In the late 2000s, a revolutionary new workout program called P90x swept the nation.
Today, it's still one of the most popular and extreme workouts for people who are ready to get serious about their fitness.
Designed by Tony Horton and the Beachbody Fitness team, P90X is a 90 day workout program that blends elements from a ton of different disciplines, similar to cross training; you'll do weighted strength training, cardio, yoga, plyometrics, calisthenics, and more in order to burn fat, build muscle, and get in incredible shape.
It's also one of the most comprehensive at-home workout solutions available. You can do the entire thing from the comfort of your own home with pretty minimal equipment.
If you're ready to get going, here's all the equipment for P90X (and P90X2 and P90X3) you're going to need (plus where to buy and all the extra details you'll need to get started!)
You'll need a few more things for P90X2 and P90X3, but we'll dive into that at the very end!
What is P90X? (Program Overview)
P90X is a high-intensity, at-home workout system that pushes your body to the brink in just 90 days time.
You'll work out at home, usually 6 or 7 days per week, with each workout lasting around an hour or maybe a little more.
P90X blends different disciplines: traditional strength training, calisthenics (or body weight strength), cardio, HIIT, yoga, kickboxing, stretching, plyometrics (explosive/jumping movements), and more.
Throughout the 90 days, you'll rotate through all different kinds of workouts that target different areas of your body (chest/back, arms, legs, etc.), in a variety of different ways.
P90X leans heavily on a concept called "muscle confusion," where you constantly hit the body's muscle groups with new and different stimuli to avoid adaption. The idea is to continually get stronger and stronger while eliminating plateaus.
It's also important to note that P90X is known as a more advanced home workout system... If you're really out of shape, you might want to start with something a little less intense as you ease into things.
P90X hits you with a super high-intensity workout every single day, nearly, for three months straight.
That's a lot for a beginner!
So that's the run-down. Now let's take a look at what you actually need to get started with this program.
The full workout base kit
Probably the best and simplest way to get access to the full P90X program is with the DVD workout base kit.
Think of it as P90X in a box!
You won't get the workout equipment you need with this set, but it includes all of the informational materials you'll need to carry you through the entire system.
The kit includes:
- 12 DVD workouts
- Chest & Back (push & pull movements)
- Plyometrics (explosive jumping!)
- Shoulders & Arms (muscle isolation work)
- Yoga X (strength yoga)
- Legs & Back (squats, lunges, and pulls)
- Kenpo X (high-intensity cardio kickboxing)
- X Stretch (mobility and injury prevention)
- Core Synergistics (strengthen your lumbar spine and trunk muscles)
- Chest, Shoulders & Triceps (compounds and isolation moves)
- Back & Biceps (Curls and pulling movements)
- Cardio X (low-impact conditioning)
- Ab Ripper X (get that six pack!)
- Full nutrition plan (you can't get lean or build muscle without this)
- Three-phase eating plan
- Workout calendar (for tracking your progress and workouts over the 90 days)
- P90X fitness guide
- Tips on how to get the most out of the program
There's a LOT of value packed in this program. It may only last 30 days but there's plenty of content and more than enough challenging work in here to keep you busy for multiple run-throughs.
Adjustable dumbbell set
One of the core elements of P90X is, believe it or not, traditional strength training using dumbbells.
(Of course, right after curl day you'll be doing advance plyometrics or cardio kickboxing... so this sure isn't your typical weightlifting program!)
So what size dumbbells do you need for P90X?
That's really up to your fitness level and strength levels. P90X recommends you have weights available in the 5-70lbs range. Only you'll know if you need to be on the lower end or higher end of the range.
(You'll be doing movements like presses, curls, and flys, if that helps you gauge at all.)
A really great idea would be to buy an adjustable dumbbell set so you can start low and give yourself room to grow without spending an absolute fortune (not to mention living room space) on a gazillion different sized dumbbells.
The SelectTech 552 adjustable dummbbell set from Bowflex is top of the line and goes from 5 to 52.5 pounds per hand with extraordinary ease. It also comes from one of the most trusted brands in fitness and comes with thousands of rave user reviews.
This would be an awesome set to get you through P90X and beyond, wherever your fitness journey takes you.
Resistance bands, like weights, offer... well, resistance.
In some cases, you'll be able to use a good set of resistance bands in place of dumbbells. This is a good option if your budget is lower or if your overall strength is lower. Bands are great for beginners in strength training.
Much like any workout with dumbbells, you can progress and gain strength with bands: Adding more reps, less rest, or progressing to heavier band tensions are all good signs that you're gaining strength.
P90X is no different, and you could do the program much the same way with a good set of bands. Or, if you'd like, you could get a great dumbbell set and some bands to go along with it, and give yourself even more flexibility.
(Speaking of flexibility, the resistance bands may help you during some of the stretching portions of the program.)
For the best resistance bands for P90X, just look for a solid overall set that includes bands with different tensions or strength levels.
This set of 5 from Fit Simplify is a top choice and comes recommended by thousands of users over at Amazon. It'll be great for your run through P90X and comes at a pretty friendly price.
Pull up / Chin up bar
Pull ups and chin ups are a key component of building strength on P90X!
And it's no wonder they're included in the program... they're one of the best upper body movements you can do for your strength and physique. Chin ups are fantastic for your back and biceps, whether you're cranking out dozens of reps or just learning to do your first one.
Chances are you don't really have a great place in your house to do pull ups, which is why for P90X you'll probably want to invest in a good chin up or pull up bar.
