P90X Extreme Home Fitness - Is it Right For You?

The Bottom Line


The P90X Extreme Home Fitness series is exactly that: A 90-day workout program that includes 12 extreme workouts designed to push your limits in every way. From pushups to pullups and plyometrics to yoga, Tony Horton's P90X promises to "transform your body from regular to ripped in just 90 days," and it does live up to it's promises...if you can follow it. The schedule is very structured, with just one rest day a week, and the exercises are intense and challenging.

Overall, Tony has created a challenging, thoughtful and balanced program that will appeal to people who want to take their training to the next level.

The Basics

A 90-day workout program taught by a talkative and muscular Tony Horton, that includes 12 workout DVDs with a focus on high-intensity resistance training. The workouts are divided by different muscle groups and fitness objectives (e.g., chest and back one day, cardio the next, shoulders and arms, yoga, etc.) and increase in intensity every 4 weeks. The included calendar helps you map out your schedule, with 3 weeks at a high intensity (workouts are scheduled every day except 1) followed by a week of recovery. There's a diet plan included as well, which is not reviewed.

Getting Started

Before starting the program, you're urged to take a fitness test to make sure you're ready. It would be nice if that were included in one of the videos, but it is outlined in the included manual.

The test alone is intense with exercises like pull ups, leaps, pushups, sit and reach, wall squats, biceps curls, in and outs and jumping jacks. You'll need to complete a certain number of these exercises to know if you're ready for P90X and to track your progress.

Who It's For

P90X certainly isn't for everyone, especially beginners, but it may appeal to:

  • Experienced exercisers who want a challenge
  • Men - There are women in Tony's videos who could kick my butt three ways from Sunday and I know a number of women who enjoyed the videos, but they are geared towards men. There are no pretty sets or choreographed moves and they don't follow the beat of the music. There's an emphasis on pushups, pullups, and heavy weights, all of which often appeal more to men - though women will get a lot out of these exercises as well.

The Workouts

The workouts themselves are non-stop, moving from one exercise to the next with incredible variety. Note: These workouts will make you sore and may need more rest days. My husband, who's a few weeks into the program, hobbled around with sore muscles for two weeks. The following is a brief breakdown of the workouts:

  • Chest & Back involves alternating a variety of pushups and pullups, doing as many as you can in the allotted time, as well as a few strength moves. Tony shows modifications (e.g., using a band if you don't have a pull up bar) and suggests stopping when needed...or, as in my husband's case, collapsing.
  • Plyometrics - This very tough workout is an hour of powerful and intense plyometric exercises like jump squats, side jumps, and squat jumps, all of which leave you a dripping mess. My husband did this the first time on a business trip and texted, "I'm tired after the warm up."
  • Shoulders & Arms - This workout involves a series tri-sets in which you work the shoulders, biceps, and triceps one after the other...over and over and over. At the end of this, my husband remarked, "I can't feel my triceps. Is that bad?"
  • Yoga X - This 90-minute routine is as challenging as the strength workouts. There are common poses like sun salutations, downward dogs, and warriors, but there are challenging, advanced moves (such as the crow pose) that almost made my husband cry.
  • Legs & Back - You get to do more pullups (yay!) along with challenging lower body exercises. Some require no weights at all, but you'll still feel the burn with a variety of lunges, squats and wall sits.
  • Kenpo X - This workout almost feels like a relief, with straightforward kickboxing moves. You repeat a series of punches, kicks, and combinations for a moderate intensity workout.
  • X Stretch - This workout feels good. There are no pullups or pushups, just an hour of dynamic and static stretching for the entire body. As my husband said, "Ahhhhh!"
  • Core Synergistics - The fact that this workout is scheduled during rest week makes it sound like a soothing, low-key workout. However, the pushups (and there are a lot of them) and crazy core moves like Banana rolls and plank/pushups had my husband gasping, "This is supposed to be recovery week?"
  • Chest, Shoulders & Triceps - During your 2nd month, you ramp things up with this more advanced workout, which follows a tri-set format. There are a variety of killer moves - Pushups, including a one arm version that caused a few face-plants in my house, dips and shoulder presses.
  • Back & Biceps - This hour long nightmare (my husband's word) includes yet more pull ups as well as biceps exercises. The variety is amazing - Corn cob pullups, which I can't even describe, crouching concentration curls and even pull ups with a towel. Good luck lifting your arms after this one.
  • Ab Ripper - This 15-minute workout, done after some of the other workouts, says it all. You will indeed feel like someone ripped out your abs with such gems as "Seated Crunchy Frogs" and the "Crossed Leg Wide Leg Sit Up."
  • Cardio X - This low impact cardio workout is pulled from the other workouts into a compilation for days when you're not sure if you can 'bring it.'


  • A Complete Program - P90X covers it all - cardio, strength, and flexibility in a well-structured schedule. You don't have to think, just pop in the DVD and you're ready.
  • Simple to Follow - The exercises are by no means easy, but many moves are straightforward and athletic, although there are more complex moves as well. You don't need much equipment, just weights, a mat and a pullup bar.
  • Challenging - For the fit exerciser, P90X can definitely take you to the next level.


  • Expensive - At around $120-$130, this is an investment, not to mention extras like weights, bands or a pull up bar, which could bring the total to more than $300.
  • Extreme - There's no question P90X is tough, but there are some advanced moves even experienced exercisers may struggle with. There aren't many recovery days and even the recovery week isn't much of one, which could lead to soreness or injury.
  • Repetitive - Doing the same workouts and listening to Tony talk week after week may get tedious.

Overall, P90X is a well-structured, thoughtful program that, while not for everyone, covers every aspect of fitness. Tony Horton can be an acquired taste and his personality and incessant chatter will either motivate you or be a major turn off. The workouts are very challenging and there's a maddening emphasis on pullups, and pushups, but the highly-structured nature of P90X is one thing that makes it work. My husband, who struggles with consistent exercise, liked the scheduled workouts and the ability to take the workouts on his frequent business trips.

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