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Bring It: P90X Chest & Back Workout Review

Updated on January 3, 2012
The P90X DVD system consists of 12 different DVDs. The first workout you will encounter is Chest & Back.
The P90X DVD system consists of 12 different DVDs. The first workout you will encounter is Chest & Back. | Source

P90X, created by Tony Horton, is an extreme workout that is meant to sculpt and reshape your body. The system is built on three different phases. However, the entire program includes 12 different DVDS. Throughout the program you will hear a phrase that will become very familiar by the end. It is called muscle confusion.

Muscle confusion is pushing yourself through each rep (almost to failure) and giving yourself enough variety to avoid those nasty plateaus. While P90X has been set up to make this easy on you, it is also vital that you give 110%. The results will only be as good as your effort to put in.

After doing the P90X journey, I have realized each workout is very different. If you would like to follow my journey with P90X, click here to start at the beginning. This series, while documenting my own personal journey, is also filled with health and exercise advice, a few funny off the wall ideas, but most importantly, motivation and inspiration to keep on going.

When starting P90X, it is vital to first watch the introductory DVD and read through the program guidebook. This will give you the lowdown on the workouts used throughout the program. Some you will find to be painful to the point of stopping; others you will come to enjoy. The only thing you have to do is keep pushing play and remember to "Do your best and forget the rest!"

Chest & Back

Chest & Back will be the very first workout you will encounter during your journey with P90X. This is nice because it isn't overly harsh compared to some of the others. If you are following the guidelines to the T, this workout will be on Day 1 of each week for the first three weeks. It will then return in the final phase again during weeks 9 and 11. So, throughout the entire 90 days, this workout will be done a total of 5 times. This isn't to bad, so if you don't like the workout just remember 5 times out of the entire 90 days is doable for just about anyone.

This workkout is 52 minutes and 50 seconds long. The duration of the workout is one of the shorter workouts through the entire 90 days.(This is to let you know what you are getting yourself into!)

The workout really only consists of 12 moves, all about pushing and pulling. This literally means that you will be doing a bunch of pushups and pullups. There are also a few exercises that require weights. Depending on your strenth will depend on the amount of weight you use. As a female, I started off with just 5 pound dumbells; males might want to use a higher weight, especially if they are looking to build bulk.

As an extra note, you don't have to use weights at all. Now you will get bigger results from using weights, but as long as you concentrate and really flex the muscle through the workout, you will find it to be effective as well.

Keep track of EVERYTHING!!!

Tony Horton encourages that you keep track of everything. It is another way to mark your successes. Having a clipboard is a nice way to keep it organized. The sheets to track your workouts are available for free on
Tony Horton encourages that you keep track of everything. It is another way to mark your successes. Having a clipboard is a nice way to keep it organized. The sheets to track your workouts are available for free on | Source

You are gonna need these!

Iron Gym Total Upper Body Workout Bar
Iron Gym Total Upper Body Workout Bar

The pull up bar is essential in this workout. Without this you will be missing half of the workout and it is difficult to replace it with a different exercise.


The Workout

Once you start, you will be begging for mercy before you even touch the tip of the iceburg of this wokrout. You will struggle, and that is what you are going to want. For every single pull-up and push-up, you will be doing max amount of reps. As an added warning, you will do 12 exercises and repeat. The second time they will be reversed. So be careful not to burn yourself out to quickly.

As in each workout with Tony Horton, it is recommended you write everything down. There are a couple of reasons for this. Throughout the 90 days, you will be able to see your progress. If you did 5 pushups on Day 1, by the end of the program you might find yourself doing 20. If you don't write it down, you will not remember what you did and have nothing to compare it to. In addition, this helps you set goals. If you did 5of the exercise last week, this week try to shoot for a couple extra, thus pushing yourself a little harder and building those muscles up.

The workout starts off like any other. It is an absolute necessity to do a warm up. This will help prevent injuries. You will start off with marching in place and some light jogging before you do your stretches. Then, in a matter of minutes, you will be slammed into the hardcore stuff.

