Video Fitness

Better Burn Better Buns

Tracie Long

The incomparable Tracie Long leads "Better Burn Better Buns" with her usual perfect cueing, flawless form, and fabulous form pointers. The music in this was loud enough, I love the way Tracie references the weather outside (it was filmed during Tropical Storm Tammy), and it clocked in at just under 56 minutes including the stretch.

You need a med ball (Sherry uses 2#, Tracie uses 4#, and Stephanie uses 5#), rags or paper plates or something to glide on, a golf club or dowel, and a mat if you want for abs at the end. I used a 4# ball and I felt soreness in my lower back in parts of this so go lighter at first until you get used to it.

The warm up uses the med ball and incorporates standing leg walks, twists, and plenty of upper and lower body moves. The stretch is fluid and dynamic without using the ball.

Using your club, stick or dowel we go into full plank (Sherry is on her knees) and walk over the stick in front of us with one hand then the other, and back again. It's much harder than it looks. Then on our stomachs we pull and push the stick out in front, lifting up from the chest as we pull in. Pay attention to the breathing pattern Tracie describes and you will really feel this in your abs. Then the stick is between our legs in full plank again with legs wide, as we step first to one side and the other, alternating legs. I found this a bit easier than the hand part.

Get the med ball for cardio as we lunge to the front and rotate the ball to the side, walk back, and progress to jacks back with ball overhead and down while jacking. Then we do squats while rotating the ball side to side, progressing to small hops instead of squats. In between are standing supermans with the ball out front and the opposite leg back. I don't have to tell you what a balance challenge this is!

Next are slow side hip hikes and kicks like in Slim Series. You are balancing on one leg the entire segment and it BURNS. Then we do a similar mop move as in Core Foundations which consists of pushing the plate or rag in and out while staying in a low squat, then mopping it around in a semi-circle. If you aren't feeling your glutes and outer thighs by now you're made of steel.

Cardio in between involves side crunches with the ball. You really need to be careful with the weight here because if your abs aren't completely tucked in your low back will hurt with too heavy a ball. I would even suggest using a slightly lighter ball for this segment. We also do weaves in and out of the legs with the ball and dips and lunges. It's very fun and very challenging!

Then before we do that other leg we do what I best describe as agility moves. For some reason this segment annoyed me. I couldn't follow the patterns. I'm sure with practice I'll be fine, and it may just be a matter of personal preference. I don't care for the whole "sports drill move" thing. There were leg swings and fast V steps - too fast, if you ask me.

Then we do the other leg as described above. Next is cardio with the med ball again. Step touch which progresses to skating moves with the ball up then down, a move called stir the pot - the ball is out front and you rotate it around slowly, glute lifts with the ball out front and up, and squats with optional jumps.

We then do balance and strength work again, standing on the right leg, turning the toes in on the left and lifting the leg up and down at varying tempos. None of them touch in between but I had to a few times. This time Tracie instructs to keep the hips down, and it's very hard to do but you REALLY feel it if you can manage to pull it off! We then get the plate again and put the left foot on, sliding it back and dipping low to try and touch the hands down, then sliding it out to the side, back, side and in again. This will really burn if you do it right! Sherry uses a dowel here for balance.

Next are what Tracie calls hurdles which for some reason reminded me of limbo! You move your leg around in front and to the side like you're stepping over a high hurdle, then follow it with the other, then pretend you're squatting under a high hurdle twice. She demonstrats it much better than I can decribe it, and as with all the moves in this workout it's much hard than it looks! After this we step touch progessing to a cute little shuffle.

We use the med ball again for weaves and lunges which by this time were very hard for me to do. This is one tough workout!!

We do the other leg then as described above, then we go to the floor for abs. Keep the med ball and dowel close by - you'll need them.

First are lying leg walks but you touch your hands to your feet (or whatever you can reach!) instead of just walking the legs. It's fast. Then we touch the ball to our feet keeping the head up!! OUCH!! Then, just for fun, we weave the ball between our ankles.

As if that weren't enough, we go into bridge position with our feet on the rags or plates and take turns sliding them in and out. If you keep your hips lifted your hams will burn. If you cheat and don't, you may as well skip this part. Then comes a part I had to follow Sherry on - we bend our knees and weave the dowel over our shoes to under our knees, and back out again. Either I have very short arms or I simply can't tuck my core that much. Sherry and I simply lifted as high as we could and slid the dowel down to our ankles. Tracie says this will get easier, and if Tracie says it, I believe it!!

Then we hold the med ball in a V sit (Stephanie has her feet off the ground) and twist back and forth. Side planks follow on our elbows, with hip dips then threads with one hand behind our heads. We then do the other side for the plank moves, and finally we stretch!!

