Note: This information is provided in the P90X2 Fitness Guide on pages 24 and 25 (I have copied it here verbatim and take no personal claim for content). My personal commentary (if any) will be italicized and added in square brackets “[ ]” after the “text book” answer. If you just want to hear my two cents worth, you can skip to those comments 🙂
This is a quick break down of everything you’ll see used in the P90X2 workouts, in Beachbody’s recommended order of importance. Obviously if you own P90X2 – you’ll have access to this information, however if you are contemplating purchasing the program and want to have an idea of what new or additional equipment needs you’ll have, this may prove to be very useful. I’ve enabled links to each graphic to take you to the Team Beachbody Store if you’d like to purchase a particular piece of equipment.
1. RESISTANCE BANDS. Everyone should have a set of resistance bands, from light to heavy, as well as a door attachment. You’ll definitely need a set of bands if your doing P90X2 on the road and you don’t have a chin-up bar and dumbbells. (V Sculpt has moves that require bands).
[I do 95% of my workouts at home with dumbbells, however you can’t beat the bands for when you’re traveling or if you need a modification from the weights. Bands are generally cheaper than dumbbells when you’re first starting out and provide a good deal of versatility.]
2. CHIN-UP BAR. As with P90X, you’re going to see a lot of pull-ups, chin-ups, and core movements done while hanging from a chin-up bar. Because these movements utilize your body weight, they’re the hardest moves to mimic with bands. While we like our variations, you’ll see better results using a chin-up bar.
[Quite honestly, the only way to get better at pull-ups is to do pull-ups. I’ve provided a separate document that gives alternatives to pull-ups if you cannot do them for one reason or another. Most people likely already have a pull-up bar if they’ve done P90X so it’s not really an issue, if you don’t have one, I’d seriously consider getting one – you’ll see later that Beachbody ranks the Chin-Up Max (pull-up assist bands) as a lower priority, again personally, I’d say this is a must have unless you’re cranking out set after set of pull-ups with perfect form and endurance]
3. DUMBBELLS. While bands are a great substitute, moste movements in P90X2 are more easily performed with some free weight. How much weight you’ll need depends, of course on how strong you are. Both men and women will need some light weight for P90X2, probably as low as 5 pounds (and maybe even 3 pounds). 25 pounds for women and 40 pounds for men will cover the upside for most of you. Once you exceed this you probably won’t be reading these instructions anyway! In a perfectly muscle-confused world, you’ll switch back and forth between bands and free weights regularly.
[As I mentioned above, I do most of my work with dumbbells and over the years have acquired a full set from 3 pounds to 65 pounds (3/5/8/10/12/15 > then 5 pound increments up to 65#) Bear in mind that commercially cast iron dumbbells will cost close to $1 per pound; I built my collection by keeping my eye out for yard sales and moving sales and I also monitor craigslist. if you can get them for $0.50/pound you’re getting a good deal. There are also the adjustable dumbbells on the market now, I’ve never used them, however they can be a great space saver and eliminate the need to buy a lot of individual weights. Ask questions about their limitations if you’re considering purchasing them (i.e. how do the weights lock in, how stable are they horizontally, vertically, check grips and range of motion issues when hefting them]
4. STABILITY BALL. You’ve read about the importance of training with unstable platforms, and nothing makes this as easy or convenient as a good stability ball. yes you can substitute your furniture, but we think you’ll be better off doing it the other way around. Use your stability ball for your workouts AND to sit on will working, watching TV, etc. Keep this in mind when choosing the size of your stability ball: the smaller the ball you have, the less stable the platform, so in general, small is more difficult. However you do want your ball to fit – especially when using it as a chair -so it’s best to get a ball that fits first, then switch to a smaller ball as your techinique improves. Beachbody sells two sizes: 55 cm, which is perfect for anyone who is 5’0″ to 5’7″ and 65 cm, which is good for people 5’8″ to 6’3″. If you don’t fit in either range, you can find 45 cm and 75 cm balls at most sporting goods stores.
[Performing exrecises in an environment of controlled instability is a natural progression in difficulty for any movement. Proper form is absolutely critical as you will be activating more muscles in your core complex. You can find Stability balls just about anywhere these days, just be sure to get one that fits you and is made of burst resistant vinyl.]
