P90X3 Eccentric Lower Coaching, Advice, and Complete Review
When does it appear in the schedules?
P90X3 Classic Schedule: Phase 2, Weeks 5-7: Day 4. Phase 3, Weeks 10 & 12: Day 6
P90X3 Doubles Schedule: Phase 2, Weeks 5-7: Day 4. Phase 3, Weeks 10 & 12: Day 6
P90X3 Lean Schedule: Phase 3, Weeks 9 & 11: Day 3
P90X3 Mass Schedule: Phase 2, Weeks 5-7: Days 2 & 5. Phase 3, Weeks 9 & 11: Days 2 & 5. Week 13: Day 4
Welcome to Phase 2 of the P90X3 Classic Schedule. "Eccentric" means muscle lengthening, so for example, lowering yourself into a squat under control. This routine uses a 3 count eccentric action with an explosive concentric muscle contraction (muscle shortening). Your muscles are stronger during eccentric movements, so it is a great way to increase "time under tension" to improve strength, durability, and hypertrophy!
A very efficient routine, you get a nice leg burn in just 30 minutes.
Compared to other P90X3 warmups, it is nice to see a bit more time spent on warming up the lower half prior to getting started here.
There are some great exercises in this routine that target the gluteus medius and hip flexors, two areas that are notorious trouble spots for a lot of people, especially when it comes to improving overall leg performance.
This is not a terribly difficult routine. Obviously the effort you put into this one will determine how "tough" it is, however, even using very heavy weights on the first few sets, majority of the workout targets smaller stabilizers such as your gluteus medius and hip flexors.
I actually think that this routine is quite well-structured, as a supplemental leg routine. There are some great exercises here that target a lot of individuals' problem areas, however, whether I like to admit it or not, majority of the population looks for that "calorie burn" type of workout, and this one pales in comparison to other leg routines.
The "Calf Dog" exercise at the end is almost laughably too easy. I really enjoyed the 3 direction calf raises at the end of P90X's Legs & Back and feel as though that would've been a perfect fit for this routine. I would've even looked beyond the fact that they repeated an exercise from X.
I would like to hear the reasoning behind the "Cross Reach" exercise. Well, not the exercise itself, but the fact that the exercise is actually done backwards in the workout. This is a lower body workout, so the slow motion 3-count should be done during the eccentric motion, or in other words, when the muscles are lengthening. Instead, the exercise is done with a 3 second concentric count, then the 'punch' and the squat happen explosively. I am not sure if this is on purpose or done in error.
I guess most people who are used to Beachbody programs are spoiled by the level of difficulty. When you compare this routine to the likes of Body Beast's Build: Legs or Bulk: Legs, this routine is much easier. Even if you factor in much heavier weights and slow eccentric actions, this routine pales in comparison, difficulty-wise, to some of Beachbody's other leg routines.
It truly is hard to attack the legs in just 30 minutes, I think if this routine was just a bit longer, akin to the 40 or so minutes used in Body Beast's leg thrashers then it would have sufficient time to work your legs over nicely.
Although I have been critical of the difficulty of this routine, I really enjoyed the workout design. The structuring of this workout, the exercise selection, and the pacing is really good.
There are some great exercises, some of which will be recognizable for those of you who have been through P90X2. There is a good collection of exercises, like those from X2, that target "trouble areas" for individuals, such as weak glute medius muscles.
There are 13 exercises in total. Every exercise is 10 repetitions, some require 2 sets (1 set for each leg). Some exercises require or recommend you hold on to a weight or resistance bands. Some of these exercises, as I've said, target some trouble areas for a lot of people so it may be quite tricky/difficult for some of you - I'm looking at you "TT Plus!"
Workout Design: 4.5/5
Comment: Maintain a straight back throughout the exercise. Keep your eyes and chest up, focusing your eyes on a fixed point on the wall/TV in front of you. I prefer to use a more standard barbell squat, although if you are using dumbbells, make sure to let the weights hang free to your sides and squat your weight through your heels. The tendency is for your weight to transfer forward over the balls of your feet. Fight that by squatting your butt behind you, also keeping your knees from tracking too far over your toes.
Comment: Aim to maintain an upright torso throughout the exercise. Front leg should bend to 90 degrees during the eccentric action before concentrically contracting. Make sure to keep the knee on your front bent leg behind your toes.
Comment: I prefer holding the the dumbbell up in front of my chest like a goblet squat instead of how the cast holds their dumbbell in this video. I find it allows me to keep a more upright posture throughout the squat and not lean too far forward.
Comment: To increase range of motion here, pistol squats can be done on a bench or sturdy platform so that trailing leg can dangle off the side.
Comment: Train and keep your lower leg (knee, down) at least parallel, or higher, throughout the entire movement. When you kick, kick your heel into the air, pointing your toe downwards to engage your glutes.
Comment: Start with a light weight here, aim to keep your upper leg parallel to the floor throughout the exercise.
Comment: Like a standard lunge, try not to lean too far forward, keep your torso erect and parallel to the floor. Lower into a 90 degree front knee bend whilst keeping your front knee behind your toes.
Comment: Make sure to push your butt back during this, essentially, 1-legged squat. Even though you are squatting on one leg, you want to still try and keep your bent knee behind your toes as much as possible. As you come out of the squat and raise your leg, make sure to point your toe to the floor to engage your gluteus medius.
Comment: As stated in the "cons" section, this exercise seems to be done 'backwards' in this routine to me. I prefer having a slow eccentric action (squatting) and then a fast concentric action (standing back up). Make sure that your "punch" is done with a light weight to start, and aim for outside of your opposite foot to really engage the glutes.
Comment: Your toe should be pointing to the ground throughout the entire movement, driving your heel high. Those of you who have gone through P90X2, you will more than likely have pretty good strength with this exercise. If you are new to this, you will more than likely have to modify as this can be a tough movement. Watch cast member Keith for a good modification.
Comment: The bent leg that is touching the floor, you should be placing all of your weight through your heel. You can probably even lift your toes off the floor and just have your heel touching. The leg that is straight up in the air should remain exactly perpendicular to the floor.
Hip Flexor Splits
Comment: This exercise could also be done whilst sitting on a bench or stool. For a bit more action in the hip flexors, as your legs open up, also slightly turn your toes outward slightly.
Comment: Pretty self-explanatory. Although Arnie used to do a similar exercise with people sitting on his back. This one will need some intensifying if you wish to build big calves...
This is a decent leg routine. It is actually holds a lot of useful leg exercises that target some trouble areas for a lot of people. The major problem lies in the fact that even when most people finish this one, they may be left with the feeling like they could've done more.
Despite the lower score, I still find this routine to be very beneficial to overall leg mobility, strength, and performance. I will be using this routine in future hybrids to target these "trouble areas" in my legs so that my other leg strengthening routines will be that much more beneficial!
Overall score (not an average): 8.5/10