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P90X2 – The COMPLETE Review: Part 3 of 3



Post Activation Potentiation.  Only words, but words that have struck terror into the hearts of men and women.   If after these workouts you wake in the night crying for your momma, then perhaps you have begun to understand.   This is what you will have been training for during the past 8 or so weeks.  The fitness guide also recommends that due to the sheer Hell of this phase, to only do it for no more than 3-4 weeks at a time lest your body dissolve into dust.

The science behind P.A.P. is intended to create superior muscle growth by doing a resistance move, followed immediately by an explosive move with the same muscle group.   This is not just some catch phrase invented by Tony and Beachbody either.  P.A.P. has been getting a lot of attention in professional training circles because it makes one fast and strong by also training the nervous system.

Thus, we begin the final chapter…



Time: 63 minutes
The “Kids”: Cedric, Adam, Colette

This workout was like being mauled by a grizzly after giving her cubs a slap in their cute little faces.  I would advise NOT planning any running, walking ( Heck, even  STANDING ) the day after doing this for the first time.  Why?  Because it’s weights followed by 2 plyo moves with an isometric hold to cap off each set.  And yeah, it hurts as much as it sounds!

PAP Lower is 2 sets of 4 moves with each set done 4 times. This is followed by a 10 minute cooldown of neural integrated stretching which if you have any common sense you will not skip!   Possibly the hardest move is the Side Bridge Leg Lift, an isometric move in the second set which at first will seem impossible to hold for more than a few seconds.  Done right, your legs will have nothing left in the tank after this.  But that’s not the worst of it.  In Phase 3 you won’t be doing this just once a week, but TWICE.   Therefore I advise taking advantage of your rest days and do X2 Recovery and Mobility.

I should also mention that due to the strength/plyo combo in Insanity Asylum, I would expect those who have gone through that program to initially fare better than the newcomer to PAP.


Time: 53 minutes
The “Kids”: Christina, Robert, Wayne

Argh!!  No man who has a conscience would unleash this demon upon humanity!   If you’re following the program then you’ll be doing this the day after PAP Lower and that means from the waist down you’ll be an invalid for the first few times you do this.  And then, oh joy, you’ll be one from the waist up after this until your body realizes what you’re doing to it.

This routine moves fast like one would expect from true circuit training, which means your heart rate will go up to match.  This is a true athletic-style upper body workout that like PAP Lower, has 2 rounds of 4 moves, each done four times.  Oh, and with NO breaks.  The first round moves are resistance, plyo, iso, iso.  The second round is resistance, plyo, resistance, iso.  And like your legs, you will get trashed all the way down!   You may not want to skip the recovery drink after this…just sayin’.

Conclusion for PHASE 3

Doing PAP 4x a week will practically guarantee stronger and faster physical performance.  But it will take time, so don’t let the first week get you down.  Take advantage of the yoga and recovery workouts to make sure everything stays together, and follow the advice in the manual: Don’t do this for more than 3-4 weeks at a time.

Interestingly enough, Volume 3 of the One on One Series was supposed to be the test bed for X2.  But not a whole lot from those disks made it to the final product.  That’s good because in many ways OoO v.3 didn’t find its stride until Tony did the P.A.P video.  At that point you could see the light bulb going off in Tony’s head as he just knew PAP was the way to go with X2.  Good call!

 The Final Conclusion

p90x2 reviewP90X2 stands alone as the premier home fitness solution of our time.  Like the original P90X, Tony has found a way to accomplish what nobody thought was possible:  To create a program that was difficult, agonizing, and authentic.  Nothing, and I mean nothing, touches this program in terms of versatility and attacking your total body.   This is no gimmick kids, this is the real McCoy.  As such, P90X2 has earned the coveted 6 FEATHER AWARD for being all-around awesome.

