The stretch routine included in the P90X program -- called Stretch X -- will come as much needed relief after the program's other intense cardio and strength training workouts. Stretch X is optional; you can do it instead of resting on the last day of each week. However, it's highly recommended that you do it instead of resting for all the benefits that active recovery provides.
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Purpose of Stretch X
Stretch X was designed with two purposes in mind: to increase your flexibility and to loosen your muscles for the intense workout throughout the rest of the week. Stretching helps prevent injury and avoid plateaus that can keep you from achieving your goals. The stretch routine is by far the easiest routine in P90X so that you can have a break between the other more intense routines.
Read more: What Are the Benefits of Stretching & Yoga?
The 35 Stretch X exercises come from yoga, martial arts and general sports training. The program starts out with sun salutations from yoga as a way to gently warm up and stretch the entire body. After that, you'll move through exercises for each part of the body starting with your neck and finishing with your legs.
Stretches for the neck include:
- Neck stretch
- Neck roll
- Back up the car
For the shoulders, you'll do:
- Topas shoulder stretch
- Arm circles
These stretches target multiple muscles in the shoulders, chest, back and arms:
- Expand/contract back-chest-shoulders stretch
- Shoulder/triceps combo stretch
- Ballistic stretches
For the wrists and forearms there are two exercises:
- Wrist-forearm flex stretch
- Dreya forearm stretch
Many of the exercises target the core muscles of the abdomen and lower back, as well as the muscles that support the spine and the gluteal muscles. These include:
- Standing side stretch
- Plow pose
- Seated side stretch
- Back hero
- Side twist
- Cat stretch
- Bow pose
- Glute stretch
To relax and lengthen the quadriceps and hamstrings muscles of the upper legs, Stretch X includes:
- Wide-feet forward hamstring stretch
- Kenpo quad stretch
- Seated single-leg hamstring stretch
- Seated two-leg hamstring stretch
- Ballistic hamstring stretch
- Split-leg hamstring stretch
These exercises target the inner and outer thighs and hips:
- Low squat
- Frog pose
The program finishes with a few stretches for the ankles and calves and a final stretch for the back:
- Toe flexor
- Downward dog with calf stretch
- Upward dog with ankle stretch
- Child's pose with right and left side stretch
Equipment and Schedule
You only need two pieces of equipment for the Stretch X routine: a yoga mat and a towel. The yoga mat provides grip and cushioning, and the towel is used for stretching and to wipe your sweat and prevent slipping. Choose an area of your home where you have space to move and no interruptions; this is your time to stretch and recover and also to relax.
The workouts in P90X are switched up every few weeks, but Stretch X remains constant. Stretch X is suggested to be performed on the last day of every week, but you can do it more often if you like. The stretching routine is not mandatory, and you can instead choose to rest that day instead of doing Stretch X, but the routine is highly recommended to prevent injury and take your fitness to the next level.
Read more: The Purpose of Stretching