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This is one of newest releases from the Human Kinetics publishing group. It is led by fitness instructor Lashaun Dale. Rather than offering a single workout, the DVD is uniquely formatted to provide many different options. There are a total of eight sequences featured on this disc, each approximately 10 minutes in length. These can be used as short, stand-alone workouts, or they can be combined into a customized routine using the DVD's programmable feature. The disc also includes four Preset Workouts; these are total-body routines of varying lengths.
The Main Menu of the DVD appears as follows:
· Workout Segments
· Preset Workouts
· Program Your Workout
In her brief (3 minutes) Introduction, Dale notes that the workouts feature a combination of traditional and non-traditional moves and that the emphasis will be on interval training. The props used in this video include hand weights, a small ball, a step, and a mat. There are also two background exercisers, Elise and Meredith, who show modifications throughout the routines. The Preset Workouts are listed in the DVD insert and on the menu as follows:
The Energizer: Full-Body Sculpt
The Core Optimizer: High-Intensity Training for Ultimate Abs
The Maximizer: Advanced Total-Body Tone
Selecting both "Workout Segments" and "Program Your Workout" takes you to a list of the eight individual chapters, but the latter allows you the option of selecting more than one segment in order to create a customized workout. I have listed the name of each sequence below along with an approximate time estimate as well as my brief comments. (Note: The names of these workout segments are rather odd. First, there does not appear to be any different between the "Strength and Tone" versus the "Sculpt" designation. Second, when Dale introduces the upper body work, she states that the "High 5" indicates standing exercises, whereas the "Low 5" consists of floor moves, but this pattern does not hold true for the lower body selections.)
Total Body Primer (10 minutes)
Dale calls this segment the "metabolic optimizer." Although a possible use for is as a warm-up, it seems backwards for that purpose: Dale first begins with smaller movements to loosen the joints, then gets the blood flowing with aerobic moves such as side steps, lunge backs, and planks with lunges.
The Total 10: Full-Body Fitness (10.5 minutes)
Dale describes this sequence as "the fundamentals," noting that it includes ten classic exercises. This is true, as Dale leads Elise and Meredith through traditional moves like bridges, push-ups, planks, and squats, but they perform only a few repetitions of each exercise, and the entire segment feels more instructional in nature.
Total Core: Strength, Sculpt, and Tone (10 minutes)
This segment uses a step and a mat; the mat is placed behind the step to form a "T" shape, and all of the work is on the floor. Dale starts on hands and knees, moving from pelvic tilts to cat/cow to mountain climbers. She continues to alternate core work, including hip walks, roll-ups, and reverse crunches, with plank-based cardio blasts (about 30 seconds each).
High 5: Upper-Body Strength and Tone (10 minutes)
Here Dale uses the step for cardio and the weights for sculpting. The weight moves are fairly traditional and include rows, flyes, biceps curls, and both shoulder and tricep extensions.
Low 5: Upper-Body Sculpt (10 minutes)
This section uses a mat and the weights. The cardio segments featured here are a bit higher impact and include tuck and ski jumps. All of the strength work is performed on the floor, and it is mostly plank-based--e.g., plank rows, push-ups with twist, and side plank with rear delt lifts. Dale moves very quickly, with little time for setup between the exercises.
High 5: Lower Body Strength and Tone (10 minutes)
This segment uses the ball for both the cardio and the strength moves. Dale alternates between standing and floorwork (e.g., bridge) for the strength exercises. Some of the moves have a functional feel to them, such as a diagonal lunge and a plié with a twist; brief balance work is also included.
Low 5: Lower Body Sculpt (10.5 minutes)
Dale states that this segment will focus on the hips, thighs, and core. It opens with an almost 2-minute cardio combo on the step which incorporates lunges, 3- and 7-knee repeaters, and side knees/kicks. The strength work using the ball again includes functional movements, such as a full body rotation, a step knee with lunge, and a rotating lunge. The cardio is repeated at the end.
Total-Body Revitalizer (10 minutes)
Dale describes this final segment as a "go to pick me up" that can be used at either the beginning or the end of a workout; I thought it made a much better warm-up than the "Primer." Dale uses the ball and starts with large dynamic moves such as twists and wood chop. She adds balance and core work, using the ball between the knees as well, and she concludes with seated stretches.
The sequences on this DVD offer a nice variety, and the ability to customize the programming to create your own workout is definitely a huge plus. I particularly enjoyed the lower body workouts, as the functional nature of the exercises gave these routines a fun, innovative feel. I thought that Dale was less successful in her upper body offerings due to her over-reliance on plank work, especially given that these types of exercises may be contra-indicated for those with wrist or knee issues. This DVD would be best suited for those who enjoy circuit workouts which incorporate a high degree of variety, including multiple segments, impact cardio, and plank moves.
© 2010 Beth Cholette
Beth Cholette, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist who provides psychotherapy to college students.