Video Fitness

Redbook Workout Series: Body Sculpting

Judi Jenre

I have not had much luck with the Redbook series. I had earlier tried their tai chi tape and wound up giving it to an aunt who wanted to try videos, but made no promises of returning anything I loaned her. Still, I remained curious because these tapes are widely available here and I wondered if they were useful. I got this body sculpting tape from the library and although I am quite happy I did not spend money on it, I can see this tape being useful for certain others. Note: I've only done the tape once, and I am working from memory here. But once was enough.

The instructor is A.F.A.A. certified, and she does the most advanced version of the moves. She has one background exerciser using slightly lighter weights, and another who uses no weights at all. The warm-up is a longish low-impact deal, designed to get the heart rate going and the blood flowing. It does so quite effectively: the series of toe taps and mini-squat pulses is combined with large, sweeping arm motions that are gentle and smooth. Following the warm-up, there is a weight section that alternates basic lower-body moves such as squats and small lunges with biceps curls, shoulder work and a few back moves. The cueing is adequate, but not exceptional: pretty much the "now move your arms backward like I am doing" type. There is a decent mix of compound moves and one-at-a-time moves. The routine ends with a floorwork section. The whole thing clocks in at around half an hour.

I don't know if it is because they are gearing this to beginners (this is never specified) or because they are trying to get the whole thing under half an hour, but some of the moves seemed a bit rushed. Most of the sets are 8 reps, but there seemed to be a few that were shorter, and only done once through. I felt they certainly could have used more reps here: I was not even close to fatigued and followed this tape with my usual routine, not feeling the slightest bit tired. The structure of the routine also seemed a bit random. She said she was alternating upper and lower body moves, which is fine. But she went from biceps curls to squats, to shoulder work, back to biceps, on to triceps, back to shoulders---it felt pretty random, and there was no way to tell what was coming up. Her lifting pace is slower than someone like Joyce Vedral or Rachel McLish, but it's faster than someone like Cathe or Tamilee. She holds the rep at the top, which is a nice touch that not all instructors include. Still, I didn't feel like I had put my all into this routine, nor did I feel its structure and format would allow me to. And I didn't feel like the instructor had put her all into it either, which made it hard to get myself motivated. It felt like we all could have worked harder, and she knew it.

Still, it would likely be a pretty good tape for a beginner. It's short, covers pretty much all the bases, and shows the most basic modifications throughout for those at different levels. The instructor seemed nice enough, and the workout moved at a brisk clip. For a more advanced exerciser, perhaps TOO brisk a clip, but a beginner might the few rep/fast paced routine to be just what they need.

Joanna C.

This is a great video when you want some strength training but you're short of time. I'm an intermediate but I'm always sore in my arm after this workout. It's also a good workout when you want some stretching. Jenre is a very good instructor and it surprises me that she hasn't come up with any other videos that are known.

Kathe Sund
July 7, 2004

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