Saturday, February 27, 2010

Round 3 / Day 1: P90X+ Upper Body Plus + Abs / Core Plus

And away we go.

For the inaugural workout of Round 3, I decided to start with Upper Body Plus and Abs / Core Plus from P90X+. This was my first gander at P90X+, which is marketed to P90X grads who want to "break through plateaus with intense new cardio, muscle chiseling, and ab/core-ripping moves to ramp up your results." In all-caps, Beachbody screams: "TAKE YOUR WORKOUT TO THE NEXT LEVEL!"

And if that doesn't convince you to try P90X+, "Jason Scheff, lead singer of the band Chicago, scored all-new music exclusively for P90X Plus while completing his first round of P90X!" (Jason who? I haven't listened to Chicago since the 8-track era, but what happened to Peter Cetera?)

More -- including a full review of Upper Plus -- after the jump.

Upper Plus is pretty decent. It hits the chest, back, shoulders, triceps and biceps with new variations on familiar exercises from P90X. After a five-minute warm-up, Tony sprints through the following moves:

Double Dip'll Do Ya: Using pushup stands (or a couple of chairs), do two push-ups and then swing your legs to the front, and do two tricep dips. Swing your legs back and repeat. Keep going for 90 seconds. (Another new twist: Most exercises in Upper Plus are done for time, not reps.)

Dead Leg Switch Pull-Ups: For one minute, crank out a bunch of pull-ups and chin-ups while keeping your legs hanging still. No swinging or kipping.

Two-Direction Circle Flys: Just like the Weighted Circles from P90X Chest, Shoulders & Triceps, but with bigger circles.

Lunge curls: Identical to One-Arm Concentration Curls from P90X Back & Biceps. Do 'em for 30 seconds per side.

Hammer Kickback: Do triceps kickbacks using a hammer grip for 30 seconds.

Frog Push-ups: These are exactly the same as the Power Push-Ups from Insanity Max Interval Plyo. Keep going for one minute.

L Chin-Ups: Crank out some chin-ups, but raise your legs up horizontally so that you form an "L." Keep your legs straight, and go for maximum reps.

Fly Blasts: Stand on one leg while holding a pair of dumbbells. Perform a side shoulder fly, and then do a chest fly. Reverse the move and repeat. Switch legs after 30 seconds.

Lean-Back Curls: Exactly what they sound like -- you lean back while in a standing position and then do bicep curls for 60 seconds.

One-Legged Bridge Dips: Tony gives them a new name, but they're the same as Table Dip Leg Raises from P90X Core Synergistics (and also the much more succinctly named Table Dips from Insanity Cardio Power & Resistance). Go for a full minute.

Spiderman Push-Up: These are a hybrid between the Stacked-Hands / Staggered-Foot Push-Ups from Core Synergistics and Push-Up Abs from Insanity Max Cardio Conditioning.

7-Point Pull-Ups: Beachbody marketing alert! Tony helpfully points out that you can do pull-ups using seven different hand positions on a P90X Pull-Up Bar.

Warrior Swim: This one's tough. Get into a Warrior Three Position (remember it from Yoga X?) while holding a pair of dumbbells and start swinging them front-to-back -- all while balancing on one leg and keeping the rest of your body parallel to the floor.

Pumper Curls: Do four bicep curls without letting your forearms get lower than 90 degrees from your upper arms. Then do two regular bicep curls. Repeat for one minute.

Side Hammer Kicks: Get down in a low lunge (Runner's Pose) with one palm on the floor. The other hand grabs a dumbbell and does triceps side kicks.

Iso Climber Push-Ups: For a full minute, perform push-ups, but at the top of each rep, bring an alternating knee to your forehead.

Clear to Negative Chin-Ups: Do as many clean chin-ups as you can, and then do a bunch of negative chin-ups, lowering yourself slowly and deliberately.

The Shoulder Everything: First, while leaning forward at the waist, do two regular shoulder flys, two W-flys (with your arm bent at 90 degrees), and two V-flys (with your arms held out in a V position); then, stand up and repeat those three fly movements. Keep going for 90 seconds.

The Bicep Everything: Another 90-second move. Do two side curls, two regular curls, two supination curls, and two hammer curls. Keep going.

Combat Push-Ups: For 90 seconds, do Military Push-Ups, but each time you're in the low chaturanga position, move your feet and legs to the left, back to center, to the right, and back again to center before pushing up.

And that's it.

I'm too tired to write about Abs / Core Plus, so I'll save that for another day. But here are a few closing thoughts:

  • Upper Plus is a good, well-rounded workout with a nice mix of compound and iso movements.
  • I like the fact that Tony speeds through these moves without a lot of time spent jawing about Forrest Gump and how his dad threw no-hitters. He doesn't waste time providing a lot of instruction, either -- he just dives right in. This makes the first time through Upper Plus a bit more difficult, but in the long run, I'll be happier not having to wait for Tony to explain how to do exercises that I've already learned. I'm definitely a fan of the shorter (45-minute) length of this workout.
  • At times, I think Tony tries too hard to add bells and whistles to the basic P90X moves -- the Double Dips'll Do Ya and 7-Point Pull-Ups are examples of variations that don't really add much to basic push-ups and pull-ups (other than variety itself).
  • Tony needs to shut up already about the Bowflex SelectTech Dumbbells and his stupid fucking PowerStands. I've had a set of SelectTechs for a few years now, and I think they're terrific, but I didn't pay for P90X+ because I needed to watch another Bowflex infomercial during my workout. And as I've pointed out before, the PowerStands are just ridiculously priced.
  • The P90X+ set is obviously low-rent. Instead of ceiling-mounted heavy-duty pull-up bars, they have these moveable doorframes outfitted with Beachbody's P90X Chin-Up Bars. And where's the big-ass, back-lit, wall-embedded fan? All I see's a cheap desk fan mounted to a wall. With the success of P90X, I'm surprised that Beachbody didn't put more money into P90X+. It's like they slapped up a poster of Dreya Weber on the wall and called it a day.
  • But at least P90X+ features kick-ass trainers. Tony's fellow onscreen companions in P90X+ -- Mark Briggs and Traci Morrow -- are both super-ripped, super-capable and not even remotely annoying (yet).