Video Fitness

Buff Girl Workout

Ellen Barrett

This is a 30 minute cardio/toning fusion tape. I can see where it would be a good tape for some, but it does not satisfy my workout style or preferences. I rarely do 30 minute workouts, but if I chose one, it would be either just cardio, just strength, or a circuit tape like Crunch Bootcamp. I do not like ballet moves, so the lengthy ballet section in this tape didn’t appeal to me either.

The video is well produced and has good sound and video. The music is instrumental, sort of new-agey. It does seem a bit repetitive. The workout starts with a 4 minute warm-up and stretch. It has some punches, sweeping moves, and stretches for the quads, hams, and inner thighs.

The warm-up is followed by a 5 minute section of calisthenics moves: side-to-side squats with a run in the middle; knee up/back kick; squat/back kick; touch floor/ceiling; and combinations of these moves. There is a plank, push-up, glute squeeze sequence. This section got me in the low to mid end of my target rate.

The ballet section is about 6 minutes. There are sweeps and scoops, little leg kicks, rib isolation (the Jane Fonda move), plie squats and leg sweeps. I felt very awkward doing these move (I’m not the ballerina type).

Then there are more calisthenics moves – dips and kicks (I could not help but think of “marrying the dip with the kick”), knee ups, leg lifts, and a standing stretch. Total standing workout is 20 minutes. Then it’s down on the floor for 18 minutes of abs and glutes. For the abs, you lean back with your knees up; and some reverse curls. For the glutes, you lift your glutes with the leg in the air. There is also a leg cross move, which I think worked the inner thighs. Then a final stretch.

After the workout, each of the background exercisers talks about what it means to be a buff girl. There is a little on-screen bio for each.

This is probably the first video that I decided to trade away based on the preview. I confirmed my decision during the workout. It’s not a bad tape, just not for me.

Instructor comments: Ellen is a pleasant enough instructor. She gives good form pointers and is very encouraging. She and the class participants seemed to giggle a lot, which would not have been so annoying if I knew what they were giggling about.

Felicia

May 12, 2002

This is a 30 minute cardio/toning fusion tape. I can see where it would be a good tape for some, but it does not satisfy my workout style or preferences. I rarely do 30 minute workouts, but if I chose one, it would be either just cardio, just strength, or a circuit tape like Crunch Bootcamp. I do not like ballet moves, so the lengthy ballet section in this tape didn’t appeal to me either.

The video is well produced and has good sound and video. The music is instrumental, sort of new-agey. It does seem a bit repetitive. The workout starts with a 4 minute warm-up and stretch. It has some punches, sweeping moves, and stretches for the quads, hams, and inner thighs.

The warm-up is followed by a 5 minute section of calisthenics moves: side-to-side squats with a run in the middle; knee up/back kick; squat/back kick; touch floor/ceiling; and combinations of these moves. There is a plank, push-up, glute squeeze sequence. This section got me in the low to mid end of my target rate.

The ballet section is about 6 minutes. There are sweeps and scoops, little leg kicks, rib isolation (the Jane Fonda move), plie squats and leg sweeps. I felt very awkward doing these move (I’m not the ballerina type).

Then there are more calisthenics moves – dips and kicks (I could not help but think of “marrying the dip with the kick”), knee ups, leg lifts, and a standing stretch. Total standing workout is 20 minutes. Then it’s down on the floor for 18 minutes of abs and glutes. For the abs, you lean back with your knees up; and some reverse curls. For the glutes, you lift your glutes with the leg in the air. There is also a leg cross move, which I think worked the inner thighs. Then a final stretch.

After the workout, each of the background exercisers talks about what it means to be a buff girl. There is a little on-screen bio for each.

This is probably the first video that I decided to trade away based on the preview. I confirmed my decision during the workout. It’s not a bad tape, just not for me.

Instructor comments: Ellen is a pleasant enough instructor. She gives good form pointers and is very encouraging. She and the class participants seemed to giggle a lot, which would not have been so annoying if I knew what they were giggling about.

Felicia

May 12, 2002

This is an interesting blended workout that is very different from other videos I've tried; the closest comparison is Minna Lessig's Strength and Grace, as the Buff Girl Workout also does not use any equipment, and it focuses mainly on the lower body. It appears to be in the Crunch studio, although it is not labelled as such. The background music is loud at times but not overly distracting.

The first 21 minutes of this workout are done in a standing position. I would classify this section mainly as toning; your heart rate does get up at times, but it does not seem to offer sustained cardio benefits. Parts of the standing work are very similar to Crunch Fat Burning Pilates, as there are plenty of knee lifts and squats. However, this section also includes some ballet-inspired exercises such as arm movements and leg kicks. These moves were deceptively simple, but holding up my arms in a dancer's position for all that time definitely made them burn!

The workout then moves on to the floor for 8 minutes of seated and lying toning. This section begins with some seated, Pilates-inspired abs work; again, I was getting pretty tired by the end. The rest of the floor work consists of leg raises for the buttocks combined with hip raises for the lower abs, but I didn't feel overly challenged in either muscle group here. Finally, there was a very brief (2-minute) stretch, making the entire workout about 31 minutes.

I wouldn't recommend this workout for a beginner, as Ellen moves pretty quickly with very little instruction; also, as an intermediate exerciser, I definitely felt challenged at times. I'm not exactly sure when I will wind up doing this workout given that it doesn't fit well into any particularly category, but I can imagine reaching for it on days that I don't really feel like doing traditional cardio or strength work yet want to do SOMETHING in a relatively short period of time.

Instructor comments: Ellen displays the same lively personality that she has in her more recent Crunch Pilates videos. However, she is clearly less polished in this earlier effort: her cuing isn't as good and her form is a bit off at times. Also, her background exercisers (several of whom I recognize from the Crunch videos) seem to have difficulties following her and are not always in sync. Although they sometimes offer their own comments during the workout, they don't seem to be miked, so they are very difficult to hear.

Beth C (aka toaster)

August 19, 2004



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