I just received my Slim Series dvds today and I'm quite pleased with my purchase. I placed and order on 3/17 and have them in my hands 11 days later (impressive since there was a backorder situation). I was lucky enough to order this set at the introductory rate of $39.99. The price has now increased by $20. Nevertheless, I believe these videos are worth it. You get 6 separate dvds in their own cases and a booklet which suggests several rotations to reach you desired goal. Each video is around an hour in length and filled with nonstop exercises.
So far I've only viewed Shape It Up which clocks in at 78 minutes. This video uses opposing muscles groups and contains many compound movements. You definitely get your bang for your buck with this video. I don't know exactly how to describe it. It's pretty much a circuit style endurance tape with a bit off everything thrown in. For this workout, you don't need much equipment, just a pair of dumbbells. You also don't need much workout space. If you've been to lifting 10-15lb dumbbells with Cathe, be prepared to lower your weights. I mainly used 5lbs and am seriously thinking about purchasing 3lbers. Reps are performed rather quickly but still in a somewhat controlled fashion. The whole entire body is worked with this video: arms, shoulders, abs, legs, hips, and behind. For comparisons sake, I would say this video has the nonstop qualities of Cathe's Power Hour, quick reps like Joyce Vedral, four limbed movements like the Firm, elements of Taebo, and some Tamilee ab movements. I was sweating like crazy after 20 minutes. I kept thinking to myself, there is no way the background exercises, nor I, had 60 more minutes left in them. If you do these workouts for 6 weeks, it would be impossible not to transform your body.
The production quality of these tapes are pretty good. There is a countdown timer on the lower righthand side of the screen and a tab which shows how far you are into the workout. The set design is pleasant to the eye. Natural colors are used; lots of tan, orange and golden tones. There are large windows to the left of the set which shows a beautiful view of blue sky and green vegetation. The music is generic but you have the option to turn it off.
There are a several things that might throw a couple people off. Breathing can be heard throughout the entire tape. I'm not sure if this was intentional or not. It may be beneficial due to the fact that many people forget to breathe when doing strength moves. I, myself, found it a somewhat distracting. Also, the background exercisers are off count from time to time. Their form can sometimes make you cringe but the instructor stops often and checks on form. Debbie Sieber gives helpful form pointers throughout the entire workout and her form is excellent. Just keep your eyes on her and you'll be fine.
I was disappointed over the hardly any modifications were shown. You were reminded to do what feels comfortable but I would have liked to have seen more modifications and demonstrations. Some exercises seemed downright dangerous (ie. front kick and straight down to a backward leg lunge). Since the movements were so quick, I can totally picture someone losing their balance or pulling a quadricep.
Overall, I liked these videos even though it borders on overtraining. I don't think I'll outgrow since you can increase your weights to make the workouts more intense. I'm glad I decided to buy these rather than the new firm kit. There are 6 dvds and I plan on doing one each day with one day off.
This is my first review so hopefully it will be okay.
For reference, I consider myself to be high intermediate/low advanced exerciser. When working with weights I generally choose The Firm, Joyce Vedral, and Cathe. I have others in my collection but these are the ones that I gravitate towards most often.
Shape It Up is a total body workout using light weights and works opposing muscle groups. It is about 78 minutes long and is led by Debbie with two background exercisers, her sister Judy and Kevin.
Things I liked: Standing ab work, alternating between muscle groups, the fact there weren't that many lunges. Even though the workout was long the time passes fairly quickly due to the variety of exercises.
Things I am neutral about: The music. It could have been better but I could live with it. The set. The bad form on some exercises.
Things I disliked or annoyed me:
The warm-up is horribly boring. The length. Even though I said that the workout goes by quickly, with a 3 1/2 yr. old and nursing 5 month old a 45 minute workout can often turn into an hour half with all the stops I sometimes have to make. So you can only imagine how long it could possibly take me to do a 78 minute workout. I also found the countdown and timer annoying. I find it discouraging to see that I still have a lot of time left. In general the bad form does not bother me but on one particular exercise I can not figure out what Debbie is wanting us to do. Is is a front kick standing to the side or a side kick?
Overall thoughts: Though I may sound like I dislike this workout I do like it okay. I can see it having it's place in my rotation but I don't ever see myself feeling love for it.
I enjoyed Debbie's personality throughout the video. She's chatty without being too chatty and appears to be working out hard herself.
October 13, 2004
This is a very good full-body strength workout which uses the "high repetition, low weight" style; for the majority of the workout, instructor Debbie Siebers uses only 5 lbs. weights, and she advises you to drop down to 3 lbs. if necessary. The format of the routine is to work opposing muscle groups with weights while adding core work inbetween each weight segment.
The workout starts with a basic (somewhat boring) 5-minute warmup and then moves into the following segments (times are approximate): lower body, 6 mins. (squats, dips, kicks); standing core 1, 2.5 mins. (side reaches, side bends); chest/shoulders, 3.5 mins.; standing core 2, 2 mins. (twists, punches); biceps/triceps, 4 mins.; standing core 3, 2 mins. (knee lifts, more twists and punches); lower body, 10 mins. (standing and seated moves with optional ankle weights); floor chest/tricep work, 7 mins.; floor lower body, 10 mins. (crunches, thigh work); and standing shoulders/biceps/triceps with heavier weights (8 lbs.), 7 mins. The workout then ends with a brief (4 mins.) stretch for a total time of 78 minutes.
This was my first-ever Slim Series workout, and I was a little daunted by the long length. However, several factors made the workout feel manageable rather than overwhelming: 1) having the non-weighted core toning work interspersed with the weight work provided a bit of rest time and ensured that I never felt totally overworked, 2) moving to the floor about halfway through the program provided a bit of a "break" (even though the floor work was definitely tough!), and 3) the countdown timer which shows you how much time is left; at times, this could be a bit discouraging, but the timer was accompanied by a series of little dots which slowly disappeared as you completed each segment--this was definitely motivating!
Many people complain about the music in these workouts; I found it to be okay, if somewhat loud and a bit repetitive. I had more of a problem with the sound quality, which seemed a bit echo-y. Another thing I found a bit disappointing was that although there was plenty of standing core work (which I really liked), the floor abs work was not very intense. After doing the workout yesterday, however, today I am pleasantly sore in my side waist area as well as just a bit in the abs themselves. In fact, I like that this workout left me with a manageable soreness rather than the pain that I was anticipating. Overall, I enjoyed this workout more than I thought I would, and despite the length, I am looking forward to doing it again soon.
I liked Debbie; she seemed friendly and motivating, although her comments were a little goofy at times (eg, "don't think that I'm not feeling this too!"). She workouts out in a somewhat bland studio setting with two background exercisers, her sister and a male, Kevin. Debbie frequently went over to the two of them to comment on their form, although she seemed a bit reluctant to correct Kevin on his flies--she tried, but he just could not seem to do them right! Debbie's own form was very good, although she did not use mirrored cueing and she did not offer many modifications.
Beth C (aka toaster)
June 1, 2005