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P90X Soreness

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!


  1. Hi Josh,

    Congrats on your results

    I purchased p90x through your site, should be arriving soon. Did you use push up stands while doing the program? Also, do you lift at the gym in addition to p90x, or just train at home?


  2. I actually do use the push-up stands while doing the workouts, and I love them. They give you a greater range of motion allowing you to get better results. Also, I do all of my workouts here at home. I actually haven’t been to the gym for over a year. Let me know if you have other questions!

  3. Josh,

    Your results are amazing. I am a former baseball player with bad knees, sore back and just too old at 39. But, I purchased P90X and today is just day 3. I was very sore when I woke up after the first workout. But, plyometrics just destroyed me. Today I am very sore, but I love it. Can’t wait for tonight. Thanks so much for posting your diet and grocery list. That makes it so much easier to understand. Thanks again for the motivation, Take care


  4. Ricardo /

    Great Article…….so what ur saying is that if u workout and you dont get sore..u have hit the plateau effect????

  5. Glad my posts have helped man! Let me know if you have other questions. Also, you can make me your coach by clicking on this link, if you haven’t done so already:

  6. Not necessarily. You might not be using proper form or not heavy enough weights. However, if you are doing both of those, then you probably have hit a plateau.

  7. What up Josh,

    I just started p90x 4 days ago, and I am really feeling the soreness. I have some questions on your diet, where can I get a copy of that? How can I switch the coach they appointed me, for you. I e-mailed this other guy(my coach)and he never replied…?

    After watching your improvments man, I would like you having my back rather them anyone else. Let me know.

    Eric “San Jo Stuntrider”

  8. First of all, here is how to make the coach switch..

    If you would like to make a coach switch, you simply have to send a one line email to telling them that you want JOSH SPENCER at to be your coach. Make sure to include your FULL NAME and email address and to copy me on the email so I can follow up.

    Once the coach switch is made, come back to me and we will talk about the diet.

  9. Would the perfect pushups be worse good or better than the pushup stands and would a regular pipe in a door or somthing be as good as the pull up bar that p90x can sell you.

  10. The Pull-Up Stands are great because they are high off the ground and very stable and durable.

  11. Kenny /

    Hey, congrats on results man, I just started i’m on day three and after plyometrics i feel like a tree. I don’t wanna move! Thanks for your blog though. I’ll just fight through this pain and perservere.

  12. Josh /

    Haha it’s tough man, especially during the first few weeks!

  13. Ok so those Power Stand TM PushUp Bar (Pro) look awesome, and I was thinking that since my dads a welder, I might could make my own???

  14. @Jason. Why would you go through all that trouble when the PowerStands aren’t even expensive?

  15. Oh, they ain’t expensive, than I guess I could get ’em off here, right & that makes u my coach.
    Well thanks,

  16. Nate27 /

    I’m on Day 3 of P90x and your right, I’m sore all over! Plyometrics was ruff, and I thought chest was bad haha. I’ll keep pushing play though.

  17. Josh /

    @Nate. Keep pushing bro! Soreness is a good thing.

  18. Kevin /

    Hey I actually just started the program this week and after finishing day 3 i could barely use my arms for anything. Yoga pretty much seems impossible right now. But i was wondering how to get into this coaching program. I have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to the diet so I think it would really help to have someone to ask about that

  19. Josh /

    @Kevin. All you need to do is go to this link to add me as your coach!

  20. Wow, I did the first chest and back and maxed everything out until I literally had to roll to my side to get off the floor. 2 days later I was so sore I could not reach my ear and could barely put on a coat. I am a triathlete and have played college soccer but I have never been that sore.

    After 5 days running and biking (no p90) Im going to try again – this time I think I will bring it not break it 🙂

  21. Samuel /

    Hey Josh I wanted to see if you were still coaching because the coach I have right now really isn’t helping me much. I am on my second day went right through Chest and Back had some soreness in my back but nothing to much to handle but Pylometrics kicked my butt hardcore both my legs hurt like no other and I know it’s good they hurt. But you sound like you’d be a better desicion to make as my coach.

  22. @Samuel. Yeah man, still coaching! To switch to me, just email and tell them that you want to switch coaches to Josh Spencer, Coach ID 47458.

  23. @Donow. Haha yeah man, that’s common! I was the exact same way after my first Chest and Back experience.

    Do you have a coach? If not, I’d love to help you through the program. Let me know bro!

  24. I have just started P90X and am on the 3rd day and I am going to take a day off because I am soooooo sore I cannot do anything. I thought my left arm was broken, my right arm was sore but not so much. I will start again tomorrow and not stop.

  25. @John. Soreness is COMMON! You just have to push through it! Also, have you made me your coach yet? If not, make sure you do so that I can be here to help you through the program. Here’s the link!

  26. Brian /

    Just found this post, and I was afraid I was alone in the “my body feels torn apart” level of soreness. Started two days ago, and wow does it hurt, but I know that means results. Thanks for the post and the replies to comments.

  27. Tony /

    Hey Josh!

    I’m doing p90x, just finished Plyo X yesterday, gonna do
    Shoulder and Arms + Ab Ripper X today. I can’t afford weights, and all I got is a pair of 10 pound weights. If I still use proper form, will I get results?

  28. Josh /

    @Tony. Hey bro! You will need to get either resistance bands or some sort of weights. If it helps, when I started I used a range from 10 lbs to 50 lbs. Also, have you made me your coach yet?

  29. actually I’m on my 5th week and I’m sore..
    I’ve been doing P90X since 09 and I’m always sore.. Actually I kinda like the soreness it means, i’m burning fat right?

  30. @Mark. Yeah, it means you push yourself very well during he workouts. However, it could also mean that you’re not eating enough and not building muscle as well. Have you seen good results? How many calories are you taking in?

  31. Darius /

    Yeah the soreness sucks, but atleast I can sleep. These were some times I didn’t sleep cause sorenes

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