyo.” Keep hopping back and forth laterally and use your taped lines for clearance points. I’m not sure how far apart you taped your lines, but you should easily be able to clear 3 feet during the Skater Plyo.
I believe we did something similar in the One on One Plyo Legs routine. Instead of taping lines to the floor, we used targets – which you could also use. I personally like taping the lines because it looks better and they don’t move around if I accidentally kick them. Heck you could even use your dumbbells as targets if you don’t have anything else. For this Skater Plyo, you only do 8 reps total which is kind of on the light side.
I would have liked at least 20 reps, but I wasn’t complaining during the first set because I didn’t know what kind of X2 craziness was still in store. Since you are only doing 8 reps total, make sure that you actually go for distance and speed. I actually did a couple of extra reps here for a total of 10 in my first round because I thought it should have been longer.
One Leg Line Hop
For the One Leg Line Hop, it obviously helps to have your “lines” of tape on the ground. Start out on one foot with the other raised off of the ground. When the timer starts, hop side to side over your line with one leg (back and forth). For this entire move, you should be hopping for maximum speed. The name of the game here isn’t to cover a lot of distance, it’s simply to clear the line and to maximize your agility. After 5 seconds of hopping side to side on one leg, you stay on the same leg, but you “switch” directions by turning your body so that you are hopping front and back.
Tony will instruct you as to when you should transition between “side to side” and “front to back” hops, so don’t worry about keeping track of time. After 30 seconds of doing this rapid fire hopping front, back, and side to side on one leg, you switch to the other leg for the next 30 seconds and keep going as hard as possible. This is somewhat like the move Hot Foot in P90X Plyometrics in regards to hopping in different directions while balancing on one leg. I personally like this move a little better because it places more emphasis on speed and agility, while keeping your heart rate up. You should feel your leg muscles (in particular your calves) heavily engaged.
If you watch the crew, Cedric is a total One Leg Line Hopping fiend here. I almost started laughing a little bit at the fact that he was pumping his arms forward while hopping side to side, but it works for him. I tried it and it threw off my side to side momentum. I generally like to minimize my upper body movement while doing leg hops because it makes me quicker. Cedric appears to be insanely quick at this move mostly because his arms are moving way faster than his legs. He is moving quickly, but the quickness of his arms overshadows that of his hops, so I don’t necessarily think he was the quickest.
I re-watched his movement and he is definitely going quicker than Adam, but he is turning his foot during the side to side motion. I like Collette’s form the best here because that’s my same style – it’s a lower body exercise. As always do what works for you, but realize that moving your upper body during lower body exercises will likely impair your quickness. This also kind of reminded me of the quickness I needed for The Asylum Speed and Agility workout (a way more athletic routine).
Apparently Mr. Tony Horton developed his own move to include as part of this routine that’s called “Tony’s Triangle.” Despite the fact that it initially appears as though it’s going to be a piece of cake, it ends up being pretty wicked. This is the stabilization (or isometric) exercise in the first round and man if you do it properly, you will have to fight through each round. If there’s any exercise in this first round where form is most crucial, I would say it’s this one. If you do not watch the crew closely, you may end up doing a series of leg movements that doesn’t deliver the proper burn; this is not a rest.
To perform Tony’s Triangle, lie down on your side and use the forearm of the side that you are on to stabilize your body. Bend the knee of the leg with the hip on the floor so that your lower body is anchored in place. Next, take the foot of the upper leg and bring it extend it as far behind your butt as possible. Once you have extended it behind as far as possible while lying on your side, position the foot of that leg so that only the toe is touching the ground. From this position, lift your leg (heel up) as high as possible (keeping your toe pointed towards the ground the entire time).
When you lift your heel up, you should bring it to an imaginary “middle” mid-air point between your upper and lower body; this is like the peak of the triangle. Then lower it as far in front of your body as possible – making sure only your toe touches the ground. In other words, your heel should be pointing straight up for this entire triangle sequence. It may be tough to keep your toe pointed down and get maximum height or distance on your extensions, but keep fighting. This will work your hip flexors and glutes if you do it properly.
Complete 5 reps per leg for a total of 10 reps. So when you finish 5 with one leg, simply switch so that you are lying on the other side of your body, then finish the next 5 reps. I thought that this was originally going to be easy, but it ended up being pretty damn tough. Additionally, if you are doing these properly, the burn will linger for awhile after finishing each set.
