If you are just about to start P90X, you’re going to be in for a rude awakening the day after the first workout, Chest & Back. You might even wake up in the middle of the night, wondering why your shoulders and chest hurt so bad that you can barely move. Don’t worry people, this is just the after effects of P90X! It’s actually very common to be sore to the point where you don’t even want to reach for your cup of coffee, so it’s not anything to worry about. In fact, it’s a good thing that you’re that sore! Everyone who begins P90X experiences the same soreness, me included, and it just shows that you have a lot of muscle to build and progress to make.
The soreness that you experience is from the tearing of the muscle fibers so that they can rebuild again. The extreme soreness from P90X is due to the very intense exercises that you are put through, which your muscles aren’t used to. Believe it or not, my chest was sore for a week and a half after the first time I did Chest & Back. It’s very easy for people to not work out the next day because of the soreness, but it’s important that you push yourself to do so. The one thing that I’ve discovered is that even if you are very sore, once you warm up and stretch, the soreness tends to go away a little. If you are very sore during the first week, understand that the extreme soreness goes away after a few weeks, and you will only get a little sore as you progress further through the program. Like I said, it’s very important that you push through the soreness. One thing you can do is soak in a bath of epsom salts if the soreness is too bad. Also, purchase recovery drinks like the P90X Recovery Formula, which I highly recommend!
Once you reach week 3 or 4, it’s very common for you not to get sore anymore. This is the reason P90X switches to a whole new phase, to get beyond any plateau and continue the muscle confusion. You will be partially sore for the next few weeks, and then hit another plateau where you won’t get sore, but then the workouts switch to the 3rd Phase. You should be slightly sore again during the first few weeks of the third phase and then the soreness will tend to go away again.
What are some things you can do to continue the soreness and keep making progress?
(1) One thing that people take too lightly is proper form. With push-ups, for example, it’s easy for people to bust out 40-50 reps, but are they using proper form? Probably not. It’s better for you to do 30 reps using proper form than to do 60 with improper form. One product that will allow you to use proper form and get a better range of motion is the push-up bars, which I think are important if you want to take your fitness to the next level. Form is very important for every exercise.
(2) Push yourself till failure. What good is it doing for you to continue to do the same amount of reps from week to week? It’s not doing any good at all. The way to make progress is to continually push yourself to failure, forcing yourself to get 1-2 more reps than the last time you did the workout. You should not be doing the same reps on Day 90 as you were on Day 30.
(3) Increase the weight. Once the initial soreness of the first few weeks wears off, your muscles need to be torn and repaired again in order to get stronger and make progress. Increasing the amount of weight you use for each workout is one way you can do that. For example, if you are on Day 50 busting out 18 reps with 30lbs dumbbells doing curls, it’s time for you to increase the weight to 35’s doing less reps. Once 35’s get too easy, move to 40’s, etc. This is the reason why I moved from 30lbs to 50lbs doing curls.
Understand that soreness is a great thing and means that you’re making progress. I am continually adjusting my workouts so that I’m always at least a little sore after each workout. The one workout that I’m always pretty sore with is Legs & Back, even after doing it for 2 years!