P90x for Firefighter Fitness- The Good, The Bad, The Ugly?
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… Regardless of how safe they think their dietary programs and products are, people need to recognize that supplements are not regulated by the FDA. And, 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.
–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 fire ground or rescue scene 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…that post will come shortly. For now, absorb these cons (and pros) and of course make some comments. 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.”
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