Tuesday, December 11, 2012

P90X - Making Adjustments to Kenpo X

Kenpo X is a martial arts type of cardio workout that's part of the P90X program. There are a lot of things I like about the Kenpo workout but, I also have a few issues with it. Since it's main purpose is cardio I considered just replacing it with something else. While I may do that from time to time I decided to see if I could make a few adjustments and make it work for me.

The main problem I have with Kenpo X is that throwing all those punches tends to aggravate my shoulders. In just four exercises alone in the first segment they have you throwing 500 punches. For me it's just too much.

The other thing I've never been psyched about with this workout is that it doesn't take long to get to a point where the cardio is too easy. There are a bunch of things you can do to up the intensity but, I still find it a little lacking especially in the first segment and the blocks segment.

Here's where a little exposure to other types of training really pays off. Over the summer I got hooked on metabolic conditioning. This did a couple of things. It helped me significantly improve my cardio fitness. It also taught me how to work harder for a shorter period and get even better results.

So, here's how I applied this to Kenpo X. I do the warm-up and stretch segment. Then I skip ahead to the first break. In that break I start pushing hard. I get my knees up high when I run in place. I make sure to get some air when I'm jumping rope. I speed up the jumping jacks and I squat deep on the X jumps. And I don't take the pauses that Tony and the kids do. I keep moving as much as possible. This is effective at getting my heart rate up and keeping it up.

As the workout continues I keep pushing hard. I do all the same moves but I do them as quickly as I can with good form. I ignore the rep count and just keep going for as long as it takes them on the DVD to do the set. This means I get in a few extra reps per set.

When it's time to do blocks, I skip through to the next break. I also skip over the elbow series and vertical punches. Both of these are taxing on my shoulders and tend to let my heart rate drop. Besides, I've put in a good session by then. I do the cool down and stretch and I'm good to go.

I've done this the last two weeks and it seems to be working really well. I'm definitely working as hard if not harder than any time I've gone through the full length workout. And my shoulders are much happier.

A word of caution... I recommend not trying this until you have mastered all of the exercises. If you speed things up and your form is not clean then you're going to injure yourself. Even though you're pushing hard and going faster you have to be diligent about good form. It will help if you've built up some core strength too. If you're not familiar with Kenpo or some other form of martial arts then go through the full workout for several weeks and make sure your form is solid before you switch to the abbreviated version.

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