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“What goes up must come down. And in sports it’s the coming down where you mostly get injured. Decelerator turns explosive training on its head not only by going up but also focusing on the coming down—working on those stabilizers, joints, connective tissue, and balance by sticking that landing every single time. (Decelerator) is all about the landing.”—Tony Horton, P90X3 Decelerator
Here’s a reminder of what the P90X3 program looks like:
If you have pretty good balance (like you could ride a unicycle on a tightrope today) then you’ll love Decelerator.
If your balance comes and goes like your interest in reality TV, then sometimes this routine (P90X3 Decelerator) will be frustrating for you. (I fall into this category.)
Let me tell you what to expect in P90X3 Decelerator…
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Equipment–Pull-Up Bar, Pull-Up Assist band* (I use one of these, Tony calls this device a Chin-Up Max), one Dumbbell*(There’s an option to use a DB on one of the exercises. I don’t use it. If I did I’d probably use a 15 lb. DB), Power Stands
*There’s no choreography to trip you up but some of the exercises might still be a little complex for some people.
My rating– B
Tony Horton says not to wear running shoes for Decelerator (Full Disclosure-I do sometimes and nothing bad happens). He recommends a cross-trainer shoe if you have them so you have more lateral support.
That’s good advice but don’t go buy new shoes just to do Decelerator.
The Decelerator routine is broken down into 30-60 second intervals.
You alternate between an upper body and lower body move for each grouping.
Tony doesn’t demo a lot of the exercises before the interval starts (and with the weird names you won’t know what to do until you see it). Be prepared to lose a few seconds of every exercise interval (learning the exercise) the first time you do this routine.
There are 21 exercises. The last lower body exercise (Spinning Plyo Squat Lunges) is the hardest one for me in the routine.
Besides Tony, there are 3 other people in the Decelerator team (Alice, Jeremy, and Chad). The girl, Alice, is doing the modified version of all the exercises. She’s awesome.
Remember to read to the end of this post for links to places you can find P90X3 as well as tips and advice for mastering each exercise in Decelerator. (I’ve included images for the exercises that have weird names or that are hard to describe.)
The warm-up is about 3 ½ minutes long. While Tony introduces his team you’ll be doing exercises like jog in place, jumping jacks and a few other easy moves to get your blood pumping.
You’ll be in a low squat on your right foot. Tony prompts you to leap up, back, or to the side. With every ‘bound’ you’ll land on one foot.
Tony changes tempo/speed as well so all you have to do is listen.
You’re supposed to land (and balance) on one foot after each ‘bound’ but I suck hard at these.
If I want to get in any reps I do Alice’s version (omitting the balance). Otherwise, I hop all over the room for 30 seconds.
Bounding Squats (Left)
Repeat starting on your left lead.
Crane Cracker Push-Ups
Tony demos this exercise before you start. You’ll see it and think , WTF? I can’t really describe it but here’s a photo of the finished product.
The first part of the exercise is a push-up with one knee to the ipsilateral (same side) elbow. I just concentrate on making that part of the move perfect and try not to get too upset that I can’t do Tony’s crane balance.
*You can use Power Stands for this exercise if you have them. I use them (because I have them) but they’re totally optional (but worth the money, in my opinion).
Good God Squats
The trick to this exercise is to stay on your toes the entire interval (1 minute).
You’ll be doing squats on your tippy toes but your torso is folded over, rather than upright like a normal squat, and both arms are extended over your head.
Watch Alice she does this perfect.
For one minute you’ll be doing pull-ups.
Tony prompts you to go to the ‘top floor’, ‘bottom floor’, or the ‘middle floor’. At each level you’ll do an isometric hold.
Tony changes the tempo of the exercise during the 1 minute so that you don’t always hold the pull-up for the same amount of time on each ‘floor’.
Alice uses a band to do this exercise. I do Elevator Pull-Ups on a pull-up bar with an assist band.
For the 2-Pop Hop you’ll do a vertical (‘explosive’) jump off two feet and land on one foot. Switch the foot you land on every time.
The hardest part of this exercise is dropping down into the squat (for the next rep) at the speed Tony wants you to go, which is really slow.
This interval is 1 minute (58 seconds).
Crawly Plyo Push-Ups
Tony kind of explains how to do this exercise before you get going but not very well.
You’ll start in a low push-up position with one knee and elbow (on the same side) touching (or as close as you can get them).
When Tony yells ‘jump’, you’ll switch to the other knee/elbow and drop into that low push-up.
Tony sets the tempo and prompts you to ‘jump’ much faster than humanly possible (because he’s walking around and not actually doing it).
Girls, the only way I can keep up with the team on this exercise is to NOT go very low into the isometric low push-up hold position after each rep. Otherwise, I can’t switch to the other side fast enough. (It makes me anxious when I miss a bunch of reps.)
If you don’t care about getting in the reps then try to go low for each rep and crank out whatever number possible for you. Remember your workout is all about you.
Holmsen Screamer Hold (right)
You’ll start this exercise in a runner’s stance and then leap up into a vertical jump. You land on the same foot and return (s-l-o-w-l-y) to the same position you started.