Throughout the workout, there will also be a few breaks. This is to give you a chance to hydrate, but don't drink too much water otherwise you might get sick. It will also give you a few mini stretches throughout and a chance to towel off. You will be sweating and that burns when it gets in your eyes. Just remember to keep moving. You don't want to cool down too much - that also could lead to injury.

The Exercises

This is a back and forth workout. You will push and then you will pull. This will target and really focus on some of the biggest muscles in your upper body - the chest and the back.

  1. Standard Push-up
  2. Wide Front Pull-up
  3. Military Push-up
  4. Reverse Grip Chin-up
  5. Wide Fly Push-up
  6. Closed Grip Overhand Pull-up
  7. Decline Push-up
  8. Heavy Pants
  9. Diamond Push-up
  10. Lawnmowever
  11. Dive-Bomber Push-Up
  12. Back Fly

This may look fairly easy, but for those who haven't tried, you don't know how wrong you are. After you finish the first set, you repeat, only you do the pulling first followed by the pushups.

The workout ends with a cool-down. While you are going to be worn out and tired and barely in the mood to move anymore, I highly recommend you push through a little longer and do the cool down. This is a necessity. It will stretch you out and will lessen the soreness you feel in a few short hours.

Reading suggestions

How to Be a Sleep Technologist - When doing P90X, you are doing an extreme workout regardless of which DVD or phase you are in. That means you are going to need some good sleep. Here is some great information on a job that studies sleep and what it does for you.

Working Out - The Best Form Of Self Torture - If you ever worked out and couldn't move afterwards, you know the pain working out can cause. Yet this is a good pain. It is to help build your musces and reshape your body. When doing P90X, you will feel sore for a while. It keeps your muscles guessing. Afterwards, you will have reshaped your body and changed your life. It is worth the torture.

What do I think of the Chest & Back Workout?

After completing the P90X program, I have a few workouts that I absolutely loathe and a few that I absolutely love. This one is neither. It isn't my favorite but it isn't the worse out of the bunch either. It sits happily in the middle somewhere.

Personally, I think this workout is rather easy compared to the others. I am not a fan of pull-ups or push-ups for that matter, but it does go by really quickly. When you have followed the video enough times and know the routine, you can actually do this workout without using the DVD. This is beneficial because you can cut past some of the wasted time (ie. Tony Horton's dialogue teaching you how to do the workout; and the time wasted because you may finish up faster then the time alotted for those working out on the tape. Remember, they are P90X veterans and will probably be doing a lot more reps then you will be starting out!)

Be warned that doing this video without the DVD can also cause you to rush through. You will be trying to cut out extra time which also will make it so you are less likely to push the extra couple reps out to get to muscle failure. This will not help you get results. So regardless of whether you push play or just do it, remember to give it your best each and every time.


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    • barbergirl28 profile image

      Stacy Harris 6 years ago from Hemet, Ca

      @Myth - Too funny. ONe of the main reasons I didn't post the final results on my facebook page was so people had to know where to look if they wanted to check it out. Granted, everybody knew I was doing it so they should expect something... but still looking for the wow factor.

      As for my ploymetrics review. I hope to have that published soon. I have been pretty preoccupied lately so I need to catch up... or I might wait until I do it again next Tuesday and have it fresh in my mind. We will see! :)

    • barbergirl28 profile image

      Stacy Harris 6 years ago from Hemet, Ca

      @Danette - I do have the Total Gym which would probably give me the same type of move that I am looking for, but what I have been using is the pull-up bar that you can place in the doorway. This works alright. I want to get the bands that attach in the door as I think they would be more effective for my purposes! :)

    • mythicalstorm273 profile image

      mythicalstorm273 6 years ago

      lol... well I googled all of the moves :-) Although some of them are a bit confusing because the people who tape themselves sometimes screw up! lol. Still it is better than nothing. I also just googled the schedule and now am doing the plyometrics even though you didn't post it yet. This one is a lot more confusing than chest & back without watching it, but like I said... I'm just doing it! lol. I think this will be very difficult for me, but I'm going to try! It takes some time to look up all of the moves and see how they are supposed to be done, but it is worth it. I probably got the best upper body workout yesterday that I have gotten in a really really long time!!

