REVIEW- One on One Volume 3: MC2


I’m obviously a big fan of the original P90X and pretty much anything that comes from the creative mind of Tony Horton.  And the One on One Series is no exception.  As a subscriber to the first two One on One volumes, I now reveal what Tony has come up with for Volume 3.

Volume 3 was the test bed for P90X2 which was released in December 2011.  I’m not going to repeat the same stuff here that you can find anywhere else, but instead am going to do a review on each DVD as it comes available.

In terms of actual production, the only real difference is widescreen Hi-Def and some different camera angles.

My feelings on the first 2 volumes were mixed.  There are plenty of invaluable gems ( Just Arms, Fountain of Youth Yoga, Diamond Delts, Core Ball Sandwich, etc… ).  But there were also a lot of what I consider to be less than stellar routines ( Super Cardio, UML, Killer Abs to name a few ).   So how is Volume 3 going to compare?  Follow me if you dare.


This is obviously meant to go toe to toe with the original P90X Chest and Back.  Only this time stability and medicine balls are added to the mix.  As it is, I consider the original to be a routine I already have a hard time surviving through without seeing little white spots in my vision!  So what about CB&B?   If CB is hard, then CB&B is at least on par in terms of overall difficulty.  This one works your core also as balance is required with pushups on the balls.  A catch is that for some moves as many as 4 balls are used, so unless your home gym is well stocked you’ll have to modify.  No weights are involved in any exercise for this one. If this is any indication of how difficult things are going to be, then Vol. 3 is going to be harder than Vol. 2 which in many ways was somewhat of a disappointment.  Personally, my back and balls were busted…but my chest still had more due to not being completely isolated.

Running Time: 60 minutes

Equipment needed: Chin-Up bar, stability ball, and as many as 4 medicine/basketballs.

PROS: You whole body will get a workout as you must engage the core to the extreme.  A good workout to mix up the Chest and Back days.

CONS: Core work comes at the expense of muscle isolation.  P90X chin-up bar inadequate for many moves.

Disk 2: AB RIPPER X2

What you will notice immediately is the time…around 45 minutes.  In what thankfully wasn’t the actual time in the X2 version, Tony adds a whole new level of crunches.  It’s 20 moves at 20 reps a pop with the odd move that goes for more.  Unfortunately, only one move utilizes a medicine ball.  While the workout will leave your gut sufficiently bused, there is a lot, and I do mean a lot of downtime.  I had my remote handy to fast-forward past the breaks where Tony was writing stuff down while my abs were cooling off.  The final version in X2 is a rocking killer, but this one felt as if it was made up on the fly.  I understand the need for experimentation, but at the same time people buy workout videos to have a workout.  Barely gets a 3 out of 5.

Running Time: around 45 minutes

Equipment needed: Medicine ball used in one move.  Grab any ball if you don’t have one.

PROS: Almost all the moves are new, and really, really good.

CONS: Way, waaaaaay too much time consumed in talking and writing.

Disk 3: Shoulder and Arms MC2

I loved this one from start to finish because it’s old school iron pumping at its best!  6 sets with 3 moves done 3 times.  The stability ball is only used once for Triceps french presses,  but you could just as easily use a bench.  Shoulders get a burn, triceps focus on weak spots, and biceps pump some good heavy weight.  3 sets of Crazy Eights…no better way to end a workout!  This is right up there with my personal favorite of “Just Arms” from Volume One, so it gets an easy 5 stars!

PROS: Heavy muscle focus, and minimal attention to “core” which has gotten more attention than it deserves lately. Minimal time wasted during sets.

CONS: Honestly, I cannot think of one for this.  It’s what I’ve been waiting for!

Disk 4: Base and Back

Ten moves, done twice with alternating pull-ups and leg work.  You would think this should be a cut and dried workout, but in truth it will push you.  Neither the leg work nor upper work is killer on its own, but this particular combo will leave you very, very worn out by the end.  This is a total body killer, and even Tony has to dig deeper to get it done.  But unlike the original P90X, there are no weights used.  4.5 stars

PROS: If you’ve been complaining about easy workouts, this should shut you up!  On paper it seems ordinary, but in motion it will get the job done for sure.

CONS: Leg work is mostly plyometrics, but it would have been nice to have a few weight options.

