P90X3 Total Synergistics Review

Get prepared to be pissed! Damn is it that bad Charles? No, actually it’s good, but something is off…WAY off. Now granted this is only the first workout of the whole P90X3 series, but something is seriously not right. If you are any sort of workout nut (which you should be if you are even considering a P90X workout) and if you have experience with P90X and P90X2 (which you should. If not, save your money and go get P90X first, period, end of story, nothing else to read here), then P90X3 is going to throw you through a loop, and that loop is a flaming ring of sharp rocks dipped in colorful frog poison.

But first, if you are new to my website, then welcome. What you will find here is a non-BS review of the P90X3 Core Synergistics Workout. No you will not find a 250 word post, or a one-line Twitter review with a bunch of “#somethingsomethingsomething, lol, Awesome  or Im @ Target sore ready 4 P90X3” nonsense, nor will I link to some lame YouTube video telling you to buy my stuff, or be my Facebook friend. Nope…this review is long; if you suffer from ADD then you probably haven’t read this far or merely scanned over this section. So yeah, it’s long, I leave no stone unturned, and if it sucks then trust me I am going to tell you about it; if it’s good then trust me I am going to tell you about it. I don’t work on a weekday morning talk show with a bunch of women sitting around handing out fake compliments while secretly thinking “damn Lucy could use a quick swipe of lip balm, or man she has picked up a few pounds over the Christmas holiday.”  No, honesty, my love and passion for fitness is what this is all about.

If you are not familiar with what’s really going on here with P90X3, Here is a promo video that Beachbody promoted to hype P90X3.

So it’s basically P90X that has been condensed into “30 minutes a day.” Why? Because, everybody is SO busy these days, I mean who in the heck has an hour per day to workout? Let’s completely forget about the 4 hours per day they spend on Facebook, talking on the phone , or watching some updated reworked version of the Star Search. Let’s be real, this is really marketed to women. Anytime a fitness company produces a product or a weight loss supplement or diet and 65-70% of your customers are women, then it’s pretty clear that you need to market and cater to women if you want to sell more. So since women don’t have time, because they are off trying to be Super Woman, then “nobody” has time for an hour long workout. AND THAT PRESENTS A BIG PROBLEM FOR P90X3.

WTH are you talking about? Oh don’t worry, you shall soon find out. But before we get into that let’s just get into what P90X3 Total Synergistics is all about. Here it is in a nut shell:

Total Synergistics is a melting pot of resistance training. Every exercise incorporates more than one muscle group, and it uses stabilization training to force your muscles and your brain to work together…or… syngeristically. Allowing you to move more athletically. It’s grace, it’s strength, it’s power combined.” –Tony Horton

At this point I’m thinking alright Mr. Horton let’s do this, kick my black ass in the next 30 minutes. I want to half kill myself ala P90X and P90X2. Then it comes on and gone is the dungeon looking warehouse room with black lights that we are used to in P90X and X2. Now the set looks like an upgraded Curves (a woman’s only workout and weight loss facility) workout room, complete with bright lights and a more light and airy feel.

 P90X3 Total Synergistics Review

On with the review

P90X3 Core Synergistics Equipment Needed


Here is small hint. When you do the warm-up in P90X3, GO HARD. Extra Hard. Why? Because we only have 30 minutes for this workout and we are going to be doing some pretty crazy stuff in those 30 minutes. So pull harder (without hurting yourself) Stretch farther, and for the sake of my cousins dog “keeper” do not stop early because you feel like you have done enough. YOU ABSOLUTELY CANNOT CUT ANY CORNERS WHAT SO EVER, if you want to maximize the effectiveness of this workout. Also stay in control. Flaying about for the sake of going full throttle will wind you up in the hospital.

Side Note: I am not going to focus too much on form in these reviews as I have in the past, because if you are doing P90X3 you should have already done at least P90X and preferably P90X2. If this is your first introduction to the P90X series, I would suggest sitting down and watching the videos through first and watch the form that the people in the videos are doing. If you don’t, you will hurt yourself…guaranteed.

