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P90X3 – The Complete Review: Part 2 of 3



The review of P90X3 Block One was for the most part extremely positive of the new program.  But wow, are there ever a lot of workouts in this program to cover, so let’s get down to business by covering the next round.

Block Two ups the intensity somewhat as weights are incorporated more into the day to day regime and there is a stronger emphasis on “negatives” to get the most out of your 30 minutes.  The transition week remains the same in each cycle.



p90x3_pterodactylTime under tension is the name of the game today and the point of this is to kill your muscles on the negatives.  That means down slow on the pushups and shooting up.  Shooting up on the pull-ups and going down slow.  So get your mind right because this baby is a killer.

You’ll do 3 moves at a time which include a pull-up, push-up, and a variety of shoulder/triceps/bicep moves.  There is a 30 second break between sets and you are going to need every precious iota of it to scream obscenities at your cat to vent the agony.

I also advise some form of pull-up assist because unless you really rock, doing 10x V-Pull Ups with no assist just seems a little hard for those of us who are not Captain America.


It’s plyometrics revisited.  The idea is 3 levels of intensity per move and no moves repeat.

While many moves in Triometrics are plyometric in nature, I would say this is much less high-impact that Plyo X or X2 Plyocide.  There is more focus on balance which is obvious in such leg busters as Warrior 3 Squats.  Top that off with Hell’s Chair and this becomes a unique way to get your plyometics done in thirty minutes.

There is also a post 30 minute cool-down for about 4 minutes.  I recommend not skipping it.


Down for a slow 4-count then up fast and each move goes for 10 reps.  It’s a “negative” blast on the legs so get ready to grab some weights and rock.

You have to go into this with a few reasonable expectations.  This won’t give you big legs, but rather strong legs…and yes, there is a difference.  Body Beast Bulk Legs for example is designed to get you larger.  Eccentric Lower makes the legs tougher in their core with better balance and reaction time but won’t get you massive like using heavier weights with muscle isolation can.  As you get older many will realize that functional fitness begins to take more precedence over just being big.

I also really have to congratulate the minds behind the music here as it is just plain perfect.  Perfect tempo and perfect mood.  Good music has long been the defining thing in many Beachbody videos that puts them ahead of many lower budget imitators and here is no exception.

Looks like a good time to break for a look into the Nutrition Guide


The P90X3 Nutrition Guide is probably a bit more complex than most as it is less a precise eating formula and more a philosophy.  Tony does not do calorie counting but instead sticks to portion control by means of a system called ‘Way of the Hand” that measures portions by hand size.  To determine portions, there is a quiz to match your body type and goals to determine the amount of carbs, proteins and fats you should incorporate into your diet.  There is a separate list given for each that give recommended portion sizes for common food items.

The Nutrition Guide has lots of food ideas but not many recipes as Tony assumes you’re smart enough to pull off scrambling eggs.  There are some recipes for spice mixtures to help make dressings and seasonings.  If you are truly lost here though there is also a couple pages on cooking techniques that should at least educate you on which is the hot part of a frying pan.

Probably more so than most guides, take the time to sit down and read this over a period of an hour or so as a quick skim will not yield results.  Or for you guys out there, just hand it to your wife and ask her.  Seems to work for Mr. Parrot.


Resistance followed by  a body weight exercise until failure.  Sounds fun!  The Incinerator is the perfect bookend to The Challenge, although it does go after more than just the chest and back.  This is a total upper body crusher that uses pull-ups, push-ups, rows and curls…each muscle getting double teamed like a WWE steel chair match.

It ends with a Burnout sequence that has the most appropriate music ever.  It sounds like a horror movie and is just very fitting somehow.  And as always, the cast is very capable and certainly buff, in particular Jessica.  Jessica looks like she just came off the set for Mad Max and sports enough tattoos and testosterone to get most men pregnant.  Let me tell you boys, with titanium legs like that, you’re done when she says you’re done.


