Does P90X Work? [Study]

Bring it: Does P90X really work?

Since 2004, more than 3 million copies of workout program P90X have been sold. For about 0, you get a series of DVDs and enroll in a 90-day boot camp with celebrity fitness trainer, Tony Horton.

While P90X does have its devout followers, there have been no published studies about the program’s effectiveness. That is, until the American Council on Exercise enlisted the help of a research team from the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse led by John Porcari, Ph.D. and Joel Woldt, M.S for a study.

The researchers recruited a number of healthy participants and, after establishing baselines, put these individuals through the P90X program. After several weeks of testing and data collection, researchers crunched the numbers.

Noteworthy findings:

  • Male subjects burned 441 to 699 calories per workout.
  • Female subjects burned 302 to 544 calories.
  • Male heart rate was 67 to 83% of HRmax.
  • Female heart rate was 65 to 88% of HRmax.
  • Male VO2max values were between 45 percent and 70 percent.
  • Female VO2max value were between 45 percent and 80 percent.

What does it all mean? Based on the data, researchers concluded that P90X workouts meet or exceed the industry standards for losing weight and improving cardiorespiratory fitness. In other words: If you do the P90X workouts regularly and to the best of your ability – and combine the program with a healthy diet – you’ll definitely get results.

Of course, there’s no magic to it. Central to the P90x program is what marketers call “muscle confusion.” To exercise scientists, this term is better known as daily undulating periodization. It involves changing up workouts regularly so that the body doesn’t have time to adapt, become overly efficient at the exercise being performed and experience plateaued results. To achieve this “muscle confusion,” the P90X workouts involve switching between a number of different exercises. If you don’t use P90X, you can take advantage of daily undulating periodization by regularly introducing new exercises into your workout program. Beyond getting better results, you’ll also notice that it helps prevent gym boredom.

While we’re on the subject of workout programs, I can’t pass up the opportunity to plug my Jock Workout. Like P90X, you’ll cycle through various strength-training and cardiovascular exercises that will build muscle and burn fat – at less than half the price. Tony Horton, eat your heart out.

What do you think of P90X? Have you tried it? Did you experience results?

About Davey Wavey

Davey Wavey is a certified personal trainer and YouTube sensation with more than 250 million video views. For Davey's fitness tips and secrets, sign up for his free monthly newsletter - or download any of his affordable and effective workout programs.


  1. Our campus has P90X (and Insanity) workouts for one of the gym classes. I puked on the ab workout and sadly did not return.
    It was a great workout that I definitely felt immediately after and into the next day.

  2. My roommate is on Day 61. She’s lost 20+ lbs and a great number of inches around her waist. She incorporated an awesome diet as well as Zumba. She’s definitely impressed and she brings it hard everyday. (;
    Tony’s not the man for me though, I’ll stick to the Jock Workout :p

  3. P90x requires a lot of time set aside in front of your TV or Computer following along. It also requires you to buy extra gear for your home (pullup bars and resistance bands). I think the thing that keeps p90x from working form some folks is that they are not ready to commit to the time – and as with any workout routine, Nutrition is 50% of the game. If you are still eating at McDonalds off the extra-large value menu and doing p90x – you aren’t going to see results. Programs like P90x work better (in my experience) in a gym setting, where the sessions are lead by someone. I like the BodyPump classes by Les Mills for that very reason. A strong, across the body workout – lead in a fun inspiring in person environment.

  4. ^ P90X requrires a lot of time? No more than any other workout. In fact, I would say programs like P90X, Insanity and even Davey’s (though I haven’t used the last one) take less time then working out with a trainer or at a gym. Factor in travel time, time wasted when you don’t have the available machine, etc. As to the equipment. You don’t need to pull up bar or weights if you can’t afford it. A $20 investement on a good pair of workout bands is really all you need, especially if you are just starting out. One of the great things about these types of workouts (including Davey’s) is that you can save time by jumping into it without having to take the time to figure things out for yourself and then over time after you have seen results you can figure out what works for you and what doesn’t. For me, when I did P90X it was great. The only annoying thing was I was living in a hotel at the time with not much room so that was annoying.

  5. christopher says:

    p90x-seems to work-ive a friend that does it.truly he gets results-is 6 foot 6.then he plays basketball-usually something like 3 hrs a session-is very active-softball-working out-bowling too.he has much time as he only works 5 hrs per day.—-we do what works-and i need to sit down with my friend-and explain his p90x-routine.—for me bicycling-treadmill-upper body one day-lower body-another dayseems to work-free weights as well as floor exercise.—-question-does p90x-work out at the gym?or is it for the home gym activity only?

  6. I’ve gone through P90X a few times and saw great results every time. I more recently got his P90X Plus program and found that to be far more intense, and with the release of P90X2 I’m looking forward to a new challenge. I feel bad writing this on your wall Davey since I haven’t tried any of your workouts (I feel like the erection would take away from my workout), but I’m willing to give them a shot, any Black Friday deals? ๐Ÿ˜›

  7. I’m in my first round of P90X and I LOVE IT! I got it mainly because I get bored working out at the gym and I needed something that would help me establish a new lifestyle for my body. I’m one of those skinny bitches who can eat whatever… but since starting the program, I am SO much healthier in all areas and I feel great! I’m even adding on some muscle and definition. It works for me and I recommend it if you’re ready to BRING IT! ๐Ÿ™‚ … I’m going to do a youtube video about it when I’m done with my first round. But I plan on continuing this new healthy lifestyle I’ve established. ๐Ÿ™‚

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