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P90X on the Cheap

Friday, April 10, 2009
The price of the P90X DVDs isn't so bad, but along with it, you'll need some equipment. It's not too bad, especially when you compare it with a typical gym membership.

But what if you were on a very tight budget and wanted to start the P90X program? How little can you actually get away with spending?

The normal P90X equipment consists of a set of dumbbells, an exercise/yoga mat and a pull up bar. Beachbody, the distributors of P90X, sell this equipment on their website. What they have is pretty pricey in some cases, but there are alternatives I'll review in the rest of this post.

Resistance Bands Can Save Big Money

Resistance bands are long pieces of latex rope with a handle on each end. They provide resistance and replace weights, such as dumbbells. With a door attachment, they can even replace the need for a pull up bar. So in addition to the hundreds of dollars you save in dumbbells, you save another $75 by not having to buy a pull up bar. Plus, you can easily throw them in your suitcase if you travel a lot.

They are incredibly affordable and work well with the P90X program. Each video that uses weights has one person performing the exercises with resistance bands. Amazon has a set of 5 resistance bands that are currently going for less than $60 including shipping.

The set 6 band set is from Ripcord, who makes quality resistance bands, and they stand by their resistance bands with a lifetime warranty. If they break, send them in for a replacement and all you need to pay for is shipping and handling.

Resistance bands aren't just for women, which some people think. The Ripcord kit comes with one each of Yellow, Orange, Green, Red, Blue and Black Sniper bands which can offer resistance which approximates a pair of dumbbells from 3-62 lbs in each hand. If you're ok with a resistance band set that only goes up to around 30lbs then check out the Black Mountain Products Resistance Band Set which is about 1/2 the price of the Black Sniper set.

The weight ratings are approximate because your height and how far the cord is stretched will affect the amount of resistance.

The door hook that comes with the RipCord kit will help you use the bands to replace a pull up bar. If you can't do a lot of pull ups, this might be better for you, because you can choose your level of resistance easier than controlling your weight. The P90X videos do show you how to use a chair for assistance, but the bands may be more convenient and possibly safer. Just make sure you read the directions for using the door hook.

Exercise Mat

The P90X program isn't just weight lifting, pull ups and push ups. It also includes yoga, plyometrics, stretching, an ab workout and other exercises that will benefit from having a good exercise mat.

Whether you're on a hard floor (hardwood/concrete), or a soft floor (carpet), an exercise mat is very important. First, it provides some cushioning for some exercises, especially floor exercises, and won't give you rug burn like carpet will. Some of the moves can be killer on your knees too if you're on a hard floor. A good mat will also keep you from slipping, which is important in a lot of the stretching and yoga moves.

I think the best mat for a home gym is the Manduka BlackMatPRO 71-Inch Yoga and Pilates Mat. It is also the mat that BeachBody sells as their "Plyometrics Mat" on their website. It's pretty expensive, normally $85, but if you use the link above, it's currently on sale with free shipping. This mat has a lifetime guarantee.

If you're tall they have an 85" BlackMatPro Yoga Mat.

A little bit cheaper, lighter, and available in more colors, but also thinner, is the Manduka eKO 71-Inch 5mm Eco-Friendly Yoga Mat, which is another good choice.

But we're not looking for cheaper, we're looking for cheapest! And that's where the Ribbed Durafoam Mat Anti-Microbial 5/8 comes in. It's thick at 5/8" so it provides good comfort. It is also ribbed to prevent slipping. It is made from anti-microbial foam to keep it from getting stinky and gross. It also comes with a removable strap for carrying and rolling up.

Pull Up Bar

This ProSource Chin Up bar is comparable to the P90X chin up bar from Beachbody but about 1/3rd the cost. At the time the cheapest option for me was the Iron Gym Total Upper Body Workout Bar. It doesn't have as many grip options as the other bars but it gets the job done. Works great for pushups and situps too and has held up for many years.

That's about as cheap a setup as I could come up with. So in addition to the P90X DVDs, you less than $100 (including shipping) to get started. That's a lot cheaper than the pull up bar, mat and Bowflex SelectTech 552 Dumbbells that Beachbody recomends. All that totals over $600. A little hint though, you could get all the P90X stuff a little cheaper if you buy it from Amazon.

Heart Rate Monitor

One other piece of equipment you might want is a heart rate monitor. It's important to keep track of your heart rate. You can do this manually, but a heart rate monitor makes it a little easier. I like the Omron HR-100C Heart Rate Monitor. It is also very affordable at only a little more than $30 right now, with free shipping.

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