This dvd is from the 10-Minute Solution series. I am really into that style of workout right now and liked the clips I saw on Collage, so I ordered this one to give me a few more options. I have no prior experience with Amy Bento.
There are five sections. I have now done all of them and will share my comments below.
1) Hot Body Cardio. I did this one earlier today and honestly, am having trouble remembering it :) It seemed like fairly standard plyo-type stuff, I think. Going back and reviewing, she's grouped them into combos. You do move 1, then move 2, then a mix of the two of them. Then you move onto the next combo. For example, the first combo was fake jump roping, then a sort of side to side hop thing with a lunge, then a mix of both (i.e. very short spurts of each). I could see the impact being an issue for some people, but honestly, in a 10-minute routine you are never really sticking with any one thing for long enough, so it was not an issue for me. And I like pushing myself because in longer workouts, I don't tend to do this thing. Also, I don't know how Amy cues in her other workouts (as I said, this is my first experience with her) but I got the impression she is used to doing dancier stuff maybe, because I felt like she over-cued and made it sound very complicated. One example, she said we were doing a "single, then double arm-rope with a high knee" and I was going 'what?' And then she did one and it was so simple (jump rope with a hop where your knees go high) and I got it. But elsewhere in the workout, she would use these fancy names for things and it started to bug me a little :)
2) Ab Assault. Loved it! If I do only this routine on a regular basis, it will have made this dvd worth it for me. I hate ab work, and have yet to find a standing ab routine that actually had me feeling what I was doing, until now. She uses weights very creatively in this one. The first half was all standing and involved moves like circling around to the sides, passing a weight behind your back and around and a punch set where you are supposed to contract your abs to stop the motion of the weight as it passes your hips. I didn't quite get the hang of that one, but the rest of it was good. On the floor, you do some chops, some turns and twists, a kicking move, some plank-based things and some other stuff. As with the first routine, you don't stay with anything for very long, and there were some moves in here (like the plank set!) that I have skipped in other workouts because it was too hard, but managed it here because it goes for a shorter duration. So I think this style of training (piling up multiple short routines instead of doing one longer one) works for me because it makes me push myself harder and do things I usually skip.
3) Rock Bottom Sculpt. This is a straight lower body routine, no fancy combos here. You do one exercise and finish it, then do another one. As usual, the sets were short. There were some standard things here (donkey kicks, bridge work, deadlifts) and some really creative moves too, like a lunge where your knee comes down to the floor (sort of like a full stand and up and sit down squat, but in lunge form) and a cool exercise where you pass a dumbbell between your legs very quickly. I think the one minus would be that this workout for me highlighted the big weakness of the 'short workouts' concept, namely that there simply was not time to offer much in the way of form pointers for some of the tricky moves, or alternatives for the really creative ones. Just to give you an example, there were two moves (mountain climbers and deadlifts) which I found really difficult due to my unusually poor flexibility. Flexibility is something I have worked on and made some strides, but I am just not very naturally inclined in that area and it does affect my range of motion for certain types of activities. I can usually soldier on with something like the mountain climbers, but I have actually had personal trainers tell me not to do deadlifts because I'm just not flexible enough to target the right muscle using this exercise. Amy offered no modifications or suggestions.
4) Calorie-Blasting Drills. I didn't like this section much. There were four rounds, and in each, you do a very short cardio move followed by a quick strength move, then you do a longer round of the same strength move. It just goes too fast here. Amy at several points comments that part of the workout is to pay attention and test your balance and coordination with all this switching around, but I don't believe that. I think she just doesn't have time to fit it all in! So you get something like 20 seconds of cardio, two reps of a biceps exercise, then back to the jumping jacks really quickly, then okay, 8 more biceps reps. I felt like nothing got enough attention. I would rather have seen her do another routine like Rock Bottom Sculpt here, targeting the arms instead (i.e. you do one exercise at a time, a mix of creative ones and standard ones, all targeting the upper body). I don't think this, as it was, was enough for the upper body (it never is with this type of circuit training) and I felt like we were unsafely rushed in several places, with Amy coaching us to just drop the weighs and do some jumping jacks NOW! Go! Go! I don't see myself using this routine very often, if at all.
5) Better Body Stretch. This was pretty standard stuff. Amy uses a towel. The first half was standing up, the second half was on the floor. Not much to say about this. It's pretty average, and while it is not horrible, and I would do it if I wanted to do a stretch routine and already had this dvd in the player, I would not put on the disk just for this. If all I want is a stretch routine, I have better ten-minute ones.
I don't know if Amy is generally one who talks, Denise Austin style, about how you are burning butter or toning your tummy or whatever, but she does it in this tape. I am just picturing a production assistant in the background coaching her to say each section's name as many times as she can during the workout :) She'll say things like 'you're really feeling this in your rock bottom' (during the Rock Bottom Sculpt section) or 'your body is better after that stretch' (during the Better Body Stretch section). That might bother some people. Some people won't care :)
It is tough to say how one would generally use this dvd. I don't think it offers a total-body fitness solution because the upper body work is pretty skimpy. I guess you would use it in one of the following ways:
- Just play a cardio round as an add-on to something else
- Combine the abs, the cardio and the stretch for an abs workout
- Combine the Rock Bottom, the cardio and stretch for a lower body day
So if those appeal to you, you might like this dvd. I did enjoy the first cardio section, and I loved the ab routine. I will get use out of this. If you are a fan of mixing and matching and Quick Fix type of workouts, as I am, it does have a few nice sections on it. But if you are getting this looking for a complete workout, I don't think so. And if some of the quirks I mentioned (Amy using the section titles often, giving everything a complicated-sounding name etc) might bug you, those are reasons pro or con that you might consider :)
So, in the universe of 'dvds Joanna owns with ten-minute workouts one might mix and match together' how would I rate this? Probably somewhere in the middle. Not the worst, by far. Not the best, but not by as far. It has some sections I really like, and will use. But if I were stranded on a desert island and could only take, say, five dvds with me, I have others in this category which would be more complete and meet my needs.
I hope this doesn't sound like a really negative review. It's actually not. As I said, there were parts I quite enjoyed. But the stretch was kind of blah, and the lack of upper body work was sort of an issue. I think this is a great dvd if you understand what you can use it for and are not expecting it to be a complete total-body system.