Video Fitness

Reebok Strong Arms

This is one of my favorite short videos to get a decent upper-body workout. The workout consists of a short warm up; then three sections of strength training that cover the chest, back, biceps, triceps, and shoulders; with a stretch at the end. Each strength section is about 8 minutes each. The total time for the tape is about 30 minutes. The sound and visual quality of the production is excellent, but this is typical of most Reebok videos. I am particularly fond of this video for a number of reasons. One is that it is 30 minutes and I can fit it in before I go to work. (And if you’re really crunched for time you can do one section, as each section covers every muscle group for the upper body.) The other reason I like it is that it can be easily modified to or decrease the intensity. (I am an inter-advanced exerciser.)

The strength training consists of the basics: push ups, tricep dips, rows, extensions, curls, and presses for the first two segments. You really have to use the heaviest weight possible since only twelve reps are done for each exercise. The last segment is a little different; and it is difficult to (for me) use very heavy weights; since the motions extend away from the body (e.g.- lateral raises.) Also, the movements are linked together at the end and move quicker making it better on the joints to use a little lighter weight. The last segment would be good for a swimmer to train to (and it happens that one of the exercisers is an Olympic swimmer.)

Petra is good at cueing, reminding you about correct form and offering tips to modify the exercises to your level. There isn’t a whole lot of “chit chat” between the three, all the talk relates to the exercise you are doing, but there is a good rapport amongst all three people in the video.

I could see this being a good video for all levels of exercise. It’s an excellent video for a beginner to start with since there is a person modifying during the entire video and Petra is encouraging and gives a lot of tips. Some advanced exercisers may feel this is a bit on the easy side but if you are familiar enough with modifying exercises I think you could find this tape useful on days when you have a short amount of time.

Instructor comments: Petra Kolber cues well and has excellent form throughout the entire video. She has a good rapport with her co-workouters. She is a very reassuring person and would be encouraging to beginner exercises.

Lisa Kucharski

This video consists of three upper body workouts which are designed to be performed either together or separately when you have less time. Since hand weights are used, this program adapts to any fitness level simply by increasing or decreasing the weights.

The video begins with a 4 1/2 minute warmup. I found some of the moves here to be a bit awkward, and in the future, I will probably skip this section. Workout #1 is 8 1/2 minutes long, and the time really flies by. You will do standard moves such as pushups, single rows, double bicep curls, and tricep kickbacks, performing 12 reps of each exercise. The second program is the shortest at only 6 1/2 minutes. This program starts with pushups, which was tough when peformed immediately after the first workout! You will again do 12 reps, but this time, you will follow a different counting pattern: reps 1-4 are 2 counts up, 2 counts down, reps 5-8 are 3 counts up, one count down, and reps 9-12 are 1 count up, 3 counts down. This pattern continues for the remainder of the exercises, all of which are performed sitting in a chair and which include double rows, single biceps, shoulder press, and tricep dips. The final program is also 8 1/2 minutes long. You will do similar exercises to work your shoulders, biceps, and triceps, but this time, you will perform combinations of moves in a pattern.

The workout ends with a quick, 2 1/2 minute stretch, again using the chair. Although Petra offers enough instruction to make beginners feel comfortable, she talks while performing the movements, so more advanced exercisers won't find themselves bored. This video is a great way to get in some solid weight training for the upper body in a short amount of time.

Instructor comments: Petra Kolber is a competent fitness instructor who provides good form pointers. Petra works out with two assistants, one of whom shows easier modifications and one of whom occasionally displays a more challenging option.

Beth C (aka toaster)

June 8, 2004

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