Yikes–it appears I haven’t updated my blog in quite some time . . . sorry folks! All I can say is that life has been busy and I just haven’t had time to check in here as often as I should! However, I’m still pressing play even though I think I’ve reached the doldrums of the P90X program. I’ve read that most people see the greatest results in the latter part of the program. While I got pretty excited about my results during the first week or two, things started to get stagnant around the first recovery week. Apparently this is normal, so I’m trying not to worry about it too much.
A couple weeks ago when I was able to comfortably fit into my skinny jeans I got pretty excited. However, now I have little else to gauge my success on other than trying to get rid of the jiggly mini-muffin top which sits on top of my abs. I really despise the fact that we can’t spot burn fat.
I did have a minor breakthrough last week with pull-ups. No, I can’t do a pull-up yet, but I know what it feels like to do a pull-up–if that makes sense. I finally figured out how to do modified pull-ups properly using a chair and step stool. No more bands for me. Thanks to some help from my husband, I no longer feel like I’m working out my thighs when I do modified pull-ups. Perhaps I can explain . .
I think the problem I had originally was that I was starting out too far below the pull-up bar. I’m pretty short, so I have to stand on my tippy-toes to reach the pull-up bar. So, when I tried to modify the pull-ups using a chair I really had to push-up with my leg to get myself up there. When my husband showed me how he modified his pull-ups, I noticed that instead of stepping on top of the chair and pushing up with his leg, he simply laid his leg across the top of it. He said, “Doing this gets rid of about 20 pounds of body weight.” Ding-ding-ding! However, this wasn’t something I could do because my legs are too short.
So, I ran upstairs and grabbed our step stool which I placed under the pull-up bar. Now, while standing with both feet on the step-stool, I can hoist myself up a little higher and simply lay one leg across the top off the chair while I pull myself up. (I think Dreya does this in one part of the Legs and Back video.) Now, I can’t quite get myself up over the top of the bar because my arms are too short, but I can still go through the motions of a pull-up without pushing up on my leg. I like this method instead of using the bands, because I think it prepares your body better for doing a real pull-up. Also, you can still do all the different pull-up variations this way, including the ever-popular “Corn Cobs.”
In a perfect world, I would start off with my pull-up bar about 2 feet off the ground and do modified pull-ups with both my legs extended and heels on the ground (kind of like an upside-down push-up). As you get stronger and stronger, the bar gets higher and higher. However, few of us have easy access to this type of equipment in our homes and are forced to adapt.
Another thing I started doing was negative pull-ups and chin-ups which seems to be helping. When you do these you can really feel your abdominal muscles working which is kinda weird. In addition to negative pull-ups you can also do an isometric pull-up which involves holding yourself over the top of the bar for as long as possible. I seem to be really terrible at those. Another trick I’ve added to my arsenal of exercises in my quest to do the ever-so-important first pull-up is the simple “hang” exercise. If you’re like most (wimpy non-P90X) people, your arms aren’t used to holding all your body weight. Simply hanging from the pull-up bar (15 seconds is good) gets your body used to the feeling. You can also pulse up and down with your arms to wake up all those sleepy muscle groups. Of course, you don’t want to go crazy with all these exercises while doing P90X but I usually throw a few in on my non-cardio days.
I also had some other minor breakthroughs during Yoga X . . . I can almost do Crane (almost) and during the hamstring stretches at the very end I can actually grab my foot below the toes on my right side. Wow!
Anyway, hopefully my second recovery week goes better than the first. While I continue to wait for the next stage of excitement, I’m going to remember the following words from Steve Edwards:
In any program you plan for a peak. P90X is designed to peak late. Once you’ve adapted to a set routine you have a short peak period where fitness gains happen very rapidly. In a perfect world, we’ve set this up to happen in block three. And this is where most people make the greatest improvements.
As an example, during our initial test group there was nearly a mutiny due to lack of gains. This was because our small group (4 people) was in breakdown through the first two stages and weren’t seeing great results. The all wanted us (me and Tony) to alter the schedule of the program. I drew a chart on a blackboard, showing them what was supposed to happen. Tony backed me up and the program stayed as designed. All of those people’s results went nuts during block three and they stopped complaining.
I’d like some of those nuts . . . wouldn’t you??
You can read through my entire P90X journey here: My P90X Experience
Do you have more questions about P90X? Check out my archived list of P90X Articles as well as P90X Questions. If your question isn’t answered there, please submit it using the comments form below or use my contact page.