P90X2 Workout Review: I’m Not Elite Enough

P90X2 ReviewThis is going to be an odd review of P90X2 because I finished P90X2 when it came out in 2012. Here it is 2017 and I’m finally publishing it. For some reason I had this post saved in my admin area and never got around to finishing it. Better late than never. The reason why my review of P90X2 is different than every other review I have ever done comes down to one thing. I was injured.

Back in the fall of 2011 I tore something in and around my elbow when I went out to take a relay throw from shortstop and threw the ball to third base at a softball game. I did not feel anything that night but the next morning it was throbbing. Nothing ripped completely but the pain was there. It took almost two years to heal to 95% strength.

What Does This Have To Do With P90X2?

At the time I was all gung ho about doing the newest Beachbody workout as soon as it came out. Seeing what kind of results I could get along with being one of the first Beachbody Coaches to blog about it were my two goals. And that’s what I did.

I powered through an injury too soon just to do P90X2. While I did give my elbow injury four months to heal before starting P90X2 it may have tampered my experience and results doing P90X2.

Due to not working out in those four months I did put on a couple of pounds and was not as strong. With that, I did fell rested and ready for P90X2. My goal was to start P90X2 in early January so I’d be in shape for softball and golf season and thats what I did.

Let’s Get Into This P90X2 Review

When P90X2 was released at the 2011 Beachbody Coach Summit I was pumped to do it. P90X was awesome so P90x2 would have to be even better, right? Before we get into is P90X2 better than P90X we need to know what we are getting into with a preview of P90X2.

What Is The Difference Between P90X And P90X2?

I had a chance to do the P90X2 Yoga workout at the 2011 Beachbody Coach Success Club Leadership Retreat in Laguna, California and was very impressed. P90X2 Yoga moves at a quicker pace than P90X Yoga X. Some dude in the video did a handstand for one of the poses. Going to need some practice to pull that one off. Woke up sore the next day from it.

Beachbody listened to the people and made the necessary changes to make P90X2 better We can assume from the video that P90X2 moves are going to be just as or more extreme than P90X. Five workouts a week instead of six, a 60 minute yoga workout instead of 90 minutes, and a simpler meal plan. Those three things were the major excuses people gave for not finishing P90X before giving up.

Beachbody was thinking P90X2 was going to be a big seller so you had to pre-order P90X2 which I did. I decided to go all in and buy the P90X2 Ultimate Package.

P90X2 Ultimate PackageWhat Comes In The P90X2 Ultimate Package?

  • All P90X2 Workout DVDs
  • P90X2 Fitness Guide
  • P90X2 Workout Calendar
  • P90X2 Nutrition Guide
  • Two 8 Pound Medicine Balls
  • Rumble Roller
  • Stability Ball
  • Tony Horton Push Up Stands
  • Two Bonus Workouts From The P90X One on One Series
The P90X2 DVDs I bought came in Blu-Ray and I wish I would have bought the normal ones. Blu-Ray discs will not work in a normal cd/dvd drive which I did not know. They only work in Blu-Ray drives. Was frustrated because I put in the “Bring It Again” DVD with Tony Horton and my iMac rejected the DVD. It didn’t even load it and give me an error. The DVD spun around a couple of times and the iMac ejected it before my Quick Time could even recognize it.
Called Beachbody to ask for an exchange on just the P90X2 DVDs but I’d have to return the entire P90X2 Ultimate Package to get the normal dvds which is a pain in the butt. Decided to keep the Blu-Ray discs and use them with my Blu-Ray DVD player on our HDTV.
Will buy a normal set of P90X2 DVDs to travel with or use on the laptop when my girlfriend is using the TV for her workouts. Kind of a waste but I seem to be loaning out workout dvds every once in a while anyways. The normal P90X2 DVDs are cheaper than the Blu-Ray ones so its not that big of a deal.

What Does The P90X2 Fitness Guide Talk About?

  • Each one of the P90X2 workouts
  • Science behind P90X2
  • Supplements you should be taking with P90X2
  • Equipment needed for P90X2
  • Proper way to take before and after photos
  • What measurements to take
  • How to take the P90X2 Fit Test
  • Creating a P90X2 / Insanity Asylum hybrid when you are done

What Are The Names Of The P90X2 Workouts?