Also notice how outrageously short these warm up exercises are. So go HARD

  • Run in place – Total Time 20 seconds                               Total Time Left: 29:40
  • Jumping Jacks – total Time 39 seconds                            Total Time Left: 29:01
  • Kickouts –– Total Time: 31 seconds                                   Total Time Left: 28:30
  • Golfer grip Arm Circles (Forward / Reverse switch grip) Total Time: 40 Seconds

Total Time Left: 27:50

  • Chicken wings (WTH?!? ) Total Time: 24 seconds    Total Time Left: 27:26
  • Double Knee Pulls – Total Time: 19 seconds                Total Time Left: 27:07
  • Double Ankle Pulls – Total Time: 17 seconds              Total Time Left: 26:50
  • Double Quad Stretch – Total Time: 22 seconds           Total Time Left: 26:28


Total Warm Up Time: 212 seconds / 3 minutes 32 seconds

 Workout Time!

Note there are seemingly time offsets and mistakes listed, you will understand why that is during the course of watching the videos.

Total Time Left: 26:18

Push-Up/ Side Arm Balance – 1 Minute Duration

These are from previous P90X workouts. This is a basic push-up then converted to a side arm balance. Rinse and Repeat to the other side. Here is one of the problems with this workout. In the past Tony “Queued” you on how to properly get into a plank position for a push-up.  In this video there is very little “Queuing”, queuing is telling you how to properly execute an exercise – think of it as Personal Trainer 101. Now I am not sure if this was done on purpose because of time constraints (We only have 30 mins) or was not a part of the script, or ??. I know good and well he didn’t forget. I personally have learned a ton from him, when it comes to queuing Tony is brilliant, but for some reason it’s not there in this video….weird!

Crescent Chair – 57 Second Duration                        Total Time Left: 25:07

A Crescent chair is the same position you would get into as you would a runner’s lunge, but both arms are up over your head (biceps at your ears). The key here is to keep your back, chest and arms at a 45 degree angle and when you go to change positions the only thing you are moving is your legs. When you are doing these make sure you have your shins over your ankles. Total Time Left: 24:00 

Pull Knee Pull (Aka Pull-up Knee-Up) – 48 Second Duration   Total Time Left: 23:43

This is a basic move. It is simply an overhand pull up and when you get to the top you pull your knees up to your stomach. Drop down and repeat. The modification is in the video. Total Time Left: 22:55

Flip Flop Crunch – 1 Minute Duration    Total Time Left: 22:21

Starting in a side plank on your elbow, all you are doing is a simple overhead reach with your opposite arm while having your opposite leg straight out (off the ground). Then crunch your overhead arm and leg in mid-air. Come down and repeat on the other side. Total Time Left: 21:18

Crawly Plyo Push-Ups (Aka Plyometric Spiderman’s) – 1 Minute Duration Total Time Left: 20:46

If the thought of Plyometric Spiderman’s don’t get you all wet and moist, you are in the wrong place and you likely have the pulse of an unused English smoking jacket stored in a wealthy magistrates wardrobe!  No explanation needed, but DO make sure your hips are NOT sagging! Total Time Left: 19:37

Relevé- Plié, Weighted. – 1 Minute Duration     Total Time Left: 19:01

These are just weighted Plié squats on your toes. If you have never done these (and I know I sound like an annoying parrot) don’t let P90X3 be the first time you have done these. Why? This is the first workout of the first DVD if you follow the schedule, and there is WAY too much going on to be able to do properly, even though it sounds simple. Kinda like going from driving your beat up 1991 Pontiac Bonneville with a bad rear shock to driving an F1 car and expecting to be competitive. Not going to happen and a good chance you are going to die…but fun nonetheless. Don’t half ass it. Get on your toes! Log your stats!    Total Time Left: 17:56

 Chin-Up Circle Crunch – 50 seconds Duration       Total Time Left: 17:15

Well the Chin-Up part is self-explanatory. The circle crunch is done when you are at the top of your crunch, simply a sunrise crunch (left to right or right to left)      Total Time Left: 16:26

 Boat Plow – 10 Reps         Total Time Left: 15:45

Taken from the words of Tony himself “When I call out boat, you do boat, When I call out plow…you do plow.” You should know what boat is from P90X2 (If you don’t get P90X2 and knock out a few Over/Under boat exercises). A plow is a performed by placing both feet together legs straight up and lifting them up and over your head so that your toes are touching the ground behind you directly over your head, your hands are at neutral position on the ground as support. Heterosexual women ESPECIALLY love this position…I mean exercise! *Side note: You may or may not be able to touch your feet to the ground depending on your flexibility. DO NOT HYPEREXTEND YOURSELF.                                                   Total Time Left: 13:14

