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P90X Workout - All 12 Workouts Reviewed Print E-mail

Each p90x workout has a distinct role in creating a chiseled body and help you lose body fat and if you want to gain muscle mass.  How can it do either?  BeachBody did an excellent job of including routines for getting a lean body and adding muscle.  Tony Horton discusses in each p90x workout video what to do depending on your goals.  In addition, the p90x schedule varies depending on if you want to shed the body fat and stay lean or add muscle mass.  Regardless, the p90x workouts will definitely shed the unwanted weight.   All you have to do is do each p90x workout as defined in the p90x workout schedule.

In this article we will discuss each of the 12 p90x workouts from a panel of actual p90x users who completed all 90 days, and in fact still doing p90x!

If you wish to see just the p90x workout schedule for both classic (burn away fat, gain muscle mass) and p90x lean workout schedule (burn the fat away and stay lean) we have specific articles for those. You may also want to get a copy of the p90x workout sheets.

We also recommend you go to our main p90x reviews page.

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P90x Workouts Approach for Beginners

If you are new to P90X we recommend you spend the first 2-3 weeks doing each workout in moderation.  Too many times people get injured or burnout because they are not in shape.  Your body is going to go through a major transformation over 90 days, but it needs to be treated right.  This is why we highly recommend doing each workout for about 50% of the time or “effort”.  Let your body and mind get used to each workout before beginning the actual 90 days of p90x workouts.

P90X Workouts – In Depth From Real P90x Graduates

  • Chest and Back – This workout will push you to the extreme on these two muscle groups and the following types of routines are done, not once but twice! Tony will tell you when to do each: standard pushups, wide front pull-ups, military push-ups, reverse grip chin-ups, wide fly push-ups, closed grips overhand pull-ups, decline pushups, heavy pants (bent over rows), diamond push-ups, lawnmowers (1 arm bent over rows), Dive-Bomber pushups, Back Flys. After all that you get another 14 minutes of Ab Ripper X!!

As you can see you do a lot and you will be exhausted.  Don’t be worried if you can’t do it all, especially on “round two”, 99% can’t when you start but by the end of 90 days we call could!  Pull-ups are a struggle for most and just listen to Tony on how to “cheat” by using your leg(s) to help you up.  Diamond Push-ups are insane!
  • Plyometrics – This is by far the hardest workout and is mostly cardio of the lower body and often referred to as jump training. You are run through a series of grueling high impact moves, but if you have knees or back don’t worry there are alternatives shown.  Everyone in our test group has herniated discs in either the lower back (2 of us) or neck and we adapted easily. Some example moves are jump squats, Heisman side to side, and lunges.  Your thigh and calf muscles will be pushed to the max but after 90 days you will be amazed at how it adds to your fast twitch muscles and endurance.

  • Shoulders and Arms – This is very similar in “style” to chest and back but we all found it to be a much easier workout and that makes sense as it is working two small muscle groups as opposed to two large muscle groups.  The workouts you will do TWICE are: Alternating Shoulder Presses, In and Out Bicep Curls, Two-Arm Tricep Kickbacks, Deep Swimmer’s Presses, Full Supination Concentration Curls, Chair Dips, Upright Rows, Static Arm Curls, Flip-grip Twist Tricep Kickbacks, Two-Hand Shoulder Flys, Crouching Cohen Curls, and Lying-down Tricep Extensions with bonus rounds including In and Out Shoulder Flys, Congdon Curls, Side Tri-Rises.  After all that you get to also do Ab Ripper X!!