  • X2 Core
  • Plyocide
  • X2 Recovery + Mobility
  • X2 Total Body
  • X2 Yoga
  • X2 Ab Ripper
  • X2 Balance + Power
  • Chest + Back + Balance
  • X2 Shoulders + Arms
  • P.A.P Lower
  • P.A.P Upper
  • V Sculpt
  • X2 Chest + Shoulders + Tris

P90X2 Workouts

The last two are bonus workouts that come with any purchase of the P90X2 Ultimate Package. Beachbody also  throws in two additional free workouts from the P90X One on One Series that are not listed above with any pack from the store. Just from looking at the names of the P90X2 workouts it looks like these are going to be total body workouts.

What About The P90X2 Nutrition Guide?

The 116 page P90X2 Nutrition Guide looks simpler than the P90X 3 Phase Nutrition Plan. There are a lot less recipes and they talk about portion control. It has grain free (Paleo) and vegan options. The plans are called Fat Shredder, Energy Booster, and Endurance Maximizer. For me it’s looking like the Energy Booster.
The P90X2 Nutrition Guide comes with some good advice about when to eat, hydration, caffeine, alcohol, and cheat foods. You’ll also see recommendations for the P90X Recovery Drink, P90X Vitamins, P90X Protein Bars, and Shakeology.

What Equipment Do You Need For The P90X2 Workout?

You are going to need a little bit more equipment in P90X2 then P90X. I have a feeling Beachbody assumed most people who ordered P90X2 had the gear needed for P90X. It kind of surprised me how much gear I have now amassed in my house but I am using it all. I think it should be broken down into what gear you absolutely need for P90X2 and what gear is helpful.

Forgot to add the P90X2 DVDs in the picture but here is all the equipment you need for the P90X2 workout. All of these items besides the Bowflex dumbbells I bought at the Beachbody Store.

Equipment Needed P90X2 Workout

P90X2 WorkoutGear You Absolutely Need For P90X2

  • P90X2 Workout DVDs
  • Chin Up Bar
  • Dumbbells or Resistance Bands
  • Stability Ball
  • Foam Roller or Rumble Roller
  • Medicine Balls

Helpful Gear For P90X2

You could debate the chin up bar, stability ball, Rumble Roller, or medicine balls. Tony Horton shows you how to modify the moves without them but you’re really gonna want those because as you progress you will want to do the exact move in the workout.

A resistance band will work to build up strength to do chin ups but it’s empowering when you can do the chin ups. You can get away with a basketball or soccer ball instead of medicine balls but you will want the extra weight as you master the moves. A towel could be substituted for the Rumble Roller or foam roller but it doesn’t have the same effect.

I just started using the Chin Up Assist instead of a chair and it works a lot better. You still get the burn from doing the rep while having to use your body to keep you in one place. The jump mat helps out with everything especially if you have hardwood floors like me. Absorbs a lot of the high impact moves including ones where your wrists hit the ground.

Push up stands give more depth to the push ups and Tony has you do some crazy moves where you hold yourself above the stands in this knee tuck position. Its tough.

Is All The Equipment In P90X2 Necessary?

I saw a post on the Team Beachbody message boards from somebody saying Beachbody is just trying to make as much money as they can with all the extra equipment needed for the P90X2 workout. I knew I had a lot of equipment in the house now but the first month of P90X2 didn’t use all of it at one time.

This past Monday was my first day of the second month of P90X2 and I think I see what this guy was talking about. Chest + Back + Balance was the workout for the day and during the preview it lists everything you need and this is what I saw.

P90X2 Workout Equipment

Quite a bit of stuff and it doesn’t have dumbbells or resistance bands in it. I used a chair instead of the Plyo Box and I only have 2 Medicine Balls so I wasn’t able to do the exact move as Tony. The worksheets, pen, water, and towel are there for more of a reminder. Do I think the commenter on the message boards was onto something? Maybe. His biggest problem was that Beachbody made P90X2 a lot fancier than the simplicity and toughness of P90X. I agree with that so far.

Chest + Back + Balance was a bit harder than expected. Trying to balance on Medicine Balls and the Stability Ball while doing push ups was a little sketchy. Arms were going everywhere trying to stay in one spot. I had to pause the DVD after almost every exercise to move the equipment around. I’ll probably get more efficient at this the more I do it.

I don’t think Beachbody added all this extra gear just to make more money. I think they are just trying to do what they did with P90X in P90X2. Take health and fitness to another level. If they have to add in new equipment, than so be it.

Expectations For The P90X2 Workout?

Everything I’ve read or heard from Beachbody says P90X2 is going to be geared towards athletic moves instead of intense working out like P90X. Either way I’m hoping for a tough workout that will push me as much as the first one. Looking at all of the equipment that comes with the P90X2 Ultimate Package I can only assume I’m going to be moving stuff out of the way a lot during the workouts which might be a pain. Hopefully it’s not and P90X2 goes smoothly.