- Step Up Convict – During the second set of this move, I upped my weight from 25 lbs. to 30 lbs. per side. I knew that from here I was in for a fight to the finish, but that’s how I wanted it. The crew was a little quicker with their leg lifts than I was with my heavier set of weights, but that’s because heavy weights will naturally slow your movement a little bit when you are focused on form. I still finished less than a couple seconds after they did, and my burn was off the charts. I felt like I was borderline nauseous here.
- Skater Plyo – In the second set of Skater Plyo, I did even more than 10 reps, I went ahead and just kept going for about 15 reps since I knew we were only expected to do 8 reps, which is too easy. My heart rate was up more at this point, but the Step Up Convict still seemed like the toughest overall move included in this first round.
- One Leg Line Hop – Back to the hop drill, get on one leg, and do the damn thang. I was sweating pretty hardcore here (we drippy mane), and was trying to imagine Shaun T yelling at me to pick it up in The Asylum (haha). If your legs aren’t feeling a little slower near the end of these, you aren’t working hard enough – pick it up.
- Tony’s Triangle – During the second set of T.T., it was even more of a battle than the first because my legs were tiring out from some of the other moves. The toughest aspect about this move is making sure that your heel stays up and toe points down. I felt a huge burn in my hip flexors during this set, but I continued to fight for good form.
- Step Up Convict – In the third set, I was soaked with sweat and forgot that Tony mentioned there was a fourth set. I was thinking that this was the last time I would have to go through this move, so I was going all out. I made sure I used good form, kept my speed up, and my legs were on fire. My core was feeling the work too from having to step up, do the leg raise, and then a lunge combo. Although 8 reps per leg isn’t much, when you have already done 2 sets with heavy weights and no breaks, it gets fairly wicked.
- Skater Plyo – Once again in the third set I did extra reps. I recommend trying to at least push yourself for a few extra lateral hops if you are physically capable of pulling it off. Hint: If you own X2, you probably are already doing extra, but just a suggestion in case you were following the status quo.
- One Leg Line Hop – Back to hopping
coke linestaped lines and going all out for a minute in the third set. I always aim to at least keep up with the fastest X2 crew member. Although I don’t have the quickest fast-twitch genetics, I make sure I either keep up or go faster than the crew. At this point, I could feel my shoes rubbing a little bit against my feet from the rapid movement. If you don’t have the right pair of shoes, this move will induce blistering.
- Tony’s Triangle – I’m not sure if I was able to get as much height out of my leg at the peak of the triangle during this third set because my hip flexors were en fuegisimo. Talk about hip flexor pwnage… The key here is to fight through as much burn as possible while continuing to rock max height with good form.
- Step Up Convict – Since I had forgotten about the fourth set, I was like what the fuck, not again (it was getting a little old), but I embraced the burn and did the damn thing for one more set. At this point my legs were starting to get worn down. Looking back, I actually am glad there was a fourth set of these, but at the time during the workout, I was like damn, do I have to repeat this for the entire workout. I had convinced myself that it was going to be an hour of the same four moves. With that said, not only was my lower body slowly getting worn down, my heart rate was up and I was covered in some nice sweat lather.
- Skater Plyo – Finish strong here with the Skater Plyo hops. I was pretty tired in this final set, but I think I pushed myself to finish 20 reps before moving on to the next move. I knew what to expect, so there was no holding back. Plus after this fourth set there’s a water break, so don’t be afraid to go all out with every move.
- One Leg Line Hop – For the fourth and final set of the One Leg Line Hop, you may be starting to feel tired. Pull yourself together mentally and keep pushing as hard as you can. In any workout, when you first start to get tired is when you need to work harder mentally. Your first break is almost on deck, so go hard til the timer ends or you meet Jesus.
- Tony’s Triangle – This entire last set of Tony’s Triangle I was imagining him critiquing my form, so I made sure I finished strong even though I was getting a little tired. Hell this is the last move before the damn agua break, so don’t hold back. Try to get your heel higher than Wiz Khalifa (IDK if that’s possible) but yeah make sure you aren’t slacking. Make Tony proud and invite the burn to your legs, while keeping your chest open. I love how Cedric critiques Tony’s form and then Tony spazzes back on his form (LMAO).
Water Break – Umm yeah, after thinking I was going to repeat the same four moves for an hour, I realized that there was another half with different exercises – talk about swag. Anyways, here is where you should prolly kegstand some recovery formula; try to keep it below the legal limit though. I had a little sip of my protein formula (it’s chocolate) and mostly just water. Amp up for the second round a.k.a. four moves spammed for four sets (4×4). You get a full minute so make sure you towel off as well.
