We are nearly finished with recovery week already! As is typical in every training program, the 4th week is a recovery week. Unfortunately my running club’s recovery week doesn’t sync with P90X, but I will only run two days this week so I think that is pretty consistent with the P90X recovery. Next week I plan to ramp it up to 3-4 days of running each week, on top of the normal P90X workouts (minus Kenpo X most likely).
Recovery Week Schedule
Day 1: Yoga X
Day 2: Core Synergistics
Day 3: Kenpo X
Day 4: X Stretch
Day 5: Core Synergistics
Day 6: Yoga X
Day 7: Rest
Days 1 & 6 Yoga X – Again!
Tuesday morning we started the day with 1 ½ hours of yoga and it felt great. I can definitely tell that I’m getting stronger – I’ve been able to hold the difficult poses for longer and I can get deeper into my warrior one and two. I can also tell that I am more flexible than ever! Tuesday night I ran with my running group, an easy 5 miles. I was very pleased that the 5 miles was literally easy! I’ve noticed that my “easy” pace (easy enough to hold a conversation the entire time) has gotten faster. We used to run at about 9:45-10:00 min/mile pace, and now we’re consistently running them closer to a 9:30 pace. This is excellent progress!
Days 2 & 4 – Core Synergistics
We moved the schedule around a bit due to the fact that the second round would have fallen on a Saturday and we plan to do a long run (7-8 miles) that day. I figured it’d be better to do the X-Stretch video the same day as a long run and really be able to put in a solid effort on the Core Synergistics workout Friday morning.
I have to say – Core Synergistics is my favorite P90X workout. I love it! It is a full-body toning AND cardiovascular workout. It reminds me A LOT of boot camp classes I have taken and loved. The video is an hour in length and the moves do not repeat. We start with staggered one-legged pushups (5 pushups with one hand further ahead of the other then switch) and I was pleased to discover that I was able to do around fifteen pushups with my feet on the floor! After that, I moved to knee pushups. Next comes the Banana Roll, which looks absolutely ridiculous but is a great core workout. Basically you start on your back with your legs extended but off the floor and arms extended over head. Basically you maintain this position and then roll to your left and right side and then back over and over again. Our form is definitely not close to perfect but it still works! Other good moves that only use your body weight include the Spinx Push-Up, Bow to Boat (move from one yoga move on your stomach to the other more difficult move on your butt with legs up, over and over), Prison Cell Push-Ups (push-ups with a knee-to-chest move in between), Side Hip Raises and Walking Push-Ups. The move that seems to resonate in most people’s minds is the Superman-Banana move, where you switch back and forth between lying on your stomach with arms and legs off the floor like Superman and flipping over (without hands) to the Banana position. Tony shouting “Superman! Banana! Superman! Banana!” will haunt you for days.
This workout also includes a few weight-training exercises which engage the entire core at the same time. Examples include Leaning Crescent Lunges (lunge and bend over while lifting dumbbells into an overhead press), Squat Run (squat and hold weights and move your arms like you are running quickly), Lunge & Reach (lunge to one side and touch dumbbell to the floor then return upright and fully extend the dumbbell to the other side), and Lunge Tricep Curl Press (tricep kickback, curl and do an overhead press while maintaining a lunge) .
Although all of the aforementioned moves get your heart rate up, Tony adds in some fun Plyometrics inspired moves for a cardio boost! These moves include Towel Hoppers (basically jump back and forth over your towel over and over again for a minute), Steam Engine (hands behind head, lift knees up and rotate trunk so that your elbow meets your knee) and Halfback (four large single leg side hops forward and run with high knees back). I’m not sure if the Drea Roll would be classified as plyo, but of course Tony had to name a move after his favorite fitness queen, Drea. You start the move by standing at the front of your mat and then you roll backwards onto your mat until your legs are over your head, then rolling back and jumping to a standing position (add a jump or X-jump for increased intensity). I enjoy this move because I think it’s fun. Although I can’t keep pace with them, I can get up to my feet without using my hands and I add the jump at the end for intensity.
After the workout this morning, Mike and I discussed how can incorporate this workout into our normal weekly routine because we like it so much. Ultimately though, we will probably just reserve it for recovery weeks during these first 90 days. We discussed adding it in at least weekly during our final marathon training weeks (6 weeks after P90X ends).
Day 3 – Kenpo X
I won’t write a lot here about Kenpo. I haven’t written a post on it yet partially because I think it’s the least effective workout in the series. I also plan on eliminating it from my routine soon and replacing it with a long run (over 9 miles). I do think that we will continue to do Kenpo during recovery weeks, as it is a mild cardio workout and is probably good for loosening up.
Kenpo X contains a series of very basic kickboxing moves. I think another reason I don’t prefer it is that I absolutely love Turbo Kickboxing at 24 Hour Fitness, which is an hour-long cardio/dance routine set to pop music. It is much more fun and requires a lot of coordination which makes it very rewarding when you master a routine. I love going to my kickboxing classes because I can forget literally everything in the world that is bothering me and focus solely on the moves. During Kenpo X, however, there are three moves per segment at most.
Don’t get me wrong, I work up a sweat during this workout. I believe this workout is all about how much effort you put into it. You can either punch lightly or punch with full force (but don’t over do it). If you really put some force into your kicks and punches, it can be a great cardio workout.
Day 5 – X-Stretch
We’ll be doing this workout tomorrow so I can’t comment on it from personal experience yet but from what I’ve read, X Stretch is an hour of stretching and includes several yoga stretches such as Sun Salutations, Cat Stretch, Frog, Downward & Upward Dog, and Child’s Pose. Many of the other stretches are repeats of stretches performed at the beginning and end of the other videos. I’m looking forward to really getting a good stretch. I tend to do about five minutes of stretching after my runs so it will be a good test to see if I am feeling better this Sunday after doing a long run Saturday and doing X Stretch afterward.
I definitely feel less sore this week and overall, I am also less tired (despite putting in long hours at work this week). I can tell that the intensity level has gone down, and I think it’s a good thing because we were literally exhausted last weekend after three weeks of going strong. We slept over 9 hours both nights last weekend AND took a 2 ½ hour nap on Saturday. I think this low intensity recovery week was just what the doctor ordered. We are on Day 24 today – 6 more days until we measure our 30-Day results!