Video Fitness

Trainer's Edge Killer Abs & Back

Michael Olajide

I just did Michael Olajide's Killer Abs & Back workout this AM and it was terrific - an effective intermediate-level core workout, half of it done standing.

I've seen comments on this workout but don't recall any reviews, so here's mine.

The breakdown:
4min "stim stretch" warm-up
5.5min core sculpting (standing torso moves such as oblique twists using light dumbbells, I used my weighted gloves)
9min boxing moves - focusing on using core to push the punch
5.5min ropejumping
2min cool-down
14min abs/floorwork
4min stretch

I really enjoyed this workout and can see a place for it in my routine. The set is a well-lit studio, hardwood floors, neutral color walls. Two background exercisers. Michael cues the moves, does about 2/3 of the reps and walks over to each girl to demonstrate form.

The girl on the right demonstrates better form during the standing workout, the girl on the left definitely has wonderful endurance and form in the floorwork section. Both are beautiful and cut.

The music is a blend of Dynamix classic workout tunes, rock-instrumental and the volume is close to *very* loud. It had a good beat, which is important in a workout that includes ropejumping.

The standing moves are fun, includes tightly controlled torso twists, I really felt my obliques working. I expect them to be sore tomorrow!

The boxing is great because he works on form and then picks up the pace. His form pointers are excellent - when throwing a punch he tells you to imagine you have no arm, only your hands attached to your shoulders and how you'd need to really push your shoulder forward to throw that punch.

The ropejumping can be done without the rope for good intensity. I did these moves on my Lateral Thigh Trainer. Michael has fun here with the "forgotten count" and makes you go longer. Corny but effective.

The floorwork is a wide variety of crunches, obliques, and lower body "ceiling stamps" with your feet in the air - as well as some tough newer moves that I found very challenging - v-sits, v-ups, etc. All in all very tough, I took a few breaks.

I did this workout after a tough upper body day (moving 60 boxes full of books!) where I didn't have the energy to lift a barbell but I wanted an intense workout with enough cardio to blow off some steam.

I think it's a great little workout, short enough to do on days when I'm short on time and tough work for the core without the "undoable-ness" of Core Foundations/TLP.

I got it from, it was only $14.83 and they have free S&H.

Instructor comments: Michael is down-to-earth, cues well, and focuses on form. He's good-natured and gets a few extra reps out of you by "forgetting where he was in the count".

He's an accomplished boxer in great shape, demonstrates terrific form and gives excellent form pointers.

I'd follow him just about anywhere :)



I like it! I wasnít sure I would, but this is really good. The workout consists of boxing-type moves that concentrate work in the abs. You also get some cardio benefit from the boxing. This is a good, unconventional ab workout that seems like it could really improve your functional strength if you do it regularly. Grade A. Annie S.


This is so far my favorite Trainer's edge. I hated Cardio Intervals, sort of liked Killer Butt, but I really like this one.

It's a lot of boxing style ab work (punches - some very fast), and some knee "smashes".

And floor work, that's interesting (crunches, but also some really hard pilates-like stuff).

And there's a good deal of cardio in it too - jumprope for quite a bit, jogging, high knees, that kind of thing.

I solid intermediate workout. I will keep it. It's good to have intermediate level fun 45 minute long workouts in one's collection!

Instructor comments: Michael is very good. He's fit, he's friendly and motivating.



Killer Abs and Back is a program which focuses on strengthening the core area of the body, namely your abdominals and back. Instructor Michael Olajide begins with a few minutes of some simple stretches (these days, it is usually considered a no-no to stretch the muscles without first warming them up). The cardio warm-up comes next, which consists of several minutes of high-impact moves wuch as jogs, knee-ups, and jumping jacks; I found myself modifying with marches here. Michael then moves into the core cardio work, which was thankfully low-impact. The moves are deceptively easy-looking: there are a lot of kickboxing-type moves such as twists, knee lifts, and punches, but they are performed at such a fast past as to make them quite challenging. Furthermore, Michael adds light dumbbells to some of the twists, which further increases the difficulty level; I found myself doing some of the moves at a slower pace rather than trying to keep up with Michael's double and triple time. At one point, a body bar is used for balance, but you could easily go without. This section of the standing work was about 18 minutes long, and the time went by very quickly. To finish off the cardio, there is a short (4 minutes) but intense jumprope segment. I did this section without the rope, but I still really felt it, especially because you're again doing high-impact moves. Before moving to the floor, I liked that Michael took just a few minutes to allow the heart rate to slowly lower back to normal.

In the 13-minute floor segment, Michael continues to combine traditional exercises with more unique moves. He begins with some basic crunches but does several variations with a high number of repetitions (usually 32, but he sometimes cheats and adds extra!). Michael adds ankle weights for just a single exercise (which I found to be a bit cumbersome): it's sort of like a Pilates teaser move in which you raise and lower one leg and then come up into a v-sit position; he then does a full v-sit move similar to a full Pilates teaser. The floor work finishes with a particularly difficult move in which you lie flat (supporting yourself with your hands under your buttocks), raise your head and shoulders, lower your legs to close to the floor, and then move your legs up and down in small range of motion. This was VERY challenging, especially since Michael performs MANY repetitions; I had to take breaks and substitute Pilates toe taps instead. Michael ends the program with a few minutes of seated stretches, bringing the entire workout in at about 40 minutes.

