Thursday, February 17, 2011

P90X mc2: Buying Into The System

P90X mc2: Buying Into The System

by Steve Edwards

One of my favorite things to do is structure a training program and watch it work. I guess this comes from my coaching days, where you lay out a big picture template for the program you’re in charge of and then try and motivate your players to buy into your scheme. It’s a different challenge from training an individual, where you’ll adjust everything on the fly based on how the training is going. To create an athletic program you need to create a system that works for a group. This is our challenge at Beachbody and I like to think we continue to get better at it.

Creating P90x was somewhat easy, at least from my perspective. Selling it was a whole other can of worms but that’s why my bosses all have marketing backgrounds. As the fitness guy I had enough experience in training different levels of athletes that I knew how the P90x structure was going to work before we tested it.

This doesn’t mean it was all smooth sailing. Our first test group tried to mutiny after 30 days when they weren’t getting the results they thought they should—or even would with more basic Power 90. I had to draw up some periodization graphs to confuse them enough that they’d stop thinking about it and just trust me. Luckily, while they were still harrumphing over it Tony said, “I’m with him,” which sealed the deal. Eventually, all were pretty ecstatic that they decided to buy into the system.

Structure is only one aspect of a training program. It’s the actual workouts that dictate the structure. But good workouts and faulty structure can lead to failure just as easily as great structure and bad workouts. It’s a bit like when you see a talented group of players fail because they’re on a team that lacks a solid system. Programs are all encompassing, which is why Beachbody doesn’t sell diets, workouts, or supplements as one-offs. We make fitness programs.

But mc2 is raising the bar and it wasn’t as simple to me as a basic periodizational structure. To get a handle on we should do this I spent a lot of time at P3, both consulting with Dr. Marcus Elliott, observing athletes and going through their progression charts to learn about common weaknesses that we could apply over a broad base. I also spent a lot of time with various physical therapists, including Mike Swan and my late friend Kevin Brown. Tony’s always working on his game as well and when he fell in with functional trainer/extreme skier Steve Holmsen –a marriage in kick-ass training heaven—he began thinking in the same direction. The resulting schedule came back with an a-ok from Carl and the ultimate typically understated approval from Marcus: “This makes a lot of sense.”

So here’s the overview, with a lot left out lest start thinking that you don’t need the guide.

Phase One: Foundation

Not foundation as in “base training” but as in your attachment to the earth. Working on the “you can’t shoot a canon from a canoe” philosophy the aim of this program is to build you from the ground up. You may think you have a good base from P90X but, I assure you, we are going to find some weak areas and improve them. The two major areas of weakness in the human body, which leads to probably 90% of sports injuries, are shoulder and hip instability. Solve this and non-contact injuries will virtually disappear.

Phase Two: Strength

This will feel more familiar to most of you as it’s similar in structure to P90X. The workouts, however, will keep your body evolving. Functional is the key difference as almost every movement is designed to improve your body’s ability to move better.

Phase Three: Performance

Finally we’ll take what we’ve learned and target your engrams (neuromuscular patterns) to fire efficiently. At this stage we leave “do you best and forget the rest” behind. We’re now walking a razor’s edge of human performance. Push your body to 100% with perfect form. When your form fails, you’re done. The force loads are excessive but the philosophy here is that if you can’t handle force in a controlled situation you won’t be able to handle it when it’s forced upon you. Congratulations, whether you’ve ever played a sport in your life or not, you are now as athlete.


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