Round #2: X2 PAP Lower
Squat Cross Reach
As soon as break ends, the second half of the workout starts up with a resistance move called Squat Cross Reach. You will need to watch closely and be ready to go as soon as break ends because the crew does not fuck around – they start immediately. In fact, they start so quickly that I was actually a little bit pissed that Tony didn’t just explain what was going down with this before break. To do the Squat Cross Reach, you will need one dumbbell (light weight is recommended) and a couple of medicine balls (or targets) so get these ready during your break.
Hold the dumbbell with your right hand while balancing on your left foot; your right foot should be elevated from the ground. One of your medicine balls should be on the floor directly in front of your right foot and the other med ball should be positioned diagonally (upwards to the left) from the one in front of your right foot. In other words the second ball should be further away from your body and further to the left. When you are all set up and ready to go, simply do a dead lift squat (remember these from P90X Legs and Back) until the bent knee of the elevated right leg drops low enough to almost touch (or kiss) the medicine ball positioned in front of it.
When your right knee is nearly touching the medicine ball, continue holding the squat, and extend your right arm holding the dumbbell diagonally in front of your body as if you were trying to punch the other medicine ball. Don’t do a “punching motion” though as this is an extension – you don’t want to pull a muscle or hyperextend your elbow. Additionally, think of the diagonally positioned medicine ball as a target on the ground that you are solely using for alignment with your cross body dumbbell extension.
At the EXACT same time you are extending your right arm across your body with the dumbbell, you are also extending the right leg straight back (like you would for Speed Skaters); your right arm extension across and right leg extension back should be synchronized. Once you have done your extensions (like the Speed Skater), bring your leg back in so that your right knee is hovering over the med ball in low squat, and retract your arm so that the dumbbell is back near your body. Then simply use your anchored left foot to help your body rise up and you have completed one rep. Your goal is to complete 8 reps per side.
When you have finished 8 reps carrying the dumbbell in your right hand, switch it to the left hand, balance on your right foot, drop your left knee down in the squat, and extend your left arm across your body as your left leg extends up to the back. Also make sure you initially roll your front medicine ball to the other side of your body for a target. Once you have finished 8 reps on the opposite side, you are done with the first set. Although the appeal of using a heavy weight may be tempting for some people, I do NOT recommend it. Your goal here is to focus on balance and using good form.
These are not lawnmowers from P90X Chest and Back, this is move designed to help you learn to engage your muscles while maintaining balance. It will work your core and teach you how to keep your upper body stable while doing dead lift squats with a single leg and adding extensions. When I was done I felt the burn in my legs and felt like using a 15 lb. dumbbell was perfect. Although these weren’t as tough as Step Up Convict, they added some nice variety to the routine.
Split Squat Jump
This is the Split Squat Jump a.k.a. Mary Katherine’s on Crack, and although this is a tough move if you do it for an extended amount of time, we only do 6 reps. The fact that we only did 6 reps seemed pretty weak to me. I ended up doing more than was expected of me every round because I barely even noticed much from this move. Sure it kept my heart rate up and my legs working, but I think it would have been a lot more suitable to have done 20 reps; this is X2 not 10 minute trainer…haha.
I still think we should have probably just done Killer Katherine Lunges with the medicine ball like were done in X2 Plyocide, but it’s whatever. Maybe next time I do this workout, I will do the Killer Katherine’s with my med ball; especially since we just used them in the previous exercise. Anyways, during both the first complex and second complex of exercises, the number of reps done for the second move wasn’t up to snuff – both should have been more. Instead of doing just 6 reps, I made sure I got my ass in gear and knocked out at least 10 during each set.
Enough of my rant, let’s explain how to do the Split Squat Jumps. To perform this particular exercise, simply start out in a lunge position with your arms down by your sides. So one leg in front of your body with a bent knee, and the other leg back, got it? Then you simply jump up for maximum height and while you are mid-air, your legs switch positions while your hands meet above your head for a “clap.” When you land, the foot that started in the back of your lunge is now in front, and vice versa.
Then jump up from your lunge for maximum height, do another mid-air leg switch and hand clap above your head, and continue until you have finished 6 reps. The whole key here is to jump for maximum height, land softly on the balls of your feet, and go for maximum speed. If you can combine jumping power with speed and control, you have done well here. Oh and if you are feeling badass like me, don’t let the rep counter hold you back from doing a few extra reps before the next move.
Monster Slalom Jumps
The Monster Slalom Jumps were one of my favorite moves in this entire workout because they brought back memories of The Asylum; especially during Speed and Agility when we had to finish with the Side Long Jumps clearing the entire ladder. For the Monster Slalom Jumps in PAP Lower, you simply jump back and forth with both legs together like you are “slaloming.” Your knees should be bent and you should be landing on the balls of your feet while keeping your body square to the front.