This workout is amazing. I think it's the toughgest of the four, and I give it an A+! My only suggestion is cut out the close-up camera shots because there were times I could not see Tracie's entire body and I needed to, and Sherry was not shown enough. Otherwise, I loved it!!


January 9, 2006

I'm writing this after my first try with Tracie Long Training (TLT) Better Burn, Better Buns, a "functional fitness" cardio-based workout. I loved it! It is challenging but fun. I don't think this DVD will ever bore me. No dumbbells are involved, it uses a medicine ball and rags for some series of sliding the foot on the floor. (Note: Rags if you have a hard floor to create a sliding motion that stimulates the leg muscles' downward pressing movement; paper plates can be substituted on carpet.) As with all the TLTs, you can do it in a relatively small workout space and no step is required, either. You will need a mat.

BBBB is primarily cardio and you can modify to low impact/light weight or take the moves up to plyos, as desired. A modifier for both lower and higher intensity work with Tracie. BBBB hits the core from every angle imaginable! There is some floor work for the hamstrings at the end where you go into a pelvic tilt or even bridge if you are stronger and slide the foot out using a rag (or paper plate) and drag it in. This fired my hamstrings better than any deadlift, without hurting my back.

Some of the fun moves include bootcamp style agility drills, twists and lunges with the med ball, pendulum legs with arm sweeps. As promised by the name, Better Burn, Better Buns indeed causes a cardio burn and lots of gluteal work through not only balancing, but strength. I think a good yoga background makes this video much more enjoyable and doable. And conversely, I think this video will make my yoga practice much more doable and enjoyable!

Toward the end I was thinking, "this calls for a nice hip opening yoga practice," but Tracie finishes the workout with a nicely choreographed yoga flow to stretch and open the hips including crescent lunges, down dog into scissor dog with a rotation (WOW), spine twist and reverse spine twist (or "de-rotate the spine" as she calls it), and double pigeon with chest expansion and posture work.

Other core moves include planks while placing the hands in front of and behind a golf club (or dowel or - as I used, a Mr. Clean Magic Reach), a finish off with pressing the med ball up toward elevated feet and then passing it between scissoring legs, and using the golf club (or stick or cleaning implement of choice) to pass under and over the feet. I couldn't do this yet but will keep trying.

I was so taxed after doing this workout, that I fell asleep in the bathtub afterward! These TLTs are fresh and fun, they challenge my brain as well as body and I hope Tracie and crew are planning more.

Instructor comments: Excellent cueing, innovative ideas, beautiful set. The TLTs are my first experience with anything related to The Firm family and its various spin-offs. I found Tracie and her helpers professional and enjoyable to work out with.


July 3, 2006

Better Burn…Better Buns is one of the initial four videos offered via Tracie Long’s last venture, Tracie Long Training. Tracie herself leads this workout, which is mainly cardio with a lower body toning emphasis; also, because it is functional fitness in nature, you’ll be working your core throughout. Equipment used includes a medicine ball (2-5 lbs.), a dowel or stick, and something to use under your feet for gliding work (e.g., rags for hardwood floors, paper plates on carpet). Tracie is joined by Sherry, who shows easier modifications, and Stephanie, who displays more advanced versions, including some higher impact.

The DVD menu offers only two options, play or preview. Although there are no chapter menus, the workout is broken up into 18 chapters, so you can skip around as needed. The workout begins with a warm-up using the medicine ball with simple moves such as heel life, chest press, “rocking horse,” knee lifts, twists, and squats. Setting down the ball, Tracie then moves into a series dynamic stretches; the hips, glutes, and legs receive special attention here, and Tracie notes that the moves are great for runners (the warm-up/stretch segment is about 7.5 minutes total). To continue preparing the body for cardio, plank work comes next (3 minutes). You use the stick here, moving back and forth over it first with your hands, then with your legs. Tracie then moves into cardio with the ball: you’ll do lunges with rotations, optional jacks, squats with rotations, optional jumps, and standing supermans to work on balance (3.5 minutes). Then, without the ball (using the stick for balance if needed), you’ll work the hips/glutes with standing side leg pushes. After transitioning with additional superman balances, you’ll further tone this area with gliding work: with your rag/plate under one foot, you move your leg in and out and then around while remaining in a low squat. After doing one leg only, Tracie offers some quick stretches and then goes back to cardio with standing side crunches. This segment includes front lunges and rear dips while weaving the ball through the legs plus a fast side-to-side squat (think Turbo Jam Cardio Party 1). Next comes a sort of agility drill segment where you’ll do fast side-to-side toe taps moving to leg swings and ending with in and out hops and quick runs. This long series (12 minutes) ends by repeating the toning work on the other leg (the non-dominant one: I wish Tracie had started with this leg first, because my legs were pretty exhausted by this point).

