Intro: By now all of you know that I’ve been doing P90X and P90X2. You can read about how that started here. Now, I’m not big-time into fitness or nutrition or what have you. I’m a writer, a proud geek, and a family man. I love Doritos and Fritos, and Tony Horton and his eating plan can suck it. NO ONE TAKES THE PAULMAN’S DORITOS! DORITOS ARE GOD’S MANA AND FED THE ISRAELITES WHILE THEY WANDERED THE DESERT FOR FORTY YEARS! Ahem. Also I like beer, and whiskey, and French fries, and I could go on a while. Point is, I’m not what anyone would consider a fitness fanatic, and I’m unlikely to get built like a superhero. But that’s okay. My superpower is writing kick ass fantasy stories that lots of people seem to like. They’re listed at the top of the page. No, the top. The top. THE TOP, JEEBUS, MAN! SCROLL UP! Yes, right there. You got it.
Also, I’m not a Beachbody Coach. I don’t even like people that much, so how could I be a coach? 🙂 Long and short: I’m not being compensated for this. That said, if you click any of the links in this post or anywhere else on my site, it’ll take you to Amazon. If you then buy something on Amazon (any damn thing, up to and including sex toys; hey, you get no judgment from me, pal; I’m just sayin’), then I get a little spiff. Doesn’t increase your price, and I like spiffs. I also like to say “spiff.” It’s fun; try it. Spiff. Spiff. See?
So, I started the P90X program because I wanted to get more fit. I stuck with it because I saw results (again, you can read about those here). I also had more energy, and, candidly, I liked it. It’s just part of my routine now. I work it in between nightly rituals designed to summon the Old Ones and cast the world into darkness.
Anyway, I figured I’d give a short review/commentary of the individual workouts that I’m doing on this run through the program. I’m going to aim for one review every two weeks or so, if my writing schedule allows. Even if you’re not into working out, maybe you’ll find them fun or informative or not-quite-as-bad-as-gouging-out-your-eyes-with-a-spork.
Right now I’m doing a hybrid P90X-P90X2 program that I found on the internet. Because really, what could possibly go wrong with doing an exercise program concocted by some random dude on the internet? Exactly. Everything posted on the internet is gold, pure gold!
So, the first post in this series is a review of Plyocide. Now possibly you think “Plyocide” means “death by jumping,” “death to jumpers,” or maybe, “jump to your death,” – it’s kind of hard to say – but what it really means, in a language I just made up (let’s call it Kempsprechen) is “Holy shit do my ass muscles hurt.”
The Pretty People (aka the Personnel): So who’s in this pain-bringing, sweat-inducing bounce house from Hell? Tony Horton, of course (aka Aaal, the Hater of Life and Bringer of Pain), but also Mark Briggs, Traci Morrow, and Ricardo the Dreamy Spanish Dude. If these folks were a D&D adventuring party, Tony would be the leader, a cleric of the God of Cajoling, Mark would be the burly fighter, Traci would be the spunky Elven rogue/wizard, and Ricardo would be the suave bard. The dynamic between the cast members is good. Traci laughs at every damned thing Tony says, but mostly everyone is too gassed for chatter.
The Pain (aka The Workout): Plyocide is P90X2’s answer to Plyometrics(from P90X). Plyocide is shorter than Plyometrics (warmup to cool down is about 56 minutes, but the actual time spent doing plyo is a bit over 30 minutes), but Plyocide increases the intensity of each exercise. I like that. The workout is over sooner (nice when you’re on a tight schedule) and you’ve packed a lot of punch into your sweaty, weeping-filled minutes of pain. I should add here that I don’t foam roll in the warmup (I skip it but foam rolling is a good thing; I just do it on recovery days) and I do my own, shorter stretching/cool-down at the end. Because of those modifications, I shorten the overall duration of the workout ten or twelve minutes.
Plyocide consists of five rounds of four moves each, with breaks between rounds of 30-45 seconds. Each round starts with a non-plyometric exercise (usually a balance/strength move) and follows that with three plyometric (i.e. jumping) exercises. Unlike Plyometrics from P90X, Plyocide pairs each plyometric exercise with some other move that involves a different muscle group. So, instead of doing “just” Mary Katherine lunges (as in Plyometrics), which is a kind of leaping lunge, alternating legs, you do Killer Mary Katherine lunges, which has the same leaping lunge, but also has you holding a medicine ball and swinging it from hip to hip as you jump. The pairings add a lot to the movements.
