tony horton

I have now completed 10 weeks of P90X, and so I decided to take a break for a few days by taking my family downhill skiing for a long weekend.  Three days of skiing; how would my body react?  How did P90X prepare me for skiing?

The answer: very well, thank you.

I skied for three days, and my legs felt great.

I believe there are two workouts in particular that contributed to my success.

First, the Legs & Back workout is an obvious source of leg strength.  Specifically, all of the squat-type exercises were great for strengthening the quads and glutes, which are critically important when hitting the hills.  The calf exercises also helped for the lower legs.

During the legs & back video Tony Horton even mentions that squats are critical for skiing, and I believe he’s correct.  He mentions that he’s a skier, and that he “shattered his knee” while skiing as a youngster, so it’s not surprising that he has designed workouts to help him, and us, prepare for one of his preferred sports.

Second, the Plyometrics workout was a big help.  Again, that’s not surprising.  All of the jumping around is a good simulation of the skiing motion.  In fact, some of the exercises are very similar to skiing.

Other workouts also helped.  Yoga, for instance, improves flexibility, which is important in every athletic activity.  Arms are used when going down the hills, and when propelling yourself to the lifts, so the upper body workouts also contribute to overall fitness in general, and ski specific condition in particular.

Obviously P90X is not designed as a skiing workout.  However, next year, in the weeks leading up to the start of the ski season, if I’m not doing P90X full time, I will certainly do a Legs & Back, Plyometrics and Yoga workout each week to prepare for hills.

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As I near the end of the first week of P90X, I had my first exposure to Kenpo, which is essentially a boxing, kicking and martial arts style workout.  Having now gone through the first week, it’s easy to summarize how the P90X workouts are structured: they alternate between resistance training and cardio work.

So, for example, you do Shoulders & Arms (resistance training), followed by Yoga (some cardio, but also flexibility and stretching), and then Legs & Back (resistance training), and back to cardio today with Kenpo.

As a runner cardio is my strong point (flexibility and upper body strength is my obvious weak point).  So, having never done a Kenpo workout, I was looking forward to it.

The verdict? I was very disappointed with the Kenpo workout.  It seemed to me to be a bunch of shadow boxing, and not much else.  What went wrong?  I’m not sure.

I did the workout very early in the morning, so it’s possible I was tired.  My body felt a bit off, with not full energy, so that probably had a negative impact on my stamina.

It’s also possible that since I didn’t think much of the Cardio X workout, I was not expecting much from this workout, and if you go in with a bad attitude, bad things happen.

It’s also possible that I didn’t “bring it”, to use the words of Tony Horton.  It’s possible that I was simply going through the motions, while not fully engaged in the moves.  That’s easy to do in Kenpo.  Instead of swinging hard and crisp in the boxing moves, you just stand there and flail away with your arms, and you don’t get much of a workout.

This workout wasn’t great, but it’s possible that it was just me, so I’ll give Kenpo one more try, and then decide what I really think of it.

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