Using P90X2 to Improve Your Cycling

18
Jan
2012

Note from Darryl: We didn’t participate in this historic day of people blacking out their websites.  To be honest, I haven’t even had a chance to see what all of this is about so I never had a chance to grab myself an opinion on it.  I’m definitely one for free speech and individuality which I believe this SOPA black out has something to do with, so I’ll spend some time today finding out more (that is if those informational sites are still up…hahahaha).

We’re not here today to make a statement on SOPA, but we do hope you enjoy today’s post…and while you’re here, why not read back on some others as well.

P90X2 and Cycling

Odds are that you’ve heard of the P90X home workout program, but what about using it to improve your cycling?  I was contacted by Denis Faye, a writer for Beachbody, about posting an article on using the P90X2 program to help make you a better cyclist.  Beachbody is the maker of several fitness products, including this and other home based fitness programs and they have done quite well for themselves….and the P90X is definitely their shining star.

Denis sent me an article by Steve Edwards, the Director of Results at Beachbody headquarters and I was interested in what they had to say about their program and how it can work for cyclists.  What I wasn’t so sure about was the way their article came across.  It was written more like an advertisement and I didn’t want this post to come across as a sales pitch.  I have absolutely no affiliation with Beachbody or the P90x and I didn’t want something put up on our site to look like I was out to sell their program.

What I decided to do instead was take highlights from what Steve has to say about their new P90X2 program and provide you with my perspective on what it can do for your cycling.  Steven Edwards might be one of the creators of the P90X2, but he’s also a cyclist who has competed in both road and mountain bike races…..so he has a good feel for what us cyclists are all about.

Home workout programs haven’t traditionally been great for cyclists, who have very specific strength needs. However there’s a new one on the market that fits our needs better than most of the things we’re advised to do at the gym. It’s called P90X2, and is the sequel to the very popular P90X program. This time around it’s targeted towards athletes and, with a few modifications, can be excellent for cyclists.

- Steve Edwards

So what’s the deal? Like its predecessor, X2 is a 90 day video training program broken into three distinct phases. The phases in P90X2, however, are much more diverse and specifically targeted to work on strength, speed, balance and mobility.  The information below is taken directly from Steve, but he shares some interesting information on what the program is designed to do and how it relates to cyclists:

Foundation

The first training block is about your base, or more specifically your attachment to the ground. Not just your legs but your entire kinetic, or movement, chain. The goal of phase one is to help you create a solid attachment to the earth so that all other movements are done without compromising your form.

This phase focuses on hip and shoulder stability, a weakness we found in a shockingly high percentage every athletic group we’ve tested, including cyclists. Weaknesses in these areas lead to improper biomechanics that is particularly important to cyclists that do thousands of repetitive movements over each day. If you have knee or IT band problems chances are it’s due to hip instability.

Strength

The next phase is to strengthen your foundation, which is where we weight-dependent athletes need to be careful because if you gain too much mass it can slow you down. These workouts still use instable or athletic positions in order to more seamlessly integrate the strength gains into real world movements.

Explosive Power

Lastly the program focuses on pure performance. The goal of the final phase is to transfer the strength gains you’ve made into muscular efficiency, which allows you to save precious glycogen stores for later points in a race, which is often the difference between finishing in the pack or standing on the podium.

One of the reasons P90X2 is more evolved than other training systems is due Dr. Marcus Elliott and his P3 training facility in Santa Barbara, California. P3 only trains serious athletes and, with Elliott’s aid, we were able to incorporate many of what P3 considers to be the more important factors in avoiding injury and altering athlete performance.

Using the P90X2 for Cycling Training

A lot of cyclists out there are currently in their “off season” and this is the time when training and conditioning are done in an effort to improve performance when they hop back on the bike again in the spring.  Whether you choose to do this training at home, in a gym, or anywhere else is up to you….but what I recommend is picking the method you are most psyched about.  The P90X2 is definitely a great choice and if you’re able to motivate yourself for a hard workout at home alone, then this just might be the way to go.

What I thought was cool was that Steve flat out said that cyclists won’t want to buy their two upsell workouts (V-Sculpt and Chest, Shoulders, Tris) because he knows that those programs are not designed to improve our cycling.  He really does know what a cyclist needs to work on during the off season and even has a few tweaks to the program for any of you who choose to check it out.

Phase II is the part of the program where you’ll gain the most muscle mass. Because of this I recommend that cyclists do it first, when you’re spending the least amount of time on your bike. How long you’ll do this phase depends upon your weaknesses and your racing/riding schedule. This is where you’ll gain muscle that can be turned into strength and power on the bike so plan on three to six weeks depending on how much change you feel you need.

Phase I is easier to train “around”, so adding it second coincides with when most of us start riding again. The individual workouts from this phase can also be sprinkled into your season for maintenance so that your kinetic chain stays strong. Three to four weeks is enough for most of us but if you have specific imbalance issues, such as knee pain, you might want to spend longer.

Phase III is very intense and should not be done around any important races. It’s also the most specifically targeted to performance and should not be ignored, though cyclists will want to drop one of the two advised upper body PAP workouts per week. This phase could also be repeated during a mid-season break in preparation for your second targeted performance peak of the year. Never do Phase III longer than three to four weeks without taking a break.