Here are the rounds. You can view videos of all these moves on Youtube, so I’m not going to embed them here. If you’re curious, have a looksee:
1. Wide Leg Tiptoe Squat, Killer Katherine Lunge, Fast Feet Chair Jump, and Slalom Line Jump.
Ah, round one. At this point you’re thinking: “It’s only twenty moves! Pshaw! A baby could do it!” And then you do 40 Killer Katherine Lunges and you’re thinking: “Dear God, there are eighteen more moves! No one can do this!”
Of this first round, I found the Killer Katherines the toughest move, though the Fast Feet Chair Jump (go into half-chair stance, arms up, and run rapidly in place, then jump every time Tony Horton decides he hates you and yells “jump”) really gets the heart rate up. Slalom Line Jump is almost a rest exercise after the previous two moves. On to round two.
2. Warrior 3 Lunge, Jack-in-the Box Knee Tuck, Think Drill, and Spartan Squat Lunge
I always feel like Warrior 3 (this is a Yoga position, if I’m speaking Greek to you) is ironically named. No self-respecting warrior would ever get themselves in that position. It should be called, “Jesus, I’m a Shitty Warrior 1.” In any event, it’s a hard position to hold, and to go from lunge to holding it for a beat is tough. The Jack-in-box Knee tuck is the toughest move this round. You crouch, chest up, butt down, and touch the floor with the tips of your fingers, then leap up, bringing your knees up and slapping them with your hands. Repeat until you die or quit. The Think Drill is much like the Fast Feet Chair Jump from round one, but without the jump, and with arm and leg positions changing throughout (“arms up, arms out, legs in, legs out, show the rabbit;” that last is not a reference to a sexual toy (I know how your mind works, see?). The Spartan Squat Lunge is a combined one legged squat, leaping lunge. The beauty of this move is that every time I raise my fist I get a Leonidas scowl, and shout, “THIS IS SPARTA,” while I imagine kicking Tony Horton into that pit. On to round three.
3. Super Skater Kick, Depth Charge, Frog Burpee Hop, and 1-Leg Slalom
I found round 3 (and round 4) easier than 1 and 2, which is a good thing, because if they’d been harder, I’d still be weeping, lo, unto this very hour! All I want to say about round 3 is that I don’t have a plyo box to do the Depth Charge so I just jump around. And if I had a plyo box, I’d hit my head on the basement ceiling, which would require renaming the exercise “Mama Said Knock You Out!” (that there’s an LL Cool J reference for the kewl kidz). I’ll also add that the Frog Burpee Hop will gas you (it’s a burpee, with the push up, then a leap with elbows to knees). And why the Hell are burpees called “burpees,” anyway? Burpee sounds like the name of a children’s cartoon character that has excess gas. Every episode ends with Burpee burping and cutely putting his hands to his lips while all the other characters smile and say, “Oh, Burpee!” His brother, Fartee, is not discussed in polite company. On to round 4.
4. 1-Leg Squat, Surfer Spin, Power 90 Cross Hop, and Wide Leg Jump Press w/ Med Ball
At this point, even Horton has his hands on his knees. Fortunately, this is the easiest of the rounds. 1 legged squat? Just some balance. Pshaw. Surfer Spin? Easy peasy. Cross hop? Don’t bring me that weak shit. Jump Press with a Med Ball? All right, that one’s kind of tough, but it’s the last one in the round so I manage.
5. Launcher Lunge, Toe Tap 360, Flying Fighter Kick, and Set Sprint Plank Plyo Jump
So this is it. The last round. I’m gasping, sweating, cursing at the demon Horton. Somehow Traci is still smiling. WTF? I begin to think that she could be an android. Anyway, I’ve only got four more moves to go and I can handle that. Launcher Lunge and Toe Tap 360 are not hard, and the flying fighter kick is basically that kick you did when you were a teenager and wanted to show everyone that you “knew” karate, so it’s kind of fun. But the Set, Sprint, Plank, Plyo, Jump? That shit is hard right at the end. I do it as Tony calls it. Take a three point stance, sprint, fall to plank, plyo push up, back to sprint, set, sprint, jump, jump, set, plank, plyo, plyo, SHUT UP, HORTON! SHUT UP!
And then…you’re done except for the cool down and stretch. That’s Plyocide.
The Pithy (aka Miscellaneous observations): Plyocide is the only pure cardio routine in P90X2. Until you’ve done it a few times, you’ll be really, really sore the day after. But it’s really an excellent workout.
Is it just me or does Tony interact weirdly with the women in the cast? It’s like he’s uncomfortable around attractive women. You get your shit together, Horton. When you talk to the lovely ladies, you got to BRING IT!
I’ll sum up by saying that Plyocide is not as much fun as sex, but it’s more fun than being flayed alive.