P90x Vs P90x2: What’s The Difference?


I knew about P90x for years before I actually tried it.  First, I’d catch commercials for it late at night, then I had a few friends who did it and loved it.  When I decided I needed to get serious about getting back into shape, it was an easy choice for me to do P90x.  Now, though, people have the option of choosing P90x2.  We all like things newer and better, so I can see the appeal of skipping right to P90x.  There are some things you should know before you decide which program to try first, so this article will go over the main differences between P90x vs P90x2.

What Is The Difference Between P90x and P90x2?

Sometimes, I’m pretty sure people are just asking, “Is P90x2 better than P90x?”  In a lot of cases, you just want the newest, best product.  There’s no reason to buy a PS2 to get used to playing it before you buy a PS3.  The situation is a bit different when we’re trying to compare P90x and P90x2, though.  The latter isn’t an improved version of the original, but it’s not exactly a sequel, either.  The first can make a good foundation for the second, but the two programs actually have pretty different goals.
The original P90x was all about building bigger, stronger, more defined muscles, burning a lot of fat, and increasing your endurance.  Using a technique called Muscle Confusion which prevents your body from getting used to the exercises, super-trainer Tony Horton guides you through 90 very intense days that will have you seeing very visible and impressive results.  

I actually encourage you to check out my P90x review to see how the whole program worked out for me.  I lost about 20 pounds, but that factors in muscle I gained.  My muscles were visibly a lot bigger and more defined, and I actually had a visible 6-pack.  I know a lot of people are mainly interested in trying to look good, and I think there’s an obvious winner here in the P90x vs P90x2 debate.
My wife has advised me to mention at this point that women need not worry about building the same bulky muscles as men.  She wrote an article on P90x for women where she explains that women’s bodies just don’t react the same way to the workouts; you’ll end up looking totally feminine and SEXY!
P90x2, on the other hand, is less about how your body looks outwardly and more about how well it performs.  P90x has you doing a lot of resistance exercises to build muscle, but the newer incarnation has far less emphasis on that.  There’s no dedicated cardio, either.  That said, if you do the exercises right, you’ll be getting plenty of fat-melting cardio, and you’ll also add muscle (I added an inch and a half on my biceps and shoulders – check out my P90x2 results article).
You’ll still be doing Muscle Confusion, because it’s a proven and very effective technique, but P90x2 also introduces something called Post-Activation Potentiation, or PAP.  I’ll explain a little about it here, but you should check out my review of the PAP Lower workout to get a more thorough understanding of it.

In a nutshell, Post-Activation Potentiation has you doing different kinds of exercises quickly in sequence to get benefit you otherwise wouldn’t.  You do a resistance move, which activates a group of muscles, and then you immediately do an explosive power move, which potentiates (or multiplies) that activation, which means you’ll end up making your fast muscles stronger, and your strong muscles faster.
The metaphor I like to use when I compare P90x2 vs P90x has the original building the machine, and the second one fine tuning that machine.  Tony Horton is both a master builder and mechanic, so consider which service you’re after when you’re choosing between the two programs.

Is P90x2 Harder Than P90x?

So, let’s say you’re fine with how you look, but this fine tuning I’m talking about is sounding like it’s right up your alley.  Can you just skip right ahead?  Well, maybe.  It really depends on how fit you are, because yes, I can speak from experience when I tell you that P90x2 is harder than P90x.  In fact, read my review on P90x2 if you want to know just how hard it kicked my ass, even after I thought the original had pushed me to my limits.
The first P90x is no walk in the park.  The moves look vaguely familiar, with variations of things like push-ups and pull-ups, but Tony adds such a ridiculous level of intensity and difficulty to the exercises that you find yourself out of breath and ready to collapse damn near constantly.  Of course, the final results of the thing make it all worth the trouble.
P90x2 has a similar approach, only this time Tony manages to make it all much more difficult.  A big part of this program is to take something that looks like you would have done in the first series, and do it while balanced on top of a bunch of balls!  I thought it sounded gimmicky and weird at first, but it’s actually incredibly difficult and incredibly effective.  It forces your muscles to work in unison in a way that has a dramatic effect on the way your body is able to function as a whole.
My personal advice is for pretty much everyone to start with P90x.  If you already get a fair amount of exercise and you’re in good shape, you can probably do P90x2 without doing P90x, but I feel that the original builds such a solid foundation that you’ll ultimately get the best results if you start with it first.

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One thing to keep in mind, though, is that the programs were both designed so that you never plateau and stop seeing gains, like you do with more traditional workouts.  So you can do the second, then the first, go back, vice versa, flip them around, do the Insanity Workout, whatever!  You can always keep doing and/or repeating any of these programs, in any order, and you’ll always benefit.
I know a lot of satisfied users wonder, “What do I do after P90x?”  The answer used to be difficult; many people just went on to do P90x over and over again.  I think it’s pretty obvious what to do when you finish these days.  If you’re anything like me, you’ll probably have the urge to try P90x2 immediately after finishing the first..
The main question I hope I’ve answered here is, “Should I buy P90x or P90x2?”  Like I said, the two programs have very different goals, so that should be one of the main things you consider.  Do you want to work on looks or performance first?  The other thing to consider is your fitness level, because yes, the second one is more difficult.  One thing to always keep in mind when you’re trying to pick between P90x vs P90x2 is that you can try either one COMPLETELY RISK FREE at the official Beachbody website.

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Hi, I’m Brian & together with my wife Lisa I set up this website to help folks who want to get fit, lean or bulk up but without having to dramatically change your current lifestyle.

Like you, we have busy lives and busy schedules so we’re always on the lookout for whatever can get us in the best shape in the least time and without having to go hit the gym.  Whatever your fitness goals, we hope you find something useful here and make sure to leave a comment in the Facebook Box below :)

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