I am now 2/3 the way done with P90X3! I am loving the results so far. I have maintained weight while losing an inch on my waist, and am really toning up. We are on vacation in Puerto Rico and I'm grateful that the past 60 days of this program have gotten me beach-ready!
Most of the positives of phase I still hold true in phase II: Tony is still at his best in these fast paced, 30-minute block exercises. The major introduction in phase II are the eccentric workouts (pronounced E-centric, not ek-centric) which are strength workouts focusing on the negative motion. The variety of workouts is great, and while there are more departures from the original P90X in this phase, I love all of the discs. Like phase I, I feel there is a good tip of the hat to the things that made X1 so great, but even more things that separate this new set as a step forward in the world of fitness. The workouts are well thought out, diverse, work lots of different muscle groups and create a great burn in 30 minutes. My two favorite new discs are Incinerator and MMX, read below!
Eccentric movement is the "negative" of the move. To do an eccentric pushup, you go down slowly for 3 seconds, and then shoot up fast. Likewise, an eccentric pullup actually starts at the top of the motion, you do a negative and then shoot back up quickly. Disclaimer: these are hard and take a lot of control! Tony only has you do 10 reps of the eccentric pushups for example. According to the research, this motion will work the muscle 40% more efficiently, so having this workout in there is great. When I go to the gym occasionally, I see people inspired by the cross fit competitions they see on TV where speed is the most important. Many people are doing reps as fast as possible, kipping on each rep and using their back. This can lead to injury and does not really get anything done. Eccentric Upper at the very least will train you to use good, controlled form on standard strength exercises, while creating a great burn in just 30 minutes.
Most of the focus of this workout is on chest, back, and shoulders. The first few blocks are a pushup move, a pullup move (or other back exercise), a shoulder move and then a break. At the end, there are a few biceps and triceps exercises. Part of me wonders if it would have been better to keep it chest/back/shoulders the whole time, or if the arms section might be extended a little bit if it would be better, but at the end of the day this isn't an isolation workout so it's cool that you hit all of the upper body. There is a 2+ minute burnout at the end where you alternate wide pullups and military pushups pyramid style (ouch!). If you do this workout correctly, you will be wasted by the end, but the key is in the eccentric motion (as you might expect!), and if you rush through the motion it will not be a great workout. If you have trouble with pullups, you might not "feel" it as much, but my suggestion for that is to use the pullup assist or chair for your "ups," and really slow down the negative motion to build up back strength.
Any short-comings I had with Agility X are solved with this workout! A combination of Tony's Plyo X from X1, Interval X from X+, and Plyocide from X2 (how many times can I say X in one sentence?) this is a great lower body workout that will have your heart racing and at times have you screaming for mercy! The "tri" in the title is a play on the fact that over one minute there are three levels of intensity for each move. For example, if performing a standard squat, the first 20 seconds you go most of the way down, the next 20 seconds you go fingers to the floor, and the last 20 seconds you go palms to the floor. That doesn't sound so bad, until you get to moves like "kablam," which is a full plyo lunge alternating with a squat. The other tricky aspect to this workout is that the moves generally alternate between a jumping move and an isometric move. Some of the isometric movements are deadly, like the one at the end called "Hell's Chair," which includes one-legged chair holds after 25 minutes of plyo. There are mini-breaks throughout the workout, but they aren't substantial! This is definitely a great, smart workout that will have your legs feeling like jelly by the end.
Yoga - I review this in the phase I workouts. A great 30-minute routine that serves as recovery between Triometrics and E-lower.
For the first time ever, Tony Horton has made a true "leg day" in his P90X workouts! What I mean by this is that this is legs only, with weighted resistance. Previously, P90X leg workouts were primarily unweighted squats and lunges or plyometrics, and often lumped in with pullups/back day. While I love the old school Legs and Back model, for a 30-minute workout, I have to say that a real leg day is wonderful. Like the e-upper cousin, e-lower focuses on that slow, controlled downward motion. Some of the moves are super basic squats and lunges, and others are more creative like a slo-mo side kick that really works the glutes and weighted pistol squats. There really isn't anything bad about this workout, besides the fact that so many of us hate leg day. But kudos for Tony for making us do leg day! Combined with Triometrics a couple days earlier, phase II will definitely keep your legs sculpted and looking great!
Do you want an upper body workout that works you to failure, and hits every muscle group in 30 minutes? Well, here you go! People have tried to design this workout for years and it's finally here. The way it is set up is weighted, 10-rep exercise on a specific muscle group followed by a 30-second body resistance equivalent. For example, chest flies followed by pushups, or renegade rows followed by pullups. You have to chose heavy weights for this workout, otherwise it won't be enough for you. The sequence basically goes back-chest-back-chest-shoulder-shoulder-arms-arms with short breaks every two exercises. The hardest part of this workout is in the last 3 minutes - Tony flies through the sequence in 27 minutes, leaving a 3 minute burnout at the end. I won't give away the secret...but Tony makes you his b**** for 3 minutes at the end of this workout, so good luck surviving it after the first 27 minutes of upper body blowout!
Were you one of the people that complained that Kenpo X wasn't hard enough? You were heard, and now we all have to pay for it. MMX is a mixed martial arts workout that is killer, and amazing! If you are used to Tony's kenpo cueing, you will be fine on this workout. It's a mixture of jabs, crosses, hooks, uppercuts, elbows, and various kicks. The x-factor is the sprawl, or squat thrust, that appears in many of the moves. By adding sprawls to typical punching and kicking combos, you really tire quickly and add to the burn. Overall, this is an amazing cardio workout, rivalling the intensity of some Insanity workouts, and more active than even the Les Mills Combat workouts. The addition of sprawls will really help tone shoulders and abs as well. An appearance by P90X+ star Mark Briggs is the icing on the cake. Well done!