P90X: Core Synergistics (Rest Week)

Day 23 of P90X is a workout called “Core Synergistics” and this was easily one of the most fun P90X workouts for me thus far. It was challenging at times and was a good workout to include in the rest week between phases. I thought that some of the workout was fairly easy, but most of it was a moderate to difficult workout. Some of the moves were very extreme and the entire workout is aimed at the core. I think that since there is no Ab Ripper X in the rest week, Tony decided that including a couple of Core Synergistic workouts and Yoga Belly 7’s would help keep everybody’s midsection toned and in shape while on their week off of the normal routine.

Tip of The Day: Engage (But Don’t Go Out And Get Engaged)

The tip of the day for the P90X Core Synergistics workout was “engage.” As Tony says, “No, I don’t mean to go out and get engaged.” He means to focus on engaging your stomach and core muscles with each move in the workout. This particular workout begins with the move “Stacked Foot Staggered Hand Push ups” and it’s a great start. There are a lot of stretches that are done before that particular move, but for the most part, it is a nice warm up move that will get your heart rate up and your muscles ready. I was able to do a total of 30 reps – I wish Tony would have included a worksheet for people to write down their rep count on this workout or the weights that they use for certain moves.

The Banana Roll + Leaning Crescent Lunges

I did not keep strict tabs on my moves (e.g. weights and reps), but I was able to remember some. After doing some “Stacked Foot Staggered Hand Push Ups” you get to enjoy doing a “Banana Roll.” This move involves you laying down on your back with your legs off the floor and your arms extended over your head (raised in the air). You are basically in the shape of a banana and your core will certainly feel the effects of this one. I broke out into a sweat after this Banana Roll and it is only the second move in this Core Synergistic workout.

Tony doesn’t mess around with breaks after a tough move like the Banana Roll, instead he decides to throw some Leaning Crescent Lunges our way. He recommends using weights and so do I. I was able to use 10 pound weights in each hand for the first 15 reps, but after that my arms got tired and I had to switch to using no weights since I didn’t have anything lighter around. I wish that I had 5 pound weights to work with because those would be perfect for this particular exercise. For the “Leaning Crescent Lunges” you lunge and lean over at a 45 degree angle and extend your arms overhead [with weights] – then you put them back and do the other side.

Squat Run + Sphinx Pushups

Did you think that the workout was going to get easier after doing the Crescent Lunges? If you did, then think again – this is P90X, not some silly game, this is real, actual sweat not some spray-on, we do actual DNA removal; you get the point. Anyways, after doing those lunges, you do what is called the “Squat Run” and you crouch down low and swing your arms like you would if you were running or sprinting. I used 10 pound weights for this exercise and it was extremely challenging, especially during the final 30 seconds. Make sure that you have a weight that you know you can handle, but don’t take it easy on yourself just because you feel tired from the previous move.

After the “Squat Run” is a personal favorite called “Sphinx Push Ups.” During this move, you go into a Sphinx posture with each pushup. For me, this move was pretty darn easy because I have pretty strong forearms. I moved my arms as far back as possible for this one to make things more difficult. For people with weaker forearm muscles, it would be a good idea to keep your arms out in front of your body or even use your knees to help you push up if you are still struggling.

Bow To Boat + Low Lateral Skaters

After doing some Sphinx Pushups, we go right into the move “Bow to Boat.” In this particular move, you do the move “Bow” (which you already know from doing the X Stretch) and “Boat” which is done in Yoga X. This move combines them both and you switch from one to the other every time Tony says. It does a pretty good job at engaging the core muscles and is definitely a move that I like. However, make sure that you are comfortable and are not doing “Bow” on a hard floor or it may hurt [especially down low for guys if you roll wrong].

