Does P90X Work?

Does P90X Work

Fitness Coach Nick Husin answers the question “Does P90x work for hardgainers?”

The most common questions that I always receive are:

Does P90x Work?  Can you gain all that muscle mass with just P90X? I thought it was for people who want to lean down only

The truth is, P90X is not a weight loss program, but it is a well designed program for anyone, whether the main goal is just improving your fitness level, getting more lean, being ripped, or add lean muscle mass. The program works to get you to your most optimal physique – if you’re on the flabby side, you’d be losing weight, while if you’re on the skinny side, you’d gain lean muscle mass. However, to gain lean muscle mass, you would need to stimulate your muscle tissue properly to spur the growth – you’d need to lift heavy!

Does P90X Work For Hardgainers?

There’s a reason why Tony Horton mentioned on the video that if your goal is to be big, just lift around 8-10 reps. However, with my own experience, I only follow the 8 reps rule. The moment you can lift weights at 8 reps in proper form, try to force yourself to do 1 more rep. And the moment you can do the 9th rep, even a sloppy one, it is the sign that you need to start increasing your weights. The heavier you lift, the more you stimulate your muscles, and the bigger your muscles will get (but only if you do everything in correct form!). I believe that lifting 7-8 reps while on P90X would give you great results if you’re a hardgainer.

Although I started with my whole transformation with Power 90 back in 2004, I have to give credit to my best friend in college, Senor’ Peter Maes. He taught me almost everything that I know on traditional weight lifting, which later I incorporated what I’ve learned into my hybrid Power 90 workout. And when I started my first round of P90X, I figured why not mix traditional weight training with P90X to create a hybrid mass building program? After 2-3 rounds of hybrid experiments, I found that adding a few 5×5 routines to the P90X equation seems to work well.


Still wondering “does P90x work?” This system has worked wonders for hundreds and probably thousands of weight trainers and bodybuilders alike in both building muscle and gaining strength. No matter how long and how fast bodybuilding will evolve, the 5×5 system will ALWAYS be a proven way to stack on gains like nothing else.

Here’s how it works: pick an exercise, and because compound exercises work the best, we will pick bench press. Start off by doing 5 reps with relatively light weight to warm up. Next, add some more weight, and do another 5 reps. Now that you are warmed up, jump to your working weight that you can do for 5 reps and do 3 sets with this weight. Since you are looking to gain more mass, then keep your rest periods between 1 and 2 minutes; if you were looking to build more strength, then 3 minute rests would be more fitting.

Now, next time you do bench press, add 5 more pounds to both your warm-up sets and your 3 working sets and do it again. The key is to keep adding five pounds each workout until you can’t complete 5 reps for one of your sets. What you would do is stay at that same weight until you can complete the 3 sets of 5 reps in good, clean form.

Remember to always keep your reps no higher then 5, even if you can do more. Staying with the 5×5 system is one of the best proven methods for building size and strength as fast as possible.

HYBRID P90X + 5X5 (okay for a beginner on 1st Round). How Does P90x Work?

In traditional weight training, main compound exercise that you need to hit in order to gain mass is 1)bench press, 2)shoulder press, 3)back row, 4)bicep curl, 5)tri raise, and 6) weighted barbell squat. P90X has all compound workouts except for bench press and weighted squat, which I added into my custom hybrid routine, usually on Leg & Back day.

Here’s an example of Phase 1 – P90X schedule:

Mon : Chest/Back/ARX

Tues : Plyo

Wed : Shoulder/Arms/ARX

Thur: Yoga

Fri : 5×5 Bench Press/ 5×5 Barbell Weighted Squat / 40 min of P90X Leg & Back / ARX

Sat : Kenpo

Sun : Rest!

The only flaw with this design is that not everyone could do this hybrid at home since you’d need a bench, barbell, and weight plates. If you have access to a gym, you could always do P90X at the gym, or else, just do whatever you can at home with regular P90X – it still works as it is!

*** Do not modify the push-ups on the P90X chest routines with bench press, or the pull-ups with the Lat Pull-Down machine. You need to do those push-ups and pull-ups in order to see results!

If you are still wondering “does P90x work” check out my P90X transformation video.

Post Title: Does P90x Work?



10 Responses to

  • What is a good fitness bar to eat after a workout?

    • I would recommend a proper recovery drink that is high in glucose for muscle recovery

  • Why shoudn’t you modify the push ups and pull ups with bench press and lat pull downs? couldn’t you incorporate them into the workout and stil do the push up and pull ups?

    • You could do that, but Ive experimented with those. Bench press and pushups are a bit on different tempo. When I did bench press heavy, I did not have the energy to complete the whole routine, plus no energy to do proper pushups. So by the end of the day, I did not feel much pump on my chest, compared to when following pure P90X pushups.

      Personally I think it is better to focus 1 day on higher reps muscle stimulation (pushups) and have a separate day for heavy lower reps with bench press.

      I am not a big fan of lat pulldown at all. I believe pullups is the best back workout out there. When you do pullup properly, you will feel more pump on your lat.

  • Hi nick, I was wondering would it be ok to do 5×5 bench press and squats on rest day or am I better off incorporating it in the leg back routine?

    • Rest day should be reserved for “rest”. Not many people could pull off working out 7 days a week. It is always better to have 1 day off to rest and recover. Your strength and muscle size will only grow when you’ve rested properly. That is why with this modified hybrid routine, you do bench press and squat and 40 min P90X Leg/Back on the same day and time.

  • PS– You can send the royalty checks to my address in Hermosa Beach..

  • Ok fine, you can brag that you’re stronger than me now. But glad you recognize your roots!! Haha don’t be a you-know-what.

  • Hi Nick,
    I put together a similar hybrid. I found a sit up bench for $25 dollars at a local sporting goods store. I just put a chair under one in and “BAM” I got a bench. I also use it for incline/decline. You have to be balanced so theres some risk there, but thats why we do yoga and core. 😉
    Great advice by the way. I also sub out several of the routines for traditional bench work.
    Thanks for sharing bro!

  • This schedule is awesome Nick! I have been doing this for the past two months, after increasing my calories the way you told me to back a couple months ago I have put on some real good size with it! You should post that fat loss hybrid you helped me to lose my extra 5 or 6 pounds I needed to lose this summer.