P90X Series: Core Synergistics

Tony Horton
Year Released: 2004

Categories: Abs/Core

I should begin this review with a short disclaimer that this is the only strength workout I own from the P90X set, so I have nothing to compare it to. I split an order with a fellow Vfer to get the cardio as a solid hour of push-ups and pull-ups did not interest me :-)I should also point out that I am a fairly advanced strength exerciser, and in addition to every single beachbody program to date (including Tony's original Power 90, which I seem to be among the few who liked) I also have tried Cathe, Joyce, the Firm, Body-B-Fit and nearly everyone out there. I have NOT tried TLP or Fitprime, which I understand are similar to this workout.

That said, it is with absolutely no hyperbole at all that I say this is the oddest, most interesting and toughest home strength workout I have ever seen. Tony and the crew look slicker, fitter and scarier than ever. The workout had some extremely interesting moves, and some new twists on some old favorites. BUT---be warned that it is hard-core, and there is in my opinion a HUGE potential for injury with this routine if someone over-pushes when they are not ready. I saw this potential the first time I did this routine, and it has made me think hard about how or if I plan to continue using it.

I'll start with the good---Tony as always is a stickler for proper warm-ups, and this one felt adequate and reasonably thorough. It included the usual mix if gym-style cardio burts and static stretches held for a long time. Tony then jumps right into the moves.

First up is push-ups, with some interesting variances in hand positions. he has the hands staggered, one pushes further forward and the other at the side. Periodically you switch them. I thought htis was a very interesting change on the usual push-up, and I felt a difference.

Then he has the "banana roll" where you basically do a Pilates-type V and every few seconds roll over and resume the pose. This was where my first "don't hurt yourself" warning bell went off as it goes a bit fast here, and due to the nature of the exercise and the addition of the role move, I see potential for hurting one's back here. It's a tricky move; be careful with it.

Then we get some leaning lunges, which I quite liked, a squat variation, another push-up, a move similar to the banana roll but with less rolling, two lunge variations (one of which is similar to the pickming up the cards move Kathy Smith does int he first Lift Weights to Lose Weight video) and a short stretch break.

Round 2 begins with yet another push-up variation that I found problematic, It involved bringing alternating knees to your chest during the push-up. I found this problematic because the move is only possible if you are doing the push-up from your toes, and that sort of push-up is tough enough that I am not sure the extra balance challenge here wouldn't be a potentially dangerous distraction. Vanessa does a plan variation for people who can't do a push-up from their toes, bu Tony never points this out, so warning, keep an eye on Vanessa here :-)

We next get a hip raise, which I found problematic too because it was not very comfortable and I think it folds the back into a flexion that is neither safe nor necessary. I think there are ways to work this part of the body that are equally effective and certainly more comfortable. But that could be a personal opinion thing :-) Next we get a squat move, a sort of running plank that was quite fun, and an also fun travelling push-up. Also in this section are another of those ridiculous banana things, a lunge/kickback/curl combo, some stretches and standing oblique work.

Then we get a fancy move called the "Dreya Roll" which is one of the most hard-core things I have ever seen. I have not been so dumbfounded by an exercise since Cathe's "pike" move. It's a very impressive roll-down type move except it begins standing up, Dreya's back is perfectly straight and her hands never touch the floor. It's quite impressive, but again, I think it would be EXTREMELY easy to hurt yourself here if you aren't ready for this.

The workout ends with a short "bonus round" which I did not do.

My overall verdict: mixed. I am not sure I want to risk throwing out my back by trying this workout again all the way through. Every exercise in this workout is certainly different and impressive, but some of them are so in a show-offy way and I thinkt hat without careful supervision by a live trainer, potentially dangerous. On the other hand, some of the moves really are unique and interesting ina good way. Those, I will probably jot down on a cheat sheet and practice on ym own without the dvd.