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Bridal Fitness on Paper - P90X Chest, Shoulders and Triceps Monday, October 10, 2011 ~ 6:11 p.m.

Weight lifting and resistance training Hello again! You didn't think I'd let you out of our weekly workout just because of a super cool giveaway, did ya? ;) Amidst all of the cardio routines I've been reviewing over the past few weeks, I thought I would throw a serious weight training workout into the mix. I reviewed the Chest, Shoulders and Triceps workout from the P90X workout program today, and while it wasn't exactly my cup of tea, I think it's a great reminder for all of us chicks that we need to incorporate strengthening exercises into our fitness routines, in addition to the cardio we're all usually so focused on in order to lose weight.

My advice would be to approach your cardio versus resistance training as 70 percent cardio, to 30 percent strengthening in the months leading up to your wedding. As you begin to lose weight though, you'll want to gradually even out that ratio and incorporate more resistance training into your routines. This is because logically, the more weight and fat that you lose, the more those super toned muscles are going to shine through! In the final weeks before my wedding day, I was at more of a 55 percent cardio to 45 percent resistance training ratio. It was probably the best physical shape that I had ever been in...I felt strong, healthy and most of all, I felt good in my own skin. While these positive feelings had a lot to do with the fact that I was thinner, it actually surprised me how much it meant to feel stronger, too. Don't underestimate it! That, and I am completely convinced that all of the weight training I did boosted my metabolism so much, that I didn't gain any weight on my honeymoon! Imagine that!

Bridal Fitness Review - P90X Chest, Shoulders & Triceps

Overall: Two diamond ring rating for bridal bootcamp exercise reviews
2 out of 5 diamonds
This intense resistance and weight training workout focuses strictly on the upper body, and can easily be a little too much work for a bride aiming to lose weight.

The Chest, Shoulders & Triceps workout by P90X focuses on building strength and toning muscles in the upper body. One of 6 resistance training workouts within the P90X workout program, this workout strictly consists of different variations of push-ups and weight training. At about one hour long, you'll begin with a warm-up, then move through various upper body exercises - all of which are anaerobic, not aerobic - with two one-minute breaks and a five minute cool down and stretch. The video works at a somewhat slower pace in comparison to the cardio workouts in the P90X workout program, because the exercises are more strenuous and hard on your muscles, but this means you won't be sweating nor breathing too hard. In my opinion, the heavier focus on building muscles makes this workout more suited to a man's needs than a woman's.

Cost & Equipment Three and a half diamond ring rating for bridal bootcamp exercise reviews
2.5 out of 5 diamonds
As a entire fitness package P90X will cost you about $150. This is definitely more of an investment than say, a Pilates class, but one that is well worth it if you're serious about getting in shape.

Besides the DVDs, you'll want to have a set of dumbbells. I use a set of eight's, but I honestly wish that I had a set of five pound weights for this workout, in particular. Some of the exercises are too tough for me to finish using my 8 pounders. If you prefer, you could use a lightweight resistance band instead, which they'll show you how to use in the exercise video in place of the dumbbells. You may also want a yoga mat for a couple of exercises that require you to lay down, and this video often uses the push-up stands, although you can easily workout with them.

Time Commitment: Two and a half diamond ring rating for bridal bootcamp exercise reviews
2.5 out of 5 diamonds
The P90X workout program will have you working your Chest, Shoulders & Triceps for one hour, once every other week. For me, the 60 minute workout feels very looonnnggg when focusing only the same three body parts.

The time needed to complete the P90X program is definitely hefty and requires high level of commitment, with intense workouts 6 times per week for about an hour each day. This one hour resistance training workout doesn't sound like a lot, but I think that the hour feels particularly long in comparison to the other workouts because of how repetitive it is. Basically, you work in three rotations - a chest exercise, a shoulder exercise and a triceps exercise - and you do this rotation a handful of times, doing different exercises each round, so that you're working the same three muscle groups over and over again. By the time the hour was up, I literally couldn't hold myself up one more push-up! I imagine that guys are a little more equipped to handle this challenge, given that they're generally stronger in the upper body than women are (we're stronger in our bottom half, ladies!), and tend to focus more of their time and energy on weight training than women typically do.

Level of Difficulty: Three diamond ring rating for bridal bootcamp exercise reviews
2 out of 5 diamonds
Like the rest of the P90X program, Chest, Shoulders & Triceps is very physically challenging; however, I think that it's difficult in a way that is more beneficial to men than women.

