You’ve made the decision to start P90X, but you are probably uncertain as to what type of equipment for P90X is needed. Some people may feel more comfortable performing the exercises with a set of resistance bands. P90X can be done with the bands, and if that is your choice, then you most likely won’t need the rest of the equipment outlined below until you are ready to step it up. Personally, I think the bands are great for doing P90X on the road, but I never really feel that I get a good muscle workout with them. However, each P90X workout has someone performing the workouts using the bands, so it becomes a matter of personal preference.
If you have decided not to use bands, then you’ll be interested to read on about my findings below. Over the course of time I have found that some equipment is nice to have, some you can make do without, and others are really important to have in order to maximize your results, especially with P90X. I think you’ll find that having the right equipment just makes working out with P90X much more fun. If this is your first time with P90X, my list below is based upon my own experience after completing 90 days of the program and should help you in your decision making.
Top 7 P90X Equipments
Whether you want to build muscle or get lean, you will need dumbbells. You don’t need to start out with a set of dumbbells that go up to 100 pounds, however, I would suggest starting with a 40 pound set. As you get stronger and build more muscle you can add more dumbbells later on.
Pull Up Bar
A pull-up bar is absolutely necessary. There a quite a few workouts where the pull-up bar is needed. There are a couple of different types of pull-up bars people use with P90X. The most common is the over the door type, which latches on to the frame of your door and is able to support weight up to 250 pounds or so. It’s relatively unobtrusive, and can be taken down and stored easily.
The other kind is a standalone pull up bar. These are sometimes combined with all in one exercise units with added weights and pulleys, but for P90X, I don’t think the extras are necessary.
I use the standalone unit. I would have preferred to try the over the door model, but the door frames in my unit are too small for an over the door pull-up bar to work properly. So, in my case I had no choice, but to opt for the standalone unit. You may want to be careful for the same reason and be sure that your door frame can support that type of equipment. The downside to the standalone unit is that it is bigger and needs its own area when in use or stored. Both types functionally work the same, and with P90X it makes no difference which you choose.
Push Up Bars
Push-up bars are very useful especially if you have wrist problems. I feel like I get more strength from my wrist when I use the bars, as compared to being on my hands. 10 to 15 push-ups without the bars are fine but when you’re doing max reps in P90X, the wrist in that position for that many reps can start to fatigue quicker than your chest and arms. I should mention that if you have hex shaped dumb-bells you can use those as an alternative to push-up bars.
Heart Rate Monitor
I didn’t think one of these was needed when I started but the cardio workouts were so intense in the beginning that I thought that I really should track and measure my heart rate when doing these exercises. This is a necessary item for making sure you are well within your zone when doing Plyometrics, Kenpo X or Cardio X.
Mainly used in Yoga, Core Synergistics and Ab Ripper X, this provides support for your lower lumbar region. Without it, my experience was a sore lower back after those workouts.
Resistance Exercise Bands
As I indicated above, personally, I don’t like the bands, but they are useful when travelling and you need to get a workout in. So if you have a job that takes you on the road a lot, the bands make great travel companions.
These are not essential but I found these to be useful when doing Yoga and Core Synergistics. This is because I found my hands losing grip due to sweat as a result of the exercises in those routines. So maybe if you are like me in that way, you may want to consider these.
Those 7 types of equipment for P90X are what I used in my first round of P90X and what I continue to use today. I hope it helped you to clarify your P90X equipment choices as you endeavor on your P90X journey. However you decide, be sure to bring your intensity every day to each workout to make it “X like”, as Tony Horton says. Hopefully, after 90 days you will find, as I did, that starting and completing P90X was one of the smartest decisions you’ve made.