P90X is a workout alternative for people who want to get fit without setting foot in a gym. While you won't need the full range of equipment found in a gym, you will need some basic items. One of the essential pieces is a set of dumbbells. Select an appropriate range of weights to fit your goals and abilities.
Recommended Weight Range
The P90X program features a wide variety of resistance exercises. Some exercises, like triceps kickbacks, will require light weights; others, like heavy pants, need a lot of resistance. The P90X Fitness Guide recommends using a range of dumbbells beginning as low as 5 pounds and going as high as 70 pounds. Your exact range will depend on your own physical abilities, though. You won't need the heavier weights if you're physically unable to use them.
Choosing Appropriate Weights
The appropriate weight for an exercise will depend on the number of reps you're doing. The P90X Fitness Guide recommends 12 to 15 reps if you want to tone your muscles and 8 to 10 reps if you want to build mass. Either way, you should choose a weight that allows you to max out within your range. This means that you'll need heavier weights if you're going for bulk, and lighter ones if you're going for tone.
Workouts Requiring Dumbbells
Fewer than half of the 13 P90X workouts actually require weights. You will need dumbbells if you're doing Chest & Back, Shoulders & Arms, Legs & Back, Core Synergistics, Chest, Shoulders & Triceps or Back & Biceps. You won't need any weights at all if you're doing the other workouts which include cardio exercises, yoga and a stretching routine.
If you don't have dumbbells but still want to perform the resistance workouts, you have another option: resistance bands. These bands are rubber tubes with handles that you stretch to perform resistance exercises. Unlike dumbbells they are light weight and compact. This makes them a great option if you travel or simply have limited space.