Fitness Ball Workouts is a sequence of five short fitness routines, each of which use a stability ball. Because this DVD is part of the 10 Minute Solution series, each workout is only 10 minutes long, and the fully programmable feature allows you to mix and match up to six segments to create your own, completely customized routine--very nice! None of the segments have formal warm-ups or cool-downs, but most do prepare you with a few moves in the beginning and then add some quick stretches at the end. I've provided a brief overview for each of the five routines below:
1. Lower Body. Although this segment uses no weights, it was probably the most challenging of the five. Kimberly begins with simple squats and side-to-side lunges, but she eventually adds in bouncing the ball and raising it overhead; combined with the high number of repetitions, you'll be really working here. Next comes some glute work while lying face down on the ball, and finally, there is a tough hamstring portion performed lying with your feet on the ball.
2. Upper Body. This segment was probably the most disappointing, especially given that Kimberly uses such light weights (I believe she is using 3#). She begins by warming up the upper body with push-ups (an easier version with hands on the ball) and then moves into an upper body circuit. The circuit includes rows, tricep kickbacks, bicep curls, shoulder presses, side raises, and front raises; it is repeated three times, each time adding a few new moves such as flyes/rear flyes. Kimberly moves quickly, which makes it difficult to vary your weights as needed (I tried to switch between 5# and 8#).
3. Core. Kimberly does warm you up here with some spinal rolls and core twists holding the ball. She performs several sets of crunches while seated on the ball, adding a twisting move to target the obliques. More oblique work follows while lying sideways over the ball, and then Kimberly moves to the floor for additional crunches, this time passing the ball from feet to hands. Some brief back work follows (kneeling while leaning forward on the ball), and then Kimberly finishes with plank work (arms/hands on ball).
4. Cardio. This segment begins with squats and lunges, rolling the ball in front of you for balance. Kimberly adds in bouncing the ball and tossing it overhead, which was kind of fun. She then ups the intensity with some impact moves such as jacks (holding the ball overhead) and plyo squat jumps (hands on the ball). There is a brief interval where you continue to work while seated on the ball, but then it's back on your feet for more jumps, hopping out to plank with your hands on the ball. This segment ends with a squat and roll over the ball plus a few quick stretches. Although this routine was fairly intense, my HR was only in my target zone for about half the workout (5 minutes). Also, it took up quite a bit of room in my small space.
5. Flexibility. In this final segment, Kimberly leads you through a series of stretches using the ball. There is more of a lower body emphasis, beginning with lunges/hip flexor stretches as well as some standing hamstring stretches. There are a few upper body stretches performed seated on the ball, but for some reason, Kimberly moves very quickly through these and does not hold them for as long as the lower body stretches.
Overall, although these were generally solid, well-designed routines, I didn't really enjoy this workout. I'm not sure that the 10-minute format works well for mixing strength and cardio; an all-strength program might have been better. However, I would recommend this video to those who like Kimberly, enjoy using the ball, and prefer to break their workouts into shorter segments; the fact that the routines are programmable is definitely a huge plus as well.
Generally, I think Kimberly is a likeable instructor who cues well. However, since this was my second workout of hers, I noticed that she has certain phrases she tends to repeat quite often (such as "if you don't mind"). Also, in this workout in particular, she had the somewhat annoying habit of repeatedly stating how great the stability ball is and how it is the ONLY piece of equipment you can use with certain exercises--you would have thought that she invented the stability ball herself! ;)
Beth C (aka toaster)
August 31, 2006