    It isn’t as hard as it sounds, if you made it through chest and back, this should seem fairly easy.  Biggest issue found on this workout is the tricep isn’t worked enough.  The tricep is twice the muscle mass as the bicep but the world is fixated on biceps.  If you want bigger diameter arms, just adjust this work out to be a bit more intense on triceps.
  • Yoga X – This is the king of all Yoga and if you have never done Yoga do not laugh!  All of us have found this p90x workout to be one of the hardest and definitely the one you sweat the most to.  Your heart rate may not get as high as in plyometrics but you will feel a total body workout like never before, even if you are an experienced Yoga person.  Some of the Yoga Methods you will do are: Moving Asanas (Runners Pose, Warrior One; Two; Three, Reverse Warrior, Twisting Triangle, Prayer Twist, Half Moon) which are the hardest and longest part ; Balance Postures (Tree, Royal Dancer, Standing Leg Extension), and Floor Work (Cat Stretch, Frog, Bridge, Wheel, Table) and Yoga Belly which is mostly static ab workouts (Touch the Sky, Boat, Half Boat, Scissor, Torso Twist & Hold)

    As you can see there is a lot to this and this isn’t even 100% of it.  It is a ninety (90) minute workout and most of us found it a bit too long.  It really should have been kept to 60-70 minutes.
  • Legs and Back – This workout was mixed in difficulty some found it the hardest and some not so hard so it will depend on the strength of your legs and back already, and you can expect the following routines in this workout: Balanced Lunges, Calf Raise Squats, Reverse Grip Chin-ups, Super Skaters, Wall Squat, Wide Front Pull-ups, Step Back Lunges, Alternating Side Lunges, Close Grip Overhead Pull-ups, Single Leg Wall Squat, Dead Lift Squats, Switch Grip Pull-ups, Three-way lunge, Sneaky Lunge, Reverse Grip Chin-ups, Chair Salutations, Toe Row Iso Lunge, Wide Front Pull-ups, Groucho Walk,  Calf Raises, Close Grip Overhead Pull-ups, 80-20 Seibers Speed Squat, Switch Grip Pull-ups and then Ab Ripper X!

    You will definitely feel it after doing all 23 of these routines and then Ab Ripper X.
  • Kenpo X – What a great workout KenpoX is. No weights, just a lot of punching (the air) and kicking.  As with all the workouts be very careful to stretch really well and this workout you can pop a hamstring easily.  Do not skip any stretching parts of the DVDs!  KenpoX with Tony Horton put you through a series of punches that slowly build up into combinations.  At first your muscles (and mind) have a hard time as you do 4 punch moves (jab, jab, cross, upper cut) in the final combo, but it builds up from 1, to 2, to 3 and then 4.  You also go through similar series of kicks such as front kick, side kick and back kick.  Then you get to mix up the punches and kicks and be ready for the finale, its fun! We won’t give it away but you will like it, everyone did!

  • X Stretch – Most of us “skipped” this on our rest days as we were exhausted but if you want to get in a great stretch DVD this is the one for you and is 60 minutes of just stretching.  You can expect to do:  Sun Salutations, Neck Stretch, Back Up the Car, Head Rolls, Expand/Contract Back Chest Shoulder Stretch, Topas Shoulder Stretch, Wrist-Forearm Flex, Dreya Forearm, Glute Stretch, and many more that work on down through your legs such as single leg hamstring, two leg stretch, ballistic hamstring, standing split leg hamstring, downward dog calf stretch, upward dog ankle, Childs pose right and left stretches.

  • Core Synergistics – This workout done during recovery weeks and a lot more in the lean version of p90x is a fantastic workout that really works the core muscle groups.  Everything below the neck and thigh or higher. Some of the routines include: Pushups, Banana rolls, Sphinx pushups, prison cell pushups (a favorite of all of us), Leaning Crescent Lunges, Squat Run, Bow to Boat, Lunge-Kickback-Curl (another favorite!), Steam Engine (whooo! Fun!) and more.  This workout was hated by one in our group but most love it.  It is much harder than it sounds and be ready for a great sweat to burn away those calories and cellulite!

