Michelle Dozois, Lisa Wheeler, & Tracy York
I’m reviewing this workout after doing each segment at least once.
General workout breakdown: This DVD contains 3 30-min. workouts: one cardio, one strength, and one that’s a little bit of both.
*Cardio Interval is an all-cardio workout with progressively building intervals. Michelle builds the simple, athletic moves (lunges, squats, knee pulls / repeater knees, tire runs, burpees, ski hops; a few slightly dancey ones like hip shakes or chasses also appear) into combos which are done pretty much evenly on both sides, then condensed and repeated again on each side, before going on to the next one. The moves increase in intensity throughout the combo, hence the “hill” description of the interval. In between combos a few moments of a filler move (e.g. hamstring curls) allow you to catch your breath. Higher impact moves (e.g. jumping jacks, jogging) are included, usually to boost intensity, but lower impact modifications are often shown. The workout concludes with a short cool-down (4 min.).
*Sculpt Plus is an all-strength workout that uses both a resistance band and dumbbells. After a short cardio- and dynamic stretch-based warm-up (4 min.), Lisa introduces a number of multi-limbed / compound moves (i.e. moves that work both the lower and upper body simultaneously), like a squat with an overhead triceps press or a plie squat with biceps curls; a number of the moves also have a more functional flair (i.e. multi-planar and/or mimicking everyday moves), like the exercise that involves reaching down as if to pick something up from the floor and then reaching across the body to put it away above one’s head. The reps tend towards high (maybe 10-12 or so reps), so this is more of an endurance workout; that said, a lot of focus is spent on keeping things moving to make sure the heartrate gets up and stays up, so it’s even more of a cardio sculpt workout than a strength-building one. The final 5 min. are done on the floor; here the moves tend to be less focused on working the entire body at once. Oh, and there are no straight up crunches. T he workout ends with a short total body stretch (4 min.)
*Potpourri is a mix of cardio, strength, and cardio & strength. Lisa leads a short kickboxing segment (10 min., including about 2 min. that serve as more of a warm-up) that includes bob and weave, jab, cross, upper cut, jumping rope, knee smash, boxer’s shuffle, roundhouse and front kicks (beginning with chambers), jumping jack, and finally building up into a very short punching and kicking combo. Michelle leads a short toning segment (10 min.) that again focuses on movements involving multiple muscles, with a decent emphasis on the backside of the body. Tracy then leads a “skills and drills” segment where you hold a dumbbell while doing cardio and strength moves (e.g. shuffling while holding the dumbbell at chest, then stopping to do a chest press to the side), again focusing on more functional exercises that move around the body and challenge the balance, before moving to floor for moves like push-ups and dips (10 min., with a very short stretch, like 30 seconds, at the end). Again, no crunches appear; the core is worked during many of the standing moves, and the specifically abs moves are ones like a v-sit / boat / teaser prep with a rowing motion.
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 two segments back to back or even the whole shebang at once. 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.
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 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 step and kick all around you (front, side, and back) or can take a couple of steps to each side, you have enough space to do this program.
DVD Notes: The Shape promo (40 seconds) plays every time you pop in the DVD. The main menu offers these choices: Program 1 (= Cardio Interval), Program 2 (= Sculpt Plus), Program 3 (= Potpourri), 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; the choices are off to the side.
Each segment has its own chapter, but there are no chapters within these segments, although one of my DVD players but not the other recognizes the Potpourri as having different chapters for each segment. Unfortunately, this means if you wanted to add just one of the Potpourri bits onto the Cardio Interval or Sculpt Plus parts you could be out of luck. 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: Transforming are the most advanced of Shape’s cardio and/or strength offerings so far.
All three 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 (“Talk about a butt blaster”), Tracy comes off as more down to earth (“And all you need is a dumbbell”), and Michelle cheers you on with some extra spunk (“C’mon; you can do this”).
September 16, 2008