Video Fitness

The Bottoms Up! Workout: Upper Body

I started using this video last year. It's long for a weight workout. From warm up to cool down, it runs 47 minutes. Because it's long, I have started using it in summer when I have more time for exercise, and on weekends. I use it twice a week. That's enough. It is tough upper body work.

Her warm up, for you warm up enthusiasts, is weak. You won't like it. After the warm up, however, the fun starts. She does 10 supersets: 4 for chest/shoulders, 4 for biceps/triceps, and 2 for back. Joyce ends with a cool down, which you won't like either.

Joyce uses 3, 5, and 8 pound dumbbells. They fly in her hands because in real life, she'd work out heavier. She uses those weights to model the starting weights for her audience. She'll tell you that if you really want to build muscle, you'll work up to a lot heavier weights which is true. I now use 10, 12, and 15 for most sets; although I stay lower for triceps and higher for back and some chest work.

Joyce has three gals helping her. One is her daughter (20-ish and using only 3 pound weights throughout); one is 30-ish and uses the same weights as Joyce. One is 40-ish and uses no weights. In addition to weights, you will need a bench or a step and a chair. You could just use a mat, too.

Joyce takes a fast 15 seconds rest between sets. I take more time (using the remote to pause) because I use heavier weights and want to build muscle. Slower weight work builds muscle while faster work tones and defines (less building).

Joyce has a book that matches this tape (and her lower and middle tapes) although the book workout is slightly different. I wrote to Joyce and asked about this. It's due to safety factors.

No one,however, should lift weights with just a video as a guide. You have to know something about bodybuilding techniques to use any weight video, and Joyce's is no exception. There are so many ways to hurt yourself with weights. Study first. Go slow. Go light. Read. Bodybuilding requires knowledge.

If I were you, I'd buy the book Bottoms Up! and the upper and lower body tapes and skip the middle tape. If you are a pear-shaped endomorph like me, the Upper Body tape is a must. I can't believe how great my upper body has developed. No more shoulder pads! I don't even look like a pear anymore.

I really like Joyce's tapes. I have them all, and I have all her books. Trust me -- her books are great. She is an interesting, informative, and organized writer.

So, if your older and take weight lifting seriously and if you are not afraid to build biceps, buy Joyce!

Karen Borak

This is the longest upper body tape I own - the body of the workout is 40 minutes. Joyce uses the pyramid method - three sets of each exercise (12, 10, 8 reps) with three different weights (I used 8, 10, 12). There is a 15 second break between each exercise, which seemed to go quite fast considering you have to get off and on the bench, or floor, so you may have to pause the tape. I enjoy Joyce (I have her Middle Body tape) and hope she makes more videos.

Instructor comments: I like Joyce and enjoy her workouts - she is funny when she keeps saying "this is not a game."

MaryAnn Parker

You will not believe what you'll accomplish in 40 minutes with this video! This workout covers back, chest, shoulders, triceps, and biceps -- and THOROUGHLY! Here is the format of all the exercises: You do 12 reps of exercise A, and then 12 reps of exercise B using your lightest set of weights. Next you do 10 reps of A and B using your medium weights. Finally, you do 8 reps of A and B using your heaviest weights. You go through this format for so many different exercises, I can't even count them all. She doesn't waste time over-explaining -- you are expected to know the correct form, but she does give some pointers here and there. Because she doesn't really teach form, I don't know if this would be a good choice for someone new to weight training.

This workout doesn't seem as hard as Cory's or Cathe's MIS. That's because Joyce alternates the exercises so that the muscle you worked in Exercise A rests while you do Exercise B. With Cory and Cathe, it's non-stop on the same muscle group until that particular section is over. But don't take that to mean that this tape is easy! If you use the weights that are correct for you, you will know you've worked out!

The total length of the tape is 45 minutes, which consists of 40 minutes of "work" plus a very short warmup and cooldown.

