The P90X Legs and Back workout is one of my all time favorite P90X workouts. Before I started doing P90X I never did any kind of legs or back workout. It was not that I did not want to work those out but never knew how much both of those muscle groups are so important to my everyday fitness.
When I use to go to the gym I was that typical guy who did a lot of bench presses, curls, and tricep workouts. I would get on the treadmill every now and then to warm up but I did a lot of arm and chest workouts.
Sure, I felt stronger and was in decent shape but no where near the kind of shape I am in now due to doing P90X Legs and Back.
I filmed myself doing the P90X Legs and Back routine after my 90 days with P90X. When I first started I could barely do 15 total chin / pull ups during this routine. While recording this video I did 77 total chin / pull ups. There was one time where I did 82. The rest of this article goes over each exercise shown in the video.
Personal Chin Up Records During P90X Legs And Back
When I first started P90X I could do 1 chin up and 0 pull ups. My numbers climbed as I kept with it. End Of Round 1 the most pull ups and chin ups I did was 59.
Middle Of Round Two
First Time Second Time
Reverse Grip Chin Up : 12 12
Wide Front Pull Ups: 7 5
Closed Grip Overhand Pull Ups: 11 8
Switch Grip Pull-Ups: 8 8
Totals: 38 + 33 = 71 chin ups/pull ups
These numbers are very impressive for me. Some 5 weeks ago I did 59 total reps. Not bad for only doing this P90X workout once a week.
Middle Of Round 3
First Time Second Time
Reverse Grip Chin Ups: 15 12
Wide Front Pull Ups: 8 4
Closed Grip Overhand Pull-Ups: 12 10
Switch Grip Pull Ups: 8 8
Totals: 43 + 34 = 77
You do not even know how excited I was when I got done. To see that I did 6 more pull ups than I did in a weeks time is a big gain. The one result that really stuck out the most was when I did 15 reverse grip chin ups. I do not know what got into me but as soon as I hit 12 I felt like I still had some more left in me and I cranked out 3 more.
End Of Round 3
Reverse Grip Chin Ups: 26
Wide Front Pull Ups: 15
Closed Grip Overhand Pull Ups: 24
Switch Grip Pull Ups: 17
Hitting 82 pull ups and chin ups was a big deal seeing how I started at zero a year prior.
What Moves Do You Do In P90X Legs And Back?
The P90X Legs And Back routine starts out with a set of “Balance Lunges.” This is where you put one foot on a chair and do lunges with one leg while trying to balance. You do both of these for 25 reps. After that you get into some “Calf-Raise Squats.” Adding weights is the way to go with this workout. Again, 25 reps here. To finish off the first three exercises you do a set of “Reverse Grip Chin Ups.” More than likely you will start to already feel a burn in your legs and now your arms and back muscles are going to start getting into it.
What I like the most about P90X Legs And Back is the variety of leg workouts without using dumbbells that much. I only use my Bowflex Selecttech Dumbbells or resistance bands for 3 exercises throughout the whole workout.
The next three exercise set is “Super Skaters” which are 25 reps of pretending that you are ice skating on one leg at a time. Next is “Wall Squats.” Wall squats are becoming a favorite of mine because I like to ski and snowboard. For this one you are pressing up against a wall for 90 seconds. My legs are always shaking like crazy during and after this.
To finish this off you do “Wide Front Pull-Ups.” These are probably the hardest pull ups to do as you are using so much of your upper body to do them.
The next exercise is going back to the legs. If you have not noticed, in P90X Legs and Back you do 2 leg exercises followed by one back workout and you keep repeating until you are done. “Step Back Lunges” are pretty simple. You are taking a step back while in a lunge and you do 15 reps for each leg. “Alternating Side Lunges” are fun to do. Its a quick one where you do 24 total reps where you do lunges to your left and right. “Closed Grip Overhand Pull-Ups” are next. Here you have your hands in closer than shoulder width. You use a lot of your arms and shoulders in this one. Everything stays in pretty tight and you will probably feel your abs kick in to help you get your head over the bar.
“Single-Leg Wall Squats” are ridiculous. Changing every 10 seconds for 1 minute you have your back against the wall with one leg in the air. This is great for people that need to build up strength around their knees and thighs. I hated single leg wall squats at first but now am excited to see how high I can get each leg in the air. “Deadlift Squats” sound easy to do and are if you have great balance. You do 20 reps for each leg and all you have to do is bend down and touch the ground while standing on one leg. Back to arms with “Switch Grip Pull Ups.” This one is kind of tricky but you can change it up to make it work for you while building up your strength. What you do here is start out doing a chin up and after 2 reps you hold onto the bar and switch it to close grip over hand pull ups while hanging from the pull up bar.