As for me, it’s time to go back and complete Phase 1 so I can do the program in its entirety.  Oh, and there’s a free P90X2 muscle shirt for those who complete the program and send in their documented results.  That means Tony better check his mail in 90 days as I am creating a video documentary which will also be featured on this site that shows the misadventures of a 40 year old Dad pressing play.

That will be completed probably around March.  Look for it!



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.



  1. Nativ Adler

    May 24, 2017 at

    I’m starting phase 3 in a few days, and already looking ahead to my next adventure. What do you recommend i do after i’m finished with P90X2?

    • Dysfunctional Parrot

      May 24, 2017 at

      Pretty much anything. I’d probably try Asylum or Max 30 and see if you can increase cardio endurance.

  2. Mari

    June 22, 2016 at

    I’m having a hard time to decide between Asylum and P90X2 to do next .I’m an Insanity, Max 30, and (hopefully), a P90X3/T25 hybrid grad (I dialed down back a bit because Max 30 made me feel like I needed to do so). But P90X2 really turns me off in the many equipment it needs. What are the absolute must-haves for P90X2? And in terms of me preferring little equipment as much as possible, which is a better choice?

    • Dysfunctional Parrot

      June 22, 2016 at

      The absolute must haves for P90X2 are weights and some form of pull up system whether it be bands or bar. The stability ball will help a great deal during the first phase as well. Foam roller and medicine balls are easily worked around and Tony has modifiers to demonstrate. X2 certainly has one of the higher equipment needs, but also has some better benefits as a result as well.

      For the least amount of equipment, Asylum is better. It uses the ladder, skip rope and a couple lighter weights occasionally.

      To go less than that, X3 needs just weights and a pull up bar. T25 even less so with just some light weights.

  3. Aewhite0020

    June 10, 2016 at

    Thank you for the by-far best reviews of BB products I have found!
    I’m finishing up 22 min HC. Would px2 be a good program to complete next?

    • Dysfunctional Parrot

      June 14, 2016 at

      P90X2 in my opinion is probably one of the more complete total body packages out there that looks at functional fitness. It does require more of a time commitment but I found it well worth it.

  4. Jon Eastling

    April 28, 2016 at

    I’m almost halfway through phase 3, P90X2 has been well worth the frustration LOL!
    Phase 2 week 1 I could get 0 lever pull ups. (Maybe a fugly one) and now I’m up to 8 non-stop if I’m fresh.
    Impossible/possibles are still my nemesis but that will come with time. Base and back has been my favorite from strength phase. PAP upper in the PAP phase. Working on a P90X/X2/X3 hybrid, that should be interesting. Thanks for the tips in your article above! (I agree on picking the bear over P.A.P lower the first few times haha. Enjoy X2 everyone!!

  5. Jason Jones

    March 27, 2016 at

    I finished three rounds of T25, and am in the middle of Insanity Max 30. I’m trying to decide between P90X2 and P90X3 for my next series. One thing I’m concerned with is dropping my gains in cardio endurance that I’ve picked up with Shawn T. Which of these two programs would minimize that drop off in cardio?

    • Dysfunctional Parrot

      March 30, 2016 at

      It’s probably safe to admit that Shaun T has vastly more intense cardio than Tony, but Tony is far superior when it comes to functional fitness. P90X2 is one of my all time highest rated workouts but they are 1 hr workouts. If that’s too much then X3 is the next choice. Simply substitute your existing Max 30 cardio days in for the X3 cardio days. Should be able to get the best of both worlds that way.

  6. Jon Eastling

    February 18, 2016 at

    Awesome reviews and page, great humor in the review. I’m starting next week. (Currently waiting on the mailman to bring it) and I don’t have any med balls. I have one basketball and a stability ball. Will this be enough for the first month? Weights are 5-30lbs and I’m a teenage dude. Hoping this will take my athletic abilities to a new level (wide reciver). Thanks

    • Dysfunctional Parrot

      February 19, 2016 at

      That will be enough, no problem. The only thing that really matters is some form of pull-up bar and a set of weights. Anything else is easily modifiable.

