Today is Day 1 – P90X3 Total Synergistics with Tony Horton- and day 1 of P90X3 workouts for me! For each P90X3 workout, I will give you a breakdown with pictures, modifications (if necessary), videos, and my thoughts. Because isn’t that why you read my blog? Ha.
This blog post was originally written in January 2014, when I did P90X3 for the first time. To regain strength after last year’s shoulder surgery, I created a custom workout plan using Beachbody On Demand. My plan includes my favorite P90X3 workouts, so I am updating my old photos and tips here for you!
Read my full P90X3 review and see results here!
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What is P90X3 Total Synergistics?
One of the popular Beachbody home workouts, P90X3 is “everything you love about P90X in half the time.” Trainer Tony Horton guides you through challenging workouts using muscle confusion to give you an amazing workout in only 30 minutes per day.
The first workout, P90X3 Total Synergistics, is a full-body resistance workout that triggers fast, powerful changes to your body’s composition. Here’s the breakdown:
Length: 30 minutes, plus a short minute or so stretch afterwards. Don’t skip that part, or you’ll hurt more.
P90X3 Workout Program: Beachbody has discontinued the DVD version of P90X3, but it is available for streaming on Beachbody On Demand. This is the option I personally prefer, because I get access to every Beachbody program they make. (There’s also a free trial too, which I recommend you check out before you commit!)
P90X3 Total Synergistics starts out with a brief warm-up, which lasts about 3.5 minutes. It consists of jumping jacks, side lunges, some arm circles, leg stretches, and some other things I didn’t write down. I was too busy moving! Then the real workout gets started.
P90X3 Total Synergistics Moves
1. Push-up/Side Arm Balance
Well we didn’t waste any time getting serious, now did we? Thanks, Tony. The title plus my pictures should explain it all: do a push-up, then a side plank, push-up, other side plank, repeat repeat repeat. This lasts around a minute or so. To modify, do the push-ups on your knees, and use your knee closest to the floor to support your body when you go into side plank.
2. Crescent Chair
So crescent chair isn’t so bad. You basically start by stepping into something between Warrior 1 and a lunge. Then you step forward into a tight squat and keep your arms raised – otherwise known as chair pose! Focus on your form and try to engage your glutes through the movements. To modify, just don’t go as low.
3. Pull Knee Pull
Oh boy. Tony was going a little crazy with Pull Knee Pull. You’re supposed to do a pull-up on the bar, then pull your knees up to your chest while at the top of the bar. Haha, RIIIIIIGHT. Since I don’t have a place for my pull-up bar, nor can I do one pull-up (yet!), I modified. A girl in the video did it this way as well.
I rigged my resistance band around my stair rail and pulled the band back while in a lunge position. Then I brought my back knee up into a bit of a standing crunch. You do each side for about 45 seconds. To modify this move, you could use a lighter band, or maybe not pull your knee forward. Balancing can be difficult. I tried to really focus on crunching my hips toward my ribs.
Short break here, maybe 60 seconds. Get a drink of water.
4. Flip Flop Crunch
The Flip Flop Crunch looks a lot easier than it really is. Start off in elbow plank. Rotate to a side plank, extending your top arm and leg. Then crunch them together, tightening your obliques. Extend arm and leg back out, then rotate back over to elbow plank. Repeat on the opposite side. A modification could be just to rotate from elbow plank to side plank and back, maybe keep knees down.
My bottom elbow should’ve been directly under my shoulder, but I didn’t realize I was out of alignment. A mirror would help with keeping proper form.
5. Crawly Push-Ups
Haha I don’t even have a picture for Tony’s ridiculous Crawly Push-Ups. I mean, I do, but they wouldn’t help. Here’s a video instead. My form isn’t the best, as regular pushups are still pretty tough for me – much less plyo pushups.
You’re sort of supposed to stagger your arms, one wide and the other narrow, with the one knee coming close to that narrow elbow. It’s awkward, but roll with it I guess.
We have about 20 minutes left in Total Synergistics at this point.
6. Releve-Plie, Weighted
Haha ok the Releve-Plie was kind of fun! One of the more enjoyable exercises in P90X3 Total Synergistics. And my dancer daughter was my photographer, so she was getting a kick out of her mom doing ballet moves.
