P90 Masters: Core Cardio

Tony Horton
Year Released: 2005

Categories: Abs/Core , Circuit Training (cardio and weights)

This is a short interval workout that alternates core work with cardio which felt choppy due to the short intervals and lengthy instructions. Tony is pretty goofy & silly throughout and doesn't seem to have his usual strength or endurance. I felt the workout was too short and it did not offer enough reps to substantially improve core strength for the intermediate or advanced exerciser. During the cardio intervals my heart rate stayed in my training zone less than 13 minutes, not enough for me to count as a good cardio workout. Too much Tony and not enough exercise if you ask me.

Overall this workout felt like a choppy mix of a few of the core exercises from P90X Core Synergistics thrown together with some cardio moves. I felt compelled to compare this workout to Power Half Hour and P90X and comparatively this workout moves slowly and has no flow. For some reason in PHH Ab Burner it felt good to me to break up traditional ab moves with cardio intervals to give your abs a break. In this workout the same concept doesn't flow well, doing a deep-stretching core move and then jumping up to do boxer shuffles.

It's a 48-minute workout that includes 9 minutes of warm-up and 9 minutes of cool-down - with the body of the workout clocking in at 30-minutes.

The workout is structured so you do four exercises, repeat the four exercise sequence, maybe take a 30-second water break, then go onto the next set of four exercises. Tony doesn't repeat the first set of four exercises (oversight?) but does for the next two sets of four exercises. So essentially the workout is made up of 12 exercises and you are repeating 8 of the exercises.

It just doesn't seem logical that you could spend 30 minutes doing 12 exercises, each for 30 seconds or 25 reps. Tony spends a great deal of time introducing each exercise and since the number of reps or length of exercise time is much shorter than in P90X it ends up slowing the workout down.

Is this workout likely to be a good 'bridge' between Power 90 and P90X? I'm not positive because I've never done Power 90. However, from doing PHH and P90X I would say that most folks would find it more logical to modify P90X and do fewer reps with no weights and build up to doing the full workout & series. I just don't think doing the 6 core exercises in Core Cardio for 30 seconds or 25 reps is going to produce gains and bring you up to speed to do P90X Core Synergistics - which contains 21 different core exercises.

If you're looking for a good innovative cardio workout with some core work in it I would recommend TLP's Yorktown/Functional Foundations Core Cardio workout over this one. If you're interested in intermediate-level toning intervals that includes ab & lower back exercises, I'd recommend Tom Holland's Abs Diet. If you want sweaty cardio and lots of oblique work to prepare you for kickboxing, I'd take Michael Olajide's Killer Abs & Back over this workout anyday.

Back to my current review... the workout features Tony, Dreya and Dan in a bright studio setting with hardwood floors, light blue sponge-painted walls and bright big windows including one floor-to-ceiling. At various points Tony appears very winded or fatigued and he does his usual silly clowning around. For example, he pretends that a particularly difficult exercise is easy and fakes pouring & drinking a cup of coffee between reps. Or he feigns yawning or falling asleep while stretching and prompts someone to wake him up - which Dreya does "Tony, wake up, wake up Tony".

There are four audio selections on the main menu: Normal, Music Off, Heavy Music & Cues and Cues Only. The music is light pop-rock-instrumental. The volume for both vocal cues and music was very low on the "Normal" setting. I had my TV volume turned all the way up to maximum volume to hear Tony & the music. I found the "Heavy Music & Cues" option to be nearer to normal volume level, this was the best way for me to hear the music in this workout. This may be a defect - and may only be an issue with my DVD.

In my opinion there is one big problem with the music in this workout: the music only plays during the actual exercises and since the majority of the workout time is spent with instruction and demonstration THERE IS NO MUSIC during the majority of the workout. The result is that most of the time you're listening to Tony talk, gasp, explain, groan, solicit opinions from the background exercisers, etc.