I wobble all over the place trying to go slow. I don’t really like this exercise. It reminds me of the 2-Pop Hop. Dropping slowly into the starting position gets irritating before the interval ends.
Holmsen Screamer Hold (left)
You do each leg for 30 seconds.
This exercise is a good ‘ol fashioned chin up EXCEPT you add in a knee-up at the top of the chin-up.
Tip–Make sure your pull-up bar is anchored properly in the wall before you add the knee-up. If you start swinging then stop and restart without the swing. (A pull-up bar positioned in a door frame is not meant to withstand a person swinging on it. You DO NOT want to crash to the floor with your knees tucked up in front of you.)
Girls, it’s hard to tuck my knees up with my foot in the pull-up assist band. My foot changes position as soon as I lift it and remove the tension from the band. To avoid the need to reposition my foot after every rep I just lift one knee (on the leg that’s not in the band) and keep the foot in the band under tension.
Here’s what the modified Chin Pull looks like (if you don’t have a pull-up bar).
Joel Jump Freeze (right)
This has to be the most frustrating exercise in the Decelerator routine.
You leap forward and backward at a diagonal.
The crappy part is that you start and stop (land) the exercise in a low runners squat on one foot, crouched forward with the opposite hand touching the foot you land on.
The problem is that when you leap your body has momentum in the direction you’re going so it’s tough to come to a dead stop.
I have a hard time finding the sweet spot between barely jumping (so that I can stick it) and actually going hard enough so that I feel like I’m getting anything out of it.
I usually end up wobbling all the hell over the room and feel like I didn’t do much of anything. (I realize the point is to use your core to stop your momentum but I can’t conquer this exercise no matter how many times I do it. You might have better luck.)
Joel Jump Freeze (left)
You’ll do each leg for 30 seconds.
Tony doesn’t demo this exercise before the clock starts (and he really needs to).
You’ll do a regular push-up and then transition into a side plank with your top leg lifted (this is an isometric hold in a ‘starfish’ position.
Then move back into another push-up (without letting your feet touch each other) and roll up into a side plank starfish on the other side.
The interval is one minute and you get to go at your own pace this time.
Duper 2 (left)
This exercise requires loads of balance. Prepare to be frustrated.
Balancing on your left leg you’ll start in a low position with your right leg held out to the side, the fingertips of your right hand on the floor (optional), and then rise up quickly into a right knee-up hold. Move back down into another rep without letting your right foot ever touch the floor.
Here are 2 images of the starting and finishing positions for Duper 2.
Duper 2 (right)
Repeat the entire sequence balancing on your right foot.
The interval is 30 seconds on each foot.
Vaulter Pull-Ups (right)
For these pull-ups you’ll position one hand in the chin-up position and one hand in the regular pull-up position.
The goal is to do the same number of reps on each side.
I use my assist band for this exercise.
Vaulter Pull-Ups (left)
Switch each hand to the other position.
It’s a 30 second interval for each hand position with a short break between sets.
Elevator Tiptoe Squat
You’ll get in a wide plié squat position.
Now rise up on your tiptoes and Tony will tell you how deep to squat by calling out top, bottom, or middle floor.
This exercise is one minute long.
*This is the exercise where you can hold a DB if you want to.
You’ll be on your belly for the superman position.
Move into a bow position (just grab your feet) when Tony prompts you to.
You’ll hold each position until Tony tells you to move to the next one.
Spinning Plyo Squat Lunges
This is the hardest exercise in the Decelerator program for me.
You jump into a one-leg lunge position, then pull your legs together and drop into a squat, shoot out the other leg for a one-leg lunge, pull your legs back together for the squat, and then do a 180 spin and start all over.
Try to keep a tempo without stopping. Your legs will ignite within a few seconds.
The interval is 1 minute.
Big Brother Burpees
There are a few parts to this exercise.
Go down into a push-up and bring one knee to the same side (ipsilateral) elbow. Do another push-up and bring the other knee to the same side elbow.
Then transition into a side-arm balance and hold for a beat or two. Move back into a high plank (push-up position) and pull your legs in and stand up. You can add a tuck jump when you stand but that’s optional.
Go back into a high plank and start all over. Alternate which side you do the side-arm balance each time.
The cool down/stretch segment is a little over 3 minutes long.
Don’t skip the stretch. Your body needs it.
I like the idea of Decelerator (alternating upper and lower body exercises and focusing on the stabilizers of the body) more than the actual program.
I feel like I could get more out of Decelerator if some of the exercises were easier to execute.
And since the workout is only about 30 minutes it always makes me feel a little disappointed that I can’t ever seem to squeeze 100% out of every exercise.
You can purchase P90X3 (with the Decelerator routine) by Beachbody on Amazon.
And you can access Decelerator (along with all the other P90X3 routines) with a membership to Beachbody on Demand. (This is how I get all the Beachbody workouts and I recommend you try it out).
Find out everything you want to know about Beachbody on Demand by reading this post, Beachbody on Demand—5 Reasons to Give it a Try.
Thanks for reading!
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