In her 3-DVD Fitness Fix series, Denise Beatty, an exercise physiologist, coach, and personal trainer, has put together excellent functional core stability training exercises, all of which have been approved by physicians, chiropractors, and physical therapists for safety. The Intermediate DVD is intended for those who are/have been recently active; it is also geared to those preparing for or participating in sports. The overall focus is on balance, functional strength, and flexibility; the workout does not include cardio.
This versatile DVD utilizes a wide variety of equipment, including a stability ball, a small ball, dumbbells, tubing, a balance disk, an Xco trainer, and a foam roller. However, Denise and her background exerciser, Amy, always show different options; Denise often ups the difficulty level with the balance disk, while Amy shows the more modified version. The Main Menu of the DVD contains the following four options: Introduction (a brief overview by Denise), the Fitness Fix (links to the exercises), Equipment (overview of all equipment used), and Credits.
The Intermediate menu breaks down the exercises into the following two sub-menus:
*Balance Warmup Fix - 8 min
*Upper Body Fix - 28 min
*Lower Body Fix - 34 min
*Core Fix - 30 min
*30 Minute Fix
*Upper Body Flexibility - 4 min
*Lower Body Flexibility - 6 min
*Foam Roller Massage - 15 min
The Balance Warm-Up begins with a brief review of six Bs of posture (Base of skull, Breastbone, shoulder Blades, Belly button in, Bottoms up, Breathe) and then moves into some basic warms-up moves such as balance on one foot with arm circles and squats with knee lift and rear kick; there are also a few exercises on the stability ball (roll-outs, bird-dog) and a knee balance on the ball to finish.
Both the upper and the lower body portions contain traditional exercises (eg, bicep curls, triceps kick-backs, squats, lunges), but these moves are made more functional by the addition of a balance element (either the stability ball or balance disk or BOTH) as well as a strong core emphasis. Denise frequently works the same muscle at different angles; she particularly targets shoulders during the upper body work and provides plenty of great alignment reminders during the lower body portion.
The upper body exercises include brief arm circles to warm up, arm swings, French press seated on ball, push-ups with legs on ball, triceps blaster with hands on ball, chest press (moving into alternating punches) on ball, double triceps kickbacks, triceps dips on ball (tough!), draw your sword (standing with Xco trainer), 2-person rotator cuff exercise w/tubing, field goal (shoulder rotation), TYI lying over ball (for shoulders--3 moves each resembling a letter), palms-down biceps curls, bent-over rows, hammer curls, bent-over rows seated on ball, pullovers on ball, and finally brief shoulder stretches and shoulder stabilization.
The lower body exercises include wall squats (both narrow/wide & w/1-leg option), side wall squats w/knee raise, 1-leg squat, stationary lunge, 1-leg lunge w/leg on ball, inner thigh squeeze with small ball, side lying abductor work (3 different angles), hamstring work w/heels on ball, donkey kicks (3 different angles), hip extension in bridge, and finally, a brief (<3 mins.) stretch targeting hips, glutes, hip flexor, and hamstring. The above exercises may not appear to be very challenging, but remember, Denise is doing almost all of them on the balance disk--yikes!
The core segment is largely on the stability ball and includes plenty of plank work; the moves are doable but will REALLY challenge your abs and back, probably more than anything else you've tried (I imagine that the work is fairly similar to TLP Core Foundations, which I've never tried). Denise begins with contracting the transverse abs and neck retractions and then moves on to back extensions, bird-dog, back bridge w/leg lifts, dead bugs, foam roller work (leg lowers, heel slides, leg lifts), front bridge (aka elbow plank on ball), front bridge on floor with arm and leg lifts (held for a LONG time!), side bridge, side bridge w/twist, curl-ups on ball or disk, controlled roll-out (adding optional twist), starfish/snow angels on ball with Xco trainer (I used a 5# dumbbell--tough!), supported starfish/snow angels, and starfish/snow angels on floor. I did this segment last night, and although I was able to do all the moves, my abs were really shaking, especially during the final starfish/snow angels sequence. Plus, my abs are pretty sore today, which NEVER happens to me anymore!
In the 30 Minute Fix, Denise works out alone, doing compound moves to work the arms and legs at the same time. Most of this segments uses the stability ball and dumbbells; tubing is also used in a few places and suggested as an alternative. After a brief warm-up of arm and leg circles, she performs French press w/1-leg squat, back lunge w/lateral shoulder raise, back lunge w/bicep curl, side wall squat w/shoulder work, wall push-up w/calf raise, skull crushers with hip extensions on ball, hip raise w/flye on ball, rollout w/overhead pull on ball, donkey kicks w/arm raise (tubing), abductor raise with external rotator cuff, TYI (3 exercises using weights and ball), Russian twist on ball, front bridge w/leg lifts, side bridge w/twist, curl ups, starfish, and finally, a quick (<3 mins.) full-body stretch. (Note: this same series appears on the Advanced DVD as well, but additional exercises are included in the advanced version).
The Cool Down segments, consisting of flexibility work, are the same on all three Fitness Fix DVDs. The Upper Body Flexibility is performed seated on the stability ball and thoroughly stretches all of the major muscle groups. The Lower Body Flexibility also uses the stability ball; in addition to standard muscle group stretches, it contains moves that uniquely target areas such as the groin, inner thighs, and IT band. Finally, in the Foam Roller Massage segment, Denise leads you through a deep tissue massage for the entire body.
There is no music during this workout--rather, it is more like a one-on-one personal training session with Denise. Her enthusiasm for this work shines throughout the DVD, and she is extremely encouraging and motivating. She and Amy are exercising outdoors against a beautiful lakeside Canadian backdrop with mountains in the distance. Those who have mastered the Fitness Fix Beginner DVD or found it too easy will DEFINITELY be challenged by the Intermediate version, as it's a big step up in difficulty level. In fact, if are an in-between exerciser trying to decide between the Beginner and Intermediate DVD, I would recommend the former, as it includes plenty of options for modifying up.
I guarantee that this workout will give you great functional strength and work your core harder than most other exercise programs--highly recommended!
As mentioned above, Denise is extremely enthusiastic; she seems genuinely excited about the workout and eager to share her knowledge. She cued well and gave great form pointers, particularly with respect to maintaining your posture, using your core, and aligning your lower body for lunges. I am in awe of her ability to use the balance disk during so many of the exercises; she is a cute little thing but obviously quite fit, strong, and one tough cookie!
For more details on each of the three videos in the Fitness Fix series (which stands for Functionally Integrated Training with Fun Innovative eXercise), including frequently asked questions, action photos, video clips, and workout schedules, check out Denise's web site: www.fitnessfix.ca
Beth C (aka toaster)
July 26, 2007
A detailed breakdown has already been
given. I just wanted to mention some
things that would have saved me from
buying this poor production. I have
only completed the 30 minute fix twice.
This was the main section I wanted the
dvd for. The second time I decided to
count the reps on some of the exercises
just to make sure they were even. It
turns out that for the first three
exercises the reps are totally off for
each side. I stopped counting after
that. The cueing is pretty bad too. She
will start counting the pulse sets at the
end without giving any warning for
them. There is no music, so on
exercises where you are not facing the
screen, it is difficult to maintain the
same rep speed as her, since she
doesn't count out loud. The transitions
between exerciseses are terrible, I don't
have a remote for my dvd player, I use
my computer, so it is annoying to have
to have to rewind the disc. I thought
the exercises themselves were good,
but the delivery was very poor. I found
the workout to be quite boring. I might
try the other sections, but I think it is
inevitable that I will be getting rid of
Warm, encouraging, offers decent form