Tyler Robbins Fitness

Tyler Robbins has his B.Sc. in Biochemistry: Pre-Medical, is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), is certified through USA Weightlifting, and a CrossFit Level 2 Trainer.

P90X3 Eccentric Upper Coaching, Advice, and Complete Review

Equipment Needed

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Cast

Rob

Sean

Kathleen

Worksheet

When does it appear in the schedules?

P90X3 Classic Schedule: Phase 2, Weeks 5-7: Day 1. Phase 3, Weeks 10 & 12: Day 3
P90X3 Doubles Schedule: Phase 2, Weeks 5-7: Day 1. Phase 3, Weeks 10 & 12: Day 3
P90X3 Lean Schedule: Phase 3, Weeks 9 & 11: Day 6
P90X3 Mass Schedule: Phase 2, Weeks 5-7: Days 1 & 4. Phase 3, Weeks 9 & 11: Days 1 & 4. Week 13: Day 5

Introduction

Welcome to Phase 2 of the P90X3 Classic Schedule. "Eccentric" means muscle lengthening, so for example, lowering yourself from your chin-up bar 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!

Pros

Your entire upper body is covered here in a well laid-out structure. You progress through the workout, starting with multi-joint exercises (push-ups and pull-ups) and proceed to single-joint assistance work later on (biceps and triceps).

Even those of you who are great at cranking out pull-ups will struggle here. By slowing down the pace and forcing you to control your eccentric actions with a 3 count really fires up the muscles, increases their time under tension, and challenges you in new ways that many of you have probably never experienced!

As with all of the X3 routines, this one wastes little time in working you too. There a few very short breaks in here, enough to allow you to somewhat catch your breath, but the fact that there are short breaks with lots of muscle tension should improve your overall durability of your muscles as well as help you build some muscle.

Cons

To this day, I still do not know why Tony uses the staggered foot technique when doing standing resistance exercises. By placing your feet in a staggered stance, you are turning your hips and lower back, which could possibly lead to injury or muscular imbalance. I honestly don't know many trainers who would ask a client to lift weights this way.

Instead, I suggest placing your feet in line with each other, about shoulder-width apart with a slight bend to your knees.

Another small con for me is that there doesn't seem to be enough chest work in this routine. I love push-ups, and they are great for upper body training, but for some people, a few sets of 10 repetitions, even when done with a 3-count eccentric phase, won't be challenged enough. If you have a weighted vest or backpack around, you may want to use it. I recommend doing this routine at least once through to get an idea where you should or shouldn't use extra weight for push-ups.

Difficulty

I personally really enjoyed Phase 1 of P90X3, although I can see why some people wouldn't be as big of fans, especially if they are so used to the original P90X. With only 1 true upper body-centric workout in Phase 1 (The Challenge), some people may be feeling like they want to work their upper body just a little bit more.

Well, I have good news for you. Get ready to get punched in the face with this routine as soon as you start Phase 2. This one will work you...big time!

There is definitely some "method to their madness" by Beachbody and/or Tony placing The Challenge in Phase 1 of X3. The goal there is to get your upper body primed and ready for this routine. This one isn't going to be as beneficial if you aren't already pretty good at push-ups, pull-ups, and have some decent upper body strength.

The 3 count, controlled manner of the eccentric actions in this routine will have even the most seasoned P90X veterans struggling, especially during the pull-ups, which can be very humbling!

Without a doubt, this has to be one of the toughest upper body resistance routines I have done in quite some time!

Difficulty: 5/5

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Workout Design

This routine begins with a very short, standard P90X3 warm-up. You then jump right into the action. You of course have the option (if time permitting) to use the "Cold Start" warm-up that is included on every DVD.

There are 19 exercises in total, with a "Burnout" at the end. The routine follows a "Chest-Back-Shoulder" pattern for 5 rounds (15 exercises) and then you finish off with 2 exercises each of biceps and triceps work.

As you can tell, 19 exercises, plus a burnout, in only 30 minutes will humble even the fittest dudes and dudettes out there.

I love the sequencing of this routine, as your biceps and triceps get tons of work in the chest, back, and shoulder exercises, so there isn't as much need for isolation exercises for those small muscle groups anyways.

This is definitely a routine that I will be gladly using, and enjoying for weeks, months, and years to come!