 Balance Arch Press – 10 Reps Right/Left                                 Total Time Left: 12:49

This exercise is weighted, so pick something that you can do 10 reps with on both sides. Not too light and not too heavy. For women- Go heavier! Most of you girls don’t use enough weight for it to be effective. For men – Don’t kill yourself. The balance part means that you are either on your right or left leg. The arch press is just that and military press with one dumbbell “arching” over your head. The modification is in the video. Total Time Left: 11:49

3 Hop Press – 10 Reps   Total Time Left: 11:21

It’s fairly simple once you see the video. But, for those of you thinking you can bypass buying the video by reading my reviews, NO, buy the thing. If you can’t get it where you are located, hit the contact me button at the top of my page and I will order and send you a copy. Too expensive? Too bad! This world is not built for people who can’t afford stuff. If you really want it you will find a way to get it. Total Time Left: 10:29

Glamour Hammer – 30 Second Duration Right/Left Leg    Total Time Left: 9:42

These are just inside and outside hammer curls on either your right or left leg.  Total Time Left: 8:34

Brannon Boat – 45 Second Duration Total Time Left: 8:11

Brannon Boat was a bitch! This is one instance where having long heavy legs is not to your advantage. This is a leverage abs maneuver to the hilt. These start out as a banana boat from P90X, then that is where the similarities stop. So the first half is where you are in a pulsing banana boat and your legs are at a 45 degree angle. Then from there are you dropping back on your back (with your legs still at the same angle) then doing crunches for the correct count that Tony says. Rinse, repeat and add conditioner. For my long ass heavy legs this was brutal with about 10 seconds left.  I am disproportionally heavy in my legs and have been my whole life.   Total Time Left: 7:26

Flying Warrior – 4 Reps Right/Left Leg

Total Time Left: 7:01

These are a combination of a front shoulder raise on one leg then followed by a flying Warrior (ala a Yoga position) that is combined with a lateral raise with dumbbells. Nothing over complicated here, just a matter of doing the work. Total Time Left: 5:45

Squat Rockers – 1 Minute Duration  Total Time Left: 5:11

Using a fairly heavy weight you are in a squat position with your feet together under your hips, squat down like you are sitting in a chair then hold this position. When your back is straight then your elbows should be touching your knees and your quads should be parallel to the ground. You are at this position for the entire duration of the exercise. From this position you are rocking back on your heels and then coming up on your tip-toes. If you are doing it correctly you will feel it in your shins and calves. Push for height! Total Time Left: 4:10

Side Rise Punch – 30 Second Duration Right/Left Side Total Time Left: 3:40

This is a lying down side tricep press with a dumbbell in your free hand. You are simply punching out and in with the dumbbell as you are doing your tricep press.  Once you see the video it will be abundantly clear. These are easy if you have strong oblique’s, brutal if you do not. Total Time Left: 2:33

Warrior Squat Moon – 1 Minute Duration Right/Left Total Time Left:  2:13

Warrior Squat Moon is a combination Yoga position put together. If you are not sure about Yoga positions do P90X2 Yoga X…seriously. You will be quite acquainted with all of these once you have gone through all the positions there. Here is the sequence:

  1. Half Moon
  2. Squat
  3. Warrior 3
  4. Squat
  5. Repeat

Total Time Left: 0:00



Do these!

Foot Notes: The purpose of these workouts is for you to be able to do them in 30 minutes. In previous P90X workouts it was made readily clear that if you needed extra time to catch your breath, go to the bathroom, answer your phone for that “oh so important phone call” then do so. Here that is not made clear, because again the purpose is for you to be able to the workout in 30 minutes. You taking breaks to do the above stated completely kills the purpose of the workout. If you plan on doing this series then set aside 30 minutes to do the work with no distractions. Your health outside your relationship with God is your most important asset you have bar none. If you don’t believe in God then your health is your only asset you have.

P90X3 Total Synergistics Review


This is only the first workout of the whole set and Day 1 of Block 1, but if the rest of the workouts are like this one I am going to be disappointed. Why? Because NO *effective* and the keyword here is EFFECTIVE P90X workout is a 30 minute workout.