These are simple attachments that hang (non-permanently) from a door frame and allow you to do full range of motion pull ups.
The Iron Gym Total Upper Body Workout Bar is a perfect budget option for at-home pull ups, and also doubles as a push up stand (which you'll see later on down this list). It's definitely one of the best pull up bars for P90X.
You just pop it on the doorframe when you're ready, no screws or installation involved, and then it comes right off when you're done doing your pull ups.
(Pro tip: If you aren't strong enough to do pull ups, you can use the resistance bands mentioned above to help give you an assist. Wrap one end over the bar and the other end under one of your feet for a little boost.)
Push up stands (optional)
If the pull up is the primary pull movement (back and biceps builder) on the P90X program, then the push up is its close cousin.
You'll be doing lots of push ups and push up variations to build strength in your chest, core, triceps, and shoulders.
The classic push up is truly an amazing movement for your physique and overall athleticism.
Push up stands are an optional addition to the P90X program. You don't need them to complete the program, but they offer a few cool advantages.
Basically, a push up stand is a grip or handle that's elevated a few inches off the ground. When you grab these to perform your push ups, you will:
- Have less strain on your wrists and forearms
- Be able to perform a deeper range of motion push up for more chest development
- (Sometimes) be able to rotate your arms during the push up for better muscle recruitment
If that sounds pretty good to you, you might want to check out the Perfect Fitness Perfect Pushup Elite handles. They're high-quality, designed to rate, and will hold up to 400 pounds. They're built like a tank!
(You can also sometimes use your pull up bar as a push up stand.)
Never thought you'd see dumbbells and a yoga mat on the same equipment list, huh?
Well, that's what P90X is all about. Cross-discipline, muscle confusing workouts that challenge your body each and every day.
And yes, in this program you'll be doing your fair share of yoga.
The yoga in P90X will do amazing things for your strength, core stability, balance, and overall mind-body connection. It's a crucial part of the program!
And to do it properly and comfortably, you'll want a nice yoga mat to lay down on your floor (whether that be carpeted or hardwood). A good yoga mat gives you the grip and comfort needed to hit all the poses exactly as prescribed.
The Manduka PRO yoga and pilates mat is an all-around favorite and one of the best options on the market. Especially if you find yourself taking a liking to yoga, this mat is an awesome all-purpose companion.
Yoga block (optional)
Don't sleep on yoga blocks!
If you're new to yoga and P90X is your first introduction to the discipline, or even if you're advanced and working your way up toward incredibly challenging moves, every yogi needs a yoga block or two in their arsenal.
Blocks help you reach more difficult poses, hold them for longer, and improve your overall strength and balance.
(I can personally attest to how much they help as a yoga beginner myself. Totally worth a try!)
If you're serious about getting the benefits of Yoga X, you'll want to look around for the best yoga block for P90X.
These simple REEHUT Yoga Blocks are a perfect fit for beginners, intermediates, and advanced practitioners alike. They're made of lightweight foam and are odor resistant and moisture proof, so they should hold up to even the sweatiest P90X workouts.
Heart rate monitor (optional)
At certain points in the P90X program, the workout will challenge you to hit a certain target heart rate zone for conditioning or fat burn.
That can be... a little tough to do on your own!
For that reason, a small, inexpensive heart rate monitor can be a huge help if you're hoping to do the program exactly as prescribed.
No need to buy an expensive decked-out fitness tracker when you can pick up something like the Fitness Tracker HR from Letscom for an incredibly fair price.
A simple wristband like this one can easily track and display your heart rate in real time, track your sleep, and monitor calories burned during the day or calories burned during a P90X session.
What equipment do you need for P90X2 and P90X3?
If you've worked your way through P90X, congratulations!
You might be wondering: What to do after P90X?
Well, lucky for you, there are sequels! P90X2 and 3 introduce plenty of new workouts, effective fitness strategies, and even more muscle confusion into the equation.
If you're looking to start one of the follow up programs, here's what you might need, in addition to the items listed above:
Equipment for P90X2 & equipment for P90X3:
Stability ball: You can add a stability ball (a large, inflated ball) to almost any movements (sit ups, dumbbell bench press, pushups, you name it) to instantly make it significantly harder. Stability balls challenge your core to stabilize you during exercise movements.
Medicine ball: Not to be confused with a stability ball, medicine balls are smaller, denseley weighted balls. They're also meant to make certain moves more difficult, but by adding weight rather than instability. One example: You might do leg lifts with a weighted ball between your feet for an insane ab burn.
Foam roller: Foam rollers are awesome for giving yourself a deep tissue massage at home after your P90X workouts. You'll get better muscle recovery and growth this way, that way you can be ready to hit your next day's workout hard.
Weighted bar: Weighted bars are amazing strength training tools that bring a ton of versatility to your workouts. They come in a variety of different weights (between 5-30lbs usually) depending on your strength level, and are great for HIIT and switching quickly between muscle-building movements. You'll definitely get good use out of one of these in P90X2 and P90X3.
It looks like a lot! But P90X is actually pretty simple to get started with.
If you're on a budget, I'd prioritize getting yourself a nice adjustable dumbbell set and a pull up bar. (These will also serve you well beyond P90X, whatever workout or fitness program you choose to do.)
In a pinch, you can do yoga on the carpet, estimate your heart rate, and skip the push up stands.
Get ready... you're in for a heck of a 90 days. Hope this guide has helped.
And good luck!