I’ll let you all in on a little bias I have:  I generally hate MMA style workouts.  Much of that has to do with my long tenure with karate which had the side effect of making me a perfectionist for technique.  That means I was constantly yelling at Wesley’s horrific form throughout P90X Kenpo X, a workout to this day I have shelved in favor of Insanity, Asylum, or even a dedicated MMA workout like Rushfit.


So did MMX tame my savage soul?  Well, the problem with martial arts workouts is that they are not really martial arts, but instead just throwing punches and kicks to look like martial arts.  In other words, it’s just like TaeKwonDo.  So I was prepared to hate this.  I wanted to hate this.  But something weird happened.

I actually liked it.

First off, unlike Tapout XT2, the cast here has done this before and are not a confused motley crew.  In fact, they are amazingly skilled as all three are skilled martial artists, especially Alice who does a crescent kick that could take the head off RoboCop .  Alice sports a “Sarah Connor T2” look and could personally snap the necks off the entire Tapout XT2 cast.  She’s also a black belt in Taekwondo and a stuntwoman so that means she’s probably going to kill me for that last TKD comment I just made.


I used to think Pilates was for little old ladies and burned out school teachers.  Yes, as you may guess my previous knowledge of this form of fitness is somewhat limited.

Rumor has it Tony wanted to put a Pilates disk in the original P90X, but it lost out in favor of yoga.  Now he gets his wish.  While having many similar benefits of yoga, the two are not very alike at all.  Pilates is heavy core, back and spine work that moves around more whereas yoga is more isometric.

On an less than serious note, there is a weird scene where Tony gets the girls ( Stephanie and Shauna ) to wink at each other.  The dirty old man in me really wants to take advantage of that comedic opportunity but my wife is standing behind me with a wooden spoon.  Maybe the girls know something I don’t.


Lots of postures are going to somewhat unnatural at first because many movements will simply put you off balance.  Especially aptly named ones like “Pretzel” and “Scissor Side Plank”.  After this I would rate my performance as somewhere between a brick and a complaining toddler, which is all the more reason I need to return to this again.  Pilates is a solid workout and even doubles as your Ab-Ripper for the day.

Conclusion Thus Far…

Just when you think a man couldn’t have any more ideas for fitness, he does it again.  Tony manages to bring yet even more to the table with P90X3.  The Eccentric workouts pull off a whole new way get fried and MMX / Accelerator are two cardio routines that not only don’t suck…they surprisingly are very good.  And even tough Tony says Pilates is NOT EVER to replace yoga, I’m going to trade it off occasionally because deep down inside I’m a true rebel who plays by his own rules.


But hold on to your loins kids, the final instalment of the P90X3 review reveals the last workouts ( including BONUS DISKS! ) and presents the question asked since the universe was born…what rating will The Dysfunctional Parrot give this program?

Continue to 90X3 REVIEW: PART 3 of 3

Return to P90X3 REVIEW: PART ONE

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. John

    December 22, 2016 at

    Will the eccentric workouts build muscle?
    And, is there anyway you would throw in an additional MMX workout per week without hindering results?
    I was leaning toward doing it right after the Yoga X workout day.

    • Dysfunctional Parrot

      December 23, 2016 at

      The eccentric workouts will strengthen and condition muscles, but it’s hard to say whether you’ll gain much in the way of mass/size.

      As for MMX, I see no reason why one couldn’t throw some more in. AS always, you have to consider what you want and plan around that.

  2. Bob Rivers

    October 27, 2016 at

    Hi DP, I have a question. If you had to stick with one program ? what would it be, P90X3 or T25 ?????

    Thanks in advance.

    • Dysfunctional Parrot

      October 27, 2016 at

      P90X3. Far more variety and attention to functional fitness.

    • Hector

      July 23, 2020 at

      If I use ULTRA heavy tension resistance bands with P90X 3 will I see a little muscle gain or at least maintain gains made from full body style weight training?
      Response appreciated.