5. FOAM ROLLERS. You can just stretch, but you’ll be much happier if you invest in a good foam roller. This myofacial release technique is the key for many people -especially athletes-looking to reduce muscle and joint pain. The longer you wait to try it, the louder you’ll exclaim “I should have started this years ago!”
[I have to agree, SMR or Self Myofacial Release, should be the FIRST portion of your stretching routine both before a workout and at the end of a workout. You can search YouTube for plenty of demonstration videos of how to use a foam roller. You can get smooth ones and Knobby ones, the knobby ones are going to “dig deeper” and you’re goign to feel it more with them, personally I’d put this above a stability ball on the list of priorities]
6. CHIN-UP MAX®. Even if you’re an expert at using a chair to assist pull-ups (which many of you probably are by now), this clever device is going to greatly improve your workouts. Not only does the Chin-Up Max® help you complete more pull-ups, it actually positions you body so you’ll use better form on each pull-up or chin-up. The end result? You get better at pull-ups faster and your entire training program becomes more effective. Note: Don’t think of the Chin-up Max as an options for weaklings. If you can knock out 20 pull-ups with no problem, imagine how fast you’ll get to 30 pull-ups if you have an assist that helps you knock out five more with a little help. It’s as if you were doing strip sets with pull-ups, THAT’S Training!
[I wholeheartedly recommend this! When I was at Corporate for my P90X Certification Training, I tried one of these and immediately placed an order. It has been a great tool in the quest to improve my pull-ups. As I mentioned above, the only way to really get better at pull-ups, is to do pull-ups. This device allows you to do that. As you improve you can back off on the tension to increase the difficulty level. You can see my video demonstrating the Chin-Up Max® in the Photo section of the forum here.]
7. MEDICINE BALL (OR TWO, OR THREE, OR FOUR). You can substitute a lot of home equipment for medicine balls, but none will be as effective as the real thing. Many movements are done using two balls, wth options for up to four. And while we call them optional equipment, once you’ve use a proper med ball, you’re going to be less enthusiastic about how your basketball/soccer ball combo feels. Med balls are sturdy, allowing you to more easily master difficult balance movements and progress quicker to more advanced positions. Plus they’re weighted, so you get added strength benefits anytime youre required to move them. As with all weights, the amount you’ll want to use varies. Most people should begin with 8 pounds. Eventually you’ll want to own balls in a variety of sizes and weights.
[There are two different types of Med Balls, firm rubber (or leather) balls and the “squishy” balls, the squishy ones are usually smaller in size and easier to grip, they’re recommended for moves where you’re handling the ball and moving it around (as opposed to balancing body weight on it. Common weights are 4, 6, 8 10, and 12 pounds, some of the heaveier balls have built in handles to facilitate working out with them, starting off with a pair of 6 or 8 pound balls is probably best. I use my Med Balls for a variety of Cardio workouts as well, it’s real easy to sub in MB routines if you have to modify Cardio or Plyometric movements for any reason]
8. PUSH UP STANDS (TONY HORTON’S POWER STANDS). These are like stable Medicine Balls. they allow greater range of motion during many exercises and ease the strain on your wrists.
[I have a pair of push up stands I bought at Target, they’re fine. However I did just order a pair of the Tony Horton Power Stands because with their circular base, they are more stable. Additionally the handles have a slight angle to them that allows you to maximize the movements in some of the workouts]
9. YOGA MAT/JUMP MAT/PLYO MAT. You’ve got one of these by now, right? If not, it’s time.
[I think they put this at the bottom of the list because they expect everyone to have one, you absolutely want to have a good yoga mat. I personally opted for the heavy duty jump mat offered by Beachbody because I often do alot of my workouts on a concrete floor or patio and the extra thick mat is a HUGE benefit in the comfort department, the Jump Mat is a median priced mat with very good quality. The Plyo Mat is designed for high impact workouts and is a more expensive alternative]
10. YOGA BLOCKS. Not only do yoga blocks make it easier to get into difficult positions, but they can help ensure that you do each pose with the proper posture, leading to quicker results.
[Not everyone will need them, but they’re inexpensive and handy to have a round]
Hopefully this information has been helpful in determining exactly what equipment you will need to complete P90X2, now it’s time to BRING IT!