      As for Aunt Lisa, I do not know if she found it or not. We were at the Nursing home visiting Great Grandma when we were talking about it. She probably wouldn't leave a comment... I don't think. She just wanted to peak before you came home for Cassie's wedding. Anyway... Just finished finding all the moves so now it is time to workout :-)

    • Danette Watt profile image

      Danette Watt 6 years ago from Illinois

      Did you have a home gym? We do pullups in my bootcamp class but that isn't something I would be able to do at home. What other sort of equipment did you need, beyond typical stuff like dumb bells, stability balls, etc?

    • barbergirl28 profile image

      Stacy Harris 6 years ago from Hemet, Ca

      @Myth - Well I am glad you enjoyed the review and I am glad that it gave you some motivation and push to really get a good workout. I will be reviewing all the workouts eventually, however some of the workouts, with just the name, you probably won't know how to do them unfortunately.

      So did Aunt Lisa find my results so she could see or do you not know. I didn't see any commentors not on hubpages so I wasn't sure. It is going to be a big change. It will surprise people.. and I am happy to hear that I am inspiring and motivating so many others just through this and through my health nut facebook postings... lol

    • mythicalstorm273 profile image

      mythicalstorm273 6 years ago

      Well although it wasn't the workout tape I just finished a strong half hour workout using the 12 moves you listed... I can see how that could be a tough workout. By the last push-up I had a hard time completing 3. Hopefully I can keep this up as good as you did :-)

    • mythicalstorm273 profile image

      mythicalstorm273 6 years ago

      I like this... I might have to try to do these workouts (if you keep listing the moves) without the video!! I could be doing my homemade P90!!! I would of course probably revise it a tiny bit so that I can fit it into my schedule, but it might give me a taste of what I need to do! I think I am going to try that! So Keep listing the moves ;-) Very interesting hub. I was surprised to see what you were getting yourself into next, but I actually quite enjoyed reading this review. Aunt Lisa was talking about how proud she was of you today... I had to tell her how to find the results, but she was the one that brought it up! You've inspired people without even knowing it!! Very cool :-)

    • barbergirl28 profile image

      Stacy Harris 6 years ago from Hemet, Ca

      @Soldieringon - I promise tomorrow will be much better. Plyometrics is the hardest out of all the workouts (with exception to Core Synergistics - which won't even be seen until week 4) Just keep showing up and before you know it you won't even realize today was that bad. Personally, you weren't feeling well this morning and not well rested. And you didn't have your coffee an hour and a half beforehand! I think next week you will find this to be much better. Just keep showing up and the rest will play out nicely! :)

    • barbergirl28 profile image

      Stacy Harris 6 years ago from Hemet, Ca

      @Moviedude31 - The first month is easy compared to the second phase. So I guess... yeah... it gets harder! But don't worry... if you get through it the first time... you can do it again. If all else fails... fall down... laugh at yourself and give your laughing muscles a workout.

    • barbergirl28 profile image

      Stacy Harris 6 years ago from Hemet, Ca

      @Real - well, if you pushed funny I know one thing is certain... you have given your laugh muscles a workout... I modify all my moves so I can max out the reps. Yesterday... I fell on my face trying to get out one last pushup. Sometimes you fall... and when you do you have to laugh and get over it! LOL

    • Soldieringon profile image

      Soldieringon 6 years ago from Hemet, CA

      Yeah it gets harder. I didn't even finish day 2!

    • moviedude31 profile image

      moviedude31 6 years ago from Riverside, Ca

      I like it. Wait, it gets harder?! Lol

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      BBG - you are on a roll! I can't believe you are doing this! lol I had to give you a funny because I laughed thinking about me doing a milary push up! OMG - I am lucky if I can fall down right!


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