The popularity of P90X can be attributed to the fact you don’t need a gym membership or expensive equipment to do it. You can get outstanding results with a modest collection of equipment.
I’ve broken the list 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 problem with it is 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 Extreme. 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 indispensible. The wide array of exercises that can be done 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 for great effect. There are plenty of exercises that are awkward with dumbells, so it is best to keep an open mind. Switch it up between resistance bands and free weights as the need arises.
Bodylastics makes the best quality bands out there. Don’t cheap out as the lower priced products are prone to break. You’ll need a variety of bands with different tensions. Make it easy on yourself by getting the Max Tension Edition set – it’s perfectly balanced for P90X.
When you think of working out chances are images of dumbells 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 dumbells 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, the 32-pound set from Altus Athletic is ideal for toning. It features 3-pound, 5-pound, and 8-pound neoprene-coated dumbbells and includes a cool triangular stand. The rubberized 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 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.
The durafoam exercise mat from Harbinger is a versatile one. It excels as a plyometrics and yoga mat, making it one 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.
The Timex T5G971 is a top-selling personal heart monitor with the right amount of features for P90X at a decent price. The read out is pretty massive which makes it easy to keep an eye on your progress.