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P90X2 – The COMPLETE Review: Part 1 of 3



It’s the moment the internet has waited for.   Finally, the COMPLETE review of the new P90X2 program is here.  Gird your loins fair citizens.

Now here’s the deal kids…you want an honest review of each workout.  Not an “adver-torial” about how this is just all that and a bag of chips ( FYI: I am NOT a Beachbody coach ).   So allow me to once again throw my body into Tony Horton’s wood-chipper so that you can know exactly what you’re in for.

First things first…what’s in the box that my ever-faithful mailman brought to my door?  A set of DVD’s, an awesome diet guide, the fitness guide and a schedule.  I won’t go into detail regarding the diet guide, just know this:  If you think you can eat McD’s and other junk while doing this then you’re living in a fantasy world with elves and cannibal midgets.   Good eating is not optional.

The quality of the printed materials reveals that they were obviously created on the press of Zeus.  They are of impeccable quality and far beyond what I would have expected.   But these are not just there for show, they are loaded with information you cannot survive this program without.  Even my wife, an expert chef, is impressed by the great ideas within.  What is missing are the sheets to record your progress, but as I’ve been told they are downloadable from Beachbody.

P90X2 comes with 12 workouts ( plus 2 extra workouts with the Ultimate and Deluxe or as a separate purchase ) and is broken up into 3 phases:

  • Phase 1 – Foundation, 3-5 weeks
  • Phase 2 – Strength, 3-6 weeks
  • Phase 3 – Performance, 3-4 weeks
  • Recovery Week
First you are encouraged to watch the disk “How to Bring It Again”.  This is your pep talk.  Tony gives you the details on equipment, nutrition, and explains some questions you may have about the program.  OK, now I’m ready.  So let’s begin…



Time:  57 minutes
“The Kids”:  Dale, Taylor, Barbie

It’s the foam roller, stability and medicine balls in a core crushing one hour.  The tip of the day says it all: Time, patience and practice.  I was a clumsy drunken grizzly bear doing this for the first time and so will you be.  This is not just core and balance.  It is explosive core and balance.  There’s also a major benefit that will be gained from this: posture.  A real plus for many of us who work at a desk job.

As an added bonus, you won’t need to do X2 Ab Ripper after this workout.  Ow.


Time:  57 minutes
“The Kids”: Roberto, Mark “RoboCop” Briggs, Traci “Supermom” Morrow

Asylum might be “harder”, but that line of thinking is missing the point.  This is part of a greater picture and trust me, you’ll need something left over for X2 Total Body in a couple days.   This is not max interval training either, but rather plyo strength training by doing 5 sets of 5 moves.   For example, you will use the medicine ball on more than one occasion.   I’ve done Insanity and Asylum, and while those programs are indeed more plyo focused ( really, the only way to beat Asylum is to become Batman ), I sweated just as much here for different reasons.

The stretch at the end is also solid gold as it uses bands to really get the tight spots.  Neuro Integrated Flexibility as Tony calls it.  If you have tight IT bands like I do then this is your cure.  Makes me excited for the tomorrow which will feature…


Time:  58 minutes
“The Kids”:  Juan, Cedric, Christie

If I were to grade recovery workouts out of ten then I would give this a 50.  Nothing out there exists like this that I know of.

You main weapon of mass reconstruction will be the foam roller.  I discovered the foam roller about a year ago due to myself having a lower back that was “Made in China”.  So when I found out Tony was adding it to X2 I sang through the streets and danced with confused hobos.  Nothing crushes, massages and repairs your sore body like this seemingly innocent piece of equipment.  Foam rolling my tricep was sheer agony.  But in a good way!  Tony however makes use of the “rumble roller”, a genetic cross between a traditional foam roller and a 2×4 with nails sticking out of it.


Time:  64 minutes
“The Kids”: Jeremy, Drea Weber, Carter

This begins where X2 Core left off.  It’s chest presses on balls, balance curls on balls, curls in half chair pose…this is working on all the weaknesses.  The layout for this routine is 2 sets, one for each side.  This will absolutely make one more durable when going into the second Phase.   An added bonus in some warmups thus far is the time it gives you to work on the foam roller.  The roller is not something that is the same every time you use it, and Tony expects you NOT to follow verbatim during the few minutes you get to use it to your advantage.

