Of the three weight lifting workouts we have experienced this far, this is the one that I enjoy the most. I think the main reason that I love it is because I can actually DO it, unlike both of the videos that include pull-ups which I am still not close to being able to do. Last Thursday was the second day that we performed this workout. Although I was very sore in my triceps after the first workout, I don’t think that I was able to really get after it because I wasn’t sure which weights to use. During the second round, I knew what to expect and was able to crank it up a notch.
Overview of the Workout – Shoulders & Arms
Tony greeted us with the usual knee-lift, light jog, jumping jack, and arm circles warm up, followed by some stretching. I really appreciate the long warm-ups, especially on days that I’m very sore and/or very tired (most days). Waking up at 5:45 a.m. to workout is difficult but Tony makes it easier by easing us in.
This is the video that requires the most actual weight lifting (as opposed to using your own body as resistance). This workout is performed in weeks 1-3, 9, and 11. The format is set up as five three workout sets, fifteen different workouts in total. Although you are really only focusing on biceps, triceps and shoulders, all exercises are unique and most of them (bonus) also work other areas of the body as well. The first time we did the workout I used mostly 8s and 10s ( I used 10s for the Fit Test) on my shoulders and biceps and even a pair of 5s on my triceps (for the Flip Grip Twist Tricep Kickbacks which Tony warns usually require a lighter weight). The second time we did the workout, I grabbed my 12s for bicep curls and used 10s on shoulders and 8s on triceps.
For me, this wasn’t a sweat-inducing workout and actually, I wasn’t even that sore the day following our second round. I definitely have to say that I am seeing improvement in my muscle definition, but I’m a little confused as to why I’m not really “feeling the burn” during the workout and why I don’t get very sore afterward (although I can tell my arms are fatigued). I definitely push my muscles to exhaustion during the reps, but I just don’t feel that same burning as I do when I work my legs. Mike thinks it may have something to do with another muscle that isn’t strong enough to really work my bicep (ie my wrist perhaps). I’m going to try to increase my weight next time – although curling 15s sounds crazy!
Some examples of the workouts include: Alternating Shoulder Press, In & Out Bicep Curls, Chair Dips (killer!), Static Arm Curls, and Side Tri-Rises (by far the most uncomfortable for me because these hurt my hip more than anything). One of great full-body exercises is the Crouching Cohen Curl. To perform this exercise, grab a pair of heavy weights, get down into a squat and put your arms on the inside of your legs, with your elbows just below your knees. Let your arms fall straight and curl upward. This move isolates the biceps and also works out your glutes and thighs!
Overall, I enjoy this workout and I am looking forward to tackling it again soon. I’m also interested to see how Tony switches it up during Phase 2. In Phase 2, we’ll scrap this workout all together and start two new videos – one which works triceps in combination with chest and shoulders and a second that exhausts biceps in combination with back. The theory behind P90X and the phases and week variation is muscle confusion, and so far I think my muscles are overwhelmed at the very least, and most definitely confused!
We have been following the Ab Ripper plan to a T. We always do it on the prescribed days (after the three strength training videos) and we always give our best. This was the first time we both felt like we were seeing a big improvement in our technique and our ability. For the first time, I was able to finish the first set of bicycles to completion (usually my legs hurt more on these than my abs) and fold my legs during the Wide Leg Sit-Ups (The move: lay down flat on back with legs out and raise one arm straight up. Lift your body from the ground and reach the arm that is up to your opposite leg. Repeat on other side. The 50 lifts take over 2 minutes to complete. This move is intensified by folding legs Indian style so that you can’t use their weight to help you up).
Although there are several moves in Ab Ripper that I can actually finish, there are some that are still giving me trouble (although I see progress), most notably the Fifer Scissor (The move: lying down, hold one leg straight up, the other straight forward, about three to six inches off the floor, then switch, never touching the ground. The excruciating part is how unbelievably slowly Tony counts and he insists that you DO NOT move your legs until he says so). This is one of the moves that I will be VERY proud of myself when I am able to complete the full set!
Luckily, San Diego has been enjoying a warm winter and Spring inevitably brings a few beach days, so my newly sculpted arms & ripped abs won’t be hiding under bulky sweaters and sweatshirts for long!