P90X2 Results: Before & After Photos

Usually I would post my before and after photos here. I like to cut to the chase with my reviews and show what you are really looking for (pictures) before I get into the nitty gritty of P90X2. Sadly, I never took an after photo because my results were nothing to really talk about.

My expectations of P90X2 was for it to be a lot like P90X but just a little bit different. I’ll tell you now that I was not impressed with P90X2 the way I was with P90X. Heaven forbid a Beachbody Coach say that but its what I felt at the end.

Keeping with my tradition of not finishing in exactly 90 days and completing in 110 I found myself getting bored with P90X2 through out the entire program.

Moves within a particular workout were either way too hard (“Around The World Pull-Ups”) or way too easy. Even though most of the workouts were focused on one or two particular muscle groups I found that the moves themselves were more total body moves, i.e; Balance Curls.

Taking a look back at my P90X2 worksheets did I rarely use more than 20 pound dumbbells. Most of the time I was using 15 pounds. This is quite different from P90X where 25 pounds was my common weight and 35 pounds was my max weight (besides doing moves like “Lawnmowers” where I’d use 50+).

Every morning I would take Shakeology and use the P90X Recovery Drink after each workout.

This leads us into the science of P90X2

Dr. Marcus Elliott was brought in by Beachbody to take the P90X2 workout to a whole new level. Muscle confusion was the science behind the original P90X. P.A.P or Post-Activation Potentiation (Say that 3 times fast) is what Harvard educated Drs. call the next level.

Did you notice in the video how they talked about how Dr. Marcus Elliott would train “elite athletes to hit their max potential”. He mentions working with Olympians since the age of 18 and how P90X2 has been designed to “grab this top end athlete development at the professional level and make it available to lots of people”.

Did you notice those guys who he was working out? Did you also notice Ashton Kutcher in the video? I’m pretty sure thats him at the 1:13 mark.

Not to take anything away from the athlete I think I am but I am nowhere near the type of athlete the guys who were in that video are and I know it. At no point in my existence have I ever been close to them. My definition of an “Elite Athlete” is one that gets paid to play a game. No one has ever paid me to play any game. Most “Elite Athletes” have some sort of genetic makeup that gives them an edge over regular athletes. Height, weight, speed, etc. In every game I’ve ever played or watched those factors seem to be the difference, very rarely is it skill.

And that’s kind of my takeaway with P90X2. This workout is designed for advanced to elite athletes. The sort of people who are already in excellent shape and are looking for that little strength, balance, or agility that gets them over the hump.

I picture the sort of athletes who get paid to play or those sort of people who consider “working out” their playtime as the type who does P90X2. Morning workouts with the team and P90X2 in the evening. Time is not a concern because its their job to stay in shape.

For the sorts of people who “workout for fun” instead of working out and then play a sport like softball, basketball, hockey, etc, P90X2 would be the fun workout they do in the evening. Heavy lifting or something similar in the morning for their “actual workout” and for fun some P90X2 in the evening. I think Tony Horton falls in this category.

P90X2 is not the workout for those who are looking for a challenging at home workout program. Its just not. Going back to the video above, did you notice how they were doing a lot of the moves in his facility? For the first time ever doing a Beachbody workout did I feel like I needed to be at a gym or at the very least have a workout partner.

The majority of positive reviews I have read of P90X2 come from people who fall into the category of somebody already being in great shape or working out is their fun.

First Month Of P90X2 (Foundation Phase) Was Boring

Some might say it was easy. Of course it is told to us it is by design to get us ready for months two and three. Again, some of the moves were extremely hard but other moves were very easy. I can’t remember a time I was sore after any P90X2 workout during the first month. There may be some truth that I already had a decent foundation from doing a couple of rounds of P90X and Asylum before P90X2.

Month Two of P90X2 (Strength Phase) Was OK

Again, some moves were easy and some very tough. Even with me dealing with the elbow injury I found myself being able to complete a number of the moves in the allotted time. When it was time for pull-ups and chin-ups I used a resistance band as I did not want to re-aggrivate my elbow injury. There were days where I would try doing pull-ups and chin-ups but once I felt the tendons in my arm starting to stretch too much I’d stop and get the resistance band.

Month Three of P90X2 (Performance Phase) Was Not Fun

You basically do the same two workouts, P.A.P Lower and P.A.P Upper, two times each every week for four weeks with X2 Yoga and Recovery & Mobility workouts mixed in if you want. These are kind of sold as the “hard workouts” for P90X2 and are similar to the ones you saw in the video with Dr. Elliott. A lot of moves supposed to be focusing on the upper or lower muscles but in reality you are working everything. Both leaned towards total body workouts in my opinion.

