Bobby Strom/Patricia Moreno
The Push System is a dvd set that includes three months worth of strength training routines and one 30-minute cardio program. Each month contains three workouts which contain about a dozen strength moves, performed for 2 sets of 15. The kit is supposed to be customized. Each exercise is its own chapter, so I suppose they are simply pasting them together in different order and/or configuration, but many forum people reported that their workouts were very similar so it is unclear just how much customization occurs. The workouts are in one of those fold-out boxes like the tv show box sets, and the kit also comes with resistance bands used in the workout. I substituted weights with no problems.
Both the strength and the cardio workouts resemble the beachbody.com products in look and style. There is a large centre screen where the workout happens, then a side panel that list the different exercises, highlighting the one you are on. There are also unobtrusive countdown timers that show how much time is left per chapter and for the workout as a whole. Each exercise is preceded by a cue card screen which shows what the exercise is and which muscles it will work.
Bobby leads all the strength workouts, which average to about half an hour each. He works with a background exerciser, Courtney, and you should keep your eye on her for pacing because Bobby will often come out of a move early to go check on her. She shows excellent form. Before starting the first set, Bobby will offer a few pointers---some Vfers reported annoyance at these pauses, but I appreciated them because it allowed me to pyramid my weights. I would start each exercise as soon as it was clear what it was. I would finish a few reps ahead of them, then rest while they finished the first set. I would then do the second set with them, using a heavier weight. I never felt like the workout was slow. I always had trouble raising my weights with other workouts because you can never be sure how many reps you will do or if they will surprise you with a pulsing set. So it is great that this workout has a structure that is amenable to pyramiding.
Bobby’s weakness is in the stretching, which is sometimes included in the warm-ups and which is part of the cool-down. He always says you will hold the stretch for 15 seconds, but then he starts talking and you wind up holding them much, much longer. To ensure I was working each side equally, I counted out the 15 seconds myself, then did another stretch while I waited (sometimes a very long time) for Bobby to finish. I also don’t think he stretched the whole body in the workout I did---there were a few floor stretches for the lower body, then a seated stretch for the back (which with my flexibility was really more a leg stretch). But nothing for the upper body. I think they could improve this by doing a short stretch for each body part during the workout, as part of each set.
The cardio workout is the same in every kit, and was led by Patricia Moreno. It featured several sections of 3-5 minutes each where you perform a basic athletic movement. I hesitate to even call some of it cardio---there was a whole section of what were essentially squats done 3 ways, a section of knee-ups with side punches, toe taps, then toe taps with a side step, and a lunge and reach section that started twinging my lower back at the two-minute mark. I would have to give this another try before deciding if this is a good workout for me, but my first impression was a profound meh. The camera work here is also not stellar---there is one section where they don’t even show you their feet until a good 15 seconds in, which is inexcusable. I had no idea what they were doing the first time I did the workout. You need to see their feet!
I’m not entirely sure why they felt people would need three new strength workouts every month, but would be okay doing the same half-hour cardio routine for the duration. Apparently, there is a forthcoming months 4-6 with a stability ball, and perhaps it will include more cardio. I am okay with following the strength plan (although perhaps not for as long as three months) and doing my own cardio on the cardio days. I did like Patricia Moreno though, and with a slightly different mix of exercises, I might enjoy another workout by her.
Although this company is selling their product on the “world” wide web, they will at present only ship in the USA, which I find baffling and a little bit annoying. If it were not for the VF exchange, I would not have been able to try them out. I am pleased I was able to get them though. I am grateful to have a workout option I can pyramid with, and if I ever had to restart or come back from a pregnancy or something, this would be an excellent progressive program. The length of these workouts is perfect for me, the strength work is thorough at two sets of 15, but not overkill, and it is nice to have the option of the bands for a change of pace or if travelling.