Monday, December 27, 2010

The best home workout DVDs I reviewed this year

Since it’s the end of 2010, I’ve taken a few minutes to reflect on all the DVDs I’ve reviewed on Fantastic Fitness DVDs this year.
   I’ve picked the ones that I think are the absolute best categorized by areas they target most effectively. These categories are based on the changes I’ve witnessed with my own body!
   Here's what I came up with:

Best for toning abs, butt and thighs
Workouts inspired by the Lotte Berk Method are coming out by the dozens these days, and it’s no wonder – it’s an amazingly efficient way to tone up problem areas in record time.
   These DVDs are the best Lotte Berk Method-inspired workouts I have reviewed so far:
Physique 57
Squeeze Stronger
Pure Barre
Pure Barre: Pershing Square 1
Pure Barre: Pershing Square 2

Best over-all heart pumper
The Biggest Loser trainer Bob Harper promises a routine that will work the heart to its maximum on Bob Harper Inside Out Method: Body Rev Cardio Conditioning, and he delivers with a combination of cardio moves and weight training.

Best for arms
To get some tone and definition in your arms, I highly recommend the Get Ripped and Get Extremely Ripped! series of DVDs from Jari Love. In addition to toning your triceps, biceps and back, the DVDs are good cardio workouts, too.
   My favorite Jari Love workout is Get Ripped! with Jari Love: Get Ripped to the Core, though I have reviewed many others on this blog.

Best for over-all leg toning
Ballet dancers have the most incredibly beautiful legs, thanks to intense, constant training. You can get a taste of that training, and watch your calves slim, by using the New York City Ballet Workout.

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Beachbody® Chronicles: The start of our adventures with ChaLEAN Extreme, TurboFire, P90X and Insanity

Yesterday morning the gift my husband and I gave each other for Christmas arrived at our doorstep: Bowflex® SelectTech Dumbbells.
   We decided a couple of weeks ago to go halfers on a set after seeing them being used by Chalene Johnson in her ChaLEAN Extreme® DVD workouts from Beachbody®.
   ChaLEAN Extreme emphasizes slow lifting of heavy weights.
   My husband and I plan on following the program to its fullest potential, and felt getting a good set of weights was essential (although you can do the program with a resistance band).
   I tried out the SelectTech weights for the first time this morning with a ChaLEAN Extreme workout, and they are the coolest things.
   You “dial up” a weight, from five pounds to 52.5, then lift the dumbells upwards. VoilĂ  – there’s the amount of weight you need.
   We also ordered the Bowflex SelectTech 552 / 1090 Dumbbell Stand, so we don’t need to bend down each time we pick the weights up or set them down. The stand easily moves around on wheels – perfect for our small apartment.
   ChaLEAN Extreme is one of four new Beachbody home workout systems on DVD that I recently purchased.
   I have also bought P90X®, Insanity® and TurboFire®.
   I’ve already been using TurboFire along with ChaLEAN Extreme.
   Starting in January, I’ll be filling you in on our experiences using these extremely popular DVD workouts.
   I’m sure it will be an adventure!

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Monday, December 6, 2010

Review of Physique 57 - Volume 1

“In the next 57 minutes, we are going to strengthen and lengthen every muscle in your body,” says Tanya Becker at the beginning of the Physique 57Classic 57-minute Full Body Workout DVD.
   She’s definitely right. The workout, a combination of small, intense moves done at quick intervals, works the body from arms to butt to abs, leaving them burning with the knowledge that something definite has been done.
   Decker promises the Physique 57 technique will improve on what nature and genetics gave you, whatever your body type. And she says a person won’t plateau, that there’s always a chance to improve at the moves.
   From what I can tell, Decker’s promise appears true – workouts like Physique 57 which are based on the Lotte Berk Method of exercise do definitely contribute to toned arms, a lifted butt, thin thighs and flatter abs. And such workouts are always, always tough, continually challenging the mind and body.

If you haven’t guessed already, the Physique 57 workout technique, created by Tanya Becker, is so named for the length, in minutes, of the classic workout.
  The Complete Physique 57 Workout Kit from includes three DVDs: 57-minute classic workout, an Express 30-minute workout and a 30-minute Abs and Arms boost. The kit is volume 1 of available Physique 57 DVDs. All three workouts feature one person in the exercise crew effectively modifying the exercises at an easier level.
   Also included in the kit is a playground ball and pump to inflate it. The playground ball is used in many of the exercises.
   The classic 57-minute workout begins with a short warm-up, followed by arm work with hand weights – bicep curls, shoulder lifts, upright rows. Dropping to the mat, arm work continues with push-ups, tricep dips and plank position.
   Next comes thigh work standing at a ballet barre, chair or sofa. With hands on the support and feet off the ground, ankles meeting in a narrow V, a person bends up and down at the knees.
   With variations on these bends, including swinging the hips as you move up and down and pressing the thighs back, the heart gets pumping and the thighs get burning. The playground ball is then placed between the knees and the thigh exercises continue.
   After thighs comes the booty burn. First facing the barre or chair, then turning to the side, the leg is bent and pushed back, repeatedly and in different variations. Then comes the pretzel, a difficult exercise that involves sitting on the ground, leaning to one side and lifting the bent leg off the ground.
   The abdominals section is next, and it’s long and challenging.
   First are a series of leg scissors, leg lifts and cycling motions done on one’s back – killer not only on the abs but the thighs and hips as well.
   Next, the playground ball comes into play. An exercise mat is placed over a sturdy cushion, and person leans back against it. With the ball between the knees, a series of crunches with leg lifts off the floor, escalating in difficulty, are performed.
   After some pelvic tilts and back work, a welcome final stretch finishes the workout.

The Express 30-Minute Full Body Workout DVD, also led by Tanya Becker, is best done after a person gets used to the 57-minute workout or has done other Lotte Berk Method workouts.
   It gets right to the thigh work almost immediately after a short-warm up and some push-ups.
   There is a big concentration on the behind, with several minutes of standing exercises performed at the barre or chair.
   The abs section gets right to using the playground ball between the knees and a series of crunches.

The 30-minute Arm & Ab Booster DVD is led by Physique 57 master instructor Shelly Knight.
   The first part of the workout concentrates on the upper body, with bicep curls, shoulder lifts, rows, tricep kickbacks, push-ups, tricep dips and plank position.
   There is a challenging transition between the work of the arms and abs. With the playground ball behind the small of the back and leaning against it, legs straight and on the ground, an exerciser lifts weights up and down and taps them together in front. The balance required does overtime work on the abs and thighs.
   The abdominal section that follows is prolonged and demanding – perfect for those looking to flatten their tummy and tone their core.

Other good Lotte-Berk Method-inspired barre workouts:
Squeeze Stronger
Pure Barre: Pershing Square 2

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