P90X2 Review: X2 Yoga
When it came to P90X, Yoga was the great divider. Loathed by many, loved by a few the Yoga workout was by far the longest workout of the series with more repeated vinyasa action than spending a day in at the local Yoga Hut. The repetition was brutal and went on… and on…. and on.
There’s no question Yoga is key in recovery, flexibility and bringing stabilizing muscles into line but for many it’s an exercise in persistence through focused, patient willpower. Beachbody heard the complaints and cries of woe and began shipping the 60-minute Yoga- The Fountain of Youth with P90X as a viable alternative but to the program’s credit, continued to emphasize the importance of Yoga in the training schedule. P90X2: X2 Yoga solidifies this stance and KEEPS Yoga in the mix with some visible changes to make it more accessible, less repetitive and in the 60-minute range.
Does it help? Let’s see…
X2 Yoga Review
P90X2: X2 Yoga is the fifth workout in P90X2′s Phase I and follows Total Body + X2 AR on the training schedule. But that’s not all– Yoga X2 is in every single training block of the training schedule (Day 5 in Phase II and Day 3 in the P.A.P Phase III). It’s also used a whopping THREE times in the P90X2 Recovery Week schedule. In short, there’s a pretty strong belief in the power of Yogaand by crap, you’re going to DO IT… if you’re not a fan, it may be time to hop on board and grit your teeth to a “hate it but love it”/”grin and bear it” mentality.
P90X2 understands Yoga isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but really does make attempts to keep it varied and keep it moving quickly. Beachbody and Tony Horton really, really want you to love –or at least do– Yoga. X2 Yoga is still Yoga X-style but I’d call this a “hyperactive” and hybrid version. I’m going to be revealing here but just like most Dudes, I can’t stand Yoga. It’s not the difficulty that bothers me– it’s that I’m not lifting or jumping around. It takes all of my mental focus to just will myself through the boredom. It’s certainly not an easy workout, but it’s not exciting either. As Tony Horton says, “Enjoy the ride”– and I think that’s a great description. If you’re not a fan, you just have to look at it that way.
BONUS! I do have to mention the workout timer here. Yoga X used a nebulous “time counter” for every section and a “total time” counter on the right. The problem was you never knew what you were doing next, how long you’d be in a move, etc. P90X2 keeps the total time counter but makes noticeable improvements in a way I loved– the countdown timer now counts down the time in EACH MOVE. Knowing where a move begins and ends goes a long way toward making things tolerable.
Still, there really are attempts to make this workout accessible with “power moves” and an ab routine, so I give the program its due for that. But I’m no Yoga expert or regular Yoga practitioner. Sooo, I asked Team member and professional Yoga instructor Lisa K. her thoughts. This is what she had this to say:
“I thought [X2 Yoga] was easier then P90x Yoga but I enjoyed it so much more than the [Yoga X]. I found it a lot less repetitive and I loved the flow of movements instead of just holding a warrior for minutes on end.”
So speaking of minutes on end…
Yoga X2 is about 67 minutes long. I know that seems like it’s pushing the boundaries of “over an hour” but a lot of the cooldown for this is “passive laying/stretch” (4 minutes) and a warm-up stretch (6 minutes) so it’s not like you’re going at balance poses and holds for a full 67. In fact, the “power” section– the more intense, sequenced moves– is really only about 40 minutes. The other portions consist of the mentioned ab work seen in X2 Ab Ripper and some deeper stretches (14 minutes).
You could almost look at X2 Yoga as all warm-up and cooldown but it does have two sections specifically labeled for it. As mentioned in time, the first is a six minute stretch (side bends, sun salutations) and the cooldown is very short and very passive including the “corpse pose” (IE- laying on your back), fetal position and cross-legged “Ohm”. Not too tough and besides the mind focused reflection, not sure what this really does for you. Some people are skipping it to shave a couple minutes off the time.
X2 Yoga is broken out into roughly four sections once you get past the warm-up. Tony Horton walks you through the moves and then repeats them a little faster, which is a nice way to get familiarized. I’d break the sequences down like this:
- Sun Salutation: Lots of vinyasa here but it’s broken up by a bit of chair and runner’s pose. This isthe portion of X2 Yoga where I began having “Oh Crap– it’s Yoga X” flashbacks. Very familiar moves (but sped up) in sequence for about 10 minutes or so but stick with it. Things get better.
- Downward Dog: Eightish moves (starting with downward dog and ending in balanced crane) in sequence done twice.
- Warrior: Ten moves (beginning with crescent and going through various warrior poses to downward dog) in sequence done twice.
- Core/Ab: Here’s that hybridization as X2 Yoga sneaks in some ab/core moves from X2 Ab Ripper. Totally unexpected but some great AND FUN moves including Abronome and Split Leg Crunch. This section dovetails into held stretches like “Frog”, “Happy Baby” (I really enjoyed this one in both name and function) and “Bridge and Wheel (a backbend).
In all, some familiar moves but a nice pace and rhythm to the X2 Yoga flow. I still came away a reluctant Yoga participant but I really believe with a mindset of “enjoying the ride” and this new pace, I’m going to learn to enjoy this one.
Crane: Basically the beginners version of how to gain balance before committing to a full handstand (or at least how I was taught as a kid). Arms placed on ground at shoulder width while in a crouch. Knees then brought to bent shoulders and weight transferred to hands as you find a balance and use hands/shoulders to stay up with feet off the floor (first move in the video above).
Bound Warrior: Legs in a warrior pose but arms wrapped around bent (not extended) leg and back and clasped under leg. Not a new move but with the arms being tied up below your center of gravity, is a tough move for the inflexible and imbalanced.
Abronome– Not Yoga but I just love this move. Legs extended above the head, lower back and shoulders to the floor with arms extended out along the floor on either side for balance. Drop legs to left side, bring up, drop to right. Repeat.
Patience. Then add another heaping serving of… patience. Yoga moves are slow and deliberate and do take some stretch and focus to keep good form. But going into this with the right mindset– knowing you’re not going to be panting (sweating, but not panting) will allow you to appreciate X2 Yoga a little more.
Just do it. As I mentioned, I’m not a huge yoga fan. But man, you feel great when it’s done and this workout is in the training cycle for a reason. You need it. If you’re worried Yoga will be a slow day, just back off a few calories. You’re not losing anything you’ve gained in the more intense workouts over this 24 hour period.
I’m still not a Yoga fan. BUT I think they changed things up here — tricked?–(hybridized is a better term) to hold the interest of guys like me so we’d get the benefits of some Yoga posing without feeling the need to completely skip this workout– even if we know better. Lisa sums it up nicely:
“I’m happy [P90X2] made changes to the yoga because I think that the long repetitive postures of P90X created alot of “yoga haters”. I like the P90x2 Yoga A LOT more. However, I think that it could have been a little better. There are literally thousands of great postures that are effective for all levels. Crane and variations of crane is not one of them… Also, I thought it was a little silly to repeat a few of the moves that are in ARX2. All in all I thought it was a huge improvement and maybe it will make some people (esp men) inclined to delve deeper into the yoga practice.”
I can say that from my initial run-through, she’s probably right.
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