Is P90X safe for someone who’s new to exercise?

Christopher C. Bell, MD
Sports Medicine

P90x is a great program; we have a lot of family members, friends, and patients who have had success with it. However it is fairly intense exercise and if you are not used to it, you can suffer from pretty severe muscle soreness and potential injury in the initial stages. It may be beneficial to do some light exercises on your own such as push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, light jogging, etc, to get your body used to moving before jumping in. Congratulations on resolving to get active; it will pay dividends well into the future!

P90x is an at-home workout system that uses "muscle confusion" to change the body. It is not recommended for someone who is new to exercise. The DVDs are quite challenging and intense. There are a great deal of jumping moves that can cause injury to someone unfamiliar with proper technique, or who has not worked out for a long time. This series is built around a lot of pull ups, push ups, and squatting moves that many individuals are just unable to do for various reasons. The yoga, cardio, and kickboxing workouts are fun and high-energy, but again, are high-intensity and high-impact. Like any good exercise program, modifications are available. But, with this series modifications are not stressed enough.

Overall, the workouts are great and you will see results if you stick to it. However, I recommend a complete health evaluation by your physician and a discussion of your intentions prior to purchasing this set.

P90X is advertised as an intense workout program and it does hold true. P90X is an extremely fast paced circuit style program and due to the fast pace there is also an increased risk for injury. Although there is always the recommendation to go at your own pace and modify, modifications are rarely shown. If you come from an avid fitness/sports background P90X may give you the challenge you need. If you're just starting out however, I recommend ChaLEAN Extreme, which is an extreme circuit program that is complete with all modification. If you suffer from injury of any kind, this program will help as you have plenty of options and it revolves around functional training. You can look into ChaLEAN Extreme here:

If you’re new to exercise and want to do the P90X program first consult your physician and have them perform a thorough physical and health screening. If your physician finds no health or orthopedic issues that might make the P90X program dangerous than it is perfectly safe for you to start it. If at anytime while performing P90X workouts you experience light headedness, sharp pain, bruising or swelling around a joint, or shortness of breath discontinue the workout and consult your physician.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.