P90X: Legs and Back + Ab Ripper

Day 5 of P90x is a workout called “Legs and Back” – oh, and you should know that there is another round of Ab Ripper X as well! What really cracked me up was at the beginning of this particular P90X DVD when Tony says, “Tony how are your legs so strong, how can you do so many pull-ups?” He says, “it’s because I do legs and back in the same workout” or something along those lines. First of all, I never imagined that doing a lot of pull-ups was going to work your legs and back, but I’m sure it has some influence on those muscle groups. After all, some muscles in the legs and back are used when doing pull-ups.

Warming Up + The Start of Legs and Back

Anyways, after the warm-up and stretches, the workout starts and it will hit you hard if you are not ready. Be prepared to “bring it” and work hard for this workout. If you started the P90x program on a Monday like me, this will be your Friday workout. It is a great workout and will really get you sweated up. You start out doing Balance Lunges (I used weights with them) and they are far from easy. If you want a challenge, add some 20 pound weights in each hand and you will feel the burn – you do 25 reps and that’s just your first move!

You then move on to Calf-Raise Squats, which are not very difficult, but if you pick a heavy enough weight (I used 25 pounds in each hand), your legs will feel a burn. Since there are not worksheets to document the weights used during these leg exercises, I recommend writing them on a separate sheet of paper so that you can keep track of your results and take note of whether the weights you used were too heavy or light.

Ahh, yes, you knew it was coming didn’t you? In a workout called “Legs and Back” it makes complete sense to throw in everybody’s favorite move – reverse grip chin-ups… or not. Anyways, I actually liked that these were part of the workout, despite my initial impression of WTF during the workout. I was able to do 16 of these and it was pretty darn tough. I felt pretty strong doing these, but was fighting for the last two reps which were pretty much all from mentally willing my body to keep pulling.

Pull Ups, Legs, Legs, More Pull Ups

Anyways, following these pull-ups, you do what are called “Super Skaters.” This move is easy and is actually pretty darn fun to do – it keeps your heart rate up as well. You do 25 reps on each side (e.g. left and right). Next come the Wall Squats. If you have not worked out your legs in awhile, these may be pretty tough. For me they weren’t too bad, but make sure that you get lower than “Dre” a.k.a. Dreya Weber – she is not at 90 degrees like the rest of the P90x posse. I am just barely above 90 degrees and then I drop down low when Tony calls for it. Your legs should feel a good burn after this set of squats.

After these skaters, you are hit hard with some good ole “Wide Front Pull-Ups.” How many are you gonna do? What’s your goal? – Tony keeps encouraging you to set goals and write down the results. For this exercise I was able to do pretty darn well and did 15 total reps on my first run through. As a follow-up to the “Wide Front Pull-Ups,” you do what are called “Step Back Lunges.” Weights should be used here unless you have weak legs, injury problems, or are out of shape and can’t handle them. I recommend starting with at least 15 pounds. I used about 15 pounds today and I thought that it was a little bit too light for me. I took note of it and should be able to move up next time.

Alternating Side Lunges with Weights

The next move is called “Alternating Side Lunges” and basically you grab a weight and lunge 12 times to each side of your body (for a grand total of 24 reps). Use something fairly heavy, but make sure that you are able to get back up. You probably know what weight works best, so stick to it and if this move seems to easy, move up to a heavier weight. Guess what move is after these lunges? Maybe some type of pull-ups? Well, if you guessed pull-ups, you were correct. Tony Horton hits everybody hard with “Closed-Grip Overhand Pull-Ups” which are fairly tough, but are a good way to build forearm strength.

“Single Leg Wall Squats” follow after doing “Closed-Grip Overhand Pull-Ups.” If you are working hard and actually get low (keeping your legs at a 90 degree angle the entire time), then you will feel the burn, especially towards the end. In fact, your legs may even start to shake – just focus on staying calm and do your best to make it through this move. Deadlift Squats are the next move that you do and they are not very difficult; no weights are used. However, they still keep you sweating and are a good move to have included in this workout.

