Video Fitness

Arms & Abs of Steel 2: Complete Upper Body Toning

Leisa Hart

This video is now 10 years old (released in 1994), yet it still provides an excellent upper body workout. It begins with a 6-minute warm-up which consists of fairly simple, slightly dancey-type moves. Next comes 6 minutes of standing upper body toning, which includes many standard exercises such as lat rows, overhead press, french press, and upright rows. The next 8 minutes are performed in a kneeling position, and each move is executed on one side of the body at a time for greater concentration on the muscles. This section includes concentration curls, lat rows, and tricep kick-backs which alternate with two sets of push-ups.

The workout then moves to the floor for 13 minutes of abs work. Most of the exercises consist of traditional crunches, including oblique and reverse crunches. However, the addition of some pulses and other more unique moves left my abs definitely feeling it at the end (and definitely sore the next day!). The final toning section of the workout is 7 minutes of combined arms and abs. First, you will do some arms work in a lying position, including lat pullovers and flies. Then, you will incorporate the abs while still using arms--e.g., performing flies as you crunch or doing a bicep curl as you work the obliques. The 5-minute cool-down consists of nice, yoga-inspired twists and stretches.

One major problem that I had with the workout is that the music is so loud and distracting that it is difficult to hear Leisa; the sound editing on the video is clearly very poor. Otherwise, the production is good: the set is the standard Buns of Steel studio, and Leisa wears a simple lycra top/shorts set which does not look overly dated. Although Leisa mentions that the toning work can be done without weights, I think this would be too easy for all but the most absolute beginners. Leisa herself uses 3-lb. weights, and I found that my 5-lb. weights were too easy at times. This workout is probably best suited for advanced beginner to intermediate levels, with those in the latter category like myself needing to increase their weights.

Instructor comments: Leisa Hart's instruction is very good. She starts each section by briefly reviewing form pointers, but otherwise, she provides instruction while you are doing the moves so as not to slow down the pace of the workout.

Beth C (aka toaster)

September 21, 2004

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