We Tried It: Tony Horton’s Warrior Workout

Tony Horton is adrenaline in a bottle. And when you’re huffing and puffing through his intense Warrior Workout, that's exactly the type of person you need to stay motivated. I had the opportunity to work out with the personable P90X creator at the inaugural Sweat AC festival, a three-day health and fitness expo in Atlantic City where guests can interact (and sweat) with top celebrity trainers, nutritionists, and lifestyle experts.

I’ve been lucky enough to interview Horton in the past (Highlight: When asked to name the most challenging exercise he can do, Horton popped out of his chair and gave me a private demo of the lever pullup. No, I don’t have a pullup bar in my office; Horton managed to raise his legs until his body formed a straight line parallel to the ground and then perform a pullup using only the half-inch ledge of my doorframe), but this was an entirely different experience.

Instead of pressing the fitness guru to reveal his typical weekly workout routine or the foods that are always in his fridge (something I’ve done countless times before), he was barking orders at me. But not in a scary drill-sergeant kind of way. In fact, the thing about training with Horton that impressed me the most was his obvious concern that everyone use proper exercise form, a rarity in most large group fitness classes. Horton not only carefully demonstrated every move, he also suggested modifications so that people of all fitness levels could reap the benfits of every rep.

Here’s a quick overview of the total-body routine that kicked my butt, plus the valuable takeaway that changed my approach to working out for good.

Tony Horton’s Warrior Workout: What to Expect
The Warrior Workout is a sequence of exercises that work the whole body without using any equipment. You complete five rounds with four exercises each, following Horton’s "UCML" sequence:
Upper (chest, shoulders, arms)
Cardio (60 seconds)
Middle (core work)
Lower (squats, lunges, plyometrics)

All of the moves we did came from P90X or P90X2, but you can recreate the workout at home with any exercises you want as long as you keep the sequence of upper body, cardio, core, and lower body the same. We finished up our workout with a little yoga and, of course, the warrior cry (basically yelling as loud as you can—good for the soul).

The No. 1 Takeaway: Quality Trumps Quantity
I didn’t count a single rep during my workout with Horton. Instead, every exercise was done for a specific amount of time (usually 60 seconds). This meant that every single rep was done with perfect form, working my muscles to the max. If I had only done five push-ups when time was up, you can be sure they were the five most perfectly executed push-ups I’ve ever done and delivered far more benefits than I would’ve gotten from eight to 10 reps with crumbling form.

By shifting my focus away from how many more reps I have to do, I’m able to hone in on the muscles I’m working and (hopefully) get faster results. And for that, I thank Mr. Horton.

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