Overall, I really enjoyed this workout: I thought it was a nice blend of cardio and toning work, and at just 40 minutes, I know I'll be able to fit it in often. Although there didn't seem to be much work specific to the back, I felt it in my lats the next day as well as deep in my abdominal area. One thing I did not like is the way that Michael kept taking breaks from doing the exercises himself in order to instruct his two female background exercisers; he makes jokes about doing this, but I would have preferred to be able to watch him working the entire time. However, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this video to anyone looking for some unique core work.

Instructor comments: I like Michael; he is friendly and low-key. He generally cues very well, although he sometimes intentionally "forgets" the count in order to get you to do more reps. My one (minor) criticism is that he did not do the entire workout himself (see above).

Beth C

May 19, 2005

Iím just going to write a brief review because I only did this a couple of times and didnít keep it long enough to make very detailed notes.
This workout starts with 4 minutes of warm up, including stretches, then moves to 17 minutes of cardio with toning. Thereís a 2 minute cool down before moving into 14 minutes of floor toning, which is followed by 4 minutes of stretching for a total of just over 40 minutes.
This workout focuses primarily on abs. I was expecting much more back work, so I was disappointed in the quantity actually included. While there is some, most of it isnít deliberately back work. In other words, your back gets worked during the course of other moves; there arenít many moves that focus primarily on the back.

I would recommend this to someone whoís at least a solid intermediate through low advanced level exerciser. Michael jumps right into high impact cardio moves, making this tougher than it already is. You need boxing, kickboxing, or other martial arts experience, and you should be able to pick up tricky abs moves. Michael does not include much form instruction; if I remember correctly he spent a good deal of time counting out reps and pointing out good form shown by the two young women who performed the exercise. Oh, some of the punches are very fast.

I remember recognizing some songs as being the same as those in a Karen Voight video (Burn & Firm?). The interior set had brick walls, but thatís all I recall. The picture was good, but the sound seemed a little muted.

Youíll need sneakers and 1 pair of light dumbbells (your choice of weightó1-2 lbs.). Michael uses a jump rope but offers modifications. He also has the women use a body bar for balance; you could hold onto a chair or wall instead.

I know this is a favorite and highly recommended on at least one fitness site. Iím not really sure why, but this workout just didnít grab me, so I quickly traded it away. As I said, I was expecting more back work, so part of that is my false expectation. Also, Iíve come to realize that I personally like Pilates better than any other work for abs, no matter how basic or original, how easy or how tough. I think I sort of tried the floorwork once, and that was enough for me. And for whatever reason I didnít click with Michael. Iím not sure thereís anything ďwrongĒ with him as an instructor; he just didnít do much for me. The only distinct reason I remember is that I didnít care much for his ďtrickingĒ us into more reps; I like to know how many more are coming. Heís low key and seems nice, though.

Instructor comments: see above


August 31, 2005

Abs workouts are my least favorite type of strength work. I just donít enjoy it. I do like Pilates and have strengthened my core mainly through those workouts. Traditional abs work is one of those things I feel like I SHOULD do, but donít really feel like much of the time. For me, itís sort of like eating green vegetablesÖ (not my favorite)

This workout starts with standing exercises and then moves to the floor. He does most of the moves, but does take breaks to point out form pointers as exemplified by the background exercisers. He gives very few explanations as to how to actually do the moves at the beginning of an exercise.

My two biggest complaints about this workout are that it moves SO FAST (whatís the rush?) and the high impact thrown in for seemingly no reason. He says that doing moves fast helps in developing the muscles, but I think it would be more likely to encourage injury. I am not going to keep this workout. It is one I wanted to like, but just could not bond with it.

Instructor comments: He is personable and low key. He is somewhat engaging, but he also makes statements that I wonder about. He needs to use more words for more complete explanations.

Laura S.

March 15, 2006

Let me break this down for you my sisters. I am an advanced exerciser. I've been doing home videos over 20 years. This particular video is - well - long. He does a little intense cardio for the abs and core, i.e., jumping rope, boxing moves, fast twists and turns and then he goes down to the floor and does v-sits, bicycle, crunches and one or two interesting moves that involve lifting and moving your legs in various directions. I guess it was an o.k. workout. It's just that I usually tack an ab workout to a cardio workout or a weight training workout and this one is kind of - but not really - a workout by itself. IT's long (43 minutes long) and I feel like I could accomplish what it accomplished in half the time, but really it's not bad if you want an ab workout that offers a little of everything. It's sort of like Billy's ab bootcamp. I'm 50/50 on whether or not I'll keep it.

Instructor comments: Michael is cute, friendly, shamelessly flirts with one of his instructors. He's an ex-champion boxer who lost an eye and can't box anymore. He's your typical nice guy.

Denise Berger
October 11, 2006`

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