My silly faces were because I was trying really hard to keep my back straight without falling over! Hehe. I used a 10 pound dumbbell for this. I probably could’ve gone a lot higher, so I’ll try a 20 next time.
With your heels up, lower down into a plie (like a sumo squat). Then rise halfway up, but don’t completely straighten your legs. Hold your weight in front of you, keep your shoulders back, and try to keep your back very straight.
Not much of a modification here, other than use lighter (or zero) weights and don’t go as low into the moves. If you have balance issues, stay off your toes or rest your hand on a chair or wall for assistance. This lasts about one minute.
7. Chin-Up Circle Crunch
Yep, another chin-up not-gonna-happen move. The Tony Horton version of this is doing a chin up, then raising your knees into a crunch in a circle motion – up at an angle on the right side and down at an angle on the left side. Then repeat in the opposite direction. Hence the “circle crunch” name. It’s very P90X-ish, and far too advanced for me (and most people).
So I modified the Chin-Up Circle Crunch with my resistance band. You can lie on the floor with your head under your bands and feet off the ground. Pull your bands straight down toward your chin/chest. Crunch your knees up to the right side and circle over your chest and straighten back out. Keep those legs and feet off the ground! Then repeat the circle going in the opposite direction.
Further modification? Maybe keep one foot on the ground and crunch in one knee at a time. Or maybe choose to do either the band pull OR the crunch, but not both at once. You can make this work for you at whatever fitness level you are at right now.
8. Boat Plow
Hands down my favorite move of the day. This is something I used to do when I was younger, just for fun! I’m glad I can still do it at almost 40 years old.
Start in what I call a C sit position, legs outstretched off the ground and hands reaching toward your feet. Then at Tony’s call, you roll back and stretch your feet wayyyy over your head until your toes touch the floor. Or as far as you can go. Which ever comes first. And then you hope your dog doesn’t decide to sniff your face or you may start laughing so hard that you fall out of position.
This is where my dog decided to get more interested in my relationship with Tony Horton. And just for funsies, here’s a picture of her 6 years ago doing the SAME THING.
9. Balance Arch Press
Th Balance Arch Press was also kind of difficult to show with just pictures, so here’s another video. Oops, forgot to tell you there is music, so turn down your speakers if kids are sleeping.
Stand on one foot and move your weight from one shoulder to the other, in an arching motion overhead. I used 10 pounds, and you do 10 reps, then switch your balance to the other leg and repeat.
Balancing is HARD, y’all. It helps to pick a spot on the floor or wall and stare at it the whole time. And keep your core braced.
10. Three Hop Press
I did my best with the pictures on this one. Hold a dumbbell (I used 10 pounds) in a squat. While in a squat, do three hops in one direction, then stand up on one leg, raise the other knee, and press your dumbbell overhead. Repeat going back in the other direction. To modify, do stationary squats without hopping, and stand up to press without raising one leg.
My new pictures didn’t show this move as clearly as my old photos, so I’m keeping this throwback collage. You love that old fireplace, don’tcha.
11. Glamour Hammer
With the Glamour Hammer, your weights start to get heavy pretty fast. You do a basic hammer curl in front, then do another hammer curl to the side. Repeat. That’s it. Ohhhh, except you’re balancing on one foot for 30 seconds while doing it, and then switching feet.
If you need a modification, take out the balance component and just stand on your feet. And use less weight so that you have good form. There’s nothing wrong with dropping to a lower weight in the middle and finishing the exercise so you get in all the reps. That’s how you get stronger!
Now we only have about 10 minutes left in P90X3 Total Synergistics! Over halfway done. WHOOP.
12. Brannon Boat
Brannon Boat is not my favorite move, but it was doable. And why does Tony have to pick the weirdest names for these exercises? Strange.
I had photos for this move in my old post, but felt like video would demonstrate things better. Start out in C-sit, then raise and lower your legs just by inches. Then you switch to raising and lowering your upper body, all the while reaching for your legs.
It takes balance and concentration for this core exercise. Try to keep your back straight and protected as much as possible.
To modify, lower one foot to the floor. That adds balance and stability until your core can be strong enough to do the full move.