  7. LaMamanduPoeteetSainte

    February 8, 2016 at

    I’m back. Did you eventually go back and do it all? I’m previewing it and the length seems daunting. Hubby and I already wake up at 5 to get our workouts in. Did you find the length to be a turnoff over the long hall?

    • Dysfunctional Parrot

      February 8, 2016 at

      I did the full 90 days with this one. X2 is actually one of my favorite packages so I’ve done it twice and even made a YouTube review video for it. It would be nice to do more review videos, but I have a house full of kids at the moment who demand a lot from their dad!

      Yes, it is longer. But I get up pretty early in the morning to get my workouts in so I just roll with it. Often I work in a hybrid so not every day is long.

      • LaMamanduPoeteetSainte

        February 9, 2016 at

        Thank you. I have 8 more days of Hammer and Chisel and I’m excited to go back to Tony. I think we’ll do it straight the first time around and then maybe do hybrids after the first 90 days. And yes, I saw your video and would love more, but I get you with the little kids, job and spouse. my husband and I are in our mid 40s with a 4 and 7 year-old…. hence the working out. Thanks for your help.

  8. LaMamanduPoeteetSainte

    February 4, 2016 at

    I’ve done all my programs so far with a resistance band ( live in a 1916 house with really low ceilings). Are there modifiers for the resistance bands? And are medicine balls necessary?

    • Dysfunctional Parrot

      February 4, 2016 at

      Yes, there are absolutely modifiers in X2 for the bands. The medicine balls are there more for balance moves and they don’t really get used for much else. Feel free to save money and not get them or better yet, pick up a couple basketballs at a thrift store to get the same benefit.

      • LaMamanduPoeteetSainte

        February 4, 2016 at

        Thank you. One more questions. Any specific rec on a foam roller or will anyone do? Oh and I love your blog. I’ve been using BB products for a year and I always come to your site for honest reviews.

        • Dysfunctional Parrot

          February 4, 2016 at

          Thanks for the accolades! Yes, any foam roller will do. I have a half-size rumble roller that I love but I also use a standard roller too. If you’ve never foam rolled before, the rumble version might be a bit aggressive.

  9. Brian Abbondandolo

    September 29, 2015 at

    Sorry if posted already but what equipment is necessary to get the full effect if your budget isnt an issue??

    • Dysfunctional Parrot

      September 29, 2015 at

      If budget is not an issue, then a good selection of free weights ( 10-30lbs should be more than enough for the average guy ), a good chin up bar, stability ball, a couple medicine balls and a foam roller. I have a half-size rumble roller and it is simply fantastic.

  10. Wrynsky169

    January 3, 2015 at

    Hello DP! Step two of my hybrid…strength workouts. I know I will include Max 30 and Asylum, but I want to build some muscle. Here’s the dilemma. I looked at my friend’s copy of Body Beast, and the moves looked too simple for me to build athleticism. Also, the nutrition guide looks SO complicated! Not buying it.

    I want to keep ALL of my athleticism, and/or improve it, but I also would like to build some noticeable size. Here’s where X2 comes into the picture. It has a lot of strength stuff, but how effective is it compared to the beast

    I want your opinion on how I should build the strength workouts in my hybrid. Should I get both? Or will I be able to pack on some stunning mass with just X2?

    • Dysfunctional Parrot

      January 4, 2015 at

      BB is naturally, more focused on muscle development, nut it lacks in agility, flexibility and balance to the extreme. So you are correct, BB is not really applicable to athleticism.

      P90X2 in my opinion is the perfect mix of core, stamina and weights. It is also modifiable to be used as a P90X2/BB hybrid. Out of all the programs I have done, P90X2 is probably the most complete package for total fitness.

      • Wrynsky169

        January 4, 2015 at

        Okay then. I will get it! Thank you for your judgements.