The pacing of P90X3 as compared to P90X or P90X2 is speed up maybe 10% or 15% tops, and here lies the rub, and I am asking you Beachbody because I know you are reading this. How can you have a truly *effective* P90X workout in 30 minutes, if P90X and P90X2 are built, hammered and chiseled into stone at an average of 1 hour per workout? And before you answer that question let’s look at P90X2 that just came out a couple years ago. P90X2 Ab Ripper X is 16 minutes long and only for your abs. Now how can we honestly do a full body workout in P90X3 Total Synergistics that is only 14 minutes longer that INCLUDES the warm-up?

Well you can’t. Why am I comparing it to P90X2? Well between P90X, P90X2 and Insanity, these are bar none THE best home workout DVD’s ever put on DVD period, they are basically the Body for Life by Bill Phillips book of the home fitness, in terms of impact and timelessness.

Then on the other hand as a fitness nerd, I liked the workout. I would have loved it if it was an hour long. I mean we are doing freaking Plyometric Spiderman pushups out the gate! I get all hot and bothered just by thinking about it. But the trainer side of me is sending out all kinds of sirens, alarms and buzzers. I can guarantee that A LOT of people are going to hurt themselves doing Plyometric Spiderman pushups 10 minutes into the workout! I know because I could feel it in my elbow at the end of the set.

I get what is being sold here. I get that you are trying to capitalize on the new “shortened” and truncated lifestyle people are pretending to live these days via social media. I get trying to sell time to people who want to look busy, while talking on their phone about absolutely nothing. The last I checked we still have 24 hours per day here on earth, the same we have always had.

Here is the real deal STRAIGHT TALK, and I am talking to everybody here: you cannot short change a workout.

More importantly you cannot shortchange a P90X workout. Now let’s not get it twisted, you can do a cardio workout in 30 minutes and reap the benefits of an hour workout as long as you are doing double the work. But that is not the case for a P90X workout. A P90X workout is like being married, it takes time, effort, the correct spacing, the correct timing…a solid P90X workout takes an hour we have proved that in P90X and P90X2 with countless people getting in shape and feeling great. How does that compare to being married? Well, Let’s look at a married couple… they cannot all of a sudden be married for 25 years because they were more “efficient”  for 12.5 years and have done the same amount of things that their married parents have done in 25 years. No to be married for 25 years you have to be married for…yeah twenty five years, there is no skipping days, there are no double days, and there are certainly no 10 and a half  hour days.

I have a feeling this is going to be a long review process.

Charles Face Review Stats:

Workout Difficulty: Put it this way you are doing Plyometric Spiderman Pushups 10 minutes into it!

Presenter: Tony seemed less engaged, less enthusiastic than his other videos. Usually he is bouncing off walls and telling corny jokes…where is HE at? Maybe he secretly agrees with me that a 30 minute P90X isn’t really P90X? hmmm.

The Cast: Dreya kicks ass in all her videos, the test group guy Jamie puts on a solid performance he ain’t faking’ it! Alice is in super shape and does well.

Overall P90X3 Total Synergistics

The best way to get P90X3 is in it’s Challenge Pack form. Get it here.



This concludes this review on P90X3 Total Synergistics

Charles Lloyd
Charles Lloyd

Self processed fitness missionary and author of most of the ridiculous fitness articles written on Charles Lloyd Fitness.com. I am not really a writer, but a workout fiend who happens to have a blog. The single mission of this website is very simple: Get You In Shape. I have been blessed with the gift of good health and want to share it with you. Join Me.

    2 replies to "P90X3 Total Synergistics Review"

    • glenn

      I just did day 2 of p90x3, about 12 minutes in I turned it off and told my wife were going back to p90x, the tape on the floor thing, and the fact that I wasn’t even breathing hard by this time.. what a shame, they didn’t have to force 30 minutes. They could have don’t 45 and it would have been great. To short or to long, they just cant make it perfect.

    • John

      Excellent article.
      You just saved me $$$.
      I was going to buy X3, not now.
      Gonna borrow my cousins P90X and do that.
      Question…would you say cutting P90X workouts to 45 minutes by skipping breaks and Tony talking will reap good benefits?
      I only have the time to train for 45 minutes.
      Input appreciated.
      Thanks in advance for your response.

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