I did not do the P90X2 Fit Test. Did not see a need since I had completed P90X and Asylum before. Was not like if I failed I was not going to do P90X2 anyways.

X2 Ab Ripper was very easy. I cannot remember a time where I did not finish it nor a time where I felt sore the next day. Did not like how it was once a week in phase one and not used at all in phase three. Doing Ab Ripper X three times a week in P90X is what took P90X over the top in my eyes.

How Much Does P90X2 Cost?

P90X2 Workout DVDP90X2 Workout

12 Extreme Workouts
2 Free Bonus Workouts – A $40 value

Are There Any Package Deals For P90X2?

Buy one of these package deals from Beachbody and save up to 35% over buying the items separately. The include the P90X One on One bonus workouts called  4 Legs and Upper Body Balance. Each one of these P90X2 workout packages can be purchased with Blu-ray discs.

P90X2 Deluxe Workout P90X2 Deluxe Workout Package – $239.70

  • 1 Foam Roller
  • 1 55cm Stability Ball
  • 2 8 Pound Medicine Balls


  • 1 Rumble Roller
  • 1 55 cm Stability Ball
  • 2 8 Pound Medicine Balls
  • Tony Horton’s Powerstands
  • 2 bonus P90X2 workouts

I bought the P90X2 Ultimate Package in Blu-Ray. Be sure your computer and laptops can play Blu-Ray or the discs will not work. Otherwise, just buy the normal P90X2 workout.

What About Supplements For P90X2?

You’ll hear Beachbody talk about their entire product line of supplements after each workout. Most of them I use but in order of importance I would go with:

  1. Shakeology – The meal plans are the hardest part and this simplifies the nutrition. One a day is all you need. I’ve been taking it daily since 2009 and it’s probably made the biggest difference with my overall health and fitness. Chocolate is my favorite.
  2. P90X Recovery Drink – Soreness is very common in P90X2 (or any workout) and the P90X Recovery Drink reduces it in half. I use it after any workout and activity that I do.
  3. P90X Protein Bars – Quick and easy snack. Bring one to work with you or when you’re out and about. I probably have one every other day and keep one on me when I travel, play sports, snowboard, etc. I buy the variety pack but the peanut butter one is my favorite.
  4. Beachbody Energy & Endurance – Also known as the P90X Pre-Workout Drink it gives you a boost of energy right before you start working out.

How Can I Get A Discount On P90X2 Gear & Supplements?

There are two options and one is much better. The best way is to sign up as a Beachbody Coach like I did so you get a 25% discount on all Beachbody products. You’ll save almost $100 on the P90X2 Ultimate Package as a coach alone. Throw in Shakeology and you save $130. There is a one time $39 sign up fee and $15 a month after that but you’ll want to sign up for Shakeology on auto ship to get free shipping. So you’ll still be saving another $15 on each bag you buy.

The other way to save money is to get a Beachbody On Demand membership so you can view P90X2 and every other Beachbody workout ever made at any time.

After All These Years

The thought of doing another round of P90X2 has never crossed my mind. There are only two workouts from P90X2 I include into my random workouts and those are X2 Yoga and X2 Recovery & Mobility.

I like X2 Yoga because its under an hour and moves at a good pace. X2 Recovery & Mobility is one I do once a month to help when X2 Yoga is not enough. Sometimes I don’t even play the workout and use the Rumble Roller while watching sports. Thinking back on it now, X2 Recovery & Mobility was an instructional video for foam rolling.

What I really enjoyed about P90X, the “here is a simple move, your job is to do as many of them” was lacking with P90X2. Its as if you have to practice the moves with P90X2 before you actually get anything from it. Tony Horton admits that much in the video up above when he said its why they recommend 3 to 6 weeks for each phase. There is “training before the training”.

Maybe I did not give my all for P90X2 with my elbow injury and its why my review is not entirely positive. Doing actual pull-ups versus using a resistance band are just not the same. With the way P90X2 is set up I don’t see how I could master those fancy pull up moves without doing them separately from P90X2.

Its not that I don’t see how P90X2 is a great program. Its that I really don’t need it. From what I can tell a lot of other people feel the same way about P90X2. Rarely do I hear from somebody who did P90X, P90X2, or other Beachbody workouts say they are going to do another round of P90X2. And thats okay.

About the Author: Brad Gibala

Shreds Gnar. Hall & Oates Fan. Practicing Libertarian. Beachbody Coach. Detroit-ish. Contact - Start Here - About - Recommends

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