Following the “Bow to Boat” move, you do a move called “Low Lateral Skaters” which is fairly basic. You get down in a wide squat/lunge and you shift back and forth; raising one leg each time that you shift. I definitely felt that my leg muscles were being worked during this move, and I focused on engaging my core. The exercise called “Lunge and Reach” which is done after doing “Low Lateral Skaters” allows you to really engage your core. If you follow the instructions and use an appropriate weight, you should be feeling the effects in your entire body; mostly your arms. If your arms are not tired during this move, then you probably need a heavier weight. I was able to do about a total of 24 reps on each side and this ended up being one of the most fun exercises for me to do in this workout.

Lunge and Reach + Prison Cell Push Ups

After doing “Lunge and Reach,” you fortunately get a “break” for some water or toweling off sweat from your face. After the break, Tony lets you know about a move that you can do if you’re ever incarcerated called “Prison Cell Push ups.” For this move, you start out doing a push-up, but when you come up, you raise each knee towards your chest. This is one of the toughest exercises to do in this entire workout, but push through it and you will start seeing results. Even though it is the rest week, I did the best that I could on this move and did about 10 reps. I don’t know whether Dreya Weber is lying or what, but she reported doing like 15 reps or something (I’ll have to double check) when Tony asked her “what number are you on?”

Side Hip Raise + Squat X Press

Right after doing the “Prison Cell Push Ups,” you get to do the “Side Hip Raise,” which is definitely not too tough to do. All you do is lay on your side with one arm on the floor and then raise your hips up as high as possible, then drop back down [without letting your waist hit the ground] and repeat. Even though it’s not tough to do, you will feel a good core workout if you remember to engage. Plus, if you are like Dreya and add the leg raise, you will feel even more of a workout. I added the leg raise for the first 7 or 8 reps on each side and then took it away for the rest. I did about 20 reps on each side for this particular move.

After raising your hips for awhile, you get to do [another one of my favorite moves] called the “Squat X Press.” For this move, it is recommended to use some weights – I ended up using 20 pound weights in each hand for the first 15 reps, then I dropped down to using 10 pounds for the rest of the workout. To do this move, you drop down in a wide squat with weights, then squat up and raise the weights in each hand above your head so that your body is in the shape of an “X.” If you look the cover of the Core Synergistics DVD, this particular move is the picture that is shown.

Toughest Move in Core Syn: Plank To Chaturanga Run

Finishing the 30 reps of “Squat X Press” should be fairly challenging, but the move after the X Press is the most difficult in this entire workout called “Plank to Chaturanga Run.” To do this move, you start out in “plank” and then you run with your hands on the ground in the plank position. Tony tells the people when to switch to “Chaturanga” which is very tough. It was tough for me because the surface that I was working out on resulted in my shoes slipping and sliding back during this, but I still was able to do it. By the time that the final “Chaturanga” rolled around, I nearly collapsed. My entire core was engaged during this move and my shoulders/arms were tested to the max.

Walking Push Ups

After doing the X Press, some “Walking Push Ups” are done; and they require your arms to be in good shape. Listen to Tony’s tip by keeping your butt down and flexed – and of course, make sure that your core is engaged the entire time. My arms (particularly my shoulders) really felt the effects from doing these Push Ups, since my legs were locked straight the entire time. Although I think that my arms may have been worked hard during other exercises in this workout, this move was not easy; especially during the final 20 seconds or so.

Superman Banana (Superman, Banana)

Another core engaging exercise called “Superman Banana” is what’s up after you’re done doing your walking push-ups. You basically switch back and forth between doing “Superman” – [which involves you being on your stomach with your arms and legs raised off the ground] and “Banana” – which you already did [where you’re on your back with your legs raised slightly and your arms over your head].

Lunge Tricep Curl Press

After doing Superman, Banana, Superman, Banana, Superman, Banana, etc. comes a move called “Lunge Tricep Curl Press.” For this particular move, you grab some dumbbells (I used 10 pounds in each hand) and lean forward for a lunge. Then you extend the weights back with straight arms, and lift your body straight – then you curl the weights up and follow that with a shoulder press. You then drop the weights to the side of your body from the shoulder press and repeat the “Lunge Tricep Curl Press” sequence. Tony says that they do 20 reps, but you can do extra if you’ve got the energy. This move should leave your arms feeling tired and you should be feeling the effects.

