If you are looking to strengthen and sculpt your chest, then look no further — P90X has got you covered.
I went from having saggy 40 year old “man boobs”, to nicely chiseled pecs that I haven’t seen since my college days! Pushups are the cornerstone of P90X. Tony Horton, the creator of this program, will have you working on both fast and slow twitch muscle fibers, isometric and eccentric contractions, one handed pushups, and even explosive plyometric areal moves. Don’t worry if these sound a bit overwhelming. They are slowly introduced throughout the program, and as you build up strength, you’ll progress to more challenging moves. Another really nice feature is that most movements have both progressive and regressive modifications so that you can safely find what works best for you at that particular point in your fitness journey. If you want to see significant results with this program, all you really need to do is follow the nutrition and fitness guides. You’ll see increases in your strength, range of motion, and muscle mass.
OK, but how can I MAXIMIZE my results? I’ve done close to 6 rounds of P90X and have experimented with various approaches, tools and supplements. Here are some that you may want to consider to “Maximize” your results in building up your chest.
Will P90X pack on HUGE amounts of muscle mass? WAIT!!! Before we get into this any further, let’s set some clear expectations. While I’m definitely not saying it can’t be done, P90X is not designed for massive gains in size. It’s more of a comprehensive fitness program designed to increase your strength, endurance, flexibility, balance, and explosive movement. (You’ll also lose a significant amount of body fat in the process!) If you are looking for that “Hulk” look, you need to significantly lower your reps and pic up some heavy weight. You may be better served with the Body Beast fitness program which focusses mainly on muscle hypotrophy.
What are you trying to achieve? You need to start P90X with a defined set of goals as well as an understanding the specific approach needed to achieve them. There are three basic goals to consider with P90X. Hypertrophy (muscle growth), Strength & Power, or Muscular Endurance.
- * Hypertrophy – Use a weight where you reach muscle failure in the 8-12 rep range.
- ** Strength/Power- Using a weight where you reach muscle failure at fewer than 6 is vital.
- * Muscular Endurance – 12 to 20 repititions is ideal but in some cases, reps range of +30 can work.
* You can extend the phase period up to 5 to 6 weeks if your focus is on hypertrophy or endurance.
** A max of 4 weeks for Strength/Power
The P90X Pushup Stands are an absolute must. They are higher than the standard pushup stands and have a wider base. This allows you to increase your range of motion and go deeper when doing your pushups. In addition. The grips are wider and angled and noted in the picture above. This ergonomic design allows for a more comfortable and effective movement. The wide base allows you to perform wide pushups without fear of them rolling over and injuring your wrists.
When you reach the third and final phase of P90X, you may want to consider purchasing either “Chest Back and Balls” for strength, or “30-15 Upper Body Massacre” for hypotrophy and endurance. (I recommend buying 4 medicine balls and a stability ball for the Chest Back and Balls routine). These are both from the P90X One on One Volume 1 set and can be bought individually. You can switch these in for the chest routines in the third phase, as the third phase reintroduces the chest routines of Phase 1. The picture of me in the top left was taken just after completing the 30-15 routine which involved 13 sets of 30 pushup reps (390 total) followed by 13 sets of 15 pull ups (195 total)… killer! It sounds impressive, if not down right impossible, but by the time you get to the third phase of P90X, you’ll be more than ready.
Another tool to consider would be a weighted vest. Check out your local sporting goods store or on Amazon. The weights can be added to the vest to vary the weight.
The P90X Recovery Formula is another absolute must. I’ve experimented with this extensively and can honestly say that during the rounds that I did not take it, there were significant differences.
When taken immediately after your workout, it replenishes the body with the needed nutrients(Glutamine, Arginine, and Creatine) to feed the muscle to promote strength and growth. Arginine vacillates the blood vessels to increase the speed at which the nutrients can be shuttled to the muscle tissue. Creatine helps to hydrate and replenish the muscle while Glutamine helps to rebuild the damaged muscle fibers. Additionally, this supplement comprises of a 4:1 Carb to Protein ratio that is needed to create an insulin spike in the body that essentially shuttles the above mentioned nutrients to the muscle fibers damaged in your workout. These proteins repair the muscle tissue and build it back stronger.
In addition to the above products, make sure you are taking 1 to 1.5g of protein per pound of body weight each day. Taking a whey protein isolate supplement helps to reach this daily goal.
Lastly, I’ve been experimenting with a supplement called Kre-Alkalyn Creatine. This really gives me a nice pump while also increasing my bursts of strength, but you need to be careful with the amount you consume because it can damage your kidneys. I’ll discuss more about whey protein and creatine in another post.
Here is a video of me talking more about the supplements that I take.
Make sure to consult your physician as needed before trying any of the above.
Yours in Success,
Work with me. Leaders Only
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In This Together,
Coach Eric Hollingsworth P90X, PiYo Certified Fitness Coach MotivatedFitness@me.com