Thursday, February 17, 2011

P90X2: Buying Into The System


One of my favorite things to do is structure a training program and watch it work. I guess this comes from my coaching days, where you lay out a big picture template for the program you’re in charge of and then try and motivate your players to buy into your scheme. It’s a different challenge from training an individual, where you’ll adjust everything on the fly based on how the training is going. To create an athletic program you need to create a system that works for a group. This is our challenge at Beachbody and I like to think we continue to get better at it.

Creating P90x was somewhat easy, at least from my perspective. Selling it was a whole other can of worms but that’s why my bosses all have marketing backgrounds. As the fitness guy I had enough experience in training different levels of athletes that I knew how the P90x structure was going to work before we tested it.


This doesn’t mean it was all smooth sailing. Our first test group tried to mutiny after 30 days when they weren’t getting the results they thought they should—or even would with more basic Power 90. I had to draw up some periodization graphs to confuse them enough that they’d stop thinking about it and just trust me. Luckily, while they were still harrumphing over it Tony said, “I’m with him,” which sealed the deal. Eventually, all were pretty ecstatic that they decided to buy into the system.

Structure is only one aspect of a training program. It’s the actual workouts that dictate the structure. But good workouts and faulty structure can lead to failure just as easily as great structure and bad workouts. It’s a bit like when you see a talented group of players fail because they’re on a team that lacks a solid system. Programs are all encompassing, which is why Beachbody doesn’t sell diets, workouts, or supplements as one-offs. We make fitness programs.


But mc2 is raising the bar and it wasn’t as simple to me as a basic periodizational structure. To get a handle on we should do this I spent a lot of time at P3, both consulting with Dr. Marcus Elliott, observing athletes and going through their progression charts to learn about common weaknesses that we could apply over a broad base. I also spent a lot of time with various physical therapists, including Mike Swan and my late friend Kevin Brown. Tony’s always working on his game as well and when he fell in with functional trainer/extreme skier Steve Holmsen –a marriage in kick-ass training heaven—he began thinking in the same direction. The resulting schedule came back with an a-ok from Carl and the ultimate typically understated approval from Marcus: “This makes a lot of sense.”


So here’s the overview, with a lot left out lest start thinking that you don’t need the guide.

Phase One: Foundation

Not foundation as in “base training” but as in your attachment to the earth. Working on the “you can’t shoot a canon from a canoe” philosophy the aim of this program is to build you from the ground up. You may think you have a good base from P90X but, I assure you, we are going to find some weak areas and improve them. The two major areas of weakness in the human body, which leads to probably 90% of sports injuries, are shoulder and hip instability. Solve this and non-contact injuries will virtually disappear.

Phase Two: Strength

This will feel more familiar to most of you as it’s similar in structure to P90X. The workouts, however, will keep your body evolving. Functional is the key difference as almost every movement is done from an athletic position designed to improve your body’s ability to move better.

Phase Three: Performance

Finally we’ll take what we’ve learned and target your engrams (neuromuscular patterns) to fire efficiently. At this stage we leave “do you best and forget the rest” behind. We’re now walking a razor’s edge of human performance. Push your body to 100% with perfect form. When your form fails, you’re done. The force loads are excessive but the philosophy here is that if you can’t handle force in a controlled situation you won’t be able to handle it when it’s forced upon you. Congratulations, whether you’ve ever played a sport in your life or not, you are now as athlete.


pic: the application of science; an evolution of scientific complexities whittled down to the only graph most people care about.

23 comments:

Samantha said...

I am just stupidly excited about this! Very curious to see what kind of results taking it to the next level will bring for this old-er gal!

4evrhealthcindy said...

I'm very excited! Thank You to all in putting this together!

Steve Edwards said...

Thank you for buying it! 20 or so years ago Dr. Elliott (then just Marcus) and I used to experiment with diets and training progams and talk about them all super enthusiastically to anyone who would listen, which was hardly anybody. It's nice to have an audience.

AMYFITFORLIFE said...

This is amazing!!! I can't wait!!! Thankyou for sharing this information with us. I want so badly to do what you do and Tony does. It's my dream. For now I'm a Beachbody Coach, but someday I hope to be where you guys are! Thank you!!!

josh said...

Stoked, absolutely cannot wait until this is ready!

FunFitandHappy said...

Bring it!!

Bob said...

I have done P90X, P90X+, Insanity and One on Ones. Looking forward to the next level!

Misty said...

I can't wait for this to be released! BRING IT

Cameron Gregory DeHart said...

Hey Steve. Love the post. Could you explain something for me, though. All the ads for P90x hype the concept of Muscle Confusion. I've done two rounds of Insanity, sandwiched around one round of P90x. I'm on day 5 of my second round of that program. I love Beachbody's workouts.

