Video Fitness

Caribbean Workout: Abs, Buns & Thighs

Shelly McDonald

While IMO the title of this DVD is wildly inappropriate, it's a great workout. I've always thought the Carribean workouts have great bang for the buck.

There are two 20-minute hi-lo workouts plus one circuit workout. The first hi-lo features Shelly and two unfamiliar backgrounders, one of whom seems to be auditioning for something more sexy than a workout video (but certainly performs the moves well even with her sultry come-hither demeanor). It's by a resort pool, where you can see some lady sunbathing in the background. This is the easiest of the 3. Lots of grapevines, mambos, V-steps and march-forward-and- backs. A few jacks is as hi-impact as it gets. At the end you do brief sets of weight work combined with balancing, i.e. bicep curls on one leg, one-arm military press with one leg, some of them done with the one leg lifted behind you (there's your "bun" work).

Hi-Lo 2 is on the more familiar beach by the sailboat with waves crashing in the background. Shelly's rapport with Jo and the other gal is much more relaxed and fun here. The hi-lo is more intense, as well. There are more plyo jacks, side-to-side lunges, jogs in place, kick forwards and knee up-side, knee- up back moves (the typical higher-impact hi- lo moves). It ends with a 2-minute ab section (there's your "ab" work).

Circuit is also up there in intensity, a great hi-lo workout interspersed with very brief weight moves like delt raises plus side abductor lift or lunges with curls. I would not recommend expecting much from the "toning" part of the workout. The hi-lo is what shines in this whole DVD. Calling it "Abs Buns and Thighs" seems a little disingenuous to me. By doing all three workouts, I basically got almost an hour of professionally done, meticulously executed hi-lo (up to high intermediate) with a charismatic instructor in a beautiful setting. Plus about 15 minutes total of negligable toning. Although as with previous workouts the cameraperson's tendency to linger lovingly on ultra-close-up shots of various body parts is still there, it's usually not so bad that you can't figure out the cues (there are a few moments where you do have to wait for the camera to pull back so you can see what Shelly is doing next, but it's bearable). Also, since these are basically TV episodes with commercials, sometimes when you "return" to the workout, they're no longer on the same side or exact move you were doing when you "cut." But these are simple enough hi-lo moves that you can catch back up quickly. For the cheap price, it's a great workout and I would love to see Shelly do a full-length, non-commercial break video someday.

Instructor comments: Shelley is great. She's classically beautiful with a down-to-earth attitude, and cues quite well in these workouts, only a few slip- ups here or there, nothing serious. I like her interactions with her two more frequent backups (Jo and another girl) rather than in Hi-Lo 1. She's definitely constrained by the TV show format; in Hi-Lo one she ends up having to tell you to finish off a set of tricep work on the other side by yourself.

acey

8-13-06



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