Today I did the full Kenpo workout and what a blast that was.  Kenpo is a style of martial arts and the P90X workout uses a combination of jabs, kicks, hooks, uppercuts, sword movements, blocks, elbows, knee kicks, ball kicks, side kicks and three-direction kicks to work up a sweat.  If you’ve ever taken a cardio boxing or kickboxing class this is similar. I will admit I had no idea what I was doing and had a little trouble keeping all the hooks, jabs, uppercuts and kicks in sync.  But it was definitely one of the funnest workouts I’ve done yet.

What I liked:

  • It was fast moving and fun.  A little practice and you can get the moves down.  I didn’t worry about getting the kicks high at first but found even by the end of the reps I had better control and balance.
  • It’s a pretty good cardio workout. Move and lean your whole body into the moves and you’ll work up a sweat.  The trick is to do more that just move your arms around — get your whole body into throwing the punches and kicks.  I can see it getting easier over time though once you master the balance aspects.
  • The lunges and kicks are great for the glutes — yeah baby!
  • As with all the P90X CD’s, Tim Horton does a good job of working stretches into the beginning of the routine.  While he does add a short cool down at the end of the session I would also recommend you add some stretches at the end of the workout.

What I didn’t like:

  • Not knowing the moves made it a bit hard at first which probably took away from some of the cardio benefit I should have been getting.
  • Cool down and post stretches are a bit short.  You should definitely add in some post workout stretches to lengthen those muscles and help reduce soreness the next day.
  • I think over time I’d want a boxing bag or speed bag to add a bit of intensity (and fun!).
  • I was a bit disappointed with the insert of running on the spot, jump rope moves and jumping jacks (even the X jumping jacks).  This was a bit lame and boring.  Perhaps they are put in to kick up the cardio intensity a bit.  If so, find another way that fits in with the overall fun of the rest of the workout.  Boring workouts just mean you don’t do them well or at all.

How I did:

  • Can you say lack of coordination.  My first time with many of these moves I definitely had the flailing arm thing going on and did not have the best footwork.  However I suspect it just takes a bit of practice.
  • Finished the full 55 minute workout without too much difficulty.

I’m now way off my original ‘plan’.  While I’ve been doing workouts consistently I’ve mixed up the order a bit to suit both my schedule and mood.  S’okay by me though — it still meets my objectives of improving my overall fitness level.  Tomorrow I might try some Pilates (remember my dislike of Workout 5 – P90X Yoga!).  I have some old Winsor Pilates DVD’s I’ve pulled out.  Let’s see how they compare.

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Ok I am not a yoga fan.  This is just way too boring.  Don’t get me wrong, this is a seriously hard workout, especially if you do not have great flexibility (and I do not).  But really, too darn boring.  And too much upside down.  No, not going to do this one again.

What I liked:  OK not much

What I didn’t like:

  • It’s too long.  While I only made it through to the 40 minute mark, 90 minutes of this is just way too much. Especially if you don’t like it.  I mean who is going to stick with an exercise routine that they find totally boring.  Not me.
  • To many changes, not enough holding.  I am a big fan of Pilates so was very surprised that I did not like this yoga routine.  I think the difference is in the approach.  While both use the body’s own weight for resistance, I found the P90X yoga focused on rapid flow from one position to another compared to my Pilates experience of concentrated holding of one position.  Pilates focuses more on controlled movement.  Movements are not performed rapidly or repeated excessively instead, the focus is on quality not quantity. Pilates focuses more on the abdominal muscles, lower back and buttocks as the center of all movement.  OK as a middle aged female who the heck doesn’t like that.  This focus on core stabilization makes one stronger and seems to be more suited to my personal fitness goals. The low impact nature of Pilates also makes it preferable for injury prevention.

How I did

  • I managed 40 minutes then gave in.  Both boring and I didn’t feel I was accomplishing anything.

Since I didn’t feel like I even did a workout in the 40 minutes I struggled through the Yoga program I did about 20 minutes of the Kenpo CD aftwards.  I really liked what I saw.  Can’t wait to do the whole CD next workout.

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