Workout Design: 5/5

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Advice

Standard Push-Up

Comment : Both upper and lower body must be kept straight throughout movement. For lower intensity, knees can be on the ground, or hands can be elevated to a chair or bar. The higher the bar, the less resistance needed (easier the exercise). To intensify, elevate feet or place (secure) weight on back.

Primary Muscles: Pectoralis Major - Sternocostal Part and Abdominal Part.

Secondary Muscles: Deltoid - Clavicular PartTriceps Brachii - Lateral, Longus, and Medius.

Standard Pull-Up

Comment: Try and prevent body movement during this exercise. There should be no swaying to build momentum. If you are unable to pull your body weight up using your own strength, then consider using an aide such as resistance bands or a chair. To intensify this exercise, add a weight belt, vest, or backpack.
  
Primary Muscles: Latissimus Dorsi .

Secondary Muscles: BrachialisBrachioradialisBiceps BrachiiTeres MajorLevator ScapulaeTrapezius - Ascending Part,Pectoralis Minor.

Military Press

Comment : To maximize this exercise, ensure that the weights return to the sides of your shoulders after each repetition. Your elbow angle should be less than 90 degrees. Both the concentric and eccentric actions should be done in control.

Primary Muscles:  Deltoid - Clavicular Part.

Secondary Muscles: Deltoid - Acromial PartTrapezius - Transverse and Ascending PartsTriceps Brachii - Lateral, Longus, and Medius.

Military Push-Up

Comment: Keep your elbows close to the side of your torso throughout the full range of motion. Do not let them flare out to the side like a standard push-up. Both upper and lower body must be kept straight throughout movement. For lower intensity, knees can be placed on the ground, or hands can be elevated to a chair or bar. The higher the bar, the less resistance needed (easier the exercise). To intensify, elevate feet or place (secure) weight on back.

Primary Muscles: Pectoralis Major - Sternocostal Part and Abdominal PartTriceps Brachii - Lateral, Longus, and Medius.

Secondary Muscles: Deltoid - Clavicular Part.

Chin-Ups

Comment: Try and prevent body movement during this exercise. There should be no swaying to build momentum. If you are unable to pull your body weight up using your own strength, then consider using an aide such as resistance bands or a chair. To intensify this exercise, add a weight belt, vest, or backpack.

Primary Muscles: Latissimus DorsiBrachialisBrachioradialisBiceps Brachii

Secondary Muscles: Teres MajorLevator ScapulaeTrapezius - Transverse and Ascending PartPectoralis MinorDeltoid - Posterior Part.

Deep Swimmer's Presses

Comment: You must really focus on the pacing of the eccentric action here, as lowering the weights too fast can cause your arms to drop past 90 degrees or your back to bend forward. You must keep a tight core throughout to maintain a straight body. Only your arms should be moving.

Primary Muscles:   Deltoid - Clavicular Part.

Secondary Muscles: Triceps Brachii - Lateral and Longus.

Fly Push-Ups

Comment: Pay attention to the little 'trick' Sean/Tony show you during the workout about the distance between your hands or push-up stands. Both upper and lower body must be kept straight throughout movement. For lower intensity, knees can be placed on the ground, or hands can be elevated to a chair or bar. The higher the bar, the less resistance needed (easier the exercise). To intensify, elevate feet or place (secure) weight on back.

Primary Muscles: Pectoralis Major - Sternocostal Part and Abdominal Part.

Secondary Muscles: Deltoid - Clavicular PartTriceps Brachii - Lateral, Longus, and Medius.

V Pull-Up

Comment: Try and prevent body movement during this exercise. There should be no swaying to build momentum. If you are unable to pull your body weight up using your own strength, then consider using an aide such as resistance bands or a chair. To intensify this exercise, add a weight belt, vest, or backpack.

Primary Muscles: Latissimus Dorsi .

Secondary Muscles: BrachialisBrachioradialisBiceps BrachiiTeres MajorLevator ScapulaeTrapezius - Ascending Part,Pectoralis Minor.

Upright Hammer Pull

Comment : A variation to the upright row, the wrists and dumbbells travel through a range of motion so that the dumbbells go from parallel to the ground to perpendicular to the ground to help prevent impingement in the shoulder.

Primary Muscles: Deltoid - Acromial Part.

Secondary Muscles:  Deltoid - Clavicular PartBrachialisBrachioradialisBiceps BrachiiTrapezius - Transverse and Ascending PartSerratus AnteriorInfraspinatusTeres MinorSupraspinatus.

