Video Fitness

Ab Attack

If you've been around VF for very long, you know that abs are my least favorite muscle group to work, so I can't exactly say that a 60 min. ab/back workout was "fun" for me. When I put aside my bias, however, I have to state that this is the most thorough ab workout I've ever seen or expect to see in the next millenium, and anyone who enjoys ab work will want to check it out.

This is a Greg Twombly production, so if you've ever seen a Cathe Friedrich, CIA or Christi Taylor video you will be familiar with the type of set and production. The music is standard Dynamix fare for the most part--I recognized the music from PowerMax and a few others, but the stretch segment featured some decent (i.e. not overly "dynamixed" if you know what I mean) versions of pop songs like "Sunny Came Home."

Trish is very fit, knowledgeable, and has a very pleasant, mellow voice. She is a physical therapist as well as a personal trainer, and perhaps because of that she includes lots of tips and variations of the moves for those with chronic back problems.

The structure of this no-nonsense workout is as follows, more or less:

Part I: "warm up" ab sets (6:30), lower ab focus + obliques (16:30), upper abs + obliques (8 min)
Part II: stabilization work (12:00) and back/spinal erector work (10:30), upper back (3:30) stretch (8:30)

The video comes with a series of flashcards with line drawings that illustrate many of the exercises demonstrated in the video. They are meant to help you vary your ab routine on a regular basis, or to remind you of the exercises when you travel.

There are a number of things that make this video different from other ab workouts on the market. First, the length. Few ab workouts have the time to be this thorough, and most that are anywhere near this long are broken up into several individual workouts. Certainly this one has the longest section for the spinal erectors I've ever seen.

Second, Trish gives constant form pointers and helpful imagery, and she demonstrates easier as well as more challenging variations of most of the exercises. For example, to make an exercise easier, she tells you to put one leg down or to add an arm or hand for support, or to make it more difficult you might remove supporting arms, cross them over your chest, or lift both legs instead of just one.

Because of this, I think this workout is appropriate for all levels, except that those who have done little abdominal training will likely not make it through such a long workout. Beginners will have to go slowly and work up to doing the whole thing.

What you'll notice most, though, is the sheer variety of moves. Some you've seen, some you haven't, some will look familiar but the positioning is different and makes it harder to cheat. There are faster sets, slower sets and isometric holds, as well as short stretches at several points in the workout. Trish says at the beginning of the tape that abs respond best when you change your ab exercises every three weeks, and this video certainly gives you plenty of ideas. Throughout the workout, Trish is always clear what part of the muscle is being targeted.

If asked to compare the stabilization section to other videos, I'd say it's most like Christi Taylor's in Strength, Balance and Flexibility--more athletic in focus than dancy.

Since many of you won't have 30-60 minutes to devote to ab work, you may be wondering whether this is a video you can break up into chunks to add some ab work onto another workout. I'd have to say this video is probably not ideal for that purpose. Parts I and II (30 min. each) could be done separately, and you could probably do just the stabilization work or just the back work in Part II, but I think Part I would be more difficult to split because of how it progresses from lower to upper abs. You could do lower one day and upper the next, but if you like to get a complete ab workout in one day, you'll want to save this one for when you have more time.

The nice, long stretch at the end of Ab Attack might be a good candidate for tacking on to another workout, though. Few workout videos of any type have a stretch section this thorough and enjoyable.

Even if you don't think you'd use the video very often due to its length, you should still consider checking this one out--her tips and intensity variations of the ab exercises are likely to come in handy to make all your ab workouts more or less challenging and more effective.

Wendy Niemi Kremer
wendy@videofitness.com
11/22/99

My overall impression of this video is good. I am one of those people who really loves to work abs. What I like about this video is that there are exercises that are totally original and new, and are very effective. I give Trish a lot of credit for coming out with an all-abs (and back) video filled with innovating moves. I am sure that this video, if used regularly, will produce excellent results.

What I didn't like about the video is that she does too many sets and reps of various individual exercises and all her counting became distracting to me; maybe if she hadn't kept counting, I would not have been so aware of the multitudinous reps. The other thing that I didn't like was that there was so many similar variations and many repetitions of back extension exercises; in my opinion, there were too many. I wonder if so many are necessary to get a good lower back workout, and I wonder if it is safe to do so many reps for the low back. The overall long length of the video is a drawback as well.

I would recommend this video to those who enjoy working abs in new and different ways. If you enjoy traditional crunches and reverse curls, this probably is not the video for you. If you like to do a full abs workout in 10 minutes or less, then this video is not for you. If you want to "attack" your abs and especially your obliques in new ways, then definitely buy this video.

Instructor comments: Trish is a no-nonsense teacher who seems knowledgeable and seems to care that her "students" do correct form and make improvements. She is in excellent condition herself. I found her generally pleasant and likeable.