Disk 5: YOGA MC2

I had to do this DVD twice before I could really give a review as in many ways it is a repeat of precious yoga routines from Tony.  It’s 63 minutes in length and spends the first half doing the usual sun-salutations, vinyasas and warrior poses.  There’s some new stuff but not terribly much.  The last bit has more advanced postures that will require some prior exposure to P90X Yoga or similar.  Tony doesn’t queue much, and that gets very frustrating sometimes when you can’t see what’s going on.  He’s also quite mellow in this and Mason the director barely talks at all.  All in all it is a very good routine that will probably have to wait until the finished X2 product to truly blossom.  I can only give this 3 out of 5.

PROS: A fairly comprehensive Yoga routine.

CONS: Very, very little queuing of the moves.  Hard to follow along when your head is wrapped like a pretzel and you can’t see the TV.


It’s unfortunately inevitable that any Plyo routine will be compared to Shaun T’s Insanity given the intensity of that program.  But I’m happy to say that Plyocide delivers…bigtime.  It runs just over 1 hour in length and for the most part includes all new moves that make use of a medicine ball, jump rope, and even some weights.  While the heart-rate does not go to Insanity levels, the beating on your legs most certainly will and then some.  I cannot wait for the final version of this as it will be absolute kick-ass. 5 out of 5.

PROS: Uses addition tools such as weights to add a new level of muscle confusion.  No repetition of moves.

CONS: Do we ever find out how Tony really got the black eye?


You’re probably thinking the same thing I was…is it going to be another yoga routine with sun salutations?  While there is some of that, there is not much.  This has entirely new stretching moves and is written down in advance so Mason helps queue Tony resulting in no downtime.  Tony gets his stride in this workout because he’s working at some of his weak spots and not trying to hide the fact that he does.  Especially during a move called “Mad Cow” where I certainly shared his pain!  He also seems very real, very genuine in this DVD.  The routine lasts an hour but time moves fast so its a full on winner!

PROS: Mostly all new and not another yoga retread.  Will stretch you like yoga nonetheless!  Tony has a very approachable demeanor in this one.

CONS: Some moves might be a little advanced to pull off, but then again this is MC2.

Disk 8: V SCULPT

Up until now “Just Arms” was my favorite.  No longer.  This routine is a 6 out of 5 if ever there was one.  It’s 12 moves done twice, but they are randomly pulled from a hat.  It’s alternating back and biceps that makes good use of bands as well as weights.  The pull ups in this are absolute killer due to biceps also being a big part of the strength needed to get up.  ESPECIALLY the 21’s.  Yes, pull-up 21’s.  If anyone out there actually does two rounds of these let me know so I can come over to your house and punch you in the face.  The routine also ends appropriately with a second round of strip set curls.  Sheer fitness poetry that would bring tears to an opera critic!

PROS: Too many to mention.  Will kill your arms and back in ways you never thought possible.  This is one that many guys have been waiting for!

CONS: Seriously…none.  Although you might want to hurl your shoes at the TV after your second set of pull-up 21’s.


Steve Holmsen brings the intellectual goods to Tony in the remake of Core Synergistics.   Some might recognize him from Core Ball Sandwich as the guy using the foam roller behind the scenes.  Steve’s philosophy is simple: Life is not about isolated moves. Tony runs with that and develops a core routine that is completely different from the original P90X CS.

I was pumped for a new CS because while I actually hate core, I desperately need it.  That having been said, unless you are a P90X grad many of these moves will be off the charts.  The “Medicine Ball Dreya Roll” for example dropped me on my ass.  The Banana Ball Crunch should also be considered for ABS:MC2 due to its abdominal intensity!

The 1:07 long workout makes wise use of stability and medicine balls.  It is broken into 3 segments: warm up, 12 moves, and a 5 move bonus round.  Although many moves may seem easy, they are a hell of a lot harder than they look!  In some instances people may have a problem with roof clearance for some moves with the stability ball, but that can be modified.  Tony also uses “pro-sliders” for the last two moves which will require the viewer to come up with some creative substitutes.  In my case I just rolled on a stability ball for a similar burn.  My final score is 4.5 out of 5.  After a slowish start to the series, Tony is now firing on all cylinders!  Dare I hope the same for the next DVD…UBX??