Staggered Push-Ups

Comment : A combination exercise, on one arm, the elbow will flare out to the side similar to a standard push-up whereas the other arm will have the elbow tucked against the torso. Both upper and lower body must be kept straight throughout movement. For lower intensity, knees can be placed on the ground, or hands can be elevated to a chair or bar. The higher the bar, the less resistance needed (easier the exercise). To intensify, elevate feet or place (secure) weight on back.

Primary Muscles: Pectoralis Major - Sternocostal Part and Abdominal PartTriceps Brachii - Lateral, Longus, and Medius.

Secondary Muscles: Deltoid - Clavicular Part.

Rocket Launcher Row

Comment : To get the most out of this exercise, make sure you are squeezing your shoulder blades, focusing on contracting your back muscles. You do not want your body moving, only the arm and upper back should be doing the pulling action. Your torso should be secure over a strong, bent, front leg, although not resting on it.

Primary Muscles:  Latissimus Dorsi.

Secondary Muscles: Biceps BrachiiTrapezius - Transverse PartRhomboids.

Lateral/Anterior Raise

Comment: Any straight-arm variety of a shoulder fly should be completed with very light resistance. Although you are aiming for a more explosive concentric action here, you should not allow your hands to travel higher than your jawline.

Primary Muscles:  Deltoid - Clavicular (front) and Acromial (lateral) Part.

Secondary Muscles: Deltoid - Acromial (front) and Clavicular (lateral) PartTrapezius - Transverse and Ascending PartSerratus AnteriorSupraspinatus.

Plyo Push-Ups

Comment : Both upper and lower body must be kept straight throughout movement even though you are trying to push your body up explosively, you should try and minimize your body movement to build momentum.

Primary Muscles: Pectoralis Major - Sternocostal Part and Abdominal Part.

Secondary Muscles: Deltoid - Clavicular PartTriceps Brachii - Lateral, Longus, and Medius.

Vaulter Pull-Ups

Comment: This is a combination between a pull-up and chin-up since one hand is facing palm-away and one palm facing towards you. Try and prevent body movement during this exercise. There should be no swaying to build momentum. If you are unable to pull your body weight up using your own strength, then consider using an aide such as resistance bands or a chair. To intensify this exercise, add a weight belt, vest, or backpack.

Primary Muscles: Latissimus DorsiBrachialisBrachioradialisBiceps Brachii

Secondary Muscles: Teres MajorLevator ScapulaeTrapezius - Transverse and Ascending PartPectoralis MinorDeltoid - Posterior Part.

Pterodactyl Flys

Comment: Light resistance here, even if you can usually lift more weight than what you are using because the eccentric action should be slow and in control.

Primary Muscles: Deltoid - Posterior Part.

Secondary Muscles:  Trapezius - Transverse and Ascending PartSerratus AnteriorSupraspinatus.

Rocket Launcher Kickbacks

Comment: Since we are working the backs of your upper arms, hinge at your elbows only and do not allow too much movement from the shoulders. Your upper arms (shoulder to elbow) should remain parallel to the ground.

Primary Muscles: Triceps Brachii - Lateral, Longus, Medius.

Flip Flop Combo

Comment: Make sure to keep a nice, controlled movement throughout, including the time it takes you to rotate your hands.

Primary Muscles: Biceps Brachii.

Secondary Muscles: BrachialisBrachioradialis.

Tricep Skyfers

Comment: Try and keep your upper arms parallel to each other so that your elbows do not flare out to the sides too far. To intensify, try placing your feet in different positions whether they are further away from you (straight legs) or on a chair/bench at varying heights.

Primary Muscles: Triceps Brachii - Lateral, Longus, Medius.

Secondary Muscles: Deltoid - Clavicular PartLevator ScapulaeLatissimus DorsiPectoralis Minor.

Kneeling Preacher Curl

Comment: The idea behind this "preacher curl"-type exercise is to maintain a stationary upper arm. By having your arms hang, you are removing the opportunity for your upper arms to "cheat" and help you curl the weight.

Primary Muscles: Biceps Brachii.

Secondary Muscles: BrachialisBrachioradialis.

Overall

Despite a few minor gripes, there is no denying that this is a phenomenal upper body resistance routine that should be challenging for everyone who tries it. Start the first week off with much lighter weight than you may think as the slow eccentric actions will toast your muscles. Enjoy!

Overall score (not an average): 10/10

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