NOTE: This is a PAL-format tape and will not play in American NTSC VCRs.
Pumping Iron is a guide to using weight machines and free weights. It is
divided into the following sections: Legs, Chest, Shoulders, Back, Arms
(including wrist exercises), and Abs. Each section finishes with a
demonstration of stretches for the parts just worked, showing variations for
comfort and flexibility level, and a suggested training schedule for
beginners and intermediates.
The video is presented by fitness instructor John Novak. He demonstrates a
couple of the exercises (such as chin ups), but most are demonstrated by
two other members of the Aussie Fit team, Manny Katts and Lucy Lisbona.
In the introduction he tells you not to forget to warm up and to perform
pre-exercise stretches, and then he shows the muscle groups covered in the
tape. The exercises are demonstrated on machines. Free-weight (dumbbell and
barbell) versions are also demonstrated for most of them. A lot of the
exercises can be done on a typical home gym, and only a few require
specialised machines which you probably only find in a gym, such as the
adductor and abductor machines. You can also put together a routine without
machines, so you don't have to own a home gym.
I thought the instruction was thorough, with one odd exception. They didn't
really point out correct form on squats (knee placement and pushing through
the heel), which makes a world of difference in their effectiveness, not to
mention your knees!
The tape is intended for beginner to intermediate lifters, although there
are a couple of more advanced exercises, such as chin ups and hanging knee
lifts. They point out that these are advanced and should not be attempted by
beginners, but have been included for the exerciser to try later when he/she
has gained strength and requires more challenge.
This is not a follow-along workout, but an instructional tape to demonstrate
form and technique, show you the muscles worked by particular exercises and
help you to put together your own programme. (However, I think that if you
wanted you could use it as you workout, by doing the first set with the tape
and pausing while you do the second set or letting the tape play on if the
next exercise isn't in your routine.)
Interspersed throughout the tape are several tips from an exercise
physiologist. He discusses, for example, weight-lifting myths, and the
benefits of using weights.
In my opinion, this is a useful reference tape. My husband has a home gym,
which I never really dared to use before seeing this tape. Pumping Iron also
contains exercises I've heard about, but haven't actually seen demonstrated
before (e.g. Good Mornings, Preacher Curls), so now I can add these to my
Instructor Comments: The video is presented by John Novak. He has a cheeky
face, is friendly and brings humour to the instruction. You can tell he
wants you to enjoy your workout, while getting the most out of it by being
aware of which muscles you are working and working out safely. You know
those instructor comments that stick in your mind? Well, his closing comment
is one of those for me:
"And always remember - smile a lot, and happy lifting."
Glynis van Uden
10 November 2000