  • Chest, Shoulders and Triceps – A phase 2 and phase 3 workout you won’t see this until after your first 30 days of p90x but it is worth the wait! Your body is now building muscle mass and burning the fat and now you need some muscle confusion to keep it going and this workout does it.  You can expect the following moves in this workout: Slow Motion 3-in-1 pushups, In&out Shoulder Flys, Chair Dips, Plange Pushups, Pike Presses, Side Tri-rises, Floor Flys, Scarecrows, Overhead Tricep Extensions, Two-twice Speed Push-ups, Y-Presses, Lying Tricep Extensions, Side-to-Side Pushups, Pour Flys, Side-leaning Tricep Extensions, One-arm Push-ups (so hard, don’t worry do what you can), Weighted Circles, Throw the Bomb, Clap or Plyo Pushups, Slo_mo Throws, Front-to-back Tricep Extensions, One Arm Balance Push-ups, Fly Row Presses, Dumbell Cross-Body Blows and then you get to do Ab Ripper X!!

    Toyabhis workout is a favorite and just blends really well.  It goes hand in hand with the other “resistance” workouts in level of difficulty but just seemed more enjle and in general we found all the workouts done in phase II more enjoyable.
  • Back and Biceps – Focusing on just the “pull” muscles of the upper body this is indeed a workout that will give you the pipes and V-back you desire.  The routines in this p90x workout include: Wide Front Pull-ups, Lawnmowers, Twenty Ones, One Arm Cross Body Curls, Switch Grip Pullups, Elbows-out Lawnmowers, Standing Bicep Curls, One Arm Concentration Curls, Corn Cob Pullups (so hard!! Just do your best!), Reverse Grip Bent-over Rows, Open Arm Curls, Static Arm Curls, Towel Pullups, Congdon Locomotives, Crouching Cohen Curls, One Arm Corkscrew Curls, Chin-ups, Seated Bent-over Back flys, Curl-up Hammer Downs, Hammer Curls, Max Rep Pull-ups, Superman, In-out Hammer Curls, Strip Set Curls (killer but a great ending) and then of course, Ab Ripper X!!

  • Cardio X – Combining all the workouts “Cardio” portions into one 60 minute butt kicking cardio p90x workout. You will see some of YogaX, Kenpo X, Plyometrics, and Core Synergistics all in this one video.  It is a great workout and one not to miss especially for those doing “doubles” or the lean version.

  • Ab Ripper X – Talk about a workout for your abs with 300+ reps your abs will be six packs in no time.  You must realize most people (you included probably) won’t be able to do all the reps in the first workout and in our group it took on average until Phase III which is day 61+!! You will love to hate all the ab workouts as it works from every angle/side/top/bottom and even includes a bit of the “core” in your legs/hips. Included in these are : In and Outs, Seated Bicycle, Seated Crunchy Frog, Wide Leg Sit Ups, Fifer Scissors, Pulse Up, Roll-up/V-Up Combo, Oblique V-Up, Leg Climb and last but not least with a killer ending Mason Twists!



The 12 p90x workouts when done in the order specified by BeachBody in their p90x workout schedule will keep the muscle confusion which in turn will burn more fat and build more muscle (either lean or mass up to you and again Tony explains this in each video).  Stick to the 90 days, 6 days a week workouts and you won’t be sorry.

