Tyler Robbins Fitness

B.Sc. Biochemistry, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), Certified CrossFit Trainer (CCFT/CF-L3), USA Weightlifting Level 1

P90X3 Total Synergistics Coaching, Advice, and Complete Review

Equipment Needed

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When does it appear in the schedules?

P90X3 Classic Schedule: Phase 1, Weeks 1-3: Day 1. Phase 3, Weeks 9 & 11: Day 6
P90X3 Doubles Schedule: Phase 1, Weeks 1-3: Day 1. Phase 3, Weeks 9 & 11: Day 6
P90X3 Lean Schedule: N/A
P90X3 Mass Schedule: 
Phase 1, Weeks 1-3: Day 1


Welcome to P90X3! For most schedules, this will be the very first workout you encounter in the program. This routine is quite different than "Core" or "Synergistic" routines we have seen in P90X and P90X2, but based on the same principles - work the entire body with core elements involved.


This routine covers your entire body, with a heavy "core" focus. What's different in this routine, as compared to "core" or "synergistic" routines in the past is the fact that there are actually some pull-ups involved, not to mention a lineup of essentially all-new exercises.

I really appreciate the fact that pull-ups are included in this routine. Pull-ups are great to build a strong core as it is, but the variations added to these core exercises actually takes the intensity up a step beyond that!

The efficiency of this routine is outstanding. You progress through a warm-up (which is great), and the workout, all in just 30 minutes. There are a few breaks throughout, but this one will definitely get your heart rate soaring!


Be careful of the "Boat Plow" exercise in this workout. They have you going from "boat" to "plow," and then back again, repeating. For those of you who are not familiar with plow, it is when you lay on your upper back/shoulders, with your legs extended overhead, attempting to touch your toes to the floor above/behind your head.

P90X3 is considered a program that can be done even for beginners, so if you do not have proper body control or flexibility, do not rock from boat into plow. Instead, I recommend just laying on your back and bringing your legs straight up into the air, completely perpendicular to the floor.


You would think that just a 30 minute routine would be easy, right? This will probably be a common 'thought' for most people as they progress through P90X3, but keep in mind that with a much more efficient design to the workout, you will be finding this one difficult enough to keep up with.

Previewing the workout before-hand should also give you a pretty good idea as to what resistance you should choose for specific exercises. As usual, the more resistance you use, the more difficult a routine will be, however you don't want to compromise form or safety, so those who can find that line without crossing it are the ones who will witness the most success from workouts like these (or any exercise regimen for that matter).

Technically, some of these exercises will be very challenging to most people. In order to  focus on correct form as well as maintain proper body control, you will need to practice these movements.

Difficulty: 4.5/5

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Workout Design

This is a no-repeat workout, with 16 exercises total.

The 30 minute workout begins with a 3.5 minute warm-up, followed by the main workout. The "cool-down" is not part of the main workout time, but only lasts a few minutes.

The workout loosely follows a: upper body, lower body, upper body, core, repeat pattern, however, every single exercise has a core focus to it.

I really enjoyed the structure and variation of exercises in this workout. Besides "Boat Plow" being dangerous and technically difficult for most beginner and intermediate fitness enthusiasts, the variety and structure of this workout is top-notch in my opinion. A lot of weak areas found in most individuals are targeted in this workout.

Workout Design: 5/5

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Definitely pop this workout into your DVD player and preview it first, preferably with the workout sheet in front of you so that you can get an idea of what you're in for. There are a lot of new exercises, most of which are complex and multi-body part in nature. You don't want to have to keep 'skipping' the DVD back once you get going, so by having an idea of what exercises are here is always a good idea.

Dreya is the modifier in this routine, so keep an eye on her if you have difficulty doing pull-ups, or don't have a pull-up bar. There are only 2 sets of pull-ups, so you don't have to worry about modifying too much. Also keep an eye on her for some of the "core" exercises as they can be a bit complex and tough for beginners.

Reminder: If you don't like Tony's chatter, or the music, there are options to mute both!

Individual Exercise Tips/Advice

Push-up Side Arm Balance

What to focus on - Take your time during this exercise. It is less about cranking out high repetitions, and more about body control and progressing through the movement.

How to modify - Push-ups can be done on the knees, but I recommend coming up off of your knees for the side arm balance. Keep your eyes looking at the floor at all times to help with balance when raising an arm to the ceiling.

Ways to intensify - Standard push-ups (elbows slightly flared) can be used here, but I prefer "military" push-ups where your elbows are closer to your side. These are safer for the shoulders, but also increase intensity and work the triceps more. When raising your arm to the ceiling, if you turn your head and your eyes follow your hand, that throws your balance off, making the exercise more difficult. Also, when doing the side-plank movement, staggering your feet on the floor (both feet touching the floor) would be the "easiest" as it gives you a wide base of support. Next level of intensity would be to "stack" your feet so that only the bottom foot is touching the floor. Third level of intensity and the toughest variation would be to do a leg raise during the side arm balance as well.

Crescent Chair

What to focus on - During the "chair," make sure your knees stay behind your toes, drop your butt as low as you can. During "crescent pose," your back leg should be as straight as possible, front knee should be as close to a 90 degree knee bend as you can get.

How to modify - If you are struggling with this, stand up during the chair portion, do not go as deep into the chair or crescent pose.

Ways to intensify - Hold a small dumbbell between your hands.

Pull Knee Pull

What to focus on - You are aiming to get your chin over the bar before you initiate movement in the lower body. When bringing your knees up to the bar, bring them up as high as you can, then return them to position before you lower your body. Whenever you are "crunching" when hanging, make sure to 'tilt' your pelvis forward. Think of tucking your pubic bone forward, or rounding your lower back to initiate the movement rather than just lifting your legs in order to focus more on your core and less on your hip flexors.