Depending on what your cycling goals and ambitions are, will determine my response as to whether I recommend the P90X2 to help you out.  I am of the belief that a simple and quick weight training program is all most cyclists need to gear themselves up for the next season of cycling.  But if you’re looking for something more and have goals of building additional strength and muscle, this program is definitely worth checking out.

I’m not here to sell you on P90X2, but if it’s something you’re thinking of purchasing be sure to help out a fellow cycling blog buddy of mine who is a coach and distributor of the P90X products.  His name is Tony and you can contact him through his website, www.lifes2wheelbalance.com.

Steve Edwards is a member of Team USA and the Director of Results at Beachbody, a leader in home fitness programs. You can read more about using P90X2 for advanced fitness and cycling; among other things, on his blog, The Straight Dope, at steveedwardsfitness.com.

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  • Charles Brinks

    It is my off season right now and I’ve been training with weights more than usual.  Thanks for remiding me of the P90x.  I’m going to look into it.

  • Bill

    It was interesting to hear what Steve had to say and I like that fact that he is a cyclist himself.  The P90X might still be too much for me to handle, but I’ll consider it for the future.  I like hearing what the people had to say in the comments also.

    • http://lovingthebike.com Darryl is Loving the Bike

      Hey Bill, be sure to contact @twitter-19949429:disqus or @Aplbuddy1:disqus if you’d like more information on the program or to get their opinion.

  • James

    I’ve often thought of trying out the P90X, but from what I’ve seen I don’t think it will give me what I’m looking for.  Thank you for giving me more information on this from your side of the story as well as from the creator.

    • http://lovingthebike.com Darryl is Loving the Bike

      You’re welcome, James.  Glad you were able to check out the post and I hope you took something helpful away from it.

  • http://twitter.com/PedalmanTO PedalmanTO

    Many years ago I did the original P90X training and it was intense. I followed through with it and I was certainly in better shape than when I started. I found that my muscle endurance had increased and my strength as well. It is very intense though! If you are thinking of doing it, please feel free to contact me and I’ll give you some insight from a cyclists point of view. Keep the Rubber Side Down.

    • http://lovingthebike.com Darryl is Loving the Bike

      Thanks Pedalman….I appreciate you offering advice to the other cyclists out there.

  • http://www.lifes2wheelbalance.com Anthony Lussier

    Darryl.  Thanks for the mention and great post! I will for sure tell you that P90X & P90X2 are definitely extreme, (the reason for the X in the name) but I managed to do two full rounds of P90X and now I’m in phase 1 of P90X2 all while RIDING the bike.  It is not impossible and yes you will get sore but as with any new training program especially one geared to add muscle and get “cut” you will get sore as you’re tearing down muscle fibers for re-growth. This would happen in the gym anytime someone tries to jump off the couch and into any new fitness program as well.  That’s what makes this program so successful with cyclists IMHO because we all have a great base of fitness already. 

    What I find great about the new program is that it’s based a lot on balance and core strength, both which apply to the bike a great deal.  There’s also a huge part of the program not mentioned in this post at all and that’s the meal plan.  I know in my case when I was just  riding a bike I had no structure on food or nutrition.  I would eat whatever I wanted. Well the P90X program has taught me how to eat well for an athlete with a meal plan designed and customized for fat loss & muscle growth. It really has helped me immensely not in just my overall fitness but also on my bike, which is where it all counts anyway.  Cheers.

    • Rickie8008

      I think this post gave me the nudge to give this program a shot.  I’ll check out your website and find out more from you, Anthony.

    • http://lovingthebike.com Darryl is Loving the Bike

      You’re welcome, Tony.  Thanks for adding in your personal opinion as well.

  • http://about.me/Aaronthestrong Aaronthestrong

    I work with a few guys that do P90X and now P90X2…I think it is insane. They constantly talk about how they almost (or did) threw up during the workout and how sore they are. These are guys that are buy in large, pretty in shape to start with. Personally I have only done the YogaX DVD from P90X, but it was pretty darn intense as well…especially for Yoga. I have done quite a bit of reading on the whole P90X thing and to be honest I think it’s a little extreme and can be downright unhealthy and damaging. I think it is a workout geared for people in TOP physical condition, but marketed to Jenny Craig members. I think in the off season it could be a great workout to try out, as long as you are definitely NOT riding at the same time. Last summer I did the Spartacus workout, which P90X borrows from quite a bit. During that time I was also commuting to work by bike and riding afterwork and on weekends. Now granted I am far from top physical condition, but at the end of just a week, I could barely ride my bike too and from work from being so sore. Take that for whatever you want. I have been able to keep working out/riding everyday because it is fun and I enjoy it, yes even when I hurt afterwards. However, when a workout starts to take the fun out of it…I’m not interested. I’ll be curious to hear what others have to say on the subject!

    • http://lovingthebike.com Darryl is Loving the Bike

      Good points, Aaron.  I honestly have not personally checked out the P90X all that much, but in my opinion people can get a great workout on their own without a program.  But then again, I have been involved in fitness for a long time and I know others might not know enough on their own.  I just hope people try out the P90X because they feel it is going to provide what they are looking for and not just because of the hype.

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