P90X3 Review: Block Two

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p90x3greatthingsMy usual preamble:  I’ve done P90x, P90X2, thrown in some Insanity, and am now on the second block of P90X3.  My first impressions of P90X3 are here, and you can find all my fitness posts by clicking on the tags to this post.

So P90X3, unlike the previous two X programs, has workouts that last only 30 minutes. The post-workout cool downs add a few minutes to that, and if you do the optional “Cold Start” workout, you’ll add another 12 minutes.  Now, as a rule I don’t use Cold Start. Instead, at the beginning of every workout I creak, crack, move stiffly and mutter, “Oil can!  Oil can!” (and that there’s a Wizard of Oz reference for the Olds among us, which would be me, I guess; Dammit! Pitard, own, hoisted).

So I finished Block 1 of P90X3 last week (Block One is the Foundation Phase) and have now done a week of Block 2, which is the Strength Phase.  My impression?  I’ll sum it up in one word:  Fuckingouchie (yes, that’s two words mashed into one made-up word, but I’m writing this and I can do what I want; STAND BACK, MAN!  I’M AUTHORING HERE!).

Block 2 of P90X3 consists of Eccentric Upper, Eccentric Lower, Triometrics, Incinerator, MMX, and Yoga.

Yoga we’ll ignore, since that’s for flexible people who say “Ooohhm.”  Plus, it’s the usual Tony Horton Yoga routine distilled down to 30 minutes.  I actually like it a lot, and I otherwise dislike Yoga (mostly because Sting does Yoga and he still owes me $50 and a pony keg of Lowenbrau; I’m watching you, Gordon.  Every move you make.  Every breath you take; I’ll be watching you).  But I digress.

Eccentric Upper and Eccentric Lower are resistance workouts, the former focusing on the upper body, the latter on the lower.  The idea here is to prolong the eccentric movement so that the worked muscle is under tension a longer time.  When I was young and had no idea what I was talking about, we called this, “Getting the negative.”  So, by way of example: you snap up a bicep curl, then lower it while doing a slow three count.  This is fucking hard and you’ll be burned in the thirty minutes.  In fact I soon stopped doing a three count and instead muttered, “Must…kill….Horton,” as I lowered the weight.

According to Tony, hitting the eccentric this way will maximize your gains.  It definitely maximizes your pains. The day after doing Eccentric Upper the first time my arms felt the same way they did the first time I did Arms and Shoulders in the original P90X.  Painful.  Eccentric lower is the same way except your ass and thighs hurt too much to waste breath cursing Horton.  Instead, you weep to three.   These are great workouts.

Incinerator is the third resistance workout in this block and it’s a total body workout that blasts chest, arms, and shoulders, working the core throughout.  As with all P90X3 workouts, your heart rate will spike here.  Another great workout.

Triometrics is a power/cardio workout, essentially P90X3′s answer to Plyometrics and Plyocide from the earlier programs.  There’s considerably less jumping overall, though, so it’s much easier on the knees.  Instead, you do a power move at three different speeds and/or levels of intensity.  For example you might do a frog squat, then intensify by dropping lower and raising your hands at the stop of the squat, then intensify further by dropping still lower and doing a tuck jump at the top of the squat.  It’s like Plyometrics and Plyocide in that you’ll hate it and it’ll suck the sweat right out of you until you’re a dried husk of a human being.  It’ll leave your legs feeling as shaky as they do after you’ve had thirty minutes of great sex except instead of the great sex part you’ll have spent thirty minutes being cajoled by Tony Horton.  Life sucks sometimes.  So it goes.

MMX is the mixed martial arts cardio routine, sort of like P90X’s Kenpo workout but, you know, much harder.  This is just thirty minutes of go, go, go, complicated moves, and lots of sprawls (dropping to the floor in plank and bouncing back up).  I did this for the first time today and really liked it.  The downside is that the three cast members doing this with Horton are Tae Kwon Do black belts and/or Mixed Martial Arts fighters, so they all look bad ass doing the moves.  I used to box but I still wouldn’t want to see myself doing the Cross/Gladiator/Sprawl/Jab/Cross/Sprawl/Hook/Uppercut.  I’m going with “Things that are not graceful,” for $1500, Alex.

Long and short:  Still loving P90X3.  I’m not quite sure how the results will shake out once all is said and done, but the thirty minute workouts are just so easy to fit into the schedule and yet are still so intense.  For the record, I started the program in pretty good shape, and after five weeks I’m down probably four pounds and a few percentage points of body fat.  So, it seems to bring good results even to a P90X/P90X2 grad.

Questions?  Comments?  Fire away.

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14 thoughts on “P90X3 Review: Block Two

  1. Pingback: P90X3 Review: First Impressions - Paul S. Kemp, Fictioneer

  2. Hi! Thanks for an awesome review, my brother, sister in law and I have just finished block 1 of p90x3 classic, and I took my 30 day before and after photos, and so far we didn’t see that much difference in our photos, I have lost a little bit of fat in the sides of my waste, but I’d just like to know if that is normal? Will I see greater muscle gains on day 60? Thank you!

    • Clark,

      First, congrats on getting through Block One.

      Block Two is the strength phase and it hits the muscle groups harder in a way designed to build strength and muscle, so I think you probably will see greater gains from the second block.

  3. I just started the 2nd block. I like the program and Tony Horton. I’m following the program exactly and eating pretty good but I’m not seeing results yet. Should I be concerned?

      • Zephra,

        That seems odd. Do you FEEL like you’re putting on weight, or are you actually putting on weight (as measured by a scale?) Is it possible you’ve put on some muscle and lost some fat and therefore gained weight but lowered BMI? I’d be shocked if you were actually putting on “bad” weight while on the program.

        • I just feel like I’m putting on weight. I love the program and will stick with it. I’ve read that some did gain weight before their bodies started to change.

  4. Paul, I LOVE your writing style. I’m on the same phase stage as you, and you have made me chuckle quite heartily 🙂

  5. I just finished block one, of the p90x3. I find some days easy (yay) and inexplicably another day, at times of the same disc will be ridiculously hard (boo hoo). I didn’t measure my body fat (oopsie) but I guess it’s never too late. I can see changes, but think I might need more cardio on top of these to get rid of the surface fat a little better. I eat well generally, and am small figured; however I can’t tell much yet if I am burning the fat I have- yet can tell I am getting sronger. May I add however I HATE planks now, and seriously, how many versions are there of a plank?? I want to cry when he says “go into plank” before downward dog on the cool down. A trex or jelly fish is likely stronger than me. HOWEVER, I was wondering what each block is designed for? I saw you mentioned 1 and 2, so good to know, what about 3? Just kinds trying to keep my mood hyped for results and where I might be expecting different outcomes. Thanks! YAY to all of us for working out 🙂

  6. Hey Paul, I’m in block 1 week 3, and I’ve gained 3lbs so far. I’m eating pretty clean but just got back from vacation so that may be it. I’m very consistent for the most part. What do you think I should do 1)just keep going and try to eat as good as possible or 2)adjust my diet right away and keep going.

  7. This is a fantastic and informative review, and I thank you very much for posting your thoughts. I’m in the transition week between the first two blocks and am, surprisingly, looking forward to strength training (for probably about three seconds). I’ve read some other reviews but certainly none were as humorous as yours. If you have a block three review (and I’m sure you do), I’m going to find that now. Thank you again.

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