This tape is divided into two sections; one for the
lower body and one for the upper body. I find the lower
body section incredibly lame and have therefore only done
it a couple of times. The upper body part isn't bad; it's
supposed to be half an hour long, but if you fast-forward
through all of Charlene's chatter it only takes 20
minutes (yes, I timed it). This tape is in my
"gathering dust" collection.
Instructor comments: I think I'm in the minority, but
I really like Charlene. I've read many comments that
she's too chatty, but I enjoy that. She talks about
fitness-related things -- it's not just endless
This is a two-part workout, to be done together or on
separate days. The first part is lower body and the
second is upper body. You use heavy weights for both. The
goal is to fatigue your muscles in 7 to 16 reps. Charlene
says that if you can't do 7 reps with a weight, then it's
too heavy. And if you can do more than 16, it's too
light. Makes sense to me.
The upper body part is very good. She includes unusual
exercises such as rotator cuff and the lower part of your
arm (I forgot what it's called!). I give this section an
A. The lower body part seems a little weak. The 30
minutes allocated to it is divided between legs and abs,
and it doesn't seem like there's enough time to
sufficiently work out all the "parts," at least
not to the extent your arms are worked. So I give this
part a B-.
I've decided to just do the upper body part of this
from now on. There are a lot of other leg workouts that
are more effective. I don't recommend buying this for
$19.95 which is the current price, but if it ever goes on
sale for less than that, it might be worth it to you.
OK. I didn't do the video and probably never will, but
I did watch the entire thing. You're expected to do your
own warm-up and cool down (if you feel like switching
your videos back and forth; I don't.) Also, I hate floor
work with ankle weights, and the entire first half of
this video is just that. Most of the exercises are done
in conjunction with a step, placed in various positions.
The second half is upper body, and I guess it looked
okay. The music wasn't very motivating, and it seemed
more like a gym workout: first one side, then the other;
then the second set, etc. I prefer the way The FIRM mixes
it up and makes it more fun and interesting. I actually
didn't mind Charlene's chattiness; I prefer it to Karen
Voight's constant counting or "and in, and out"
or whatever during her entire videos. If this tape had a
good lower body section, I'd probably do it, but it
doesn't so . . . hello, Video Exchange?
I've been doing this video for a little over five months now, and I've noticed significant gains in muscle definition as well as strength. While the lower body portion is not as thorough as many FIRM tapes, it isn't bad, particularly if you do the exercises with 10-lb. ankle weights. What I like more is the second half of the video, the upper body portion, which is really a separate workout and can be done on a different day. I started off using 5- and 8-lb. dumbbells and am now up to 15 lbs. on the bicep curls and presses. There are some excellent exercises for the wrist flexors and the rotator cuffs, too, areas often overlooked. Caution: there is no warm-up for this video, but Charlene does instruct the viewer to have spent at least five or ten minutes doing something vigorous enough (running, bike ride, stepping) to get the bloodflow going. At various points throughout this tape, there are stretches for muscles just worked to exhaustion. However, you might just want to pop a stretch tape in afterwards to get a thorough stretch to prevent major soreness. Serious Curves is a great addition to my weight tape rotation.
Instructor comments: A warm, motivating, positive chatterbox. Her mouth just does not stop. However, she's not just blathering away. She does mention lots of interesting exercise-related facts and tips, and she constantly reminds the viewer to check for the proper form, essential when doing this workout with really heavy weights.
19 Feb 99
I tried to like this video, I really did. I have been looking for more "train to failure" type tapes, and that is what Charlene advocates in this video, but I just couldn't like this video as much as I tried. Charlene is her typically chatty self, and I couldn't handle it, but if you like Charlene that probably wouldn't bother you too much. Other complaints I had about the workout were the terrible form used by Charlene and the background exercisers, they all seemed to be using weight that was too heavy for them and it almost hurt to watch all the grimacing everyone did trying to lift these weights. The lower body workout was all ankle weights, and pretty uninspired in my opinion. Leave this one alone if possible.
I wanted to write this since I often see this listed in the exchange. It so happens this is how I got mine. (thanks Lynne!)I can see why with all the talking, but I sometimes enjoy that. If I don't feel like that, I choose The Firm for that day. For this workout, Charlene and her team chat mainly during the stretch after each muscle is worked. Of course there is chatter inbetween, just not as much as during the stretches. If you fast forward past this, you will miss out on a well deserved stretch. Charlene does offer a challenging and very thorough muscle developing routine. Serious Curves includes many muscle groups which are often ignored in other videos such as: the rotator cuff, forearms, lower back, and shins. I like that this video doesn't seem to leave anything out. Every muscle is worked to fatigue, and then again.
There was one point when the guy in the group said that he felt breathing really helped him to lift. And Charlene blurts out something to the effect "Not at all" They guy seemed a little unsure of what to say next and looked at the camera. I thought Charlene who studies nutrition and exercise would have read something about breathing while lifting before. Her comment she made back seemed made her look dumb. I always had a high opinion of her before that.
I think if you don't mind chit chat, and want a complete weight training video with more than 1 set, this is a good one to get. My only complaint about the workout itself is, that why didn't she include a warmup, when my copy of the tape has enough blank tape, after it is finished, for another hour to be added on? She herself is warming up, and lets you know to do so also. I will probably do the 1st part to Get the Fat Off first, in the future. Overall, I give the workout an A-.(or a B- for the dumb comment back to her team member.)
Instructor comments: I like Charlene. I haven't gotten tired of her conversations with her team, as of yet. I can see how after doing her tapes, you learn what part of the conversation is coming next, so I may be tired of her in the future. I am on my way to 100 club, have 95 so far, so her tapes aren't the only ones I will be using, so this may not happen to me. I sometimes miss the gym, so the chit chat is nice, but prefer my own personal trainer at home through video. If I could pick any instructor to actually come to my home, it would be Charlene.
I'm an active beginner and I've been working out with weight tapes for several months now. I have only done this tape one time. I used a maximum of 10 Lb dumbells.
As the other reviewers here have said, the lower body work in this tape did not give me a very good workout. However, I do not own any ankle weights and the instrutors all use a MINIMUM of 20 pound ankle weights PER LEG. I'm sure I would have felt the leg work with that much weight on my legs. Even without the ankle weights, I still felt the abductor work, the adductor work, and the calf work.
The upper body work was very intense. I had trouble, at some points, getting into the proper position as fast as the tape required. Charlene uses an inclineable step bench (which I have) and rearranges the blocks a lot and it took me a while to catch on to each new formations. She also shows you how to use an ironing board and box instead of a step for inclined ab work. I didn't feel the ab work at all, probably because I didn't take the time (and stop the tape) to get into proper form.
Charlene's chattiness really helps the time go by much faster than in the other weight tape like this that I do. I appreciate having the information and the distraction from very repititious work.
I think this tape would be an excellent way to add some variety to a rotation with a one hour, total body, slow rep, high weight work out. Just gotta have plenty of ankle weights. And don't forget to warm-up before you start the tape.
Thanks to the fellow VFer who sent this tape to me for a SASE!
In this tape, I think that Charlene's chattiness really helps the time go by faster. As another review here has said, I was very surprised to hear her say that breathwork is unimportant during weight work, but for the most part, I really trust Charlene and find her very informative.