How to modify - If done on the pull-up bar, bring your knees as high as you can. Use a pull-up assist to help you during the pull-up phase if need be. Another option would be to have a chair help you to get your chin over the bar, then hold your body there as you bring your knees up. Watch Dreya in the video to learn how to modify here with the bands.

Ways to intensify - First of all, slow the movements down. This also should not be done at a break-neck pace. To intensify, you have a few different options. First, hold a medicine ball or small dumbbell between your knees throughout. Also, when you bring your knees up to the bar, hold your knees there for a few seconds before slowly lowering.

Flip-Flop Crunch

What to focus on - You are again focusing on slow, controlled movements. Keeping your torso as straight as possible throughout is also key. Even during the transition from one side of your body to the other, your should not allow your hips to dip or float up into the air.

How to modify - When in side plank, your lower leg can be bent and you can rest on your knee rather than just your foot.

Ways to intensify - Hold a small dumbbell in your hand. Transfer it from one hand to the next by setting on the floor during transition.

Crawly Plyo Push-Up

What to focus on - This is a slightly easier plyometric-type push-up since your leg is involved to help support your weight. The goal with any plyometric exercise is to try and get your body off the floor as quickly and as explosively as possible.

How to modify - Remove the plyometric nature of this exercise and simply do a push-up with a knee raise on each side.

Ways to intensify - Go at your own pace. Spring through these push-ups as quickly as you can, doing as many reps as you can.

Releve-Plie Weighted

What to focus on - Your heels should be as far off the ground as you can get them throughout the entire range of motion. Your calves are contracted the entire time. Hips are open throughout, with your knees tracking in the same direction your toes are pointed.

How to modify - Bring your heels to the floor during the squat.

Ways to intensify - Heavier weight.

Chin-Up Circle Crunch

What to focus on - You are trying to bring your knees as close to the bar as possible whilst keeping your chin over the bar. Your knees should follow an arch pattern. Whenever you are "crunching" when hanging, make sure to 'tilt' your pelvis forward. Think of tucking your pubic bone forward, or rounding your lower back to initiate the movement rather than just lifting your legs in order to focus more on your core and less on your hip flexors.

How to modify - Watch Dreya for the modification with bands in the video.

Ways to intensify - Hold a medicine ball or small dumbbell between your knees.

Boat Plow

What to focus on - When in boat, your body should form a 'V' shape. Both your legs and torso should be straight, only bending at the hips.

How to modify - As mentioned above, do not go into plow if you do not have the body control to do so. Instead, come out of boat, by laying on your back, raising your legs straight up into the air so that your legs are perpendicular to the ground.

Ways to intensify - During boat, pulse your legs up and down rather than keeping them static.

Balance Arch Press

What to focus on - Aim to get full extension out of your arms in this exercise. The more extended your arms are, the more balance you must maintain.

How to modify - Keep both feet on the floor or choose a very light weight.

Ways to intensify - Heavier weight. Also, rather than just lifting one foot off the floor, try sitting in 1-leg chair pose.

3 Hop Press

What to focus on - Keep the natural curvature to your spine throughout. Since you are holding a dumbbell in your hands and hopping, your balance is forward, placing stress on your lower back. Focus on keeping the weight close to your chest and sitting back into your heels throughout each squat.

How to modify - Don't use a weight, and/or remove the 'skip' or 'hop' between each squat.

Ways to intensify - Heavier weight, jump higher on each rep.

Glamour Hammer

What to focus on - Make sure you are getting 2 very distinct hammer curls out of your movements. One curl should have your forearms curling parallel to each other. The second movement, your arms should be nearly perpendicular to each other.

How to modify - Keep both feet on the floor.

Ways to intensify - Heavier weight. Also, rather than just lifting one foot off the floor, try sitting in 1-leg chair pose.

Branon Boat

What to focus on - The part of your body that is not moving should be as still as possible. So if your legs are doing the pulsing, your upper body should be still, and vice versa.

How to modify - Bend your knees.

Ways to intensify - Hold a small weight on your chest and/or between your feet.

Flying Warrior

What to focus on - Front shoulder raises are done with your palms facing each other (thumbs up). When balancing in Warrior 3 pose, your body and back leg should be as parallel to the floor as possible.

How to modify - Instead of going into Warrior 3 pose with your back leg up in the air, drop your foot to the floor in a lunge position, but make sure your upper body is still hinged at the waist in order to work the back of the shoulders during the flys.

Ways to intensify - Heavier weight.

Squat Rockers

What to focus on - Slow and controlled movements are the name of the game here. Not only that, but you should aim to keep a 90 degree knee bend throughout the exercise.

How to modify - Don't go as low in the squat. Don't use a weight. Come up out of the squat every few reps.

Ways to intensify - Heavier weight. Don't rest your elbows on your knees.

Side Rise Punch

What to focus on - You need to control the movement here in order not to put too much strain on the working shoulder. The hand with the weight should be completing a slow, controlled punch rather than a forceful one.

How to modify - Remove the "punch" and just complete side-tri-rises.

Ways to intensify - Heavier weight, but not to compromise form.

Warrior Squat Moon

What to focus on - Balance is key here. Also, you will need a fair bit of hamstring flexibility in order to complete this exercise properly. The leg that is planted on the floor should be straight.

How to modify - Rather than balancing in Warrior 3 pose, allow your back leg to touch the floor to maintain balance.

Ways to intensify - Look towards the ceiling when your arms are raised to intensify the balance elements.


I really enjoy this routine and believe that it is a great start to the program! It is intense enough to get your heart rate up and break a good sweat, but also complex enough to focus on some fundamental movement mechanics to get your body functioning properly through some athletic movements.

Overal Score (not an average): 9.5/10

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