Video Fitness

The Biggest Loser - Maximize Complete

Jillian Michaels

This is actually a review of both Maximize Front and Maximize Back. These two DVDS together add up to about an hour. Same set and cast for both. Set--a nice-looking pleasantly lit gym. Cast--reminiscent of the folks in P90X--"real" people, mostly guys, youngish but not glamorous, in good but not impossibly ripped shape. A blonde girl who looks somewhat like Kirsten Dunst does beginner modifications.

Front includes triceps (huh?) thighs, chest, shoulders and abs. Back includes biceps (eh?) butt, back and more abs. In both videos, you basically get two "supersets" of exercises, repeated once. So each muscle workout gets a total of 20 reps (two sets of 10), then anoher exercise of two sets of 10.

Both workouts start with a vigorous warm-up of basic cardio moves. Some are done on the step. Ski hops, jacks, high jogs, low jogs, etc.

Smaller muscles--shoulders, biceps-- are worked in conjunction with cardio moves, typically jacks. I.e. shoulder presses with jacks, bicep curls with jacks. I found this a bit uncomfortable and had to drop to 5 lbs, even though they typically followed larger muscle group work that had me using heavier weights. The cast never changes weights.

Tricep work includes dips in the first superset and kickbacks in the second. Ab work includes basic crunches, kickouts and bicycles in the Front, then static ab holds (you lie prone, but lift your head and legs off the ground) and obliques (lie prone, lift legs straight in the air and swivel them from side to side). Back work includes bent over rows and flies. Chest work includes pushups and lying flies. You also do aerobic moves like "mountain climber" and burpees. Cardio work is generally in fast-counted sets of 30.

Overall, I found these to be efficient, maintenance-oriented workouts. My muscles weren't all that challenged; these are more or less aerobic weight training. There's no way I could do shoulder presses or curls plus jumping jacks and expect to build muscle--but they certainly feel like fat-burners.

I couldn't help but feel that a third superset each would really have made these two DVDs an extra good value. But overall I'm fairly pleased. If you want efficient, maintenance-style AWT and can deal with Jillian's in-your-face workout vixen style (she puts her legs on the stomach of one guy doing ab work and presents us with a full-on crotch angle, albeit she's wearing sweatpants, for example) these are worth checking out.

Instructor comments: She's one of those "hip" celebrity instructors. I can see her appeal--she's hot, fit and charismatic. Nothing wrong at all with her instruction per se. But her hyped up act of "I'm so tough" and "I'm a giggly flirting cheerleader type" to me marks her as a flavor instructor of the month. The TV-style hamming gets a little old. I could see her either having 15 minutes of fame or else toning down the act and becoming a more classic instructor.

acey

2/27/06



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