A good piece of advice would be to start by doing 2, dropping to the ground, doing 2, and repeat until Tony Horton says time is up. I struggle doing this one not because I can’t do them but I swing my feet around when trying to switch to the next grip. This causes me to hit the ground because I do not have that much space on my door frame.
The “Three Way Lunge With Two Kick Option” is another balance move. You stand in one place and do deep lunges to the side, an angle, and straight ahead. After each lunge you do a kick into the air. “Sneaky Lunges” will burn up your legs. You will get up onto your toes and drop into a lunge while putting your hands up into the air and then dropping them behind your back. Your heels cannot touch the ground until you finish all 20 reps. Tony Horton threatens you if you let your heels hit the ground. Back to “Reverse Grip Chin Ups.”
This is the second part of the back routine. For P90X Legs and Back you repeat the 4 different kinds of chin up routines. This is where you need to dig down and “Bring It.” Try to get as many as you did the first time or more. You will probably feel a little gassed at this point with P90X Legs and Back but suck it up and do your best.
With no time to spare after reverse grip chin ups its right into “Chair Salutations.” Picture sitting on a chair with your arms in the air and then taking that chair out from underneath you while holding that pose for 30 seconds…twice. If your legs have not give up on you yet its time for “Toe-Roll Iso Lunge.” Get into a lunge stance and then just rock back in forth while holding the lunge pose for 20 reps for each leg. You are going to feel this burning up every part of your lower body. Now comes the fun part, its “Wide Grip Pull Ups” again. Again, do as many as you can during the time allotted. Doesn’t P90X Legs and Back sound like a fun workout?
We are almost at the end of P90X Legs and Back. Its time for the “Groucho Walk.” Imagine Groucho Marx walking back and forth for 45 seconds. You will be doing this just like him. Legs wide apart in a lunge stance just burning up your thighs. After that you get to have some fun doing “Calf Raises.” Here you should use weights. During this exercise you will point your toes out, then straight , then inwards. For each workout you do 15 slow reps followed by 10 fast ones. The last set with your toes inwards are going to burn up your calves. If your calves are not hurting then you are not trying hard enough. More “Closed Grip Overhand Pull Ups” next. Dig down and do as many as you can.
Only two more exercises to go in P90X Legs and Back. The “80/20 Debbie Cybers Speed-Squats.” Have fun with this one. What you do is put one leg kind of behind the other in a normal standing position. Put 80% of your weight on the leg that is most forward and 20% on the other. Then go as fast as you can doing squats over that front leg for 15 reps and then 15 more while getting airborne. Do this on each side. There is no way that your legs are not going to be burning after those. last move coming up. Finish off the whole P90X Legs and Back DVD with “Switch Grip Pull Ups.”
Why Does P90X Legs And Back Work?
P90X Legs and Back is a very simple workout. As soon as you are able to do a couple of pull ups and chin ups your fear of not being able to finish will be over and you will be excited every time you see that pull up bar.
Be prepared to work your butt of when you do this. It takes about an hour to do with warm ups and cool downs. There is one break that is 1 minute long.
Tony Horton is there to work you out so stick with it and stay positive so you can get some serious P90X results. It does not matter how many times you do P90X Legs and Back as you will always be sore after doing it.
I am a strength and conditioning specialist, and i have to say that i am impressed by the principles of the P90x. Just one question regarding the, ““Sneaky Lunges” will burn up your legs. You will get up onto your toes and drop into a lunge while putting your hands up into the air and then dropping them behind your back. Your heels cannot touch the ground until you finish all 20 reps.” Any kinesiologist or trainer with a Masters or PhD. will tell you, Lunging on your toes is horrible on the patella, always keep your front heel down and front knee in line with your front heel. Lunging with your front heel up will destroy your knee over time.
Brad G says
Thanks for the tip. I’ll do that next time.
I play basketball and the P90X legs and back workout has helped me jump higher and run faster than I ever have before.I used the Air Alert workout before and that helped, but the P90X has helped even more.
I don’t know what kind of results other people have had by using it, but it is the best thing I have ever done for basketball.If you play any kind of a sport I highly recommend it.
Brad G says
The P90X Legs and Back workout is one of my favorites. I get so much out of it.
ok so i almost threw up twice doing p90x im not sure if its for not getting enough food or if im doing too much? any answers?
Brad Gibala says
You are probably doing too much. Stop the dvd and take a break.
Cindy Bentsen says
Hi, I watched your video and accompanied it into my weekly workouts to replace my leg routine at the gym. Do you think that it will be beneficial for me if I do it once or twice a week without doing the whole p90x exercise for the 90days. I really enjoy this portion of the workout. Thanks. Any info would be helpful
Brad Gibala says
Once a week is enough. My legs are sore for 2 days after doing P90X Legs and Back and I’ve done this workout since 2007.
Cindy Bentsen says
Thank you Brad.