Because it is a resistance training workout, it's the type of workout that makes your arms burn and tire like nobody's business, but the workout doesn't get your heart rate up as much as I'd like, personally. In other words, it seems to be more about building muscle than burning calories. However, it's SO important to incorporate at least some resistance training into your workout, so I still choose to take a break from the cardio once in a while, and do Chest, Shoulders and Triceps sporadically. Taking care of your muscles is important! It improves your metabolism so you're burning calories at a higher rate all the time, and I have to say, it feels good to bea STRONGER, bad ass chick! ;)

The focus of this workout is to tone your upper body - chest, upper arms and shoulders. There are a lot of variations of push-ups, including a set of "Plyo Push-Ups," where you clap your hands in between push-ups, and the dreaded "One-Armed Push-Ups." While Tony does show you how to try to pull off the one-armed push-up if you're a beginniner, I still never touch either of these exercises. They're a bit too intense for me, considering that I still do all of my push-ups on my knees (which is plenty difficult and seems to work fine for this workout, by the way). I also tend to go lighter on the reps with the shoulder exercises because I only have eight pound weights (rather than five pounders, which would be perfect for this workout), and I'm particularly paranoid about working my shoulders too hard because I used to dance, so I think that they're a bit bulky now for my liking.

Toward the end of this hour-long workout, I have serious trouble getting my push-ups done. There are a lot of them, over and over again, which will be tough for anyone, in my AND women. The weight training is a bit more manageable, because there's a tad bit more variety in the muscles you're working, while the push-ups work the same chest muscles the entire time. Chest, Shoulders and Triceps is certainly challenging, but I think it's a little too challenging for the average woman looking to tone up a bit for her wedding day!

Effectiveness: Three diamond ring rating for bridal bootcamp exercise reviews
3 out of 5 diamonds

After completing this workout, I was really sore in the chest and tricep areas for not one, but two days! It's certainly effective, but if you're not careful, it may not produce the kind of results that you want.
The Chest, Shoulders and Triceps workout moves at a slower pace, so the challenge lies in the amount of weight you use and the repetitions. This is pretty typical for a resistance training workout, but I sometimes worry about bulking up more than I'd like while doing this workout. In the beginning of the video, the instructor, Tony, does say that if you're looking for lean muscles, you should aim for 12 to 15 reps each set, and if you're looking for bulk (like most guys are), you should use a heavier weight so that you tap out earlier at 8 to 10 reps. He also mentions that the results usually lie in the last three reps, so they should be really challenging and nearly impossible to finish. I typically do 12 reps each exercise, with the exception of the shoulder exercises and the push-ups that I mentioned previously. With that being said, I think it's important to push yourself in terms of the repetitions during this workout, but try to stay aware of your body and how much weight you're lifting. Because the instructor is a man, and is looking to "pump up," he tends to gravitate toward the heavier weights, and unless you want to have a bodybuilder's body, you don't want to do the same. I give Chest, Shoulders and Triceps 3 diamond rings because personally, I think that it's better for the workout to be challenging, leaving it up to you to pull back when you need to, than for the workout to be too easy!

Enjoyability: Three and a half diamond rings rating for bridal bootcamp exercise reviews
3.5 out of 5 diamonds
If put up against one another, I would choose a P90X resistance training workout like Chest, Shoulders and Triceps over a P90X cardio routine any day of the week!
If I'm judging the P90X workouts purely on enjoyment, I tend to enjoy the resistance training exercises a little bit more than the cardio routines, because I think the quicker pace and aerobic work is more painful and difficult to keep up with than the resistance training, anaerobic workouts are. However, I'm almost positive that my husband would disagree with me, since he seems to get a much more challenging workout lifting much heavier weights than me while doing routines like Chest, Shoulders and Triceps. I think the differing opinions has a lot to do with the fact that as a woman, I tend to place more emphasis on cardio training in my fitness regime, and Dale tends to value the opposite, so we push ourselves harder in cardio and resistance training, respectively.

As I explained above, Chest, Shoulders and Triceps does get a bit repetitive for my taste. I would much rather do a resistance training workout that works the entire body at once, so that I'm not working the same three muscle groups over and over again. I would also enjoy this workout more if it moved at a slightly faster pace. Sometimes, I get antsy in between sets, so I'll do jumping jacks and sit-ups in order to keep my heart rate up, while the guys in the video are taking breaks because they're lifting such heavy weights. I think it's just engrained in me, that I need to be breathing hard in order to be getting a good workout, and I can't get past that while doing this workout!

If you're curious about a specific workout and you'd like for me to review it, please do leave a comment below or feel free to send me an email at Sarah - at - apaperproposal - dot - com.

Insert Comment | View Comments (4)




Allie@HoneyBeeInvites (Atlanta, GA)

Oct 10, 2011 10:14 PM

I am a huge p90x fan!! :) Love this post!

Aleah + Nick (San Diego + Seattle)

Oct 11, 2011 9:23 AM

I really love this series that you have - so informative!

chandra ~ oh lovely day (LA)

Oct 11, 2011 10:51 AM

This was one exercise I've considered to lose the baby weight, but am way intimidated by. Thanks for the info!

Christie O. {Hindsight Bride} (Mammoth Lakes, CA)

Oct 11, 2011 11:11 AM

I love these posts. Super informative. Now I just need to take my P90X program out of the box!!!