The workout utilizes the count-down timer typical for BeachBody workouts (with the total countdown on the right & a counter or timer on the left showing how many reps left or how many seconds left to a given exercise). New to this workout is the little 'Tony bubbles' that pop up on the screen with a picture of Tony and a caption bubble with a form pointer, hints and silly/funny comments.

It's a little like the info bubbles that pop up during a "Dummies" workout or on an MTV production. I found it a little annoying because I had to turn my volume way up and the little blipping sound was annoying. Mostly I tuned it out though and didn't pay much attention to the info bubbles. Some bubbles had form pointers like "Lean when you kick" "Keep your knees behind your toes" or silly comments like "Riverdance?" when Tony & the exercisers are shuffling. If you weren't getting enough Tony before then you certainly are now!

The workout begins almost immediately - no lengthy opening introduction discussing the development of the series as in P90X. Tony introduces the crew, suggests the required equipment (mat, heart-rate monitor, water, towel) and in less than a minute, you're getting started.

The breakdown includes a 9 min warm-up, 30 minute workout & 9 minute cool-down and stretch.

WARM-UP 9 min
dynamic warm-up 2.5 min (jog, frog jumps)
stretch 6.5 min (overhead stretch, swan dive, hamstring stretch, hamstring lunge, standing quad stretch, plie, chest stretch, overhead stretch, arm stretches, neck rolls)

WORKOUT 30 min
FIRST SET (6.5min)
(1) Prison cell push-ups (from P90X CS: like a burpee or chatarunga) x 1 min
(2) Side kicks (alternate 5 on each side)
(3) Abranome (core move on back with legs extended straight overhead, tip legs to one side, then bring them back up & drop them to the other side)
(4) Crescent quick switch (variation of leaning crescent lunges from P90X CS: alternating reverse lunges, 30 reps, put arms overhead 1/2 way through)
WATER BREAK (40 seconds)
SECOND SET (6 min)
(5) Cockeyed sphinx push-up (modification of staggered hands push-up & sphinx push-up from P90X CS: plank push-ups from forearms, placing one hand further up than the other, straighten both arms, then lower) alternating 3 with one hand further North, then the other for 3 reps.
(6) Run jacks (30 seconds of jogging with jumping jack arms, then 30 seconds of jumping jack legs with arms swinging naturally as if jogging)
(7) Kayak bike (variation of P90X Ab Ripper exercise: v-sit, bicycle legs while clasping hands together and twisting to pound the floor on either sides of torso) 30 reps [This one was HARD! Thank goodness there's only 30 reps!}
(8) Lateral lunge touch (variation of lunge & reach exercise from P90X CS: side lunge, pull opposite arm overhead then reach over to touch floor beside bent leg), alternating sides for 30 reps
((REPEAT EXERCISES 5-8 AGAIN)) (5.5 min)
THIRD SET (5.5 min)
(9) Dreya roll push-up (variation of exercise in P90X CS: combination of backwards roll then roll forward for a plank and then a push-up & finally stand up) for 30 seconds
(10) Defensive back scoot (side shuffle sort of like a grapevine while looking over your shoulder and moving forward & back 3 times, then switching directions)
(11) Feet to fingers crunch (prone, legs out, arms overhead on floor, raise legs & arms together up to middle - sort of like a stability ball transfer move without the ball :D)
(12) Boxer switch (boxer stance facing right, jump & switch feet to face left, repeat) 30 reps
dynamic (ballistic hug, walking) 1.5 min
static stretch (overhead stretch, hamstring stretch, runner's lunge stretch, cat stretch, leg stretch, torso stretch) 7.5 min

Instructor Comments:
ony is pretty goofy & silly throughout and doesn't seem to have his usual strength or endurance. At various points Tony appears very winded or fatigued and he does his usual silly clowning around. For example, he pretends that a particularly difficult exercise is easy and fakes pouring & drinking a cup of coffee between reps. Or he feigns yawning or falling asleep.

Dawn P