Welcome to my site. In March of 2009, I weighed 370 pounds. My health, my career, my family life, and my overall attitude on life was hopeless. A great friend confronted me and inspired me to take control of my life...and I DID!! It transformed me physically, mentally, and emotionally. So now, I’M PAYING IT FORWARD! I hope you can find this site motivational and helpful in the journey you may be on!

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The biggest reason people consider not using P90X for weight loss is because of the difficulty of the moves.  As many of you probably know, though, there are modifications for virtually every exercise.  However, even though Tony shows many modifications on the DVDs, I get a lot of questions on what it was like when I started.  I think many are curious if I was semi-active (well, at least as active a 5’10″, 370 lb guy can be), and was able to do more than they think they would be able to.  I believe they wonder if they should achieve some level of weight loss before tackling P90X.  I did no preparation for P90X.  I attempted to do strictly cardio on an elliptical starting out to lose some weight before starting, but my ankle couldn’t take the day after day pounding.  That lasted about a week and I finally just jumped into P90X.
I was able to jump in using the modifications.  I used every modification that Tony through at me…and then some.  In this post, I wanted to highlight some of the key modifications I used and that I get the most questions about.
Push ups
Push ups were brutal.  My arms would quiver just supporting my weight in plank.  I would start to bend my elbows and that was it….BAM!!  to the floor.  So, I started with doing ALL pushups on my knees.  As I got stronger and lighter, I started to introduce regular push ups.  I would do as many regular push ups as I could, then I would drop to my knees and knock out a few more reps.  The key was going to failure with both.  I didn’t get too fixated on a number.  I wanted to have a target in my head but didn’t just stop at the number if I could keep going.
With some push up variations, just doing them on my knees wasn’t enough.  I had to also reduce the range of motion to get even 1 rep.  One arm pushups in Chest, Shoulders, & Triceps is a great example.  People hear “One arm push ups” and think, “NO way, I can’t do this.”  The truth is that you can if you modify.  I did them on my knees and only lowered myself 3 or 4 inches.  I still got a great workout, it gave me a foundation to start from.
Pull ups
There was no way I was pulling my 370 lb body up to a bar.  I did my entire 1st round (90 days) using the resistance bands to simulate pull ups (same modification they show in the DVD).  In my 2nd round, I started using the chair to assist myself up to the bar.  Finally in my 3rd round, I was able to do my first “real” pull up.  Similar to the push ups, though, I would do as many real pull ups as I could (this started out in the third round with ONE!!), then I would put my foot back on the chair and knock out some more reps.  Again, the key point is to go to failure with both versions.  Once I hit this point where I was doing at least one pull up, my numbers started increasing each and every week.
I did the Lean version my first round so I did not have to deal with Plyo until I had already lost 60 lbs.  I was still about 310 lbs and had severe ankle pain due to my arthritis.  I modified all the moves in which you left the ground.  I would just take small steps like Pam the Blam does in the video.  For some of the more extreme moves, like Jump Knee Tucks and Rock Star Hops, I just marched in place.
YogaX (video detail on Yoga X modifications)
How I didn’t just throw the DVDs out after day 4 is beyond me.  I thought Yoga should be a nice, relaxing day.  It was BRUTAL.  I felt like I couldn’t do anything.  “Swing your leg through,” “Try to keep your leg parallel to the floor”…are you kidding me.  I even about passed out doing plough because my gut took up all the space in between my legs and head.  Somehow, though, when day 4 came next week, I found the courage to put it back in.  I decided to not do any of the vinyasas and just get into each pose, ie. crescent, warrior 1, etc.  This kept me from getting too exhausted.  In between the poses, while the gang was doing their vinyasas, I would just march in place.  I just focused on keeping moving.  As I felt better week after week, I would start out doing the vinyasas and then go back to marching when I felt I was getting to tired.  By the end of round 2, I was keeping up (even doing the extra push ups) with the gang.  Sticking with YogaX has to be one of my most proudest accomplishments with P90X.  So many people toss it aside, but I can tell you, no other workout has changed the way I FEEL more than Yoga.  It has unquestionable improved all my other workouts.  I don’t get up thinking, “YEAH, it’s Yoga day!!, I’m more of a lifting, pushing and pulling kinda guy.  But I look at Yoga as a means to make my other workouts even better.
AB ripperX (video detail on AB Ripper X modifications)
I hated it, but I hated it.
For ab ripper, I started out by picking a lower number for each of the 11 exercises, example 5 instead of 25.  I would do the 5 reps and wait for the next exercise.  When that became “easy”, I bumped it up to 7, then 10, and so on.  When I got my numbers up to about 15 for each exercise, then I started pausing the DVD and completing all 25 reps.  I started to progress much quicker and took less breaks week to week when I started doing this.
Marching in place
If there was a Guiness Book of World Record for time spent marching in place in a year, I’m sure my name would be listed.  I used this virtually in every workout.  With my ankle arthritis, I couldn’t even do jumping jacks.  So I’d march.  Anytime I felt I couldn’t keep up, needed a break, or couldn’t do the move (Damn you, Dreya Roll!!), I would just march in place.  The key here is to not let it get to your head.  Just because you can’t do the move or keep up, you’re still getting something out of it IF you keep moving.  Marching in place was a heck of a lot more than sitting on the couch.
Those are the main modifications that I think would benefit anyone using P90X for weight loss and cover most of the questions I get.
I would also like to stress the importance of writing down how you did.  It served so many purposes to be able to see what I did on my last workout.  For one, I would look at the previous’ week results for each exercise, before I did it, to put a number in my head.  That was my goal.  Each and every week, on every exercise, it was my goal to do better than I did last time.  This could be either reps or amount of weight I used.  The other thing that writing it down did for me was that it gave me so much motivation to see my improvements.  You have to take OWNERSHIP in managing your own motivation and find things that will build it.  I can’t think of a better way to do that than writing your workouts down.  I think it’s even better than keeping track of your weight because it focuses your effort on the process.
I would love to elaborate any other modifications I used for any concerning exercises you have.  Feel free to comment and I’ll expand this blog.
Hope this helps you!!

