What is the P90X Workout?

Also known as Power 90 Extreme, the P90X workout system is a popular workout regimen developed by Beachbody and made popular by fitness trainer Tony Horton.  The system consists of 12 workout routines including:

  1. Chest and Back
  2. Shoulders and Arms
  3. Legs and Back
  4. Chest, Shoulders and Triceps
  5. Back and Biceps
  6. Plyometrics
  7. Yoga X
  8. Kenpo X
  9. X Stretch
  10. Core Synergistics
  11. Cardio X
  12. Ab Ripper X

P90X Workout Variations

There are three standard variations of the P90X program: Lean, Classic, & Doubles. All variations involve 13 weeks of workouts but vary in focus.  The Lean variation of P90X concentrates on cardiovascular exercises and is the routine recommended for beginners.  The Classic version of the program does not make use of the “Cardio X” routines but rather replaces them with more strength training workouts. Finally, P90X Doubles challenges your endurance by combining cardiovascular workouts in the morning strength training workouts in the evening. All variations make use of standard P90X equipment.

Many P90X enthusiasts choose to follow all three variations of the programs (for a combined total of 270 days) as a means to achieve greater results.

History of P90X

The P90X workout system was released in 2004, however the original “Power 90” system was first launched in 1998 after the founding of Beachbody.  While several trainers were involved in the development of the P90X product, it is Tony Horton who is credited with its conception and success. Information about the sales and actual success of the system is sketchy at best, however many websites and other online sources claim that over 2 million people have been helped by the system. After the success of Power 90 and the followed success of P90X, Beachbody decided to launch another program within this franchise called “P90X Plus”.  Beachbody advertises P90X Plus as “the next step of P90X” and targets it as a system “for P90X grads only”. Beachbody has also launched other less popular products including a line by Chalene Johnson and Shaun T.

Muscle Confusion

The term “muscle confusion” was made popular in the mainstream via the P90X workout system, which boasts its use of this technique.  The term is mentioned several times throughout the product’s infomercials and throughout the Beachbody website.  Tony Horton also credits muscle confusion as the core principle behind the P90X results achieved by many of the program’s followers.  Muscle confusion is also emphasized in the promotional language of the P90X Plus system:

“Tony amps up the Muscle Confusion with BRAND-NEW MOVES and never-before-seen workout”

— Beachbody.com

In reality, muscle confusion refers to the principle of cross-training, where a variety of training methods are used in order to enhance the performance of the trainee. This method is used to address the weakness of a single workout by combining it with another type of workout.  The end goal of muscle confusion is to reduce the level of plateau that is commonly reached by muscles when the same specific type of stress is continuously applied.

Overall the P90X Workout System is a good and balanced workout program that is praised by many for its challenging workouts and rapid results.