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23 Votes


  1. I have poor knees, had a broken back 30 years ago and can do plyometrics if I use my mini-rebounder(trampoline). I do jumping jacks, wacky jacks, warm-up running... on it. My husband said that I could never do this program but I am on my second round now and thrilled with my strength increase.
  2. Nothing is written in stone. I say yes! :)
  3. I really, really hate yoga it just goes by so slooooowly! can I sub another workout in for it.
  4. @paul - You can start over or you can do doubles (see our forum for info on that) or you can do p90x plus (search site for review on that). Other options include doing insanity workouts by Shaun T (reviewed on our site also). Last but not least p90x2 (basically the next version) is coming out in a few weeks. Best of luck!
  5. What happen after week 13? star over from week1 ???
  6. Doing ANY excercise regimen 5-6 days a week for 90 days will give you results. P90x just lays out the "plan" for you, but your results (as usual) are completely dependant on your commitment.
  7. How much weight on the dumbells do you need? The fast change adjustable dumbells are expensive ..can you just get the old school dumbell set and be able to change the weight acccordingly during the program ? I'm about 245lb and i'm just getting back into working out and I want to lose at least 30lb ...I know someone who did this program a few times and had to stop because they lost too much weight. I'm ready to drop 30 lbs and I've had these dvd's for 3 years and never looked at them.
  8. Its true that yogaX is very VERY long, but i think it teaches you to push through the burn and to take your body to its limit. It also builds stamina, which is always helpful. i got through 60 days before i found out i was pregnant and had to stop. under the doctors supervision i used what p90x taught me about nutrition and exercise and ended up in better shape AFTER the pregnancy than before (no i did not do p90x while pregnant, just used the diet and "muscle confusion" advice)! Go figure! Plus being able to give birth with only 6 good pushes with no meds was great (i give credit to p90x for that for helping me get inshape before the pregnancy). I HIGHLY RECOMEND P90X FOR ANY WOMAN OF AGE OR SIZE!!! (as long as you pass the fitness test of course)
  9. Im on my 2nd week of P90X.. This program will definitely make you sweat.. especially Yoga! I started this at 196lbs and am currently at 189lbs. not bad for the first two weeks. I bring it every day!
  10. I am 50 and I have completed p90x...four times in a row! After the first 90 days I went from a soft 200lbs to a very firm 170. So many of my younger freinds were impressed with the transformation that they started the program. I am staying at 168 lbs, which I would have thought would be too light, but i look and feel very strong. Do the yoga!!! It is the key. It took me two months to ever get to the end, so hang in there. I wish I would have taken before photos, but I was too embarrassed.
  11. I'm on week 10 of P90X lean and I've lost 17 lbs. I've tried the yoga but its just to slow and boring so I run instead. I plan to do classic next and I hope by June I will reach my goal of 35 lbs lost. Good luck.
  12. I'm only on day 3 and I'm loving this so far. Tomorrow is Yoga. I usually do my workout at 5:30 in the morning, but for Yoga days I'll be running on the treadmill at that time and moving my yoga to the evening to have enough time for the 90 minute routine.
  13. I have personally used the P90X program and it helped me go from 190lbs, to 169lbs in 4 months. I didn't follow the program to the 'T', I have to admit, but I got great results without killing myself with daily workouts. I can only imagine what would have been the results if I did. I think it's right now the best workout routine.
  14. Have any of you done the P90X Lean? I JUST learned about it and i'm thinking about doing it...just wanted to know if it really worked for the weight loss aspect?
  15. I found this site by mistake but I have to say I absolutely love what you have done with that spreadsheet. I own p90X since 2007 and I have been making copies of the workbook every time I retake the program so I was happy to find this...but I am trying to do Lean this time, are you still considering to post this sheet? all the perks of the spreadsheet doesn't work as supposed to when you are not doing the Classic routine... any thoughts?
  16. Thanks BB for the very informative comment on the P90X workouts. Your comment was truely helpful.
  17. "father of four children" yes I'm sure that bit really has a huge bearing on your current physical fitness level.. (fathering children really puts the body through a lot of wear and tear, you know)
  18. P90X is a fantastic workout that can be done by most people as long as they approach it properly. I'm a 42 year old father of four and I've been getting great results for the last 18 months by doing this program. If you are in poor shape when you begin I would suggest three things. First, go slow and work your way up. Starting with lots of reps and lower weights in the beginning and working your way to lower reps and higher weights will prevent injury and give your body to adjust to the workouts. Second, Modify the moves. If you are feeling pain while doing something, then modify the move. The workouts show you how to do this. Third, follow the nutrition guide. 80% of your success will come from getting your diet into better shape, then your body will have the proper fuel to push through, and recover from these workouts. It can be a life changer for anyone that is truly ready to get serious and do it. Just Push Play.
  19. I love P90x but it can be brutal, Plyo is not for those with knee problems, but I lost 20 lbs in about a month.
  20. You just need to be careful and start slowly.
  21. Can a person 59 do something like this and not kill yourself?
  22. The Excel workout sheets are not formatted to print correctly and are protected.

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