Explanations of the P90X Arms & Shoulders Workouts

Tony Horton and his coaches lead you through the P90X videos.
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Tony Horton, the mastermind behind Beachbody's P90X workout program, calls the arms and shoulders the "glamour muscles." After all, they're the ones you pump up and define to show off your fitness.


The P90X arms and shoulder workout appears on Disc three in the 12-workout series. Do five comprehensive circuits, each containing one exercise each for the shoulders, biceps and triceps, in that order. Go through each circuit twice with no break before moving on to the next. Between each of the five circuits you'll do a short 30- to 40-second ballistic stretch.

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Before You Begin

Start with the standard P90X warmup. It usually consists of jacks, arm circles, leg swings and knee pulls. The intention is to give your joints and muscles a little time to prepare for harder effort. This deters injury and helps you work harder during the true effort of the workout. The warm up takes 7 to 9 minutes total.

Circuit One

Circuit one consists of an alternating shoulder press, in and out biceps curls and two-armed triceps kickbacks. The exercises are simple, as soon as you know how to do them. You visit each exercise for 30 to 60 seconds, the video guides you through the exact time for each move.


Alternating Shoulder Press: Stand with your feet hip-distance apart, a dumbbell in each hand and hands by the shoulders facing foward. Push one arm up over head and lower, repeat with the other. Alternate for the whole 50 seconds.

In and Out Biceps Curls: Stand with a barbell grasped with an underhand grip in each hand. Your palms face forward as your arms extend in front of your thighs. Curl the barbells up to the shoulders and lower back down, then rotate your arms to face toward the sides of the room and perform a curl. Alternate for the duration of the exercise period.


Two-Arm Triceps Kickback: Stand and hinge forward from the hips. Holding a dumbbell in each hand, bring your upper arms alongside your ribs, elbows bent. Extend and bend your elbows to activate the backs of the upper arms.

Circuit Two

Each circuit offers variety. Visit this one after a short stretch.



Deep Swimmer's Presses: Stand with your feet hip-distance apart with a dumbbell in each hand and arms extended alongside your hips. Curl the dumbbells up to your shoulders with an underhand grip. Continue to press the weights overhead as you rotate the palms to face forward. Bring the weights back down in the same pattern.

Full Supination Concentration Curls: Stand and hold a dumbbell in each hand, arms alongside your thighs, with palms facing your body. Curl the weight up, one at a time, palm still facing your torso. The weight comes to the middle of your chest. Pause the move for a moment at the top of each curl.


Chair Dips: Use a regular chair or bench and place your hands on the seat, fingers facing your feet. Extend your legs out as far as you are able and hover your buttocks off the seat. Bend and extend your elbows to perform the dips.

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Circuit Three

Stretch your arms and shoulders for about 30 seconds before visiting this circuit two times through.


Upright Rows: Stand holding a dumbbell in each hand, arms extended in front of your thighs. Bend your elbows to pull the weights up to your chest; the elbows point out to the sides of the room as you lift up. Stop when the weights are just below your chin and lower down to complete one rep.

Static Arm Curls: Stand with a weight in each hand. Bend your left elbow to 90 degrees and lock the upper arm by your ribs. Hold the left arm there as you do four basic biceps curls on the right; then switch so the right arm is static and the left arm curls four times. Alternate for the minute or so of the segment.



Flip-Grip Twist Triceps Kickbacks: Hinge forward slightly from your hips and, with a dumbbell in each hand, bend your elbows up by your torso. Extend and bend your elbows back to perform a kickback, but "flip" your grip each time your arm extends to the back of the room so that your palm faces the ceiling.

Circuit Four

The muscles of your arms and shoulders are likely fatiguing as you're entering the home stretch. Just like any of the previous circuits, you stretch 30 seconds or so before tackling this sequence two times through.

Seated Two-Angle Shoulder Flyes: Sit down in a chair, a weight in each hand, and bend forward from the waist. Have your palms face in as you open your arms to the sides of the room to squeeze your shoulder blades together, then lower them back down. Rise upright and bring the weights up parallel to the floor with straight arms to do a lateral raise. Alternate for the duration of the circuit.

Crouching Cohen Curls: Hold a dumbbell in each hand and bend your knees and hips so that you rest your elbows against your knee caps, arms straight. For more support, brace your buttocks against a blank wall. Curl your arms up to your shoulders and back down, maintaining the crouched position throughout.

Lying Down Triceps Extensions: Also known as skull crushers, you lie down on your back to do this move. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and extend the arms above your face, palms facing each other. Bend and extend your elbows so the weights come just beside your temples.

Circuit Five

The final set of exercises in your P90X arms and shoulders workout is followed by a short cool down that includes light jogging, jump roping and arm swings.

In and Out Straight Arm Shoulder Flyes: Stand with a dumbbell in each hand, arms extended in front of your thighs. Raise your arms parallel to the floor for a front raise, then raise your arms to the sides of the room for a lateral raise. Alternate for the whole segment.

Congdon Curls: Stand with a weight in each hand, arms extended in front of your thighs and palms facing forward. Curl the weight up to your shoulder and turn the palms to face each other as you lower back down. Return the palms to forward facing before repeating the curl.

Side Tri-Raises: Use no weights for this move. Lie on your side with your legs extended and hips stacked. Bend your bottom arm across your chest to rest on your top shoulder. Place your top arm's palm on the ground. Bend and extend the elbow of the grounded arm as you lift your torso up and down in a side crunch-like manner. Your triceps should fatigue. Switch sides when you visit this circuit the second time through.

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