      • Josh Winklestein

        July 23, 2020 at

        No time for P90X but I would like a decent build and function type strength.
        Will Horton’s P90X 3 cut the mustard?
        I come before you for an answer because you are honest and have many years of training and reviewing.
        I consider you the ultimate source for real info.

  3. dryfly

    September 15, 2016 at

    I haven’t gone through the eating guide yet. What is its main idea? Eat balanced meals but shave off calories? I don’t get why these programs require different diets. Surely they all have similar diet requirements, other than adjusting calories. Exceptions being that most 90min workout needs more calories than a 30min, and more strength training requires more protein.


    • Dysfunctional Parrot

      September 20, 2016 at

      The diets really do seem a lot alike. The only ones that truly differ are Body Beast where you eat non-stop, and Autumn’s workouts with the containers. Aside from that just eating with common sense and portion control will be enough.

  4. Eric Bruesch

    September 6, 2016 at

    Triometrics is not only the hardest workout in P90X3, it’s probably the hardest workout I have ever done. X3 may be thought of as “P90X Lite” by some, but I challenge them to do Triometrics without taking breaks or modifying.

  5. Mark.

    January 22, 2015 at

    Triometrics is probably the hardest workout of the entire P90X3 program. I am a week away from completing the three months and still cannot do this workout without stopping on some exercises with some time left on the clock. If you can do this one without any problems you are officially fit. Thanks for your reviews, greatly appreciated.

  6. Jeffrey Allender

    September 24, 2014 at

    Yeah the accelerator one sucks. I dont care who you are.

  7. shy

    April 17, 2014 at

    i love your ‘facts’ – “Tony does not do a pterodactyl impression during this workout” was my favourite! :) any p90x grad can understand how the pterodactyl thing got a bit old. lol!

  8. Georgeann

    January 28, 2014 at

    This is the first time I have read your blog. I ended up here because Tony Horton posted your link. LOVE this!!!! :)

    • Dysfunctional Parrot

      January 28, 2014 at

      Thanks! I guess you have to respect the power of a man who can drop a site for an hour due to the flood of visitors!

      I guess the moral of the story is that if you plan to upgrade your hosting, don’t leave it to the last minute! All is good now though…bring em’ on!!

  9. Dan

    January 19, 2014 at

    So I really dug KenpoX+ (notice the “+”) and MMX. Wondering what other good SPECIFIC martial arts discs you’ve found, like from Rushfit or TapoutXT. Sprawl and Brawl from TapoutXT? Muay Thai from TapoutXT? Any others?

    (FYI TurboJam Kicks and Punches doesn’t count…!)

  10. Jason Holme

    January 13, 2014 at

    I have just finished Week 4 and would agree with your assessment up until now. The only thing I am still really peeved about is that throughout the first block (I did Classic), Tony mentions on three of the DVDs – “HEY BUY OUR APP” and “USE THE APP”…so I did. Oh wait, guess what, it actually doesnt support P90X3. So thanks for spending the $3 on our app, we appreciate that, but it doesnt actually work in the way that it was advertised.

    • Dysfunctional Parrot

      January 13, 2014 at

      Ah yes…the P90X app! I actually make mention of that in Part 3 which should be out by this Wednesday.

