Video Fitness

Shape Up With Sharon: Circuit Training

Sharon Mann

This workout is approximately 42 minutes. It has a 4 minute warm-up, 20 minutes of cardio, 15 minutes of strength work, and a 3 minute stretch. The menu allows you to go directly to any of these segments.

The set is the same as in Sharon's Works DVDs, with each exerciser on his or her own round, elevated platform. The background exercisers for this one are Michelle, Calabrina, Bruce, and Sharyn (Sharon Mann calls her "Sparkler" and says something like "She has lots of different names.")

After a simple, athletic warm-up, you start the cardio segment. It's not truly a circuit workout since you only use dumbbells once, at the very beginning. It's actually an interval workout similar to Kathy Smith's Functionally Fit Peak Fat Burning, where you learn a move, then take the intensity up, then recover by learning the next move.

I found the cardio to be pretty challenging. A lot of it is high-impact, but two of the exercisers show modifications. All the choreography is simple, athletic stuff, and all you need for this workout is a pair of light dumbbells.

Here's a breakdown:
1. Squats with hand weights: Start facing the TV, then pick up left foot and pivot so you?re facing the right, then pivot back so you face forward. Repeat several times, then do the same with the left foot.
2. Plyo squats: pulse in squat position four times, then jump. Then do single plyo jumps. (I really felt the BURN in my legs here after doing squats, then this!)
3. Fast feet: a football run like what Mindy often uses in her workouts. It?s basically jogging in place, moving your feet really fast.
4. Runs lifting the knees up high, going towards and away from the TV. You could do this in place, too.
5. Mambo (she calls it a cross step with jump), lunge, then plyo lunge (scissor). Shuffle to one side, then leap twice back to the other side.
6. Mambo, alternating sides. Sharon switches to this quickly and the background exercisers seem confused and have trouble following at first. Sharon teases them and looks like she isn?t taking herself all too seriously.
7. Fast run forwards and backwards.
8. Plyo squat to right and left, then a short jumprope segment.

Fade out and come back for the strength segment. It's all functional strength training, according to Sharon. You can't go heavy on most of the moves. Everyone has their mats out for this segment. Two of the exercisers do the whole thing without dumbbells.

1. Bicep curls. When the workout fades in, everyone is already doing these.
2. Hold the dumbbells over to your side, one on top of the other (this is a little awkward, but would be great with a medicine ball). Do a dip (rear lunge) with a slow chop to the side when your leg goes back, then lift your back knee up in front of you and dumbbells overhead to one side.
3. Lunges
4. Squats with bicep curls
5. Walking pushups?do a pushup, walk your hands to one side, do a pushup, and walk your hands back to center.
6. Side plank. Work rotator cuff by holding dumbbell in your top arm and rotating the arm down and up, hinging at the elbow.
7. Side plank with elbow on the ground, then your hand.
8. Side plank with rotation
9. V-sit
10. Lunges without weights.

This is one of those workouts where I'm not sure what to use it for-cardio, strength training, etc. I did find the cardio pretty challenging (I did high impact versions of every move) and I love side planks, so it's a keeper for me!

The segments are easily added on to other workouts. If you like mixing and matching or shorter workouts and you like Sharon, then you might like this one. It's not as great a buy as her Works DVDs, but if you can find it cheap, Circuit might be worth checking out. I think most of her workouts can be done by someone at almost any level, unless what you really want is to do a really long, intense, high-impact workout.

Instructor comments: Sharon is a little different in this one than in the Works set. She seems to be poking fun at herself, and maybe even at the hyper background exerciser Sharyn. She still does the head shake which doesn't bother me, but I know it distracts some people. I really do feel like she's goofy in a different way in this one. I like her enthusiasm.

Pratima

10/9/05



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