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P90X Chest & Back Exercise Explanation

by 
author image Daniel Valladares
Daniel Valladares began his career as a medical writer in 2008. He has written patient education brochures for several pharmaceutical companies and has worked as an auto mechanic at Kim's Speedy Auto Service since 2007. Valladares holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Rice University and is currently studying to become a personal trainer.
P90X Chest & Back Exercise Explanation
P90X Chest & Back Exercise Explanation Photo Credit: bernardbodo/iStock/GettyImages

The P90X chest and back routine consists primarily of various push-ups, pull-ups and chin-ups, with three exercises that utilize free weights. You will need a chin-up bar and a pair of weights to complete all of the exercises in the routine. The chest and back workout routine should be completed on the first day of weeks one to three and nine to 11.

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Chest Exercises

All of the chest exercises in the chest and back workout are push-ups. Once you learn the standard push-up technique, you'll be able to tweak the form slightly to perform increasingly challenging variations that target all the muscles of the chest, as well as the abs, shoulders and triceps.

Standard Push-ups: Get into push-up position with your shoulders aligned over your wrists, your toes tucked under and your body in one straight line from heels to head. Bend your elbows out to the sides and lower your chest almost to the floor, then press back up to the starting position. Remember to keep your back and abdominal muscles tight when doing a pushup.

Military Push-ups: Get into push-up position with your hands below your shoulders. Keep your elbows and arms tight against the sides of your body as you lower down and press back up.

Wide Fly Push-ups: Place your hands 3 inches wider than standard push-up position. Do pushups in this position.

Decline Push-ups: Elevate your feet on an object, preferably something that is 4 to 6 inches high. The taller the object is, the more difficult the push-ups will become. Position your hands under your shoulders and do standard push-ups.

Diamond Push-ups: From standard push-up position, move your hands underneath the center of your chest. Place your hands so that the index fingers and thumbs are touching, making the shape of a diamond. Do pushups in this position.

Dive-Bomber Push-ups: Begin in a downward dog position with your feet and hands about a body-length apart and your hips high in the air. Keep your heels off the ground. Bend your elbows out to the sides lowering your head toward the ground, then swoop through so your chest passes over the ground like a dive bomber. At the end of the move, your hips should be low, legs straight, torso up and chest open and arms straight. Reverse the move to come back to the starting position.

Read more: A List of P90X Workouts

Back Exercises

The pull-up bar plays a central role in the P90X chest and back workout. With varying hand grips, you work different parts of your upper back and biceps. Three exercises performed with dumbbells target the middle and upper back as well as the backs of the shoulders and biceps.

Wide Front Pull-ups: Grasp the wide grips of a pull-up bar with an overhanded grip and pull yourself up until your chin passes the bar. Lower yourself down with control so your arms are fully extended.

Reverse Grip Chin-ups: Take hold of the bar with an underhanded grip slightly narrower than your shoulders. Pull yourself up until your chin passes the bar. Lower down to fully extended arms.

Closed Grip Overhand Pull-ups: Grab the bar with a narrow grip and your palms facing away from you. Pull yourself up until your chin passes the bar, then lower down with control to full extension.

Heavy Pants: Hold two dumbbells. Place one foot slightly forward and bend both knees. Lean your torso over, bending at the waist, and keep your back flat. Lift the weights from the front foot to your waist squeezing your shoulder blades together.

Lawnmowers: Get into a lunge position with your right foot forward. Rest your right elbow on your knee. With the other hand, lift the weight from the floor to your waist. Switch sides and repeat this exercise.

Back Flys: Sit in a chair holding weights in both hands. Bend at the waist and lean your torso forward. Raise your arms up and out to the sides with your elbows slightly bent. Slowly return to the start and repeat.

Read more: What Equipment Is Needed for P90X Workouts?

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