When it comes to the Monster Slalom Jump, you are instructed to jump side to side for distance and speed. Hopefully when you taped your parallel lines to prep for this routine, you left at least a 3 foot gap in between. If there isn’t a three foot gap, there should be a big clearance gap each time you jump back and forth. If you observe the crew members, Collette is going bananas in terms of speed – she is the quickest, but her lines aren’t very far apart – so that’s why. Adam on the other hand is clearing a greater distance, which will makes him look slower. I was clearing about the same distance as Adam and trying to keep up to Collette’s speed which worked out well. I wasn’t quite as fast as her, but that’s because I was in the air longer than she was.
Another thing to keep in mind here is that you aren’t jumping for height, you are jumping for lateral distance; minimize your hangtime. Although the further the distance you have to jump side to side will slow you down a little bit compared to Collette, you can still be quick. The key with this move is to hop immediately as soon as your feet come in contact with the ground; zero hesitation. Yes you are hopping for side to side distance, but you also need to work on your agility by being quick.
This is an explosive jumping exercise and will really put pressure on your hips and feet as you land, so be sure to use good form. If you don’t have the proper set of kicks (shoes), you may find that the outsides of your feet blister up because they are rubbing up against your shoes with the side-to-side pressure of each landing. These are done for 30 seconds and will get your heart rate up while working your legs if you do them properly.
Side Bridge Leg Lift
The Side Bridge Leg Lift may initially appear as though it’s going to be one of the easier exercises in the whole PAP Lower workout, just like Tony’s Triangle did. Looks can be deceptive though because the truth is that the Side Bridge Leg Lift gave me the most burn out of any move in this entire routine – it was fucking wicked (and with each set it seemed to have gotten tougher). I thought it was actually going to be a piece of X2 cake when I first saw what we had to do. After all, I had done side balances on the med balls in routines like X2 Chest Shoulders Tris as well as in X2 Total Body.
To perform the Side Bridge Leg Lift, get your mind right, and lie down on your left side. Then place your left forearm on the floor as well and palm of your left hand. Leave the outside of your left foot (shoe) anchored to the floor and when you are ready, press your entire body off of the floor – elevating it as much as possible. At this point, only your left forearm, left hand, and outer left foot should be in contact with the ground. Your core should be elevated and you should raise your right leg up as high as possible – separating it from the left leg.
Place your right hand on your waist if you think it helps your balance and maintain stability. The key here though is once you are in position, keep your body straight and fight to keep your hips, butt, and body forward. Not only should your body be as straight as possible with a tight core, your leg and top hip should be elevated for maximum height. The natural tendency will be for your upper body to drop down towards the floor or for your butt to sag back. You need to raise that leg as high as possible and keep your entire body square.
Then simply hold this position for 30 seconds per side while the (third degree) burn ensues. After 30 seconds have elapsed, switch over to your right side so that your right forearm, right hand, and outer right foot are the only thing in contact with the ground. Then raise your hips, raise the left leg, keep your core tight, and you are back in action for another 30 seconds. If you want to do something different (and more advanced), follow Collette’s lead. She extends her bottom arm straight out while balancing it on a foam roller so that she gets more elevation and strength work through bottom arm.
I highly recommend lying on a yoga mat for this move so that you aren’t slipping and sliding around. The move is tough enough “as is” so don’t make it tougher on yourself by doing it on a slippery surface – you might get hurt. I did this on a yoga mat immediately after the first round because the thin rough carpeting I was on left a nice burn in my forearm. Listen to the tips that Tony gives here and fight to the finish. If this is an easy move for you, something’s wrong. Check your form and get it together – this should induce a nasty burn, while testing your strength (both mentally and physically).
- Squat Cross Reach – The second set of the Squat Cross Reach started up immediately, there was no fucking around between sets and I accidentally was trying to squat the wrong knee down to the med ball for the first three reps. I realized what I had done and fixed up my form to finish strong with the first leg. Then I rolled the medicine ball over to the other side and finished my next 8 reps like a pro.
- Split Squat Jump – Once again back to the “Mary Katherine’s on crack.” I guess if these are on crack, then the Killer Katherines with the medicine ball are MK’s on
pure Peruvian cokemeth. Anyways, I stuck with my own motto and made sure I did at least 10 reps. My heart rate was still high and I felt like I was working hard, but six reps here is almost laughable. Jump for the stars with as much height as possible and land softly with good form.