        • Dysfunctional Parrot

          January 4, 2015 at

          If you’ve got 15 minutes to kill, you can check out my video review of P90X2:

          • Wrynsky169

            January 4, 2015 at

            Already saw it. Absolutely hilarious.

          • Mike Stone

            November 23, 2016 at

            YouTube says I need login credentials from you in order to view this video? I’d really like to see it. You are my favorite reviewer of workouts by a mile!

          • Dysfunctional Parrot

            November 24, 2016 at

            Give it a go now!

  11. Jo

    September 8, 2014 at

    I use your site for good reviews, and some good laughs about dr doom being a good ruler for example lol! I am currently finishing X3, & I have the complex DVD. I am interested in X2 for my next program. I enjoyed the stability work in X3, would you say there is more in X2? Is there a big difference in the PAP vs the Complex workouts? Is PAP a harder/better workout than the complexes?

  12. Kevin

    June 11, 2014 at

    Hey, DP.

    While digging through tons of different fitness review sites, I came across yours – and really appreciate how you are so blunt and unbiased…

    I have question regarding P90X2 and would love your input. A couple of years ago, I was in horrible shape and extremely overweight. I ended up doing a round of Power 90, and then moved on to doing most of the P90X Program. During that year, I lost over 160 pounds – and then moved on to T-25, TurboFire, Les Mills PUMP, and a few others…

    Last November I had a random health scare that still hasn’t been resolved (doctors believe I am having some sort of auto-immune disease/response). So I’ve been out of the game for the past 7-8 months… and have sadly gained back around 10 pounds while losing some endurance/strength, etc. My primary goal is to lose the weight (another 20 pounds or so), while building muscle and increasing my endurance. So I thought that P90X2 would be a great fit…

    But then I started watching some of the videos – and some of the moves look absolutely INSANE. I’ve read that some people only recommend P90X2 to those who are already in tip-top shape. So I am wondering… do you think I could do P90X2 after having to take such a long break, or would you recommend that I finish another round of a different program first?

    Of course – P90X2 is being delivered to my house this afternoon… and I was all excited… now I am hesitant. But I’ve got a TON of different BeachBody options around as well…

    Thanks for your input!

    • Dysfunctional Parrot

      June 12, 2014 at

      Sorry to hear about your long ordeal. It truly sucks being in the zone and then getting knocked down due to a health issue due to no fault of your own.

      The good news is that although the X2 infomercial shows a lot of Tony and the cast doing the hardcore moves such as “impossible push-ups” and the like, the program is probably the most modifyable of the bunch. So don’t try and do lever pull-ups when you can follow along with whoever is modifying and do regualar chin-ups with a chair instead. Pretty much every move has the option to go at your own speed and ability.

      There’s also a fair amount of hype on the part of Beachbody that might imply P90X2 is for P90X grads only. I disagree. If you modify you can do any program even Asylum. The key is just knowing when to back off before you bust a gut.

      Tony once said it’s about getting results, not getting hurt. Good rule to live by! All the best with your stellar comeback!

  13. Andre

    May 28, 2014 at

    Hey DP whats up bro? are you still doing x2? i was just wondering if you can give me some honest answers to a few questions i have. i am a skinny teen (17yrs old, 6″3″, and 145. should i/ do i need to bulk up before doing x2 to see good results? or do i just gain mass while doing x2? i am an elite runner and basketball player looking to gain some lean muscle while increasing my athleticism. question number 2: i have not done the original p90x but as i said am in very good shape through sports. Can i just start p90x2 right away? anyways i know this was sort of a long comment but i would really appretiate if you can answer my questions.
    Fyi, awesome review! great in deph about feelings throughout the program and well each dvd. it really helped! keep writing review like these!:)

    Andre :D

    • Dysfunctional Parrot

      June 1, 2014 at

      X2 sounds like a good fit for getting a bit more muscle without sacrificing athleticism. Body Beast is another option but it is very muscle focused and not into athleticism at all so you would need to supplement it lest you loose some athleticism.

