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 The Challenge Coaching, Advice, and Complete Review

Equipment Needed

Cast

Alice

Bobby

Sean

Worksheet

When does it appear in the schedules?

P90X3 Classic Schedule: Phase 1, Weeks 1-3: Day 4. Phase 3, Weeks 9 & 11: Day 3
P90X3 Doubles Schedule: Phase 1, Weeks 1-3: Day 4. Phase 3, Weeks 9 & 11: Day 3
P90X3 Lean Schedule: N/A
P90X3 Mass Schedule: Phase 1, Weeks 1-3: Day 4. Phase 3, Weeks 10 & 12: Day 4

Introduction

Welcome to P90X3's Chest & Back equivalent. Plain and simple push-ups and pull-ups, although this time around, the intensity is cranked up by shortening the breaks and having you choose a goal from the beginning. Do you have what it takes to stick with your numbers throughout?

Pros

First of all, I must say, this is one of the best cast ensembles in P90X3. Not only do you have Alice (who kicks some serious ass), but X2's Sean Callahan, as well as X and X2's Bobby Stevenson is back again. I met Sean at Beachbody's Coach Summit in June 2013 and he seems really cool and laid back, very down to earth!

As for the workout itself, no real surprises here, which may be nice for many of you. You get straight to work, cranking out push-ups and pull-ups, trying to match the numbers you set for yourself at the beginning of the workout.

The pace of this routine is unbelievable. I will discuss this later in Workout Design, but breaks are minimal, you use every last second of the 30 minutes to annihilate both your chest and back.

Cons

For those of you looking for something magical here, you may be disappointed. There really is only so many ways you can do a push-up and a pull-up, and although the other X3 routines have some great variations to include multiple body parts, this routine is basic push and pull. This may be a downfall to some of you.

I mentioned this in the video above, but I will reiterate here. The "theme" of this routine is to pick 2 numbers, one for push-ups and 1 for pull-ups, and try and reach those numbers throughout the workout.

For those individuals who have a pretty good level of strength and understanding of their body may be able to match their numbers throughout, without having to modify. However, this premise about "going to the number" can be dangerous for relative newcomers to working out and/or push-ups and pull-ups. Not only that, but certain variations of these exercises are actually significantly tougher for some people.

In my experience training individuals, most people have trouble with military-style push-ups (elbows close to your sides). Some people may be able to crank out 20 or so standard push-ups yet hardly be able to get 10 military. In these cases, individuals should focus more on getting as many clean, full range of motion push-ups rather than trying to match numbers throughout the routine.

Difficulty

Obviously, the more you push yourself (no pun intended) throughout this routine, the more difficult it will be. People who set their 'goal' reps too low may not find this routine as difficult as others, although the sheer pace of this routine will dominate you regardless.

The real kicker about this routine, is that as you get stronger and can endure more reps, the harder and harder this routine will become because the breaks between each set will shrink more and more. I give full credit to Sean in this routine, as he maintains a 40/18 all the way through...

This is easily one of the toughest routines in Phase 1, not to mention the entirety of X3!

Difficulty: 5/5

Workout Design

This routine starts with a great little 3 minute, or so, warm-up. As usual, if you need more of a warm-up, you have the "Cold Start" option included on all DVDs.

There are 16 exercises, plus a burnout. A short 30-60 second break after every 4 exercises.

This is a repeat workout, so for example you would do a set of Wide Grip Pull-ups, Standard Push-ups, Wide Grip Pull-ups, Standard Push-ups, and then break before moving on to a different variation of push and pull.

There are a few new variations of push and pull here if all you have done is the original Chest & Back, although if you have done P90X2 or Tony's 1 on 1 "30-15" then you would have seen all of these variations before.

The workout finishes with a "Burnout" round, with the full intention of destroying any morsel of ego you may have left...especially considering Tony and Sean start doing Lever Pull-ups.

Despite the lack of new variations of push-ups and pull-ups, the pacing and structure of this workout is unbelievable.

Workout Design: 5/5

Advice

If this is your first time through this routine, leave your ego at the door and choose relatively low numbers (for your capabilities). The pacing of this routine will chew you up pretty quick, so don't burn yourself out right out of the gate.

Individual Exercise Tips/Advice

Wide 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.

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.

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

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.

Close-Grip Pull-Up

Comment: Hand placement is overhand, palms facing away from you. The distance between the hands can either be 0 (hands right next to each other) or 4-6 inches apart. 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 DorsiRhomboids.
 
Secondary Muscles: BrachialisBrachioradialisBiceps BrachiiTeres MajorLevator ScapulaeTrapezius - Ascending PartPectoralis Minor.

Wide 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.

Vaulter Pull-Up

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.

Staggered Push-Up

Comment : Also a combination exercise, 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.

Overall

There really isn't anything new or 'magical' about this routine, it is pretty basic, push-ups and pull-ups. What I really like about it is the fact that you completely thrash your chest and back in just 30 minutes. Not only that, but I got the feeling that I was working out right along next to Alice, Sean, Bobby, and Tony.

Overall Score (not an average): 10/10