P90X2PhasesWe finished the second phase of P90X2 the other day. Phase one was all about strengthening your core, and getting you ready for the rest of the program. I see the point – there was a lot of isolation in the original P90X, so perhaps you didn't get to workout all those supportive muscles, especially the core ones.

And, as advertised, the first phase did bring a lot of core engagement. The second phase was supposed to be all strength though:

  • Chest + Back + Balance – push ups and pull ups
  • Shoulders + Arms – biceps, lats, triceps
  • Base + Back + Mobility – plyo and pull ups

Once again, Tony takes all the exercises you're used to and then adds a twist. Your curls are done on one leg, or at an angle. Your overhead triceps pull is on top of a stability ball. All of these modifications are supposed to help you bring all sorts of different muscles into the exercise, but they also mean that you're not going to lift as much or really feel like you're targeting one muscle to exhaustion. I suppose that's the strategy – overall fitness instead of body building – but it seems like a step backwards in the progress I made in the original P90X. 

I really miss the good old Legs & Back from P90X. We did Legs & Back one day between the second and third phase (we had a couple of days to kill around a trip I had to make), and it still kicks ass. Nothing gets you sweating harder than full-on legs with weights interspersed with pull ups. That said, Base + Back + Mobility is awesome. In that workout, you alternate between really hard plyometric exercises and pull ups. That's a blast if you like max heartrate. 

I'm not sure why the second phase didn't satisfy me. Maybe it's because I lacked the overall strength to really work as hard as I should. If you can't stay balanced on one leg well, you downgrade the weight and then don't get as good an arm workout? Could be. The only way to know would be to start from the top and try to improve. I might do that, but I suspect right after P90X2 I'll be right back to the first P90X. 


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