I wanted to get in a quick workout today.  I only had half an hour, but I wanted to do some resistance training.  I decided to do the P90X Shoulders & Arms workout, but with a twist.

Instead of doing the entire routine, I only did half of it.  With  P90X Shoulders & Arms it’s easy, because this routine is divided into five sections.  Each section has three exercises, and when you have done the three exercises, you repeat them.  So my “speed it up” solution is simple: I don’t repeat them.

I do the first three exercises, and instead of repeating them, I go on to the next three, and so on.  The last three exercises are the “bonus round”, so I skipped them as well.

With only one rotation through the exercises, it’s easy to go through the entire routine in less than half an hour.

I assume that I don’t get as good a workout if I only do each exercise once, instead of twice.  However, I suspect that probably 60% or 70% of the benefit comes from the first set, so I get most of the benefit in only half the time.  I make sure of that by always doing maximum reps, or using maximum weight, with each exercise.  When I know I have to do it all over again I “hold something back” on the first set.  When I know I’m only doing that exercise once, I go all out; there is no need to hold anything back.

That’s why I believe that I am getting almost all of the benefit, in only half the time.

The other advantage of a quick workout is it allows time to do the Ab Ripper X routine, the 16 minute core workout added on to the end of all resistance training sessions.  Again, I may only do the first few exercises, but I’m still getting lots of benefit.

The first few times through the workout I did it in full.  Now that I am more in to maintenance mode, the quick version works for me.

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Today I did my first P90X workout in almost two months.

I finished the 12 week program, and then transitioned into other things.  I did some skiing (and discovered that P90X is great preparation for downhill skiing), and started working on my cardio for the upcoming running season.

I discovered, however, that running is hard on your body, and I ended up with a sore back.  I had no back problems at all when I was doing P90X, but when I spend most of my day sitting at my desk, and then try to go for a run, I have back problems.

So today I decided that a tune up was in order, so I did the P90X Legs & Back workout again.  I was quite pleased to discover that even after a two month break, I was still able to complete the workout at almost the same intensity and number of reps as the last time I did it.

I suspect if I took a two month break and did nothing I would have trouble, but taking a two month break from P90X and still doing other exercises I found I was able to maintain my fitness level.  That was encouraging.

My plan now will be to do perhaps one or two P90X workouts a week, interspersed with my other training.  Today I did a cardio workout (running on the treadmill) in the morning, and then I waited a few hours and in the afternoon I did the Legs & Back workout.  That worked out great; I was fresh for my primary running training, but still had time to rest prior to the P90X workout.  (I wouldn’t want to do P90X and then try to do a hard running training session).

I suspect that a Yoga workout every week or two will also help with cross training.

As Tony says, variety is the spice of life, so instead of trying to run six days a week, I’ll run three days a week, and do P90X workouts at other times.  We’ll see how it goes.

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Legs & Back in Week 11 in P90X

January 29, 2011

Today, as I progress through Week 11, was Legs & Back day.  This was the ninth time I’ve done this workout, so it’s not new to me.  I’m happy to report that I have made significant progress since week one.  I can do significantly more chin ups, and my legs feel great. As I reported […]

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P90X and Downhill Skiing

January 21, 2011

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 […]

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Last Vinyasa

November 17, 2010

I am now in the fourth week of the P90X workout, which is the “rest” week.  The theory is that you go hard with the resistance training for three weeks, then in week number four you do no resistance training.  Instead you concentrate on cardio and stretching, so you are doing Yoga, Core Synergistics and […]

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P90X Yoga X – Second Time Through

October 31, 2010

I’m on Day #11 of P90X, so for me today was my second attempt at the Yoga X workout.  (You can read my wife’s thoughts on the P90X Yoga routine; she found it boring).My first run through was on Day 4, the first time I did the Yoga routine.  The first time I found the […]

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Day 10 – Shoulders & Arms

October 30, 2010

Now that I’m in week #2, this was the second time through doing the Shoulders & Arms workout. I did the first P90X shoulders & arms workout on Day 3.  I found this workout to be better than the first one, primarily because I knew what to expect. I recorded my first shoulders & arms […]

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Day 6 – Kenpo X

October 26, 2010

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, […]

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Day 5 – P90X – Legs & Back

October 25, 2010

After doing the P90X Yoga X workout yesterday, it was refreshing to get back to a more traditional (for a guy) workout.  Legs & Back is exactly what it sounds like: traditional leg and back exercises. I’ve done lunges, squats and chin-ups before, and this workout has lots of squats, lunges and chin-ups, so I […]

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Day 3 – Shoulders & Arms

October 23, 2010

Day 3 in either the Classic or Lean P90X program is the Shoulders & Arms workout, followed by Ab Ripper X.  My strategy was simple: start with reasonable weights, and try to make it through the workout.  Here’s how it works: There are twelve exercises in the basic routine, plus three more in the bonus […]

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