- Monster Slalom Jumps – Damn these are awesome, probably one of the most fun exercises in this routine, but you need to be ready to just go hard. I don’t even wait for Tony to countdown to the start of these, I just start up as soon as I do my reps of the Split Squat Jumps. If you already know what to do here, don’t stop moving, just jump right in and get your ass going – especially if you want the best possible results from this routine.
- Side Bridge Leg Lift – I tried Collette’s more advanced version of this move in the second set and it was ridiculously tough on my rumble roller. To do the advanced move, you fully extend the arm of the side that you are on and balance with it on your foam or rumble roller. Let’s just say that I started out okay, then was (blue dream) and leanin like
Juicy Jthe Tower of Pisa, and then I collapsed. So I quickly reverted to the O.G. normal version of this move with my forearm on the floor and it was still wicked.
- Squat Cross Reach – So the third set rolls around and I’m back in action with my 15 lb. dumbbell and medicine ball targets on the floor. I already knew the drill and was focused on fighting to maintain good form for my 8 reps per leg. My legs and core were becoming more fatigued after I had finished the third set of these.
- Split Squat Jump – Back to the SSJ’s for
6 more reps10 more reps. My heart rate was pretty high here and my legs were feeling some burn, but what do you expect this deep into the routine? If you aren’t feeling a little fatigued here, that’s on you – work harder and do extra reps.
- Monster Slalom Jumps – I was leaking sweat all over the place at this point and my long hair didn’t help. It would be nice if my long hair actually soaked up some sweat like a mop (because it is a mop) but it didn’t do shit. I think I’m going to get a haircut soon. Anyways, I was trying to take down Collette’s G4 jet speed here on the monster slalom and I kept up. My feet were feeling the pressure though.
- Side Bridge Leg Lift – With each set that passed, this move increased in difficulty. At this point in the workout, there was no way I was going to try’n pull some rumble roller one arm balance type shit out of Collette’s book of advanced X2 tactics. Anyways, even she was doing the normal version again and man, it’s wicked. I was shaking and struggling to keep my core towards the front.
- Squat Cross Reach – Get the med balls properly aligned, grab your dumbbells, and get rollin – this is the final set. This is where you need to tell yourself that no matter how tired you are, you are going to go just as hard as you were in the first set. Finish your 8 reps per side, invite the sweat, invite the burn, and start up the next exercise immediately.
- Split Squat Jump – If you start these right away after finishing the Squat Cross Reach’s you should be able to do 10 reps. I went for maximum reps in this final set, and as soon as the crew was amping up for the next move, I joined them. This is one of the weaker moves with only 6 reps, so don’t slack off.
- Monster Slalom Jumps – The outsides of my feet were seriously grinding against my shoes with each jump because I was hopping like a fiend, but at least I gave it my all. I knew that even if my feet hurt a little bit, they would recover within the next couple days anyways, so no slacking. This is one of the best moves to get your heart rate up, so give it your all. If you want to make things interesting, you can even do zig zag Monster Slalom Jumps by moving up then down vertically with each jump.
- Side Bridge Leg Lift – Woopty woop, blah say blah, he say she say, oh my god! It’s the final move of the final set; chea. For this final set of Side Bridge Leg Lift I gave every fucking ounce of energy that I had left in my body – and I’m glad; it’s always good to finish strong. For the most part, my form in this last set was really good, but near the end of the 30 seconds on each side, I was shaking and on the final side I actually collapsed. This move is a great test of total body strength (especially core strength) as well as mental toughness. If you watch the crew, they are really struggling for this final set, but they do their best – that’s what I did too – and that’s all that matters.
Cool Down Stretch
- Shake It Out – Get up off of the floor after your SBLL’s and start shaking it out like a boss. Get jiggy wit it or something.
- Huggers – Hug yourself while continuing to shake it out. Alternate arms with each hug – first right arm high, then left arm high, etc.
- Dead Arm Swing – Keep the lower half of your body locked in place and twist the upper half of your body back and forth while letting your arms dangle. The momentum of your twisting should make your arms swing like a dying propeller.
Neuro Integrated Stretching (NIS)
At the end of this routine, you get to enjoy some of the X2 Neuro Integrated Stretching. This was first introduced in the X2 Plyocide routine and I really enjoyed it. What’s different about Neuro Integrated Stretching in comparison to regular stretching is that N.I.S. combines “pushing” and “pulling” motions to increase the depth of your stretches. It’s basically touted as being a more efficient way to stretch. Tony says, “Regular stretch is all pulling. This allows the muscle to open up quicker and more. To create resistance early on, then open up into the relaxation.” This cool down has plenty of stretching, which is exactly what your lower body needs after all of that hopping.
