Exactly What to Expect From Every P90X Workout

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P90X is an advance workout program that hits every major muscle group with a variety of workouts.
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P90X, short for Power 90 X, is one of the most successful workout DVD series of all time (though you can now stream it online). The 12 workouts, repeated over the course of 90 days, are fairly long (45 to 60 minutes), intense and varied, ranging from weight-lifting and plyometrics to yoga and kickboxing.

Tony Horton, the charismatic host of P90X, leads you through the workouts with demonstrations, instructions and even a dash of humor. And though the program is recommended for more advanced exercisers, there are modifications for the moves in case they're too difficult.

It comes with a 13-week schedule to keep you on track with your workouts. Since the goal is to prevent your body from plateauing, the order of the workouts switches every four weeks. This divides the plan up into training blocks — three weeks of adaptation and mastery and one week of recovery (except the final block, which is four weeks adaptation and mastery and one week recovery).

What can you expect from each of these 12 sweat sessions? Here's an outline of each of the workouts in Horton's wildly popular workout program.

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Chest and Back

  • Length: 54 minutes
  • Equipment needed: power stands, chin-up bar and dumbbells or resistance bands

This workout combines two of the largest groups of upper-body muscles: chest and back. And to work those muscle groups, you'll do two classic exercises: the push-up and pull-up. You'll perform different variations of these exercises to keep the workout interesting and challenging.

Plyometrics

  • Length: 59 minutes
  • Equipment needed: mat

This is a high-impact workout filled with lots of jumping exercises (plyo). You'll burn calories and develop your inner athlete with this collection of agility-based movements. Of all the P90X workouts, this is one of the most challenging.

Shoulders and Arms

  • Length: 60 minutes
  • Equipment needed: dumbbells or resistance bands

Grab your dumbbells and get ready to feel the burn in your shoulders and arms. This workout combines variations of the biceps curl, dumbbell press and fly. If you're looking to get ripped arms and shoulders, this workout is perfect for you.

Yoga X

  • Length: 92 minutes
  • Equipment needed: yoga mat

This isn't your typical yoga session. It combines traditional breathing and flexibility work with the fast-paced and muscle-burning approach P90X is known for. It's not a break from the physique-changing workout intensity, however. Your muscles will be challenged.

Legs and Back

  • Length: 60 minutes
  • Equipment needed: pull-up bar and dumbbells or resistance bands

Squats, lunges and rows make up the bulk of the exercises in this workout. Once again, you'll need a range of weights to accommodate all the exercises in this strength-training workout. You'll also find that pairing your upper-body and lower-body muscles is surprisingly efficient.

Kenpo X

  • Length: 56 minutes
  • Equipment needed: none

Cardio can be boring, but P90X has figured out how to keep it interesting. Kenpo X is their version of a martial arts workout. You'll kick and punch into the air to burn calories and improve your balance and coordination.

X Stretch

  • Length: 58 minutes
  • Equipment needed: yoga mat

After pushing your muscles, lungs and heart to the limit in the other workouts, you'll need time to recover. This active recovery session takes you through stretches for all your tired and sore muscles and gives you a chance to catch your breath before you dive into the next workout.

Core Synergistics

  • Length: 58 minutes
  • Equipment needed: yoga mat and dumbbells or resistance bands

This workout is a series of exercises that both strengthen your core and improve your metabolic conditioning. The moves are very dynamic — you won't be sitting on the floor doing countless sit-ups. You'll need a pair of dumbbells for this workout, but keep them light (around 10 pounds or less).

Chest, Shoulders and Triceps

  • Length: 57 minutes
  • Equipment needed: power stands, yoga mat and dumbbells or resistance bands

There are 24 total moves in this workout, using your arms so much they might feel like noodles afterward. The pectorals (chest), deltoids (shoulders) and triceps all work in tandem to push things away from your body, so expect to do plenty of push-up variations in this workout.

Back and Biceps

  • Length: 52 minutes
  • Equipment needed: chin-up bar and dumbbells or resistance bands

This workout hits the upper-body muscles the previous session left out — the back and biceps. These two work well together to help you pull things in toward your body, like you would in a pull-up. That's why there are plenty of pull-up and chin-up varieties in the video.

Cardio X

  • Length: 43 minutes
  • Equipment needed: yoga mat and dumbbells or resistance bands

This workout combines all the cardio elements of other P90X workouts to keep things interesting and motivating. There's a yoga section, some kenpo moves and even part of the core synergistics workout.

Ab Ripper X

  • Length: 16 minutes
  • Equipment needed: yoga mat

This workout is short, sweet and to the point. You're going to focus all the attention on your abs as you follow Horton through this grueling routine. Most of the moves are variations on sit-ups and leg raises, meaning that for the most part, you'll be lying on your back.

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