This is a 40-minute total body, functional fitness workout using the Core Secrets Agility Ladder.
First off, I must nominate this one for Clunkiest Video Title of 2006.
Arms, Legs, and Everything In Between ("ALEB") is sold in a package at Collage with the ladder and a second video titled Gunnar's Hard Body Challenge. I found I can easily do ALEB without the ladder (more on that later), but at this time I don't believe the video is available separately. Collage rates the entire package as intermediate/advanced. I am an intermediate exerciser who felt nicely worked out but not wiped after ALEB. It is not as tough as the TLTs or even some of the WHFNs, but ALEB's shorter length makes it easier to combine with a second workout. Also, of course, you can increase the intensity by upping the weights.
The Agility Ladder is constructed of black and red nylon webbing and appears very well made. Laid out on the floor it measures 7 feet, 6 inches by 1 foot, 8 inches. In ALEB the ladder is used in two standing agility drills and a traveling plank series. Unfortunately in my small workout area it is a major space hog -- once I lay out the Agility Ladder and my mat there is no room left for me! Gunnar says the ladder spacing "keeps you honest" and I'm sure it does, but given my space situation I am just not going to bother with it. During the agility drills (both of which are quite short) I instead jog in place -- one of the drills involves a fast twisting move that I wouldn't attempt on carpeting anyway. For the traveling planks I simply do without it.
Besides the ladder and a mat, ALEB uses a set of light dumbbells and a medicine ball. You may want additional dumbbell weights once you are familiar with the exercises. A single dumbbell can substitute for the medicine ball. Note that no stability ball is used in this particular Core Secrets workout.
Gunnar works out with Madison, Lisa, Kadee and Tracy. Tracy shows modifications, using either no weights and/or reducing range of motion. The set is a spacious brick loft with arched windows and a parquet floor. Music is again by Daveed. The women wear nice coordinating green and black outfits, but Gunnar is his usual baggy self.
The chapter menu lists "Intro and Workout" and "Workout." Choosing "Workout" only skips the first 30 seconds or so of the video -- it does not skip the warmup.
Speaking of the warmup, I am not sure what Gunnar was thinking here. After a few seconds of waving his arms around, he goes into a series of deep stretches, which to me doesn't make sense unless the muscles are already warm. Unfortunately this segment is not easily bypassed -- hitting the "skip" button on the remote takes you past not only the stretches but the first couple exercise groups. I therefore suggest doing some cardio beforehand.
Gunnar presents the exercises in groups of four. You do the set once, then repeat, then he adds in a "bonus" exercise which is just done once. He demos each exercise first (so you can still sneak in some extra reps if you want), but he moves along more quickly than previous videos so there is little standing around.
The exercises are mostly geared towards functional fitness, incorporating twisting, larger range of motion, balance and uneven weight distribution, all of which challenge the core stabilizer muscles more thoroughly than traditional weightlifting exercises. They are designed to train the muscles to better perform everyday activities rather than significantly increase muscle mass or strength. Many of the exercises are similar to those presented in previous Core Secrets videos, but different enough that I didn't feel Gunnar was repeating himself.
For those with knee concerns, be advised that ALEB includes side lunges, curtsy dips, and some functional-type squats and forward lunges. However, they are all done at a moderate pace with light weights and a limited number of reps. I have cranky knees myself, but found that as long as I was careful with my form and range of motion my knees did not complain. In fact, I like ALEB and other workouts of this type for maintaining knee functionality without the stress of traditional squats and lunges.
Overall I am very pleased with the workout presented in ALEB. Now if I can just think of some other use for that darned ladder....
I always enjoy Gunnar's humor and energy, and his workouts have no dread factor for me. Under the Core Secrets brand he has assembled an excellent little library of 30- to 40-minute functional fitness videos which nicely suit my fitness level and workout goals.
July 2, 2006