For more topics on using P90X for weight loss, click here.

Jeremy Yost

13 Comments to “P90X MODIFICATIONS”

  • Thanks for all the helppful ideas. I just took the fitness test last night and won’t get the program till day after tomorrow (anxiously awaiting it). I don’t know what is involved in the workouts yet, but two concerns I have are my right shoulder (rotater cuff issues I believe) and some right knee pain that I hope will lessen as my weight drops (299lbs as of last weigh in). The jumping jacks were almost impossible due to the knee pain. Any helpful ideas would be greatly appreciated.

  • I really needed to hear this right this very moment. Thanks, Jeremy! I’m trying to get back into the swing of things after some illness and injury, and it’s such a lift to know that I’m not the only one having to do a lot of modifying and marching. Tony says “Do your best, forget the rest.” I had to forget a LOT when I first started, but by the time I had completed a few weeks, I already noticed that I was forgetting a lot less ;)

    Can’t wait to start Phase 1 again, and stick with it!

  • [...] – P90X Modifications [...]

  • Great post and modification suggestions! I’ve been helping my customers as well with modifications in the beginning, so as not to get burned out or worse, injured. I look forward to reading your posts

  • [...] For more modifications to other P90X workouts, click here. [...]

  • [...] a means to make my other workouts even better. For more modifications to other P90X workouts, click here. Share this [...]

  • Jeremy,

    Thanks very much for your post! I am a P90 grad as of early September, am doing P90 Masters now, and recently received P90X and will begin it in a few weeks. While I am not overweight and am strong and flexible, I am 55 years old and have very fragile knees, so your modification suggestions, especially for Plyo X, were very welcome. I actually don’t know if I will ever do Plyo X because of the impact; I’ll have to see whether constantly modifying everything to low impact will be worth it. If not, I might as well stick to one of Tony’s low-impact workouts in that case, which would be fine. I did use Cardio X in lieu of one of the P90 Masters cardio workouts a couple of days ago, and loved it.

    I was certified as a yoga teacher in 2007, and I think your modification suggestions for Yoga X are spot on. :-) I understand that the next generation P90X that is coming out will have a yoga routine that is 60 minutes rather than 90, which is a good idea, I think. Even really fit people have a lot of difficulty completing with 90 minutes of ashtanga or power yoga, especially if they have never done it before EVER. People shouldn’t be afraid to modify, or hit the pause button and drop into child’s pose to catch their breath–you see people doing just that all the time in yoga classes.

    Your blog posts are great and your personal journey is quite inspiring. Thanks for all the helpful info–I also really liked your explanation of the differences between P90X Classic, Lean, and Doubles.

    Thanks again, and KPP!


  • [...] a means to make my other workouts even better. For more modifications to other P90X workouts, click here. Share this [...]

  • [...] P90X Modifications [...]

  • Thank you for this post! Physically, I look like I’m in good shape. But when it comes to pressing play, I realize just how out of shape I am. I used to be able to go through one full round of the two rounds in Chest & Back, while working out hard. I put the DVD in a few days ago to get ready to pursue it through the winter, and realized that I could barely get through half of the first round. I think these tips will really help me to keep going with the program so I can be nice and fit in spring. Thanks again!

  • I needed to read this too. I’m coming back to p90x after neck surgery, gb surgery, and ankle problems, which still plague me. I’m two days in on lean and did a lot of marching and.modifying. I’m glad to read where you did the same and came so far. Thanks for posting.

    • Virginia,
      Glad it helped! How are you doing now?

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