It should be noted that this is nothing like Total Body in P90X+.  It is a super-concentrated core workout, not old school muscle isolation.   Yes you will do curls, push ups and chin ups, but always while using multiple muscle groups.

And oh yeah, Carter should shoot his barber.  Twice.


Time:  17 minutes
“The Kids”:  Bobby “World Famous” Stevenson, Alfonso, Collette

It’s 20x for each move as opposed to 25x for the original AB RipperX, but if you think that’s going to make it easier you’re in for a shocker.  There’s nothing recycled here as all the moves are fresh.   There’s more focus on the ab-core and obliques instead of hip flexors and that makes this 17 minutes a more effective use of time.  The crazy thing is that a lot of these moves look rather simple, but will beat you like a Detroit cop.  In fact, I think the Phaolin Twist would have made me cry…if I had tear ducts.


Time: 68 minutes.  As in NOT 90 minutes
“The Kids”: Ted McDonald ( co-creator of X2 Yoga ),  Melissa Costello ( Tony’s chef ), Shawna

It goes without saying that most of us have abandoned the original YogaX at our own peril due to it’s 90 minute length.  And that’s a shame, because we ( pointing at myself here ) need Yoga to stay young, flexible and strong.  Here at least, Tony shaves nearly half an hour off.  The moves are broken down into a warm up, vinyasas, ab work, and a final stretch.

The vinyasas have more variety, are less repetitive, and flow much better than YogaX.  Some of the super advanced moves by the “kids” however are just plain sick!  This is the yoga we’ve been waiting for, so enough of our damn excuses to not do it!  Seriously, I’ve done all of Tony’s One On One yogas and this trumps them all.   And oh yes, there’s only one “ohm” at the end.  Now that’s time management!


Time:  63 minutes
“The Kids”: Steve, Kit ( Tony’s sister! ), Dan

Once again, it’s core part 3.  You’d think Tony was trying to get a message across that core strength is important before you continue to phase 2.  Trust me, that’s because it is.  The warmup is similar to the other core workouts.  Stability ball stretches followed by some foam roller work.  Then you crank out the punishment.  Fast moves and slow moves all with core balance in mind.  This is at least as hard as X2 Total Body.

Everything is engaged as you do presses on stability balls, balance on push-up stands, and generally every move here so don’t go reaching for the big weights.  The goal is to make you a stable foundation while doing power moves with either weights or your own body mass.  For example Crawly Crab Press ( barbell press and balance ELBOW on stability ball )???  Unreal.  And Renegade Row Lolasana’s ( bring your knees to your chest while balancing on push-up bars ) will not only build upper body strength, but demand that you develop the balance to go along with it.  Fortunately I own the older metal Powerstands and have a bit more clearance than the redesigned plastic ones.  But I’m also 6 feet and forty years old, so I’ll take any sliver of advantage I can get!

What is probably important to understand is that doing core work only once a week is simply not enough to make you break a plateau.  This will enable you to break that plateau guaranteed by forcing your weak spots to get stronger.  Much stronger.

Conclusions thus far…

First off I need to get a very small complaint off my back.  Please Beachbody, STOP making it so I can’t skip past the disclaimer.   It takes forever to wait until it is done scrolling and it drives me freaking bananas!  Another minor gripe is that you’ll probably want to get a DVD case as getting these dang things back in the paper sleeve with sweaty hands after workout might be more than you can handle!

This Phase was designed to provide a, well…foundation.  Unless your core is strong you are probably going to pull something in Phase 2 and thus be sidelined just when you’re getting momentum.  In the past I have experienced this as I’m the proud owner of a crummy lower back.  And because of this I love ( love love love! ) the heavy use of the foam roller.  I kid you not, this thing will transform your life.  All I can add at this point is that P90X2 is impressing the heck out of me!  But more is yet to come…


Can the Dysfunctional Parrot keep going at top speed to bring the latest review to you?   By having GAMMA RADIATION alter his body chemistry, you know he can!   

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.


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