      Just keep in mind that while the P90X series is designed for total body fitness, it is not necessarily a bulk-up fitness package even though it has some brutal weight training videos. You will gain some mass but you will also gain flexibility, agility and stamina. That’s why the program is so successful.

      Good luck with your training!

  14. Scooby

    March 12, 2014 at

    Do you recommend the deluxe version to get the 2 additional dvds? What are they anyways? thanks.

    • Dysfunctional Parrot

      March 12, 2014 at

      The bonus workouts are Complex Upper, Complex Lower and X3 Ab Ripper.

      The choice to get them depends on your income class! If you like a lot of variety and you have the money then sure. They are nice workouts, but they in no way whatsoever will change the results you have with P90X3. From a purely cost perspective they are hard to justify and I would highly recommend taking the money and spending it on Focus T25 instead for a superior return on investment.

    • Dysfunctional Parrot

      March 12, 2014 at

      oops…I replied thinking you meant P90X3.

      The bonus workout in X2 are Chest-Shoulders-Arms and V Sculpt ( Back and Biceps ). I really liked them but they’ll also cost $60. I don’t know if I can justify $30 per DVD when neither will make much of a difference in the outcome of the program.

  15. Jason

    March 10, 2014 at

    hi there, not sure if you would read it. but can you do p90x2 without any equipments besides dumbbells and chin up bar (ala p90x1) ?


    • Dysfunctional Parrot

      March 10, 2014 at

      You could get away with just resistance bands. You wouldn’t get the peak benefits of the program but you would still be able to get through it.

  16. Hawk

    January 16, 2014 at

    You lay out a good argument, but I’m still not quite sold at this point. I really haven’t heard a lot of talk about PAP from other fitness sources and the overwhelming focus on stability here seems to be a little overkill(let’s face it, to get strong, you pick up a heavy weight and lift, you don’t necessarily need one hand on a medical ball, one leg in the air, etc). I have the original and may get a Shaun T program and/or BodyBeast and do a hybrid instead.

    • Clarence

      August 1, 2014 at

      If you were to do a handstand push-up, a feat that would seem to appear to be a structure of arm strength, you’ll notice your midsection burns with quite a fury.

      When lifting heavy things, strength comes from your legs and your core. Sit on a couch with a twenty pound weight and lift your legs up and try and keep your abdomen as relaxed as possible, and see how much you can lift.

      Core stability isn’t just important for strength, it’s the number one thing people can do for it.

  17. KR

    November 19, 2013 at

    PAP lower is great workout and a great leg day. Just when you do it, don’t watch Cedric…he’s horrible. Tony constantly tells him to keep his body straight during Tony’s triangle and the moment Tony steps away, he stops. And not once did he do bridge lift correctly.

  18. txrsm

    October 15, 2013 at

    Hi DP,

    Absolutely love your unbiased reviews as well as your training montage video for P90x2. Question, how long did you end up running the first and third phases? I know they give a 3-5 weeks span for those two phases but just curious. Thank again for all your hard work and information.

    • Dysfunctional Parrot

      October 15, 2013 at

      Thanks for the kind words! As I recall I did the initial P90X2 for the purpose of the video for the full 90 days with the proper schedule for each phase. It remains one of my favorite programs and hardly a week goes by I don’t do one of them.

      • txrsm

        October 16, 2013 at

        Awesome to hear that you still do it. I am excited for this upcoming challenge. One final question, how much poundage do you feel is necessary for dumbbells with this program. I currently own a set of 30 lbs (60 lbs total) adjustable dumbbells that have served me pretty well through this round of P90x. I know everyone’s need is different but I am just trying to figure if there is a need to invest in the 55 lbs set or save up for the jump to the massive 90 lbs set. Keep in mind I am no Hercules or anything like that. Thanks again.