Towel Hops (A Power 90 Throwback)

Next comes a fun little move called “Towel Hops” where you put a towel on the ground and hop over it (back and forth) for a minute; apparently these were in Power 90 – a workout that I have never tried. Try to have soft landings and if this move seems too easy for you, then get your knees up high like the “Jump Knee Tuck” during Plyometrics. Of course, if you are feeling wasted, you can modify and make this move easy, but I recommend pushing yourself through this one hard; do your best and forget the rest. After you are done with this move, I believe that you get to take a nice little break.

Reach High, Reach Under Push Ups

After break, you do “Reach High, Reach Under Push Ups.” For this move, you do a Standard Pushup, then you stack your feet, reach your arm up high, then reach down under your body, then reach back up, come down, and do another push up. After that, you switch sides and do as many as you can during the designated time period. You do something similar in Yoga X, although the move in Yoga does not require you to do push ups; it’s more of a balance.

Steam Engine (Core Synergistics)

A fun move called “Steam Engine” is what you do after the reach high, reach low push ups. These are basically similar to doing sit-ups while standing up. You lock your hands behind your head and cross the elbow of your right hand across your body while lifting your left leg; vice-versa is done on the opposite side. You do a total of 50 reps per side and it’s definitely a good exercise to have included in the P90X Core Synergistics workout.

Dreya Roll (Dreya Weber Roll)

Tony’s favorite move of this workout (as well as one of mine) is the Dreya Roll (invented by Dreya Weber – the girl that demonstrates this move in the workout). Dreya is in great shape and I really have fun when doing this move. I recommend that you make sure that your back is comfortable during this move because otherwise it may hurt; I recommend doing this move on a yoga mat. I also recommend UNtucking your shirt because when my shirt was tucked in, the waistline ridge around my shorts by my back really put more pressure on my tailbone (which nearly bruised). As soon as I un-tucked my shirt my tailbone felt much better and I was able to do this move easily.

Bonus Round: Plank To Chaturanga Iso

Following the infamous Dreya Roll, is the beginning of the bonus round; don’t skip out on these bonus exercises unless you are way out of shape – they are not very tough to do anyways. The bonus round begins with “Plank to Chaturanga Iso” which is way easier than “Plank to Chaturanga Run.” All you do is hold yourself in plank and then switch to chaturanga when Tony tells you to switch; you switch back and forth until the time is up.

Halfback

After the Plank to Chataranga Iso is the move called “Halfback.” You should know that this is similar to what you do in Plyometrics; you hop from side to side 4 times then get high knees for 6 steps running backwards. You keep going hard and doing this for a full minute – I’m glad that this move was included because I miss doing Plyo already; even though it is one crazy workout.

Last Move: Table Dip Leg Raise

The final move of the Core Synergistics workout is “Table Dip Leg Raise.” You go into “Table” (which you should know from Yoga X) and then add a leg raise. After raising the leg, you do 5 dips [down and up] then you switch legs. I hung with Adam for this one and was able to do a total of 30 reps. By the time I got to the final 5 reps, I was tired, but this was a great way to end the workout. After you are finished with Core Synergistics (a.k.a. Core City) you do some stretching and Tony says that for some of you, this may be “your favorite workout” because it works all areas of your body.

I had fun with this workout and it was a good one to have included in the rest week between phases. Core Synergistics may have been my favorite workout that I’ve done so far in this program, but I am starting to enjoy others (e.g. Yoga X and Chest & Back) a lot as well. The one workout that I still hate (because it’s so damn challenging) is legs and back, but hopefully I’ll still continue to improve. I know I have another round of Core Synergistics coming up later in the week, so I’m going to prepare for that. Tomorrow I have Kenpo X, so we’ll see how that goes for me.