Switch Grip Pull Ups – Far From Easy

One of the toughest types of pull-ups you could ask for comes next. The “Switch Grip Pull-Ups” are not easy, and require you to do 2 Chin Ups, and then switch to doing 2 Pull Ups without your feet touching the ground. That means you have to flip your hands after 2 reps and do as many reps as possible. It is very challenging, and today I was only able to do 9 reps on my first run through (e.g. 2 pull-ups, 2 chin-ups, 2 pull-ups, 2 chin-ups, 1 pull-up). If you don’t think that you can handle this exercise, then modify by touching your feet to the ground each time you switch grips; this will make things much easier for you.

Three-Way Lunges with Two-Kick Option is the next move that you do. This move is not very tough, but is good to have in the workout. If every move were as extreme as switch grip pull ups, most people probably would not be able to survive. “Sneaky Lunges” is the move that you do after Three-Way Lunges. You are required to stay on your tippy toes / tip toes the entire time and do a total of 20 reps. I did 30 reps easily, but many people will be gassed at 20. My arms and legs definitely were feeling a solid burn during this move.

Tony hits you with another round of Reverse Grip Chin Ups after doing these Sneaky Lunges. Do your best, forget the rest, and move on. I was able to do 14 on my second run through, and it was pretty darn tough. Immediately after you do these Reverse Grip Chin Ups, you sit down with some “Chair Salutations.” Sitting down should be easy right? Wrong. If you keep your arms up and are actually down low sitting, then these will be tough. You stay in this pose for over 1 minute.

Are Your Legs Burning Yet?

Chair Salutations are tough, but what about Toe Roll Iso Lunges – the next move? These are actually harder. If you use weights (I used 20’s), then they are going to be difficult. If you skip the weights, this move may not be very hard to do. My legs burned like crazy after I finished this set. Right after I was done though, Tony let me know that “Wide Grip Pull Ups” were next. I was able to eek out 12 reps, which I felt good about – during the given time period.

The Groucho Walk comes up next, and Eric gets nice and low and even puts his hands out in front. I copied his swagger and did the same, and my legs definitely felt it. Dreya Weber on the other hand did not get wide enough in her stance and was slacking it up. I can see that she is in shape, but come on Drey! (as Tony would say). However, Dreya did come to the rescue when Tony asked, “What was one of groucho’s lines?” She answers: “There ain’t no such thing as a sanity clause.” Then Tony gets out his cigar like Groucho Marx would have had and the walk is done for 45 seconds.

Calf Raises are what’s up after you finish walking like Groucho. You should definitely use some fairly heavy weights here. You point your toes in three different directions and do a grand total of 25 reps each direction (15 slow, followed by 10 fast reps). If you don’t feel a burn here, you probably are not doing the proper technique or are using too light of a weight – I used 20 pounds and felt a burn, but I am definitely moving up next session. A second round of Closed Grip Overhand Pull Ups is what’s up next. Try to do as many as possible – I was able to get 9 reps on my second run through.

When you are done with these, Tony lets you know that you only have a few moves left. You do “80 20 Debbie Siebers Speed Squats” and you add some jumping after the 15th rep on each side. On each side, you do a total of 25 reps. You have 80 percent of your body weight on one foot, and 20 percent on the other, hence the name of the move. You will feel out of breath and your legs will experience a burn after this move. Luckily, you only have one move to finish after these. The final move is tough, but if you push yourself, you can get through the workout. Switch Grip Pull Ups is the last set of exercises that are done for this workout. I was able to do 8 reps (e.g. 2 pull ups, 2 chin ups, 2 pull ups, 2 chin ups).

Enjoy The Cool Down, Ab Ripper X Coming Right Up!

After that, I got some water, did the Cool Down stretches and got ready to do some more working out. Some more working out? Yeah, there’s another round of Ab Ripper X in store and in my opinion, it is the toughest to do after this particular day. You use your core a lot during the pull ups in this workout and even the leg exercises make moves like Fifer Scissors twice as hard because you can barely keep them in the air. Do your best, forget the rest, and you will survive. This is a good workout, but make sure you are ready to “BRING IT” before you start!Exercises during this workout include:Balance Lunges, Calf-raise Squats, Super Skaters, Wall Squats, Step Back Lunges, Alternating Side Lunges, Single-leg Wall Squats, Deadlift Squats, Three-way Lunge with Two-Kick Option, Sneaky Lunges, Chair Salutations, Toe Roll Iso-Lunges, Groucho Walk, Calf Raises, 80-20 Debbie Siebers Speed Squats.

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