This is a 45-minute total body workout emphasizing functional fitness.
The set is pleasant and well lit. Gunnar works out with Jennifer and Anita. Jennifer does some modifications. Both women are also miked, and throughout the workout the three of them chat and joke around. It's casual but still focused on the workout.
Equipment used is one set of dumbbells (around five pounds?), a mat, and a stability ball. Like the previous Core Secrets, once you know the exercises you will probably want a couple different sets of dumbbells to challenge all the muscle groups better.
The workout starts with a short warm-up and stretch. During a lateral thigh stretch, Anita goads Gunnar into full side splits!
The exercises are presented in groups of four. One set of each is done, with Gunnar instructing the first time around. The group of four is then repeated, with no instruction and sometimes with a slight change. After two sets of each exercise, you move on to the next group of four.
The exercises themselves are designed to mimic everyday activities and promote core strength. They are mostly classic weightlifting exercises, often with a twist. For example, one began as a squat with a dumbbell in each hand, then standing up to what Gunnar calls a "monkey row" (dumbbells up to the armpits) -- similar to how you might lift up two heavy suitcases to put into the trunk of a car. Other exercises emphasized a wider range of motion (like a lateral raise that went above the shoulder all the way overhead) or uneven distribution of weight to challenge the core muscles that help with balance. I recognized a few exercises from previous Core Secrets workouts. This workout finishes with a brief stretch.
The stability ball is used in two of the exercise groups. In this workout the ball is treated more like just a regular exercise prop instead of being the "star" of the workout.
There are some squats and lunges in this workout, but between the light weight used and Gunnar's modifications, my knees were not bothered.
On the DVD there is no chaptering or shuffle feature, only a start menu (although it appears to be segmented by exercise groups). No blasts or other extras. Music is by Daveed -- kind of a techno-beat which did the job. I haven't seen the other two workouts in this series (Training Camp and Off the Ball) so I can't comment on any differences or similarities.
Overall I like this workout, especially the emphasis on functional fitness. The exercises are different (but explained well) and move quickly. It is a nice change from traditional weight work. I'm a little disappointed by the intensity. I am an intermediate exerciser, and while I felt pleasantly worked out afterwards I certainly wasn't wiped. Adding more weight to some of the exercises will definitely increase the challenge. However, Cathe-ites and TLP fans may want to save their money.
I really enjoy working out with Gunnar -- I like his humor and his energy, and his instruction is excellent. He has great rapport with his background exercisers.
July 4, 2005