Abbe G
12/21/99

I can't say enough good things about Trish Muse's instruction. As has been mentioned, she is a physical therapist and really knows her stuff. She is always aware of the need for explaining less and more intense variations of moves, and also says often, "And if you have lower back problems, you can do it this way..." She is enthusiastic and friendly but not overly so, and seems very down-to-earth. She seems to have a good rapport with the background exercisers. Her attention to form is among the best I've seen. I really hope she comes out with more videos--she's great!

Instructor comments: I just wanted to do my part to get this video into the VF Hall of Fame. Let me preface this review with my disclaimer: I love working my abs. I also find that my abs probably respond to training more quickly than other parts of my body. OK, now, on with the review.

This tape will hit your abs like no other video will! Trish hits the abs hard from every angle, and I especially notice it in my obliques. YEOW (in a good way)! Upper abs, lower abs, nothing is missed. And the stabilization, ab and backwork is excellent. The stretch at the end is fantastic, and great to add on to other workouts.

I highly recommend this tape to people who enjoy working their abs, or to people who may not but really want great results. I've been using this tape once a week for going on four weeks (I've been doing part 1 on Mondays, part 2 on Wednesdays, and the Method's Precision Toning on Fridays or Saturdays), and I swear that my abs are flatter and more defined than they were a month ago. The only potential drawbacks, as have been mentioned, are that the tape is difficult to break up into shorter segments. Not everyone will have 30 minutes to focus on abs. However, if you're the type who likes to use videos to make your own routines, I still highly recommend this one. You can use the videos and the flash cards (included) to do specific exercises in short sessions. The other drawback (and this is very small to me, but I did notice it), is that Trish Muse does count reps a fair amount of the time. That did not bother me--it was not excessive--but I know how we all have our idiosyncracies and it might irk some of you a bit! But I love this tape, and will use it often. I've already replaced the ab sections of some of my other strength tapes with an Ab Attack section. Wonderful!

Kristin Aziz
kristinaziz@hotmail.com
12/27/99

A little about me first. I consider myself a low-advanced exerciser, have 50+ tapes (probably more than 60+ by now) and have been working out to tapes sporadically for about 10 years, consistently for about 2 years (since finding VF).

I won't go into detail as to the exercises Trish leads because it's been done before, however, there are a ton of them. Some are ones I've done before (like crunches and lateral flexion) and some I never imagined you could do! Trish is personable and extremely knowledgeable. She constantly gives you form pointers and they are excellent. Much appreciated too is the fact that she shows you different levels of a particular exercise and usually has modifications for those with lower back problems. She also has one of the exercisers demonstrate the modified version

The set and production are fine. I don't usually pay that much attention to them unless they are awful. The music is a good mix of some often used "CIA tracks" (I like to think of them as oldies but goodies) and some new tunes.

All in all, I love this tape. I may not do it as often as I'd like because of its length (30 minute lower, oblique and upper; 30 minute stabilization and back work) although I am currently experimenting with splitting it up (which is pretty easy to do) and substituting one part of the tape for the ab work in other tapes (e.g., doing the 1st part when I do BBA and the 2nd when I do SLA).

Great tape - A++

Should be in the Hall of Fame

Instructor comments: Wonderful. I'm really looking forward to more tapes from Trish.

JudySP
JudySP28@aol.com
1/11/00

I know I am the party pooper here, but I find this tape boring beyond belief. It probably is a good workout, but I wouldn't know because I have only managed to make myself do a few minutes at a time. It seems very repetitive. For long ab/core workouts, there are other tapes that I prefer much more, such as Charlene Prickett's ABsolutely, some of the Method tapes, and Keli Robert's Abs tape.

Annie S.
ann.s@worldnet.att.net
9-13-00

The first couple of times I did this video I liked it a lot. I tend to like the "traditional" ab workouts like crunches, twists, etc and this workout is full of these. I also am one of those freaky people who like to work on abs so I am always looking for ab workouts. Trish sort of starts at the bottom of your abs and works her way up the sides and to the top.

Likes: Very, very thorough ab workout. Great to do on a day when you feel the bulge and want to feel that you are doing something about it! Music was pretty good.

I also like Trish's style and attitude. She tells you where you should feel it and even encourages your to keep your hand there to feel the contractions. Trish also gives several modifications for beginners and those with back pain.

Dislikes: The length! 30 minutes is a long time to devote to just abs. I find that I can get as good an ab workout from 10-15 minutes of Cathe or a couple of the Firm instructors.

Trish has you spend WAY too much time with your legs in the air in one stretch. By the end of this workout I feel like I have been pulling weeds for 5 hours because my lower back aches. She does give modifications but I don't feel those work my abs as well. I think it would be better if she had alternated between legs up and legs down.

After much internal debate I traded this tape away (after warning the person about the back pains). I would definitely try something else by Trish though.

Tara Whitmore
5/1/01



Video Fitness copyright © 1996 - 2009 Wendy Niemi Kremer    All rights reserved