PROS:  All new, and more advanced.  There’s a shout-out to Eric from PlyoX ( prosthetic leg ) so I’m glad to hear how a P90X grad is doing!

CONS: “Pro-Sliders” may be required for a couple moves.

Disk 10: UBX

This DVD is the new and improved version of Chest, Shoulder and Triceps from P90X.  There are some noticeable differences, the most obvious being the use of balls for increased attack on your core.

The routine is 4 sets of 3 moves, each done twice before moving on to the next set.   And it’s all new.   Monsters like Chataranga Sliders are now added to the mix as well as gaspOne Arm Bench Dips!  I also want to mention that 3-Ball Burpies are especially hard when your wife is laughing at you.

Aside from the original CST we really haven’t had a devoted alternative.  At last, we finally do!  That means I can take a break from watching Phil in P90X CST.  Yeesh, that guy is one part Vulcan and two parts Oscar the Grouch!

PROS: 100% new stuff.  Really good flow and a feel throughout the workout.  Many moves will require practice but that will only help you get to the next level.  And best of all, no Phil!

CONS: When I can think of one I’ll post it!  I just really enjoyed the newness of it all.

Disk 11: Post Activation Potentiation

Steve Edwards brings Tony the goods for a 70 minute crusher.  The concept is a contraction exercise followed by an explosive one at 100% to create more neuro-muscular patterns.  So they tell me.

In other words, you get strong and fast, but only if you give it your all.  The routine is split into two halves: upper and lower body.  For each it’s the same 4 move routine done 4 times.  So it’s great, but not a lot of variety.  Yet at the same time I think for the workout to benefit from PAP it has to be this way.

The whole philosophy behind this is unlike anything Tony has done before…right from the warm up to the stretch.  Trust me, there’s nothing easy about this one.  4.5 out of 5.

PROS: 100% new.  The combo of power, explosive, and isometric moves make for an interesting muscle burn.

CONS: The nature of the workout means that variety will be lacking.   Hard to say where this will wind up in P90X2.


This is it.  The last disk of Volume 3 and possibly the last One on One workout.  In appropriate fashion it is on the set of the upcoming P90X2 coming in the Fall of 2011.  And as such you’ll love it mainly for it’s teaser value.

TBX itself is a strange cat.  It’s not as refined as TB+ from the P90X+ expansion pack but rather Tony having fun with his new set.  The 43 minute routine has 4 sections, each with 4 moves.  Usually it’s chest, legs, abs, pull-ups…but sometimes not.  There is also no weight work.  It’s mainly push ups, squats, crunches and some pull-ups to give you a total body workout, but not necessarily a total body burnout.

At the end Tony lets the cat out of the bag over who might be returning for P90X2.  Drea Weber and Bobby Stevenson are said to be on the new set.  Drea kind of irritates me.  But Bobby is da man!!!   3 stars out of 5.

PROS:  It’s on the set of the new P90X2.

CONS:  The workout seems a little random.  If given a choice, TB+ from P90X+ would be a far superior use of your time.


One on One Volume 3 was the grand experiment that in the end paid off.  It gave users of P90X some different routines to incorporate into their schedule and also gave us a taste of the new P90X2 which was on the way.  As with any workout you have the good and the bad.  From the soaring highs of UBX and V-Sculpt to the not so special ABX and Yoga, Volume 3 still balances out to be a program worth having as the positives vastly outnumber the negatives.

P90X2 has arrived!  Review is HERE!

© 2010 – 2015, Dysfunctional Parrot. All rights reserved. No reproduction of written material is permitted.

About Author

John Paul Parrot ( aka. The Dysfunctional Parrot ) is a disgruntled Systems Analyst who wanders the Canadian wastelands saving small villages with the power of Kung Fu.  His chair is also a little too close to the twenty year old microwave.  As you can well imagine, this has had certain side effects.

  • Mark


    I'm a P90X grad that owns P90X, P90X Plus, One on One Vol 1, 2, and 3 (so far), as well as Insanity. I've been doing P90X for years but never with the official P90X supplements (bar, shake, multivitamin). Currently, I have a 1 month supply that I don't want to waste on just another round of the X. My ultimate goal is to have strangers in supermarkets grate cheese on my abs as well. Really though I just want to be as strong as possible and I figure having the supplements is an opportunity to make great gains that I don't want to waste. Any chance you could devise a 1 month, daily schedule that incorporates the most effective muscle-building workouts from each of the DVD sets that I mentioned in my collection above? I would attempt to do this myself, but you're clearIy more familiar with all the programs I own and I just don't want to drink that last drop of Recovery Drink feeling like I wasted $200 worth of supplements on 30 days of using only the Pay It Forward DVD. Any help with this would be very appreciated.