- Single Leg Hamstring Stretch – Start out by lying with your back on the floor and grab either a towel or a band. Wrap the towel or band around one foot and extend the leg of that foot straight up towards the ceiling; keep the other leg extended straight out on the ground. Grab one end of the towel with each of your hands and “pull” to get a deep stretch in your hamstring. When Tony instructs you to “push” you then stop “pulling” and you push with your foot away from your hands that are holding the towel. This “push” motion engages the other half of your hamstring and helps deepen the stretch. You then switch back and forth between “pushing” and “pulling” until your hamstring is flexed out. You will end up doing this particular stretch with both legs before the cool down ends.
- Wide Open Leg Stretch – Using the same leg that you just stretched overhead, extend it out to the side now. If you were just stretching your right leg, lower it, keep it elevated, and extend it straight out to the side while pulling on the towel. Here you will want to shift your towel (or stretch band) to your right hand only. Your left arm should be on the ground so that you can keep your body open. This angle off to the side is a bit different because it targets your “adductor.” Do the same series of “pulls” and “pushes” by following Tony’s instruction. You will also do this stretch with both legs, so don’t freak out just because you target one leg before the other.
- Cross Body Leg Stretch – When you have finished the adductor stretch, take the same leg and extend it across your body (keeping it elevated). Switch your towel (or band) from right to left hand and feel the stretch in a different part of your leg. Once again when you “push,” your goal is to drive the heel and foot against the towel to create resistance, and when you “pull,” you use your arm to pull your foot into the stretch. This will also be done on both sides of the body.
- Hip Stretch – For the hip stretch, simply stay lying on your back with the bottoms of your feet on the floor and bent knees. From this position take your right leg and cross it so that your right ankle (or lower right calf) crosses your lower left quad (right above the knee). While maintaining this bent leg, grab behind the hamstring of your left leg with both hands, lean back, and pull. This should create a lot of resistance in the hip of the right leg. Eventually you will add a “push” which involves driving your leg against your hands (just like you have been doing with all of the other stretches). After you have done the hip stretch for your right hip, get to work and do the “neuro integrated stretch” on the left hip.
- Deep Quad Lunge – For the Deep Quad Lunge, place your right knee on the floor and position your left foot on the floor in front of your body. You should get your left foot as far in front of your body as possible so that you are in somewhat of an exaggerated lunge. When you are in proper position, you place your hands on your left knee and drive your hips forward. You should feel a huge stretch in your back right quad. Despite the fact that this is a stretch, you should be working here to get deeper in the stretch. In order to get the best possible quad stretch, make sure that you are squeezing your butt, driving your hips forward, and tilting your pelvis. When the time comes to “relax” you should be surprised at how much the initial resistance helped increase your range and depth. After you have finished this stretch with one leg, switch and target the opposite side.
- Half Bow Quad Stretch – This is pretty much like the classic Bow pose that I’m familiar with from P90X workouts like Yoga X. To get into Half Bow Quad Stretch a.k.a. Prone Bow, lie on your stomach, bend your knees, and grab your ankles with your hands. After your hands are grabbing ankles and you are ready for the stretch, pull your ankles so that your chest and upper body gets elevation from the ground and so that your legs and hips get some height. Tony will instruct you to “push” your feet against your hands for one half of the stretch, and to “pull” your ankles for the other half of the stretch. You may even find that this loosens up your lower back, arms, and chest in addition to your legs.
- Downward Dog Cross Hamstring Stretch – Start in plank, bend your hips back, and drive your sit bones to the sky (i.e. your butt) so that you are in an upside down “V” position. Feel the initial stretch in Downward Dog. Then take your right leg and cross it over the front of your left leg so that your right foot is now on the outside of your left foot. From here, straighten your right leg to maximize your hamstring stretch. The shin of the left leg should apply pressure to the back of your right calf. When you have finished this [advanced Downward Dog stretch] on one side, switch and slide your left foot to the outside of your right foot, and feel the pressure from your right shin on your left calf.
- Cat Stretch – From Downward Dog, you drop down to good old Cat Stretch to cap things off. Bring both knees to the ground and place your palms on the floor in front of your shoulders. As you inhale, raise your head so that from your head to your butt forms the shape of a “U.” Then as you exhale, raise the middle of your back up as high as possible while lowering your head so that your body looks like an “inverted U.” I love this stretch because it always loosens up my back, takes tension out of my core, and is very relaxing. Anyways, when you have finished acting like a
pussycat, you are done! Now go play recovery formula drinking games or something…haha.
