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P90X Doubles– What’s the Deal?

If you’re just beginning P90X or are a regular veteran, you’ve probably noticed there’s three  “tracks’ to choose from: Classic, Lean and “Doubles”. While lean is designed for more “lower impact” than actually tailored for getting lean , I always steer first-timers to the holistic and very effective Classic schedule (you’ll get lean, I promise). All P90X tracks have their training focuses but the one usually attracting the most questions is “Doubles”. P90X twice a day? Say wha…?

What P90X Doubles Is For

Working out with P90X Classic about an hour or so a day is enough to get you the results the program promises–  Honest! There’s no need to over-think it. But there is some method to the madness of “Doubles” and it’s an important one to understand if just to put the question to bed or figure out if it’s the right fit for you in your training/fitness travels.

In short, Doubles was inspired in the athletic training arena and something you might consider if you’re ready for it (finished a round of P90X Classic, minimum– not before) and/or are training for something that requires a little more endurance like, say, a Tough Mudder event, a triathlon, cycling or a relay.

Steve “P90X Training Expert” Edwards underlines the point:

For most situations you can’t benefit much from training more than an hour a day at all out intensity. In almost every case you can come up doing one workout well is far more effective than compromising two workouts. And if workout one is hard enough than compromising workout two is inevitable.

OK… So Why Have P90X Doubles At All?

P90X helps you lose weight, gain strength and get fit but at its lean and mean heart, P90X is a training program with athletic intent– one so adaptable it can be used to prep for, as mentioned, body-tapping endurance sports. To make a long story short, it’s available for a niche group (and those who want to go the extra, extra, extra mile) who would use it to further their endurance training or go all-out for fat loss:


“There are, basically, two scenarios where adding a second workout can be beneficial. Both have caveats attached to them. One is to improve your body’s ability to utilize stored fat for fuel. The second is to train specifically for an endurance sport…One thing about training an hour intensely is that it doesn’t get you ready for doing 12-24 or more straight hours of intensity [endurance sports].

[“Doubles”] is the type of training a lot of highly trained athletes will try when they need to lose weight [Coach Dan Note: This isn’t glamor weight– this is weight needed for speed improvement, improved times and efficiency]. It’s done by, essentially, adding an aerobic workout (low intensity consistent output that’s always under one’s AT) to a training program [Like Cardio X or a run]. This session is best done after a period of fasting (such as in the morning) when the body is low on stored glycogen… The only danger is that some muscle mass will be compromised unless the diet is perfect. Doing doubles one must always be willing to lose a little size for a trade off of building a better engine for more intense training later.”

P90X Doubles: Wait For It…

If P90X “Doubles” sounds “next level” or a little more labor intensive, that’s because it kind of is. While the added aerobic workouts of Cardio X aren’t all that difficult in P90X, they can be daunting after feeling exhausted and sore from earlier in the day. Fact is, “Doubles” is a focused/elite track; one you should wait for– or make a point to have as a training program– if you go after it at all. So aside from endurance training, is there a right time…?

“…We found a scenario where most of our members, at one point or another, could benefit from a phase of training designed around improving fat mobilization. But keep in mind that they earned it by maxing the regular program the first time. For most people, adding doubles to the X won’t be beneficial until you’ve gotten so good at it that you adapt very quickly. So most people don’t need doubles. They should be earned by plateauing on a program first.”

Summing up, P90X doubles is a very niche training program. If you’re up for the training, give it a shot but realize its trade-offs (losing strength) and commitment. If you’re just starting, disregard it for now (or ever)– keep your sights set on Classic, keep pushing play and hit up How Do I Get Fit and free, results-centered P90X coaching for continued support and laser-pointed focus. You can also find me on Facebook, Google + and Pinterest

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