    Thanks so much and I look forward to your future reviews on Beachbody DVDs,


    • Dysfunctional Parrot

      Combination schedules are fairly easy to find. The best place is the Beachbody Forums where tons of people have contributed.

      As for myself, I alternate according to how I feel that day. For example, if I'm scheduled to do a Plyo routine then I do either an Insanity or a multitude of Tony workouts. I try and maintain a P90X schedule, but rotate workouts that fit with it. Like Chest and Back can be substituted for 30-15.

      Workout supplements are another thing entirely! I don't bother with the recovery drink as I have my own favorites. The Vega Sport pre-workout drink is to me, the standard none else can achieve. Then after my workout I mix a berry, avacado and whey/pumpkin protein shake. Bada bing!

  • Steve B.

    I turn to this blog for which workouts I want to choose on any given day. I searched the web for a while to find something like this. Congratulations on your spearheadedness on this front sir: Unbiased opinion. It is hard to find. I also am not a coach for BB. I am just a guy who thinks Tony's training philosophy has done wonders for me. Please keep up the good work! Also, when and if you can, I would love to see some analysis on what the next series in P90X evolution might look like.

    • Dysfunctional Parrot

      Thank you for your kind words! I've done an analysis on the next Insanity program at this link. I'm in the midst of the One on One Vol.3 but I'm starting to get a feel to where Tony is going. And analysis will be forthcoming as more information arises! Rest assured, when MC2 comes out I will order it right away and give a full report!

  • Steven

    I first found out about the one on one series from this site, and since then i have been hooked to the few one on one dvd's i purchased. I'm glad to see volume 3 wrapped up, but its sad knowing that the one on one series is probably over. I look forward to doing P90X2, and to reading your review.

  • yoga4myback

    I’d like to put together a P90X schedule using wo’s that are about 45 minutes. The 1st time I found your website The info was provided, but now that I’m back I can’t get to those pages that provide more detailed info like runtime and what wo it would substitute for in the original schedule.  Great service you are providing. nobody else even comes close.

    • Maybe I can help!  I haven’t archived anything so it should all still be there.  Do you remember what the page was about?  Was it a schedule placed in the comments section perhaps?

      Thanks also for the compliment! I get a real kick out of doing fitness reviews, and I’m even working on a not-so-serious P90X2 video documentary/review which should be ready early May.

  • kj

    I was going through your review. Very detailed!!! Is Tony Horton One on One vol. 3 Different from p90x2?

    • In some ways it is similar such as V-Sculpt but in many ways it is radically different such as how PAP is done in 2 separate dvd’s for X2. The Ab workout is totally different too. Suffice to say there is enough different to warrant owning both if you really want variety, but X2 will more than have the bases covered if you don’t feel like buying too similar a program.

  • Alex Canyock

    How does V Sculpt compare to Back and Biceps from P90x and V Sculpt from P90x2? Is it worth purchasing if you have the other two? Personally I didn’t like the structure of Back and Biceps( two back exercises followed by two bicep exercises) but I loved V Sculpt from P90x2(Back, Bi, Back, Bi) with some stability/core work integrated into the moves. Also I have tried Chest, Shoulders, and Triceps from X2 and wasn’t really impressed. Is UBX harder? Thank you.

  • Sarah

    How long is the V-Sculpt or Upper Body X?

  • Juan Fernando Tascón Villegas

    hey dude ive done a lot of this workouts (insanity, insanity max:30, t25 al three phases, p90x1 and 2, tapout xt (i hated it) im in a pretty good shape and i was thinking, how about a remix calendar with all of them. what would you suggest? great blog by the way.

    • I don’t have an official calendar I follow. I just mix things up pretty much at random. The only rule I follow is to avoid doing the same muscle part 2 days in a row. The nice thing about these workouts is that they seem to follow similar formats so that interchangeability is easy.