That being said, I don't really see Muscle Confusion being applied across the whole P90x program. The only new workouts in Month 2 are the two arms/back/chest workouts. The plyo, yoga, legs/back, and kenpo workouts are the same. I suppose the recovery weeks allow your body to get un-used to the workouts, but I feel like more variety in the non-upperbody workouts would give the Muscle Confusion claim more weight.

Is there any plan to provide more cardio/plyo/yoga options for MC2? It would be possibly to make a hybrid of Insanity, P90x,P90X+, Power 90, Power 90 Master Series, One on One series, Turbo Fire, etc...but that's expensive. Can Beachbody provide a product that really "confuses" at every aspect of the routine?

Thanks.

Cameron Gregory DeHart said...

Hey Steve. Love the post. Could you explain something for me, though. All the ads for P90x hype the concept of Muscle Confusion. I've done two rounds of Insanity, sandwiched around one round of P90x. I'm on day 5 of my second round of that program. I love Beachbody's workouts.

That being said, I don't really see Muscle Confusion being applied across the whole P90x program. The only new workouts in Month 2 are the two arms/back/chest workouts. The plyo, yoga, legs/back, and kenpo workouts are the same. I suppose the recovery weeks allow your body to get un-used to the workouts, but I feel like more variety in the non-upperbody workouts would give the Muscle Confusion claim more weight.

Is there any plan to provide more cardio/plyo/yoga options for MC2? It would be possibly to make a hybrid of Insanity, P90x,P90X+, Power 90, Power 90 Master Series, One on One series, Turbo Fire, etc...but that's expensive. Can Beachbody provide a product that really "confuses" at every aspect of the routine?

Thanks.

Quentin said...

Ok, I have bought into the system and enjoy the One on One for MC2. How is the final version going to be better than the One on One's we receive each month? Couldn't we just use the One on One complete set and vary strength days to suit our goals?

KajunDC said...

Sounds AWESOME, Steve! And I'm glad to see you've built two weeks in Mexico into the workout calendar. Now I'll just have to get up the money for the trip before MC2 comes out so I can do it by the book! ;^)

Trainer T.s Fitness said...

I did P90X 3 times lean twice and classic once.

I love the program and can't wait for this new one.

Insanity killed the knees for me, I lasted a week and it seemed to be the same moves each time.

Woo woo thanks for this info and looking forward to the release ;-)

Steve Edwards said...

Ha, that one of my old training plans for reference. I wish there were a planned Mexico trip during mc2, just so long as it's not to Juarez.

One on One was a good primer but this is going to be very different. Well, the elements are the same but the workouts more refined.

Muscle Confusion is just a catch all term for peridoizational training (you can't really confuse a muscle). As you follow along here you're answers will be explained in some depth.

Chad Richards said...

"pic: the application of science; an evolution of scientific complexities whittled down to the only graph most people care about."

I actually prefer an exponential graph to the linear one pictured. You got a program that can do that? :D

Steve Edwards said...

Chad, I wouldn't assume mc2 won't feel like it's doing that to you.

Paul G said...

Does MC2 replace the original P90X? Is it so much better I won't want to do the original any more, or will I alternate between the two systems?

Anonymous said...

Does MC2 replace the original P90X? Is it so much better I won't want to do the original any more, or will I alternate between the two systems?

Steve Edwards said...

I would not say it will replace the original. It's a more evolved system for sure but that doesn't mean there's not a ton of merit in the original. You can't--or shouldn't--train the same way all of the time. There's plenty of life left in the original 90x program.

Paul G said...

thanks, exactly what I wanted to know. I imagine how awesome it would be to alternate between the two. It more than doubles the variety of X alone. I know I love to get back to the phase I workouts in phase III and always love the improvements I've made after doing 3 weeks of phase II. It's so cool to get better at something I haven't done in four weeks. That didn't happen to me in the gym but it consistently happens in P90X.

Are there really separate videos in MC2 phase III?

Chris said...

Should mc2ers be in any better shape for the program than they were for the original p90x? Generally speaking, should people who've been sedentary for a while just jump right into mc2? Or is the original preferred as a base for the second?

Anonymous said...

This is the first time I am reading your blog. I was under the impression that Tony Horton created the programs, but your blog implies that you are the creator of the P90X program and MX2. Is Tony just an actor you hired to lead the team during the DVD workouts?

Steve Edwards said...

Entry point's the same. The fit test will be the same. It may feel harder because it's new but, I dunno, first time I did Chest & Back it was all I could do to keep from puking.

None of our trainers are actors. They are all respected and well known trainers and create their own programs, but of course not alone. I've been the main science guy at Beachbody for a long time but just one of many influences on each of our programs. We used to have a cool video series on the making of P90x that showed many of the influences in that program.

Nothing we do is created by just one person and the more applied science we use the more outside experts we consult with. mc2 and Asylum are both evolutions in that process.