        • Dysfunctional Parrot

          October 17, 2013 at

          I have a set of 40lb dumbbells that I use very rarely for things like curls. For 99.9% of any workout the max I can see the average person needing is 35lbs for P90X2 and even then only occasionally. As always, your mileage may vary. It is good to invest in bigger weight in case you feel like experimenting with other programs like Body Beast.

  19. damon

    February 20, 2013 at

    Good day. I love your reviews and have completed p90x, p90x2, insanity, asylum, and most recently asylum2. But always keep going back to p90x with some p90x2/insanity mixed in. Anyways, which p90x one on one series dvds do you recommend to get since i already have p90x2 and am looking for some nice variety in my workouts? The one on one series is now available to buy one disc at a time and would love to supplement/substitute some new workouts in the mix but am worried about getting the same workout just with different choreography.

  20. Jack

    March 1, 2012 at

    Thank you so much for these reviews! I’ve been scouring the internet to try and find out whether I have do P90X before P90X2, but haven’t been able to get a straight answer from anyone who isn’t trying to sell me both packages and a green protein shake to boot. Seems to me that part 2 has more years of research behind it, more sophisticated science in the program and an extra rest day – do you think it’s worth starting with and sticking to cycling P90X2, or does P90X still have a place in the mix long terms? Thanks.

    • Dysfunctional Parrot

      March 3, 2012 at

      I’d use both personally just because I like to mix it up more, and not have to listen to the same dialogue all the time!  But as a stand alone package, X2 is more than enough for anybody!

      That having been said, certain P90X dvd’s may never again see the light of day after this.  Cardio X, Kenpo X and maybe even the 90 minute Yoga will likely all be ignored now!  But the strength workouts still count!

      Were I to choose the perfect program to cycle with this it actually would not be P90X, it would be Shaun T’s Asylum.

  21. Dan

    February 20, 2012 at

    DP, love your work.  Quick question: How do you like PAP Lower (or PAP Upper) compared to the original 1on1 PAP?  Is it like 1on1 Plyocide vs X2 Plyocide?

    • Dysfunctional Parrot

      February 21, 2012 at

      I give the edge to P90X2 because the MC2 workout is both upper and lower body.  While this gives a good introduction to PAP, it also means you’re only getting half the workout in a sense.  X2 devotes a whole disk to destroying each half!
      Plyocide on the other hand is probably more interchangeable with the rest of your P90X schedule because it’s practically all lower body anyway.

  22. Welchshari

    January 6, 2012 at

    Curious as to how you would compare p90x2 to The Asylum?? I did 2 rounds of the Asylum (love it!!) and now onto P90x2…..I am beginning my second week—but finding the Asylum hard to give up!

    • Dysfunctional Parrot

      January 6, 2012 at

      Two different beasts entirely.  Asylum is hardcore sports training that really has no rival when it comes to intensity while P90X2 is total body fitness that establishes core strength as well as plyo and endurance.    

      P90X2 is also meant to be done indefinitely, while Asylum users will need to take the occasional break from the program due to the beat-down on the body.  The best solution?  A hybrid X2/Asylum routine.  In fact, the P90X2 manual even mentions it and has a sample schedule.

  23. brandyn

    January 2, 2012 at

    I was wondering what you think of somebody attempting p90x2 without completing p90x? my order came a few weeks ago and I would much rather jump into p90x2 then complete a round of p90x first.  what do you think?

    • Dysfunctional Parrot

      January 2, 2012 at

      Absolutely!  Naturally a P90X grad would have the tactical advantage, but that doesn’t mean you can’t modify until you get the hang of it.  Tony even says that X2 is not necessarily harder ( although I think it is! ), just different.

      This advice depends of course on your current physical condition.  If you’re in reasonable shape already it shouldn’t pose a problem.  If you’re 350lbs with bad knees then take it VERY slow!

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