  11. Doug

    January 11, 2014 at

    I am in my last week of my 6th consecutive round of P90X– actually, a hybrid of P90X/P90X PLUS and a couple One on Ones and 10 minute Trainers. We purchased P90X3, but I have to say, I’m a bit apprehensive, as I DO have the time for an hour a day, and I don’t want to feel like I’m going backwards. In the good weather times, I add a 3-5K Run on Plyo/Yoga/Kenpo days. In the winter, I ski. I do an Ab routine 6 days a week as well (I have 3- the AbRipper, The AbsCore from the Plus, and the 10 minute Trainer [the most brutal of the 3, btw]). I am 49 (gonna be 50 this year) and am in better shape than I ever thought I would be, having lifted myself from the couch, pushed away plates of overkill, and basically smartened up 2 years ago. I did the X3 Yoga instead of the regular Yoga (this is the only one I don’t have the patience for, but force myself anyway) or the One on One, and found myself challenged by the new moves, but still saying, “that’s it?” I bought the upgraded set for the 3 extra workouts. It sounds like I’ll continue to do Abs (including the new one which I have not reviewed yet), but might create a hybridized schedule as well. I guess I’ll wait and see, as I have a recovery week starting in 2 days, and then begin. I just don’t want to slide backwards. And I DO like the individualized resistance workouts- especially arms. I add O on O “Just Arms” every few weeks on Saturdays, on KenPo day (which I feel is lame– the Plus “KenPo Cardio” is a LITTLE better in that it feels like you did SOMETHING)

    • Hawk

      January 13, 2014 at

      So you’re saying X3 might be better suited to those who don’t have time for the other programs? I love the original, X2 seems a bit gimmicky yet decent(haven’t tried yet), X3 seems very well-rounded, but 30 minutes is awfully short.

      • AJ

        January 14, 2014 at

        do the double option

        • Hawk

          January 14, 2014 at

          So two different workouts in one day making it an hour?

          • AJ

            January 14, 2014 at

            yes but half an hour is more then enough

      • Doug

        January 14, 2014 at

        We’re going to start next week. I’m in the 13th week of our hybrid. We are going to use the X3 Yoga, which we used last week, but found it short. I am reviewing “Isometrix” from X3 right now, and we will couple it tomorrow morning with the new Yoga to make a full hour. Between the two, it looks like it will be an intense workout, yet only an hour, and at a faster pace than the maddening 90 minutes of the original Yoga. I can’t answer to the intensity or “shortness” (or not) of the rest of X3 until we start it next week. I just know I’m in pretty good shape and rocking the old programs.

        • Hawk

          January 14, 2014 at

          Sounds good, I know these programs are from “beachbody”, but when you look at the most impressive physiques over the years(Schwarzenegger, Ferrigno, etc), I don’t think they got that way by focusing on stability exercises. They probably had some “help”, but I doubt their time in the gym was spent with medicine balls and stuff like “plyocide”. That’s what turns me off about X2.

  12. Vivek

    January 11, 2014 at

    Jean, It’s nice to read your blogs. I have a quick Q. What is the plugin that you use for the signature at the bottom of your posts that shows your pic and has the option to link to your book too. Thanks for the awesome writing.

    • Dysfunctional Parrot

      January 11, 2014 at

      The plug in I use for that is “Fanciest Author Box”. They have a free version called “Fancy Author Box” but this one had better features.

      • Vivek

        January 11, 2014 at

        Thanks :)

    • Jean Yves Theriault

      February 17, 2022 at

      I retire from full power pka karate as champeon.
      Start using x3 and it has maintain my physical attributes close to my fighting days.
      I kickbox the bag in the morning just 5 rounds and entice myself with Tony Horton through p90x3 after dinner.
      I believe this could have been a good second conditioning workout for me in my prime days of knocking out opponents.

  13. Todd

    January 9, 2014 at

    We want part 3 – clap clap…. Clap clap

  14. Debbie Russell

    January 6, 2014 at

    I am so hoping that Alice does read that comment!

    • Dysfunctional Parrot

      January 6, 2014 at

      I’m counting on Alice to be a good sport about the whole thing. :)

      • missdk

        October 18, 2014 at

        She has a link to this article on her site :)

        • Dysfunctional Parrot

          October 18, 2014 at

          I noticed that some time ago. I think she’s a pretty secure person to not let anyone’s opinion on TKD get to her!

    • AJ

      January 14, 2014 at

      who is Alice?

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