Although the hype has cooled down and many competitors have tried to top it over the years, 90X is as effective as when it was released.
Part of the popularity of P90X can be attributed to the fact you don’t need a gym membership or extensive equipment to do it. You can get outstanding results with a modest collection of gear.
I’ve broken this list of equipment for P90X into two sections. The first is made up of must-own workout gear. The second section breaks down the stuff recommended by Tony Horton that you don’t need to get started. Pick up the absolutely essential equipment before you start the program then add optional gear once you are sure P90X is for you.
Equipment Needed for P90X
1. Pull-up Bar
This very well could be the most important item in your arsenal. Pull-ups work a number of muscles on your upper body, including: biceps, latissimus dorsi (lats), forearm muscles, deltoids and abdominals. There is no suitable alternative that does so much for your body so pull-ups are a must.
The cheapest, most convenient type of pull-up bar is the type that hangs on a door frame. No drilling or permanent modification to your door is required, which is especially good for apartment dwellers.
Tony Horton of course recommends the chin-up bar by Beachbody (the same company that owns 90X). It’s an okay choice but there are alternatives that cost half the price and are just as good. Loads of members at bodybuilding.com swear by the inexpensive Iron Gym Xtreme. It’s a big step up from the original Iron Gym. Save yourself some time and get it now.
2. Resistance Bands
A good set of resistance bands are indispensable. The wide array of exercises that can be done with them is mind-boggling, especially with the door attachment in the mix.
Don’t assume these are just for the ladies. Macho men among us can use the maximum tension bands to great effect. There are plenty of exercises that are awkward with dumbbells, so it is best to keep an open mind. Switch it up between resistance bands and free weights as the need arises.
Bodylastics makes some of the best quality bands out there. Don’t cheap out as some lower priced products are prone to break. You’ll need a variety of resistance bands with different tensions for P90X, so it makes sense to pick up a set.
Make it easy on yourself by getting a comprehensive set that’s a step up from the standard offerings. As you progress through P90X and build strength it’s best to have at least five or six bands with different tensions to choose from.
When you think of working out chances are images of dumbbells pop into your mind. A good set is absolutely essential for a good upper body workout.
Preferences vary widely among men and women. Men tend to like to pump iron in a stationary stance while women use dumbbells while engaged in cardio exercise. For this reason, I have separate recommendations depending on your gender.
For men, the Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells are incredible. By turning the dial while the weights are sitting in their station, you get a weight customized for an activity. This gives you three things: quick access, portability and a compact package.
For women, a simple set of neoprene-coated dumbbells is ideal for toning. A standard set includes 3-pound, 5-pound, and 8-pound dumbbells, and it all rests on a cool triangular stand. The rubber-like material makes them a pleasure to work with.
4. Exercise Mat
Unless you want your carpet to smell like a locker room you need to invest in a good exercise mat. In P90X, mats are used for plyometrics and yoga exercises. It is of course important that the product you choose is slip-resistant, comfortable, ample in size and easy to clean.
Durafoam exercise mats from brands like Harbinger and BalanceFrom are durable and versatile. These excel as both plyometrics and yoga mats, making them some of the best choices for P90X.
Optional Equipment for P90X
The following are recommended by Tony Horton in the “How to Bring It” video. I’m listing these as optional because the items in the previous list are all you need to follow the program.
1. Yoga Blocks
These can be useful if you are new to yoga, need extra support, or are advanced enough to lengthen your stretches. Blocks are available in a variety of materials, although cork is currently very popular.
Cork blocks by Hugger Mugger are made from the bark of long-lived cork oak trees. They are nice and sturdy yet not overly hard. Some find them too heavy so keep your individual ability at yoga in mind before purchasing.
2. Heart Rate Monitor
Sometimes it can be challenging to know if you are working too hard at a cardio exercise or not hard enough. A heart rate monitor quickly gives you feedback without a personal trainer around yelling encouraging catch-phrases.
Fitness tech has changed significantly since P90X was released. You can invest in a smartwatch to track your heart rate, plus map out your runs, and so much more. The top choices are Apple Watch, Samsung Galaxy Watch, and Fitbit.
The Pulse Oximeter Fingertip is a top-selling personal heart monitor with the right features for P90X at a decent price. It’s perfect for people that prefer a compact device rather than a wearable.