Michelle Dozois, Lisa Wheeler, & Tracy York
I’m reviewing this workout after doing each segment 1-2 times.
General workout breakdown: This DVD contains two 30-min. cardio & weight circuit workouts plus three 5-min. toning segments.
The 2 main workouts both begin with short warm-ups (a few min. each) consisting of cardio moves (e.g. step touches), unweighted strength exercises (e.g. squats and lunges), and dynamic stretches (e.g. reaching arm overhead, extending leg). They both end with a couple of quick static stretches (about 2 min. in each case).
The cardio segments have no complicated choreography. The instructor strings together a few simple athletic moves, but the combos are thrown away (that is, not repeated) after they’re finished.
The strength segments here don’t have lots of reps. The focus is really on “cardio sculpting,” or keeping your heart rate up. Most of the exercises are multi-limb - or, in VF parlance, compound - moves that include both upper and lower body.
There’s little down time during these workouts; you have just enough time to pick up or drop weights, assuming they’re nearby.
*Circuit Training (Tracy) alternates cardio with strength. Each cardio combo is made of a couple of moves that increase in intensity (e.g. alternating rear lunges morph into scissor jumps, a squat side to side morphs into side hops). Cardio segments last about 3-4 min., strength about 2. The strength exercises here include balance challenges or move across various planes of the body (i.e. rotating across the body), which makes them more functional. The stretch here begins with a few quick exercises using the band before moving to standing athletic stretches without any props.
*Interval Cardio Sculpt (Lisa) is slightly different from Circuit Training in that there are short cardio bursts before the strength moves and overall a few more high impact moves (i.e. with one foot off of the floor). The cardio segments are built up like this: you learn the higher impact moves, do a 30 second cardio blast, then do some low impact moves before repeating the sequence. Also, this segment includes a couple of body weight exercises, like push-ups, and more straightforward / traditional strength moves (e.g. biceps curl, overhead press, and squat combo) rather than the more functional ones in Circuit Training. And the final strength segment is done on the floor, but you pop right back up to standing for the stretch.
The 3 mini workouts jump straight into the strength moves and end with 1-2 very brief stretch-type movements. Here are the exercises:
*Legs (Tracy): 1-legged squat, plank with knee pull in & out, and straight-legged deadlift.
*Upper Body (Lisa): slow row (beginning with arms crossed), biceps curls, triceps kickbacks, lateral raises, and push-ups.
*Abs (Michelle): v-sit with roll back, v-sit with side-to-side rowing motion, roll from side-lying position to v-sit, side-lying oblique curl, plank with alternating opposite arm & leg reach, and plank with side-to-side knee drop.
Level: I’d recommend this to experienced exercisers working out at the intermediate level. Modifications and choosing only one segment at a time could make this accessible to experienced beg./int., and savy int./adv. could probably make this work for them, too, especially if you do the two main workouts back to back or even the whole shebang. I personally found the cardio more challenging than the strength portions, though.
Class: Michelle, Lisa, and Tracy (so when one is leading, the other two are the background exercisers). One of them shows some modifications for reduced impact / less complicated / less challenging moves. All three wear microphones throughout and contribute tips, encouragement, comments (like “Whew! I feel this one in my glutes”), reminders about how this will get you that bikini body, etc.
Music: upbeat instrumental with a beat that’s your typical exercise video fare (although there are some vocals during one of the mini workouts).
Set: bright interior set that kind of looks like a brick warehouse, with all sorts of exercise equipment (treadmill, step, medicine ball, punching bag, resistance band, etc.) and a few potted plants arranged around the perimeter.
Production: clear picture and sound, with the instructors’ voices just a bit louder than the music. The camera angles are mostly helpful except for the ones that were shot through the cardio machines and from a couple of other funky angles (unfortunately these sometimes appear at a change in move – you know, right when you actually need to see the instructor and/or the modifier).
Equipment: resistance band (one comes with new DVDs), 1 (or maybe 2) pair of light to medium (the back cover suggests 3 or 5 lb., but I found 5 and 8 more appropriate) dumbbells, and a mat (depending upon your workout surface). I’m not too fond of workouts that use only one set of dumbbells, but it’s tricky to pick up and drop weights during this video because there’s not a lot of down time.
Space Requirements: If you can take a couple of steps to each side, you have enough space to do this program. It’s actually pretty compact.
DVD Notes: The Shape promo (40 seconds) plays every time you pop in the DVD. The main menu offers these choices: Program 1 (= Circuit Training), Program 2 (= Cardio Interval Sculpt), Mini Workouts, and Extras (Meet the Instructors, About Shape, and Credits). Lisa, Michelle, and Tracy’s introduction to the workout philosophy behind the “Bikini Body Camp,” suggested rotations with this DVD and with the other Shape Bikini Body Bootcamp, and an overview of each segment play each time the main menu comes up.
Each segment has its own chapter, but there are no chapters within these segments. Except for the option to play all of the mini workouts together, there’s also no way to string workouts together; you have to go back to the main menu and pick the next one.
In addition to a green resistance band of mediumish strength, new DVDs also come with a “Back to Basics Meal Plan.”
Comment: In my opinion, this and Shape Bikini Body Camp: Redefining are the most advanced of Shape’s cardio and/or strength offerings so far.
All instructors cue decently, although they (especially Lisa) tend to cue right on or just a hair before move changes and don’t always include a lot of (verbal) directional indications. They mirror cue (i.e. when they say “right,” they mean your right). They all contribute tips, encouragement, and other feedback even when they’re not the leads. Each has her own personality, of course. Lisa goes above and beyond fulfilling all contractual obligations to plug the bikini body shtick (“That’s what we do at Shape: we give you the most amount of workout in the least amount of time”), while Tracy comes off as more down to earth (“It’s good to work hard once in a while”); Michelle provides encouragement from the background and during her short segment (“It’s short, it’s sweet, so go for it”).
September 16, 2008