Tracie continues with additional medicine ball cardio. There are some more traditional moves here, such as speed skaters, glute lifts, and squats (with optional jumps; the few higher impact moves in this workout are very easily modified). However, Tracie adds functional work with twists plus a “stir the pot” move with the arms that you will really feel in your core (4.5 minutes). Additional toning/balance work follows: you’ll do standing side leg lifts and more gliding work, this time sliding the rag/plate in and out of a back lunge and then in a diagonal fashion—my glutes were really fried by the end of this work! Again, Tracie goes into a cardio segment before moving on to the other leg. Here you’ll do “hurdles,” first taking a wide leg step over an imaginary hurdle and then squatting to duck under one; Tracie adds push-ups onto this sequence and then ends this segment ends with a shuffle move. The medicine ball is used for the final cardio segment, which includes v-steps forward and back plus side lunges and knee repeaters (adding a weave with the ball through the legs); I recognized the music here from the old FitPrime Crunch Time video with Susan Harris. Following this, you complete the “standing mop” toning work on the other leg (the entire series is 12 minutes long).

Next it’s down to the floor for abs work. Lying supine with your arms overhead, you’ll crunch up, moving your hands to touch your feet (first same side, then twisting). Then you’ll keep your feet in the air and touch the ball to your toes; finally, you’ll weave the ball through your ankles in a figure 8. Following this, you’ll need two rags/plates for bridge work: keeping your hips elevated, you’ll slide one foot in and out. More crunch work follows, this time using the stick. Tracie starts with her knees bent, stick under her feet, then she brings the stick up, around her feet, and overhead. I simply could NOT reach far enough to do this (I want to believe that my arms are too short, but it seems more likely that my flexibility is limited), so I had to follow the modifier. The 8.5 minute core work segment ends with v-sit twists and side plank work, both of which were quite tough! The workout concludes with an excellent 6.5 minute stretch segment which particularly focus on the hips. She incorporates many moves from yoga, including cat/cow, down dog, crazy dog, lunge, double pigeon (with nice posture work), Sage twist, and forward bends—this was a perfect end to such a lower-body intensive workout. The entire workout clocked in at just under 56 minutes (all individual segment times are approximate).

The day after doing this workout for the first time, I felt a pleasant soreness in my entire leg but particularly my hamstrings. I really liked that this video provided an excellent cardio workout (according to my heart rate monitor, I was in my target zone for 30 minutes, and I expect that to go even higher as I become more familiar with the moves), while also providing a great toning workout for the lower body (just where I need it!). Plus, the moves were different and fun, and the entire workout thoroughly targeted the core as well. This is another first-rate video from Tracie’s TLT series, and I highly recommend it.

Instructor comments: I like Tracie: I like how she is focused on the workout, doesn’t engage in a lot of excess chatter, yet still comes across as warm and friendly. However, I do think her cueing could be better. She mirror cues and doesn’t make any mistakes with this, yet sometimes she fails to cue far enough in advance or to mention things such as “alternate legs.” Also, some of the names of exercises she uses (e.g., “side lunges”) refer to different things in different workouts. The camera angles compound this problem, as they are sometimes zoomed in too much just when you need to see exactly what Tracie is doing. However, I have found all of the above to be an issue only during my first few times doing the workout; once I become more familiar with Tracie’s moves, I have no trouble following her.

Beth C (aka toaster)

July 12, 2006

Others have already broken down the exercises well, so I'll just give some comments.

The set: I have to agree - the set is very nice. I find myself looking out the window while I'm working out to a video and I like that. It's sort of mesmerizing since a storm blows in during the workout.

Equipment: This video uses a small med ball, though I substitute with a 5 lb dumbbell with no problems. Also, if you don't need it for balance, you can easily get around having to have a dowel stick if you don't have one. That just leaves having something for gliding, and you probably have paper plates or rags. Therefore, there's no need to buy anything special for this one. This is one of the few Tracie's that doesn't use a stability ball which I don't have.

Exercises: There's definitely some innovative exercises and interesting sequence of exercises in BBBB. I have never been bored doing this video.

BBBB alternates toning with short bursts of cardio, agility, and balance work. While there are some plyo moves, a background exerciser shows modifiers to avoid jumping altogether. The gliding sections are more for shaping and stabilization than for cardio.

The workout is just shy of one hour, and (just to give you a rough idea), my HRM says I burn 258 calories. I would classify the workout as something for intermediate and advanced vidiots but not necessarily for beginners who might not have good enough form to go so quickly through the lunges and other exercises.

You may be a little confused in some parts the first time through this, but you'll soon catch on. One good thing, you never have to remember a long chain of exercises as the video doesn't repeat that much. That helps make it fun!

Instructor comments: She's just great. Lots of pointers and some words of encouragement. She also has great form which helps me to watch.



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