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I vividly remember saying this to my best friend during high school:
“Spring break is next week. I have 7 days to get a 6-pack…”
And believe it or not, I was talking about the stomach I wanted, not an alcoholic beverage.
I really thought if I did enough crunches in a week (while continuing a steady diet of primarily French fries and pizza) I could birth that chiseled 6-pack that was just waiting for the right time to reveal itself.
Yeah, well. What can I say? I spent every spring break with a cheeseburger propped on a very sore belly that was more like a mound of playdoh than a piece of art.
Now I know what it takes to get a sexy core. (And it’s not a 7-day marathon of crunches combined with a high-fat diet.)
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The Ab Ripper routines are the perfect set of workouts to incorporate into your fitness plan. The programs are effective and unique.
Whether you own every P90X series or you’re accessing them from your BOD (Beachbody on Demand) membership, you’re probably trying to remember (or figure out) what the difference in all those ab ripper routines is, so you can continue (or start) working your way towards your own sculpted core.
In a nutshell here’s a short phrase to describe each one of the Ab Rippers:
Ab Ripper X: 25 & TOUGH
Ab Ripper X2: ISOMETRICS & BALANCE
Ab Ripper X3: EFFECTIVE & FUN
Let me explain the DIFFERENCES and SIMILARITIES in each of the P90X ab ripper workouts…
Ab Ripper X is a 16 minute routine.
There are 11 exercises.
You do them all for 25 reps.
All you need is a mat.
Ab Ripper X is a standard high-rep ab routine.
You’re going to be sore after this workout.
The exercises aren’t complicated but they’re effective.
There are no breaks.
All of the exercises are done sitting up on your bottom or in the supine position (on your back).
You’ve most likely done (or at least seen) every move in this program.
V-Up Roll-Ups and Oblique V-Ups
Ab Ripper X2 is a 17 minute routine.
There are 11 exercises.
The reps vary from one move to the next.
A mat is all you’ll need.
Tony and Collette are barefoot. You don’t have to be.
One of the exercises (Banana/Superman) takes more space than just the area of your mat to do it. You have to roll back and forth between banana and superman so you might want to move the coffee table before you get started.
The P90X2 series is all about balance, speed (tempo), and isometrics. X2 Ab Ripper follows the theme of the series.
All of the moves in X2 Ab Ripper are done at a slow, controlled pace, with lots of isometrics (static holds) and several exercises that incorporate balance.
A few exercises in X2 Ab Ripper are variations on the original Ab Ripper X moves.
With the exception of the superman/banana roll you’ll do every exercise on your back or sitting up.
Oblique Roll Crunches or Balance Bike Crunches
“…these are the most effective core exercises EVER put on video. It hits you right where your 6-pack should be, and right where it will be, if you hang in there…” Tony Horton—P90X3, Ab Ripper
There are 8 exercises in this 15 minute routine.
The number of reps varies by exercise.
You need a mat and one light DB (I use a 5 lb.)
The X3 exercises are more creative than the other 2 workouts. It’s possible you’ve never done (or seen) several of the moves before.
There aren’t that many reps so you’ll need to focus on your core to get the most out of each exercise.
The tempo is similar to X2 (except for the last exercise, Speed Bike) and you’ll notice the use of isometrics in this program, too.
The exercises vary position between supine, sitting up, and plank.
Sphinx Crunch Hold or Bridge Burners (start in a banana hold with a light DB held over your head, do a V-up and then a Mason Twist at the top, then you go back down into a banana hold and start again, your feet never touch the ground between reps)
The stage/set and lighting get better with each Ab Ripper.
The best set and lighting are found in X3.
There are twenty-five reps of every exercise in Ab Ripper X (except the last move) with a moderate pace for each move.
There are varying numbers of reps and a slower tempo (of each exercise) in X2 and X3
If you have time for one of these then you have time for any of them
Ab Ripper X-16 minutes
Ab Ripper X2-17 minutes
Ab Ripper X3-15 minutes
X3-mat and 1 light DB
2 guys, 1 girl, and Tony (in each production)
The original Ab Ripper is the only one of the 3 where I struggle getting in all the reps and I’m almost always sore the next day. It just feels like you’ve done a solid ab workout when you’re done.
The number of reps makes the original Ab Ripper really challenging, but X3 has a few really intense exercises so it evens out.
The exercises in X3 Ab Ripper are the most fun.
There’s a nice balance of intensity between the 8 moves, and because there are a couple of plank exercises, you’re not on your back the whole time.
I think this one tries too hard to follow the theme of the entire P90X2 series (using balance and isometrics) at the cost of effectiveness and fun.
There are a few intense and effective exercises in X2 Ab Ripper but overall, it’s just not as good as the other two.
The best thing you can do for your core is to mix up your ab routine. Don’t do the same exercises every day.
The more variety you add to your workout the better.
Changes in exercises, tempo, and style will get you visible results.
So, while one of the ab ripper workouts might be your true love—doing all 3 of them is the smartest and most direct route to a fancy 6-pack.*
*And of course it’ll take a consistent (longer than a week) total body fitness plan, as well as the proper diet, to achieve the best results.
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