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Five Ways To Intensify P90X Kenpo (“Kempo”)

No question: P90X Kenpo X (or as some call it, “Kempo X”) gets a tough rap. Kenpo X fills the P90X Saturday workout slot and commonly takes hits as “repetitive” and “not quite as intense” as many of the other exercises. IE- it’s being called out as a Sissy. Along with Yoga X, Kenpo X is probably most skipped/subbed workout in the bunch. That’s not for Kenpo’s lack of trying. Kenpo is the real deal; a true martial art Americanized through the derivation of Japanese Karate, Okinawan Martial Arts and Chinese Kung Fu. It’s known as “Kenpo Karate” in a lot of circles and if you’ve gone through the workouts, you know it uses circular and linear movement for defense/striking.

So now that you have your history lesson– don’t give up on Kenpo X. This varied workout can be pretty fun and if done right, will have you wringing your shirt out just like all the other P90X workouts. In fact, if you’re thinking it’s “too easy” and you don’t work up a sweat/ higher heart rate, I’d say you’re probably doing it wrong– especially if you’re still in your first round of “The X“.

Make your Kenpo X day fun, intense and, if you want, comically video-game interesting with these often overlooked tips:

Ignite Your Intensity

Kenpo isn’t about simply swinging your arms. This isn’t Stretch time and if your full body isn’t in the mix, you’re going to walk away disappointed. See Tony Horton howling on the cover of the DVD? That’s for a reason. Fact is, you’ve got to build in some intensity– aka, EXPLODE with your movement. You need to be a powder keg primed and blowing up with every move. You’ve got to HIT– put your body into it. Pivot your feet with your swings and tighten your core as you turn into the “punch”. If you’re pushing and swinging with quick, powerful bursts and twisting your body with every swing, I promise you’ll “feel it” faster than you can say, “I skip Kenpo because it’s too easy for me”.

Become A Kenpo Hero

We’ve covered “connecting mind to muscle” before but using your “imagination” here works wonders. You’re not in your living room swinging your arms in front of a TV… you’re punching the vegetable soup out of bad guys in a back alley. Imagine you’re actually in knuckle-bruising fisticuffs– busting ninjas over your knee, delivering the business end of your foot to the soft parts of whoever rubbed you wrong that day or giving your “ex” troubles the what-for of the “Hammer, Hammer, Sword!” combo. There’s something cathartic about an imaginary bout of punching your troubles in the face– and Kenpo lets you do that. Make it FUN.

Create Your Own Soundtrack

After a while, the music (especially the “gong”) can sap intensity. The P90X soundtrack is OK but you’re mentally going into battle here– shouldn’t the music match? All P90X workouts offer a “No Music” option so YOU can throw in a mix and work out with your favorite adrenaline pumping riffs. Picking music that fits the Kenpo mood can really go a long way in pushing your workouts into “Added Intensity-ville”.

Step Up To P90X+

P90X+ (check it out here) is an additional “notch up” set of Tony Horton-lead P90X workouts. In this P90X follow-up (call it P90X 1.5), Tony Horton adds an “amped” version of Kenpo called Kenpo Cardio Plus. At only 40 minutes, the moves incorporate a lot of shuffling, jumping and lateral movement you don’t get in Kenpo X. “KCP” is a fast-paced energy multiplier if you’ve come to the point Kenpo X isn’t doing it for you despite your best attempts at proper form and intensity. A highlight is a very dynamic, “plyometric-riffic” move called “Warrior” where you’re doing a leaping kick into a concrete shattering “hero pose”. With very little time between moves and a Cardio break between each set, Kenpo Cardio Plus is definitely a step up and worth checking out for the added variety alone.

Breathe With Me

Breathing comes standard when you’re working out but controlling your breathing and timing it all with your movement can go a long way in your Kenpo X workout. When you swing or kick, exhale sharply– as if your breathe is the energy driving your momentum. Doing this creates not only power but rhythm– a way to mentally keep track of your timing and sequence.

Incorporating these five easy tips into Kenpo X will not only transform your workout but also make you feel it’s worth your while. Questions? Let me know or sign up for free P90X coaching, support and motivation right here

6 Comments : Leave a Reply

  1. Karen says:

    great idea to add your own music…haven’t tried that yet!

    • Danv says:

      It works wonders, Karen. I’ve started doing it with all my workouts and have started making mixes specific to each one. I’m pretty sure my musical tastes are a little eclectic for a lot of people but I may throw one up for sampling here anyway and see what sticks.

  2. Lindsey says:

    As someone who used to be into tae kwon do and boxing- it used to piss me off how different Tony’s punches are, so now i just do them like I would have in training! Changing things up and adding my own music helps as well!

  3. Gerry says:

    Don’t sleep on Kenpo X its about 400 calories off your daily diet. I truly credit kenpo x to the decrease of weight from 260 to 195, Intensity is the key along with imagination.

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