P-90 Couch

As a physical therapist and trainer of athletes, I get a lot of questions and comments on the P90X program.

[What's P90X? See beachbody.com/product/fitness]

Let me first say this - P90X is a well-rounded home fitness program. It's simple and effective (depending on your goals). It's relatively easy to apply, though by no means easy on effort. P90X comes with a sound nutrition plan and other information that helps people understand that being fit is more than just exercising.

P90X has caused thousands of people to realize that you don't need a huge gym full of fancy equipment and smoothie bar in order to get a great workout. If your idea of resistance exercise is sitting on a nautilus machine for 3 sets of 10, you're in for a nice big soreprize.

P90X has many rehab/fitness professionals (like me) slapping themselves on the forehead saying, "why didn't I think of that?" But then again, P90X is also good for rehab professionals. Like an ice storm in February. P90X causes people to need rehab.

In my little neck of the woods, I've seen a fair share of shoulder, back, and knee injuries directly attributed to P90X. Despite attempts to make the program (semi-)customizable, P90X still succumbs to the limitations of one-size-fits-all home workout plans.

"Only three months [and doctors appointments and muscle relaxers] to looking great!"

Six, hour-long workouts per week for 3 months is definitely going to cause some physical overtraining and mental burn-out, I don't care how much you vary the activities. The real problem here is the promise and expectation to produce dramatic changes in only 3 months. Try 13 months. Will you still be looking and feeling good then? A less fanatical, yet consistent pace pays off now and in the long run.

It seems that most people pay no mind to the fitness test and guidelines they give you before beginning the program. Some exercises (tricep kickbacks) are nearly a complete waste of time and others (upright rows) are just plain bad for human anatomy. A DVD can't say if you're hyperextending your back while doing planks, if your shoes are right for your foot type, or if your single leg squats look anything like what's being performed on screen.


Muscle confusion is not an advanced technique. In short, the concept of muscle confusion is to constantly change exercises, sets, reps and other training variables so that you never go through the same workout twice. It helps prevent overtraining and getting stale. But it also prevents peak performance and efficiency.

Do you imagine that this “confusion” (not adapting to any one thing) is most effective for sports performance, where the name of many games is power applied to a specific skill set? If you have come to knowledge of key components related to your sport, why in the world would you often want to "confuse" your muscles?

Sure, your muscles will be sore when you put them through something new. But continual muscle soreness is not a good indicator of effective progress toward sport-specific goals. If you want an "advanced training technique" for athletes, try a sport-specific total body exercise, performed with great intensity, and then do it again, even more next time.

I would highly recommend P90X for anyone who has good body awareness, has already attained a certain level of fitness, and their primary goal is to become and stay lean. It's an excellent alternative for those who are bored with their current routine or tired of the gym scene.

Just remember - doing anything is not always better than doing nothing.

"Get absolutely no shoulder pain in just 90 days of P90Couch !!!"

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