P90X2 PAP Lower Review (Conclusion)
The X2 PAP Lower workout was awesome because it had a different structure and I really liked the creativity for some of these moves. However, for a routine that is supposed to be a wicked Phase 3 workout, I felt that it was lacking in overall lethality. Does that mean it’s not going to deliver results? No, it will still deliver great results – it’s an awesome workout. The best way to describe this workout is via the exercises that it provides in each round. Each round contained: 1 Strength / Balance hybrid move, 1 Plyometric move, 1 Explosive Jumping move, and a Stabilization (or Isolation) move.
PAP Lower packed a nice lower body punch
In this routine, there were still some pretty tough exercises. I thought that the most challenging move was the very first exercise – the Step Up Convict (assuming you are using heavy weights). This move not only got my heart rate up, but made my legs work hard – that’s what I wanted. In the second set of these, I actually felt like I might puke because my core was on fire and my legs were really feeling the burn. Another move that made me work hard was the Monster Slalom Jump – especially in the final couple sets. During these my legs were tired and I was trying to do these at Usain Bolt speed every set.
Additionally, the Side Bridge Leg Lift was crazy. Although it didn’t really keep my heart rate up, it put my core and leg strength to the test. If you work hard with all of the other moves, your legs may be so tired during this move that you collapse – that’s alright. Just get back up and keep fighting through it; you will improve over time. I collapsed in both the third and fourth set, and my body started shaking like the Tohoku quake in the second set. I fought through the shake and continued to do my best.
Room for Improvement: How PAP Lower could’ve been better…
This routine is great, but there are some adjustments and improvements I would make if I could have edited it before manufacturing. Since this is a Phase 3 (Month 3) routine, the goal is to maintain maximum intensity. The four moves in this routine did a great job at working me, but it felt like that the overall difficulty didn’t meet my expectations and standards. I came up with a few suggestions below.
- Add Reps for Select Moves – Although not every exercise in this routine is deficient in rep count. However, I felt that the second move of each round (namely: Skater Plyo and Split Squat Jumps) should have been more than a measly 8 reps (SP) and 6 reps (SSJs). The routine doesn’t slack on any of the other moves, but Tony and company really held back on this second move for some reason. Maybe they didn’t want it to feel like Plyo-overload, but I actually would have liked this second move to kick my ass. The rep count that they came up with makes it feel more like “filler.” If I had to come up with a rep count, each would be done for 20 reps per set. Additionally, I think doing Killer Katherine Lunges with the 8 lb. medicine ball (overhead swings) would have been an ideal replacement for Split Squat Jumps.
- Add 1 More Round – I was pretty tired by the time I finished the workout (i.e. second round), but as soon as it ended, I was thinking damn, there should have been one more round. Even a bonus round would have been cool, but it was nothing but pure stretching. Ideally, I would have added one more full round of 4 exercises done for 4 sets. I don’t think it would have been too mind-boggling to come up with a few more moves. Hell I even have a suggestion for the 4 exercises I would have added as a bonus round: Weighted Squats, Jump Knee Tucks, Frog Hops, and Hip Flexor Burners.
- Add 1 More Exercise Per Round – Despite the fact that I thought the structure was awesome with 4 moves repeated for 4 sets, I think it would have been fine to have added a fifth move. This fifth move could be designed to isolate the calves or something such as Toe Roll Iso Lunges or Calf Raises. Having one more move would certainly lengthen the overall routine a bit and make it more challenging. Also, they could have even made it 5 exercises for 5 sets which would have been amazing.
PAP Lower vs. Plyocide Comparison
In terms of overall intensity, X2 Plyocide undoubtedly has this routine beat. Not necessarily beat to a pulp, but it is certainly more hardcore than X2 PAP Lower. Although they aren’t necessarily ideal for a comparison due to the fact that there are fundamental differences in types of exercises as well as design, I think most people are interested in learning how these two routines stack up. In terms of getting your heart rate up and keeping it up, Plyocide is the better workout. Although this routine will get your heart rate up too, the last isolation move at the end of each set will allow it to temporarily plummet.
Additionally, the second move in this routine is pretty weak in terms of rep count – something that I already mentioned. It is true that in Plyocide there are more breaks, but in that routine you are doing a helluva lot more reps of actual plyometric exercises and your heart rate should stay sky high during the short breaks. This routine certainly could have been transformed into a beast – especially if I could have implemented some of my suggestions above. The first move of the second round was great, but not nearly as wicked as the Step Up Convict. Had there been one more round of 4 moves done for 4 sets, I think it would actually have probably been tougher than Plyocide.
