p90x Plyometrics X … Are you kidding me?By
Ooh this one is probably going to ruffle some feathers. How do I know this? Because anyone who has anything negative to say about anything p90x gets attacked. Not even uber strength coach Charles Staley is safe from the “p90 xplorers” cult. For some reason, I don’t know maybe it’s just clever marketing or something, people on the p90x program walk around acting like they are a Navy Seal going through Buds. Some of them act like they are on an elite program used on cage fighters and NFL draft picks.
Now here let me just get this out in the open before I start. Yes p90x helps you burn fat. Yes p90x is hard. Yes I know it can get you down right exhausted. Yes I know that they get in better shape…usually. Yes I know that p90x has a lot of tremendous before and after pictures (real too…congrats to them) Yes I know that pro athletes use plyometrics to increase their power.
Here is where p90x succeeds. It is a diet and exercise program that gets people off their asses and exercising. Any exercise program that is followed is going to get some results…especially beginners.
BeachBody has million dollar investors putting out megabucks to push this thing out to the market. p90x has 2 million searches per month on google alone…think about that a second 2 million A MONTH!. Do you think you might get a couple decent before and after pics with that many people trying it out? Exactly.
Plyometrics are used by many pro athletes to improve their explosive power for sports performance applications. The problem is that all too often coaches take a great concept and mutate it to get it away from it’s original purpose. They aren’t seeing the forest for the trees. “Plyos” have been especially victimized in this regard.
This is how BeachBody.com explained plyometrics
Explosive jumping cardio routine proven to dramatically improve athletic performance.
Here is the thing. Plyometrics are intended to take advantage of the myotatic reflex which in non geek speak refers to the automatic contraction of muscles done as a reaction to a quick stretch. It is like an automatic muscular reflex and it has to be very “touch and go”. Oh yeah and it has to be done for low reps. Let me illustrate the reflex analogy. You know that thing they do when you go to the doctor’s office and they whack you on the knee with a tiny rubber hammer and your knee kicks up? If they did that a bunch of times your knee would stop kicking up as high and eventually not do it at all. Plyometrics kind of work the same way and you need it to be fresh as a daisy.
You can also think of it like a ball bouncing on the floor. The force of the ground pushes the side of the ball in and the balls natural reaction is to push back out propelling it up. If it stays there it doesn’t bounce.
If you watch MMA superstar Georges St.Pierre in this video at around 2 minutes and 42 seconds you can see that he instigates the drill by first jumping over a hurdle and IMMEDIATELY bouncing up over the next one and the next one. Like I said “touch and go” and the keyword is “immediately”.
The key is “bouncing”. If you don’t bounce immediately up you lose that effect. Any time on the ground and it’s wasted. THAT is how it is used on professional athletes and as you can see it is A LOT more involved than simply jumping around your living room like a fool.
Plyometrics X is glorified aerobics made to sound scientific and cool. It doesn’t take advantage of that myotatic reflex which makes it lose sight of how plyometrics works. It’s like picking up a couple light dumbbells, doing a bunch of different curls with them and telling people you train like Arnold.
I watched the p90x plyometrics x dvd all the way through because I was curious about what they were doing. I actually laughed harder at some of the moves then I did at some of the comedies that came out this year (there really aren’t a whole lot of funny movies anymore). I can’t fathom how some people can do some of these exercises and think that’s the same thing that they are doing in NFL, NHL, NBA and UFC.
Surely they must be kidding me.