Is P90X an Effective Workout for Firefighters?
So, now that you know some of the pros, let’s look at the cons of P90X.
–Teaching Technique– The videos show people performing the exercises but doesn’t spend a lot of time actually teaching the proper form. This is especially a problem because many of the exercises include lower-body movements (such as squats, dead lifts and lunges) that can be especially dangerous if they’re not done properly.
–Sales Pitches– Beware of plugs for P90X nutritional supplements, says Comana. “Regardless of how safe they think their dietary programs and products are, people need to recognize that supplements are not regulated by the FDA.” Lastly, at the end of some (if not all) of the videos, the parent company likes to slip in advertisements for their back-end nutritional products. Pathetic. Tony’s even a little guilty of going a bit over the line “hawking” these products during the video. I came to work out guys – not to be pitched on something.
–Not for everyone— If you have a previous injury or are imbalanced in anyway, this program may not be for you. There are some movements that can potentially lead to overuse injuries (shoulder and knee tendinitis, low back pain).
–The speed of the workouts-– P90X workouts follow a specific format which means you have to keep up with the videos. while this insures a good workout it can sometimes lead to improper form and “rushed” reps along with an overwhelming feeling of “trying to keep up.”
–While I like Tony’s personality, I can see why he might get on some people’s nerves. He does talk a lot. I guess this works out since there are other people I the videos that appear to be afraid to talk.
–-The Nutrition guide— The nutrition guide was just about as helpful as the fitness book. This plan I am sure would help me lose weight – but I am not going to follow it. I’m sure I would lose weight if I ate berries and oats for the rest of my life, but it doesn’t mean I want to. Again, the design of the book is nice; I just see a lot of people wanting to follow this plan.
–Forget About Your “Beach Muscles”–The P90X program refers to the shoulders and arms as your “beach muscles” which is something that I’m sure will motivate many people. However, Firefighters, EMTs and paramedics need to have more than beach muscles. Here lies another problem, some of the workouts focus on particular muscle groups instead of full body exercise. These types of workouts don’t seem to match the demands of our job, almost every movement we do on the fireground or ems scend requires compound full body functional movement.
–Muscle Confusion doesn’t necessarily mean muscle adaptation— It’s difficult to make significant gains in strength without eventually increasing exercise resistance beyond body weight. Although the P90X program does suggest using dumbbells for some exercises, even this can be limiting unless one buys a complete set which can be quite expensive and take up a lot of space. The plyometrics workout is hard on the knees and joints, so exercise caution with this workout and modify as necessary
This is not an all-encompassing list of the pros and cons of the program, I know that I missed some. I’m not going to get into whether or not I find it valuable for all firefighters…I think they have some great workouts. With that in mind I think also, that they could be used every once in a while but not as the stand alone workout. Like anything though if the workouts are “working” for you then stick to then… are they the “best” for Fire Rescue Athletes? Take a look below…
I welcome all comments and emails with open arms and an open mind.
Stay safe and remember to “Train like a life depends on it.”
I like to mix p90x with insanity and add a day of power lifting. I use the 90x chest and back as well as shoulders bis tris. In between I use cardio power and endurance from insanity. After the day after shoulder day I use the fit test from insanity in a HIT style wearing an MSA facepiece for inspitory resistance. I have not been able to do the whole workout with the facepiece on yet. My last day I do Power Lifting with plate weights and kettle bell swings. This has been working well as a five day program I can do in my basement. If I can’t do 5 continuous days I jump back in the program where I left off.
Sounds like an intense workout program, do you take time to recover: yoga, foam rolling, etc?
Great info over the last two days. I have done P90x and Insanity, and personally I get a lot more from insanity than P90X. The Plyo workout leaves me in a pool of sweat and feeling accomplished, whereas the arms/shoulders I barely break a sweat (yes, I use plenty of weight). I believe for what we do, the cardiovascular is much more important than tossing around heavy weights. In a normal fire ground situation, we push ourselves to the limit for 20 to 30 minutes, and for the most part, it’s over. Interval training seems to be best suited for the profession. Duty days I will design a workout of 4 or 5 high intensity exercises and perform them with minimal rest between and do the circuit 3 or 4 times. Off duty days I run. It’s whatever works best for you I guess.
Thanks for the feedback Scott, it sounds like you have a great idea on what works for you in keeping you “fit for duty.” Cardio recovery and power are a huge aspect of fire rescue fitness that is defiantly over-looked by a lot of firefighters.
Can you do a review of the insanity max 30 for firefighter maybe for the endurance and cardio aspect of the training ?