13. Flying Warrior
Tony tells you to go light on Flying Warrior, and he says that for a reason. I used 5 lbs and that is probably my max right now. (That was also the weight I used in 2014). You could use no weights and still feel it because this incorporates much smaller muscles.
Sooo I guess this is his idea of some version of Warrior 3? I have no clue what Tony is thinking. I just know I almost fell over. Balance on one foot. Raise both arms in front, palms facing each other. Lower your arms. Bend forward, keeping your legs mostly straight. Raise your arms out to the side in a rear delt fly. Return to standing and repeat.
The only modification here is taking out some of the balance.
14. Squat Rockers
Basic enough – you squat, you rock up on your toes, you rock back on your heels and lift your toes off the ground. And again. Trying to keep your back as straight as possible while not falling over is the challenge.
My silly faces were a direct result of almost falling over every time I tried to rock back on my heels. Yeesh.
My chest should’ve been more upright, but I don’t quite have the strength yet that I need. I used 10 pounds here but probably could’ve done at least 15.
15. Side Rise Punch
I was so happy to read back on my initial review of this move and realize I was able to do a better job now than I did then!
However, this is one of THE most awkward moves in all of P90X3 Total Synergistics. Or maybe all of P90X3 PERIOD.
Lie on your side, legs out. Support your body with your upper arm, hand on the floor near your chest. Reach your arm under your supporting arm and do a slow punch motion towards your feet. Then remove that arm and punch in the opposite direction. Do this for 30 seconds on each side.
You’re basically doing a tricep pushup with that supporting arm, while trying to balance and working the arm/shoulder of the weighted arm. It’s so weird and kind of too much in one move.
My uncoordinated self had to watch them a couple of times before I got the hang of it (just like I did in 2014). I feel like you spend so much time trying to figure this one out that you miss a lot of the benefit of the move. But hey – that’s why I’m here giving you these pointers!
And 5 pounds was all I could do. Don’t feel bad if you do this unweighted at first.
16. Warrior Squat Moon
Last move of Total Synergistics! And thank goodness it was. All these warrior moves, Tony – what’s up with that?
Anywho, I really had a hard time balancing with Warrior Squat Moon. And we don’t even use weights for this one! Maybe I was tired. I’ll just let the pics speak for themselves.
Start in half moon (balance on one leg, one arm reaches to the ground, one arm reaches straight up). Then do a half squat on that one leg (I squatted too far, FYI, but I was really off balance). Then straighten and extend your leg straight behind you while reaching forward with both arms close to your ears. Do a half squat again and go back into half moon. Keep going and then repeat on the other leg.
And now P90X3 Total Synergistics is over! One minute of a quick cooldown and stretch follows the workout. Not quite long enough, but the cool downs never seem to be anyway. I definitely encourage you to stretch more – and use a foam roller for some self-myofascial release too.
My Thoughts on P90X3 Total Synergistics
I can tell I’m not as big of a fan of P90X3 now as I was 6 years ago, but it definitely is a workout that is different from what I usually do. Tony Horton is all about that muscle confusion, but he adds in a little brain confusion too I think.
P90X3 Total Synergistics definitely isn’t as difficult as Insanity workouts, and I liked that I wasn’t gasping for breath every minute. There was still plenty of burn and it was challenging enough that I felt like my 30 minute workout was a good one.
While I still have to modify some of the moves, I’m not overly frustrated with the workout in general. I definitely have goals to reach with this workout, and I’m excited to see my progress. Not only will I continue to increase my weights and gain strength, but I WILL DO A PULL-UP BEFORE SUMMER. It will happen. Pics for proof. 😉
One of the most important things you can do to get results – whether your goal is weight loss or building muscle – is to eat the proper nutrition. Check out my posts on meal planning with the 21 Day Fix containers. I have lots of healthy recipes as well!
Have you tried P90X3 Total Synergistics? What do you think of the moves?
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Amanda is a mom of 4 living a mostly crunchy lifestyle outside of Atlanta, GA with her husband, 2 dogs, and a cat. As a former special education teacher who also has her personal training certification — Amanda really enjoys teaching others how to do things!
When she’s not working, Amanda enjoys DIY projects, exercising, photography, hiking, and long walks through Target.