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Should a Teen Do P90X?

author image Andrea Cespedes
Andrea Cespedes is a professionally trained chef who has focused studies in nutrition. With more than 20 years of experience in the fitness industry, she coaches cycling and running and teaches Pilates and yoga. She is an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer, RYT-200 and has degrees from Princeton and Columbia University.
Should a Teen Do P90X?
Body weight exercises are appropriate for teens. Photo Credit: RyanKing999/iStock/Getty Images

P90X promises to get you in shape in 90 days if you follow the 6-day-per week workout plan. With this infomercial-promoted fitness system, you get 12 DVDs that outline workouts for different body parts and include yoga, cardio, core and stretching programs. A nutrition guide and workout planning guide round out the program so that you can be successful, if you commit. The program is safe enough for a teen and could help him find success in increasing strength, flexibility and endurance.

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Equipment Necessary

Teens can easily handle the equipment necessary to complete a P90X program. At 6-foot by 6 foot space, a set of dumbbells or resistance bands and a pullup bar are all that are needed. While competitive bodybuilding and power lifting aren't recommended for teens who are still growing, Nemours Teen Health encourages weight training -- especially using resistance bands and body weight.

Program Design

The American Council on Exercise gave the P90X program a solid review in the 2011 publication Fitness Matters.The program emphasizes almost all parameters of fitness -- including cardio, strength and flexibility. It offers a good variety of exercises, so your teen won't get bored, and provides science-based design and progression. Tony Horton, the on-screen trainer and developer of the program, provides ways to modify the exercises and gives lots of cues on proper form. Although ACE did not specify whether the program was appropriate for teens, these programming elements indicate that it is safe, scientifically-sound and engaging for an adolescent.

Expectations and Results

For a teen who has never exercised, P90X might be too intense or aggressive. Light exercise, such as walking, calisthenics or dancing, may be a more appropriate start. But, if a teen is already active, P90X could be a way to further his fitness level and keep him regularly active. Regular exercise may help prevent heart disease and type 2 diabetes, as well as keep weight under control. P90X is safe, as long as your teen follows the program guide and progressions.

Possible Complications

The P90X program requires about one hour per day, six times per week. A teen may not have the drive or time to complete the program. The nutrition plan is designed for the average adult -- not a growing teenage -- and any supplements recommended by the program may be inappropriate; your teen should only take them if under the supervision of a health care provider.

Adding a moderate amount of exercise through P90X can be highly beneficial, but do intervene if your teen starts to lose too much weight or you see that commitment to the program interferes with his social life or school performance.

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