Rob Glick, Violet Zaki, Gay Gaspar, Kimberly Spreen, Kendell Hogan
“Star Trainers Ab Blast” is a programmable
DVD with five 10-minute ab workouts from
five different instructors. I love the
functionality of programmable DVDs - even
playing the segments in a different order
makes them seem fresh.
“Star Trainers Ab Blast” is filmed in a bright
open set with the "Exercise TV" logo
displayed on the floor. Most of the
segments start with a quick warm up and all
finish with a quick stretch. The only
downside to “Ab Blast” is that it
automatically plays an introduction from the
instructor before each segment, complete
with a plug for "Propel" water. The
introductions obviously do triple-duty for
the companion Star Trainers weight training
and cardio DVDs, so this could get annoying
if you’re using the whole set.
Now on to the workouts...
Violet Zaki - "ABSession": Violet introduces
herself by saying "I come to you from New
York City bringing black belt expertise with
a whole lot of Aussie flair". (Naturally, I love
this bit!) ABSession blends simple but tough
traditional ab exercises with some yoga-
and Pilates-inspired moves. It starts with
some very slow crunches, then moves into
elbow-to-knee crunches, an exercise where
you lie flat on your back while scissoring
your straight legs up and down and an
exercise where, still flat on your back, you
reach your hand to the opposite foot.
Mercifully, these exercises are interspersed
with some quick stretches. Then it's on to
"rolling like a ball" from Pilates which
transitions into the boat pose from yoga,
followed by some "bird dogs" where you
bring your elbow to the opposite knee.
Kimberly Spreen - "Core Blast": This is the
most Pilates-inspired routine and the most
innovative. I recognised the music from her
"Amplify Your Strength from Within" DVD.
Kimberly starts with side crunches on one
knee to work the obliques. The next
exercise is V-sits where you use your core
strength to lean right back. Kimberly
demonstrates harder variations of these
exercises by "playing with leverage". The
routine finishes with side planks with hip
lifts, and supine bridges.
Rob Glick - "ABSolutely Beautiful": This
routine starts with lots of variations on
crunches — with one leg out to the side to
work the obliques, with both legs raised in
the air, crunching up to place your hands
between your outstretched legs, and
rotational crunches with your legs in
tabletop position. This is followed by some
isometric work and back extensions. After a
quick cat stretch, Rob moves into a long
Kendell Hogan – “Peak Performance Abs”:
This segment is one of my favourites as it
incorporates standing ab work and light
weights for added resistance. The routine
starts with lunges with a rotational twist
while holding the weights; this is one of
those exercises that you really feel
afterward. Then it’s down to the mat for
some basic crunches, what Tracey Staehle
calls “full body crunches” (a simultaneous
crunch and reverse crunch) and side
bridges. This is followed by more weighted
work, basic crunches, and planks and
Supermans to finish off.
Gay Gaspar – “Espresso Abs”: I found this
segment the most challenging. After some
Pilates-inspired roll-ups, Gay adds some
rotational work, moves into some full body
crunches, then elbow-to-knee crunches
with increasingly difficult modifications. This
is followed by bicycles with increasingly
difficult modifications. Gay must be the
queen of increasingly difficult modifications!
She finishes with a plank-pushup combo.
Summary: “Star Trainers Ab Blast” provides
lots of variety, and some challenges, for
intermediate exercisers. Each routine is
distinct from the others and each contains
some unusual moves. Five stars out of five.
All the instructors are very motivating and
professional. This was my first exposure to all
of them except Kimberly Spreen and I can see
why they’re so popular.