Don’t think of these as being totally comparable workouts though, because they’re not. Just because I think Plyocide is tougher doesn’t mean I think it’s necessarily “better.” This routine has some amazing exercises that were developed specifically to help your body transform in the final month of the program. I got a great workout from PAP Lower, but I’m not sure if it was quite as intense as doing the Plyo Legs workout with a 25 lb. weight vest. However, if you read my experience above, you should understand that the resistance exercises literally made me “work my ass off” – they were badass.
What YOU can do to intensify PAP Lower:
1. Use heavy (challenging) weight – If you want to really feel a burn in your legs and get the most out of this routine, you should be using as heavy of weight as your legs can tolerate for the Step Up Convict. Although you have 4 sets with 16 reps per set, this is where you need to dig in and get serious. I used 30 lbs. per hand and it really pushed my leg strength with the leg raise lunge combo. This is the only move that you need to choose as challenging of weight as possible. Obviously don’t overdo it, but know what makes you cringe from the burn on your last few reps. Sidenote: For the Squat Cross Reach, you should be using light weight – the weight in that particular exercise is just for a little added resistance – adding too much there may cause you to get injured.
2. Do extra reps – In order to make this routine tougher, you need to be willing to do extra reps when you can. As I already mentioned, the 2 moves ideal for doing extra reps include: Skater Plyo and Split Squat Jumps. One more suggestion I already made earlier is try doing Killer Katherine Lunges with your medicine ball (swinging overhead) instead of the Split Squat Lunges. Although there is a rep counter and Tony instructs everyone to do 8 reps of Skater Plyo and 6 reps of Split Squat Jumps, I would suggest doing a minimum of 10 reps each per set. The next time I do this routine, I am just going to do max reps for both of these exercises.
3. Start each exercise immediately – I know that Tony moves through the routine quickly, but there are still little gaps in the action. The crew will be toweling off, Tony will be talking, explaining certain nuances of each move, etc. During this time, if you already know what’s up, don’t stare like a zombie from Shaun of the Dead at the screen, just start up the move and get to work. Not only should you start immediately, but you should only stop when the crew is already starting the next move. The idea behind this tactic is to maximize your time on each exercise without listening to Tony explain the subtleties (especially if you already know what’s up and have done this routine a couple times).
4. Adjust the distance of your taped lines – If you are using taped lines on the floor as targets for jumping, make sure you adjust them to a challenging distance. If you had them at 2 feet apart and this distance seemed like something your grandma on life alert could handle, extend the distance to a 3 foot gap for the next routine. There does come a point where distance apart may be excessive and could actually hinder your performance. What I mean is if you have the lines 5 feet apart and have to regain your composure after each hop, you may not really be working on agility as much as you should be.
5. Do the second half of the workout again (or an extra set) – When I finished this workout, my brain was telling me, “Yo Drew you should really ‘man up’ and do the second half of this routine again” – it wasn’t nearly as hard as P90X Legs and Back (the routine that I normally do on Fridays). I actually gave it some thought, but instead I figured I was going to start writing this review, so I settled for the cool down stretch and some recovery formula. I think that doing the second half (round) of this routine one more time for 4 additional sets would turn this “good” workout into a “great” one. Additionally you could even consider doing the first round again instead of the second OR a even consider hybrid of 2 sets in the first round and 2 sets of the second round. Obviously if you are planning on doing X2 Ab Ripper or something, then you may not want to add an extra round. Adding another round should depend on how well you feel and whether you have the energy to continue.
6. Always push as hard as possible – This should go without saying, but some people don’t actually do it. If you want to get the most out of any routine, you need to
be ready to fucking work hard. Most routines that people find “easy” can be made more difficult by simply putting forth more effort. If you are going to workout, why not go all out and get the most out of your routine? Although I think it’s always important to have fun, if you finish a routine and don’t give your all, I doubt you’ll feel very satisfied. With this routine I highly recommend implementing some of my suggestions if you aren’t feeling totally keished by the time this badboy is over.
Final thoughts on the X2 PAP Lower workout
PAP Lower is an innovative lower body workout containing exercises that will make the average person feel like an athlete in offseason training mode. Although I did have some beef with a couple rep counts (being low) as well as with the routine being only 2 rounds (3 would have been ideal), I still thoroughly enjoyed it. Doing it twice per week during the final month may get pretty repetitive, but most people should appreciate the combination of lower body moves in this routine. I will certainly continue using this workout anytime I want a workout of moderate difficulty that combines a little bit of everything: cardio, strength, agility, plyometrics, and isolation.