There is no strict calendar to follow, which makes P90X2 very unique when comparing it to other programs. It is broken up into 3 phases and although each phase has a recommended schedule for each week, they don't say to do each week for a given period of time. You are the judge of when you're ready to move on to the next phase. Each phase helps prepare you for the next group of workouts which is really nice.
I started this workout after completing 2 rounds of P90X3, followed by a "rest" phase where I did PiYo. So I was in decent "P90X shape" coming into this workout. By that I mean, Tony makes you do a lot of pull-ups and push-ups along with quite a bit of balance work... just to give you an idea of where I was at with my workouts before starting.
Length of Workouts
Phase 1 - Foundation
There are 6 workouts that you use in Phase 1, plus a bonus 7th workout Ab Ripper that you add on a couple of days. The schedule is setup so that you workout hard 4 days a week. Those workouts include high intensity core work, plyometric work, total body strength and a balance and strength workout. In between those workouts you mix in yoga one day and the other two days you can either take as rest days or do the Recovery + Mobility workout, which is a fantastic workout and something I tried to do at least once a week.
I really enjoyed this Phase and I ended up doing it for 4 weeks before moving on. Here is a little video of me me doing one of the moves in the Balance + Power workout. This will also give you an idea of the space you will need, which isn't much!
Phase 2 - Strength
The awesome part of this program, and what sets it apart from just lifting weights "normally", is that you are rarely standing on 2 feet when doing lifts, or when you are doing push-ups you are using stability balls or medicine balls to balance on. This really engages all those stabilizer muscles and core muscles. As you progress through each phase, you definitely notice your balance improves with the moves that you are doing. I never upped my weight all that much but I did notice that I did more reps and my balance was much better.
Phase 3 - Performance
If I'm being honest, this was my least favorite Phase. After the 2nd week, I found myself bored with the workouts and the schedule. I did 3 full weeks following the X2 schedule but in the 4th week I ended up switching to using P90X3's Complex Upper and Lower workouts which are also based on PAP training. This gave me a little more variety, which was nice.
I would say this program is geared more towards strength and improving muscle endurance. My goal going into it was to actually put on some weight, which I was able to do without gaining any body fat. I don't know if I would recommend it to the person that wants to lose a lot of weight. It is probably better suited for the person that wants to drop some body fat % points, get a little stronger, improve muscle quality and improve sports performance. No matter where you are with your fitness, this program WILL challenge everyone. If you're more advanced, you will likely be able to move through the phases faster...but there is something for everyone with this program!
The last thing that I want to point out is the cardiovascular work that these programs provide. So many people think they need to go pound the pavement or hop on an elliptical in order to work their heart. NOT TRUE. Before I started any P90X workouts my resting heart rate was 62 which is good, but you can see how much it improved. I will say X3 is a better cardio workout due to their being less breaks and shorter breaks. My heart rate maximizer numbers from a year ago were: Immediately after - 172
After 1 minute - 107, After 2 minutes - 107, After 3 minutes -79, After 4 minutes - 85. Basically what this test has you do is go all out with jumping jacks for 2 minutes to get your heart rate up then once you are done, you monitor how your heart rate recovers. The change here is crazy!!! After 2 minutes of basically sprinting, my heart is now able to recover to the point of my resting heart rate.
If you want to live longer, your heart muscle needs to be stronger...and this workout definitely works that muscle too.