Tag Archives: equipment

Getting Started with P90X: What we use and what you need

11 Mar

P90X: Extreme home fitness!  You all have probably seen the infomercials.  They claim amazing fitness results right in the comfort of your own living room.  I have been doing this very program since late October (2012) with wonderful results.  I originally got P90X years ago and dabbled in the videos without making it successfully through a complete round (I ended up moving to a new state and life happens).  I enjoyed it the first time but never saw the full potential because I never fully committed.  When I moved jobs (and states) again I was determined to make fitness and my health a real priority and started Round 1 on the morning of my first day at the new job.  Ambitious, huh?

My boyfriend Adam and I are in it together and have enjoyed the intensity of the program.  Our first round we ate well but didn’t follow the strict nutrition plan.  Well, the holidays hit and we got a little off track in both the healthy eating and the workouts (Adam had some major commitments come up and wasn’t often able to squeeze workouts in).  We decided to start again the first week of February with Phase 1; this time with the nutrition plan.  After several months of completing the videos, I want to share the equipment we have used, what was critical initially, and what we have purchased as an add-on. (Note: I am not affiliated with Beachbody or the P90X program – these observations are just opinions of a user of the program).

The P90X list

Here’s what Beachbody says is required:

  • Set of Dumbbells


  • Chin-Up Bar


Here’s what they say is optional:

  • Yoga Mat


  • Push-up bars


  • Yoga Block

blue yoga block

  • Heart Rate Monitor


  • Resistance Bands


You can find out more from Beachbody in their P90X FAQs.

What I have found:

Beachbody is really pretty spot on.  The required stuff really is required.  I would say to successfully complete the program you need at least 3 different sets of dumbbells.  That being said… I did the first round with just 1 set (5lbs) and still had results.  For our “Round 2” we ended up really going with more of the optional equipment. And I’m glad we did.

Round 1 Equipment (Owned previously or purchased):

  • Chin Up Bar: I can’t do pull-ups yet, but Adam definitely needs this one! They sell these at Dick’s or online for between $30-60.
  • 5lb, 20lb dumbbells: 5’s for me, 20’s for Adam
  • 1 Yoga Mat: Adam already had a mat, I had to watch enviously from the carpet.
  • Resistance Bands: We bought this on our Round 1 shopping trip – I use them for pull-ups. They are nice to have for traveling purposes, too!
  • Perfect push-up bars: These were great for me.  I have wrist issues so they helped to take some of the pressure off.  I wish I had bought bars more similar to the ones in the videos though. Hindsight is 20/20.

Was it enough?

Tricky question.  Was it enough to do P90X?  Yes.  Was it enough to do P90X well?  Not quite.  We really could’ve used more dumbbells.  That was the biggest missing piece.  In many ways our first “round” was a “pre-90X.”  We did the exercises, got used to waking up, got used to working out, and had a chance to test out P90X.  Results were there, but not nearly what we have been seeing in Round 2.  In our case, going with just the required equipment was a cost-effective way to make sure we liked what we were doing.  After Round 1 we could say: YES!  We like this program, and we are ready to get the equipment needed to really be able to bring it.  At the start of Round 2 we knew we wanted more equipment and we were ready to commit to it financially.  All of the equipment we bought we knew we could incorporate in the future in other fitness regimens. For us, it was a great investment.

New Equipment for Round 2:

  • 8lb, 10lb, 15lb, 25lb dumbbells: Now we can really push ourselves and appropriately complete our exercises.   We bought simple dumbbells (the cheapest we could find) and they have been great.  Our ‘set’ doesn’t match, but again gets the job done. I use the 5, 8, and 10 lbs while Adam uses the 15, 20, and 25lb-ers. We also just bought a weight rack – totally optional but have enjoyed our newly organized closet!
  • 2 Yoga Mats: I caved and got one.  I definitely like having it.  Makes Yoga a little less slippery than carpet!  These aren’t too expensive and you can find them online pretty cheap.
  • Food Scale: This should be required.  What a difference this little guy has made.  I feel so passionately about having a food scale for P90X that I’m going to do a whole post on it. Ours was 25 bucks from Walmart.
  • Fat Caliper: Wish we had this from the beginning!  It’s nice seeing our fat percentages go down, but it would’ve been great at the start.  This was 5 bucks online.  You will need another person to measure you.
  • Soft measuring tape: Also wish we had this one from the start.  Very cheap online.

Round 2 equipment has brought us to the next level. We are able to really fully do P90X.  None of our equipment (from Round 1 or the additions in Round 2) has been “a waste” or is not used in a given week.

What I’d Still Like:

Even with the added equipment for Round 2, there’s still one remaining piece I’d like:

  • Yoga Block:  I’m pretty bad at Yoga, and I really think this would be very helpful.  One block is all I’d need, but I do feel it will make a difference.  I plan on getting a block soon, though they seem a little overpriced to me!  I’m pretty frugal, so 20 bucks for a Styrofoam block seems a lot!  At this point, however, I know I would use it, and I know I would like it.

To sum it up:

To do P90X you need weights (at least 3 different sets of dumbbells) and a bar (or bands for most women) for pull-ups.  Everything else is optional.  Using the optional equipment can help take you to the next level and allow you to fully complete many of the exercises and videos. If cost is a concern, invest in the dumbbells and bands at first.  As the weeks go by you will get a feel for your needs and as finances allow, add on new pieces of equipment.  Or you can save up and do a bulk buy like us on Amazon (free shipping :))!

Keep bringing it!


What optional equipment have you found the most useful for P90X?