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P90X2 Review: P.A.P. Lower

The P90X2 “peak of the mountain” workouts are PAP: Post Activation Potentiation. As I mentioned in the PAP Upper Review (after all, PAP has two workout segments), P90X2’s previous phases of balance postures, core work and strength were the two roads that lead to this workout. It’s time to push and take performance to the next level, utilizing all the skills earned through your last 8 weeks. The summary from “PAP Upper” still applies:

“PAP as a mishmash of P90X2 moves played out in a round of Fast and Furious go ’til you can’t go no more… but there is a reason behind all this ” go hard or go home” stuff. Post Activation Potentiation isn’t just included to exhaust you (it should), make you sweat ( it will) and let you walk away feeling you got a good workout (its guaranteed). PAP as intertwined into P90X2 is built to refine you, make you more explosive and take you from a stock, car lot sports car–faster than most, more moxy than most– to a custom Ferrari: world class.”

PAP Lower is the second of the two P90X2 PAP workouts and just like PAP Upper, if you exert yourself like you’re’ training, you’ll love this workout as recovery is surprisingly quick when its all said and done but still lets you know the next day you’ve been given the “what for”. As I mentioned in the previous review, PAP as a training system is covered fully here.

Enough talk. Let’s fight.

P90X2 PAP Lower Review


PAP Lower focuses exclusively on the lower body– power squat and lunge moves combined with explosive plyo and isometric holds. This is full application of all muscle fibers for increased performance and better gains than simply sprinting/jumping or resistance training. The moves are broken into two complexes of four moves repeated four times each. I hate to repeat information contained in the PAP Upper review but it’s still applicable:

  • Contraction Move: Power move (aka- a weighted lift) fires up the big boys
  • Explosive Move: Incorporates smaller muscles
  • Stabilization/Isometric Move: All muscles now awake, firing and ACTIVATED, put them them to work together for maximum POTENTIAL– aka, post -activation potentiation.

P90X2 P.A.P.Lower is about 62 minutes long, a full 10 minutes longer than Upper. Warm-Up and cool down take up 26 minutes of the workout time and dedicates 36 minutes to making your legs and booty fire up for a quick session in smorgasbord approach to begging for mercy.


By now you know warmup and cooldown are taken pretty seriously with p90X2. Don’t skip ’em! PAP Lower throws in quite a few new warm-up moves that border on actual workout. You’ll begin with the “hot pavement looking” heel-walk and stomptastic “Feet Smackers” with a chaser of familiar “World’s Greatest Stretch and “Inch Worm”.  “Fire Hydrant” is a new hip /groin stretch– the name is pretty self-explanatory. Overall, a very varied and fast-paced warm-up that transitions to  “speed slalom”, “front/back hops” and “lateral plyo skaters”. Cue Foam rolling. The cooldown is Neuro-Integrated Stretching with bands– a dynamic stretching series that uses flexion and stretching in tandem for some serious gains in flexibility. This may be a favorite warm-up/cooldown of the series.

The Workout

As mentioned earlier, PAP Lower takes you through two complexes.

“Complexes are a group of four moves (or sets) performed sequentially, then repeated, which means you’re doing four rounds of each move for a total of 16 sets per complex. When PAP Upper is all said and done, you’ll have completed 32 total sets.”

While a few of the moves shown in the video above are very plyo-ish, there’s also some weighted moves which can really put you to the test. The point of these moves IS load-bearing so I’d take the weight up to where you’re feeling some burn and resistance pretty quickly. It’s easy to cheat by choosing a lighter weight, so don’t. On the other hand, don’t go all ego and risk injury or burn-out. Like PAP Upper (you’re hearing a lot of that, I know), half the moves are 6-8 reps, the other half are timed between a minute and 30 seconds.

You’ll get breaks but again, the idea here is to really maximize your time and move quickly from one exercise to the next. Don’t cheat yourself. Focus on leaping farther, faster and with continued momentum. In the end, you’ll feel it and that “feeling” it will translate to serious gains over the next 3 weeks where you’ll be doing the two PAP workouts two times a week.

PAP Lower moves quickly, so I’d recommend giving it a once-over (at least the complexes, which begin at about the 47:00 mark). Many of the moves switch legs without a notice, so be aware that any move in this workout that focuses on one leg at a time switches to the other.

Move Highlights:

Step Up Convict :

A weighted lunge/step move. Using a chair, step up onto the chair, left one leg up to waist height, step off the chair and back into a lunge. Here’s a pretty good example of the Step Up Convict In Action.

Cross Squat Reach:

Another weighted move. The Cross Squat Reach takes serious concentration and taps into your new-found core strength while throwing some burn into your legs. Using a med ball as marker for your opposite knee, move into a one legged squat while holding a dumbbell and pushing it out with the arm opposite the leg doing the squat. Example.

Side Bridge Leg Lift:

Killer. Guaranteed to have you burning and shaking by the time :30 is up. In a side plank position, raise your leg as high as it will go while keeping your hip extended up. No “drooping”! See below.


Pick The Right Weight. You’ll have the opportunity to choose your dumbbell weight on a few moves. Some you’ll want heavier, others you’ll want lighter but ALWAYS choose the one that works and takes you to your limits without discomfort (and by now, you know the difference between burn discomfort and “I’m breaking something” discomfort).

Bring It. PAP is what you’ve been working toward through all of your weeks in P90X2. Don’t go lightly. Test your limits. Go hard. That doesn’t mean recklessly, it means with a focus on form and function.

The Verdict

P90X2: PAP Lower is a a leg mauler. I plan to increase my weight a bit in the next round to really add some “power” to my complexes but all in all, PAP Lower delivers in a way that’s unorthodox and tough. And while PAP Lower can put you through the fire, you do get a very long cooldown which treats your legs right and allows for some nice recovery. Just make sure you bring a towel– PAP Lower will get you sweaty.


If you’re testing your limits here, feel free to enjoy some I’m usually conservative in my use of the Recovery Formula.  You know what you did and how you feel so as usual, don’t’ cheat yourself– the Recovery Formula is earned. You can order the recovery formula here.

In the mean time, this last review covers all standard P90X2 workouts. There are two “Advanced Workouts” available that came with the Deluxe and Ultimate packages which will be reviewed here very, very shortly. If you don’t own the program, be sure to check out check out the details on P90X2 here, check out P90X2 reviews for every workout here and feel free to spread the love via Facebook, Digg, Twitter or link if this was worth your time. Or hey, click the subtle link below if you want to give P90X2 a shot. Thanks for the support!

Beginning your P90X2 journey? Questions? Feel free to email me here or at Better yet, let’s get you the support you need to line up your nutrition goals right now. Make me your (free) Beachbody Coach right here and we’ll get crackin’! 

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