I think intermediate and advanced exercisers would be pleased with this tape. Collage rates it as beginner/intermediate, but I think they should reconsider that. In my opinion, this tape is one of those VF undiscovered jewels! It gets an A+ from me.

Instructor comments: Joyce is 51 years old at the time of this video, and I can only hope I look half as good when I get there! I adore her personality. She gets right down to business and doesn't waste a minute. However, at the same time, she's friendly and vivacious (but not perky). Many times when she smiles or laughs, you can see a hint of mischievousness in her eyes. I'll bet she's a hoot in "real life."

Annie S.

This tape was a bit of a disappointment to me. It is a long upper body strength training video, very thorough in covering every muscle in the upper body with exercises. I liked that about it. There was alot more that I didn't like however. For starters, on some of the exercises, the weights they are using are much lighter than what I use. As you can imagine, they are able to finish the set more quickly. It seemed rushed. I, especially, noticed this on the biceps exercise. They were done and I still had 3 reps to go. The other thing that really bugged me is, they didn't change weight sizes when moving from one exercise to the next. For example, they used 3 lbs on the chest flys. Then, they immediately stood up and used the same 3 lbs for standing lateral arm extensions. I don't know about anyone else but I use lighter weights on the arm extensions than I do on chest flys. It was the same with another chest exercise coupled with overhead press. The tape just doesn't give you enough time to switch weight sizes without losing a rep or two. I guess I could pause it but I'm one of those people that doesn't like to pause. I want to do the workout as it is on the tape. Overall, it's a decent workout but be prepared to hit the pause button if you want to get a "real" strength workout.

Instructor comments: Joyce gives a lot of fom pointers throughout the tape and they are excellent. I didn't think she was as likable as Cory, Cathe or some of the others with strength tapes on the market right now. I would rate her as one of my least favorite video instructors.

Joyce Thurman

This is alot of workout packed into 45 minutes! Joyce has you superset by alternating two exercises while pyramiding the weight up and decreasing the repetitions through three cycles. Your upper body is thoroughly worked by the time this video is over! They use 3,5, & 8lb. weights but I was able to use my 6,8, & 10lb. weights no problem. I think this is a great tape to own if you already know good weight training form and are familiar with basic weight training movements. I found myself following the woman who is doing the counting of repetitions because she had the best form of all the exercisers. Overall a very good tape to alternate in with all my other heavy weight tapes. Grade A

Instructor comments: I personally find Joyce entertaining. I know she has a tendency to get on some people's nerves but I don't mind her at all. In fact in some parts of the video I find myself laughing at some of her off the wall comments. :-) What she lacks in proper form at times she makes up for in enthusiasm!

Kathy G

I am not going to do a huge breakdown on this video, because others have already done so. My comments are more to reinforce what others have said. THIS IS AN AWESOME WORKOUT!! I have been around VF for about 3 years now, and I am a die hard Firmie. I also love Cathe and *some* CIA's. But I primarily use Cathe and Firm for my strength workouts (with Cory GH Arms thrown in). However, I just have started using all of Joyce's videos and I have to say that I am now going to incorporate all of her videos into my Firms and Cathe rotations. The Bottoms Up series allows you to use heavier weights, since the movements go a little slower than her new Definition series. My shoulders, triceps and chest were sore for 48 hours after using this workout. And I also want to mention that these videos were filmed in '93. With the release of Joyce's new Definition and Bathing Suit workouts, she looks EVEN BETTER TODAY!!! I have often wondered about why there were no Joyce Vedral videos on the VF exchange. Now I know why - everyone is keeping them for themselves! Definitely give her videos a try, you won't be disappointed. The music is a little on the cheesy side, but the workouts are killer, and that is all that counts for me. In this workout, the setting is a living room type setting.

Instructor comments: Joyce is a little chatty, with a slight Brooklyn accent, but that is fine. She seems very genuine and it seems to me she seriously wants to help you get in shape.

Chris Trecroci
Feb 24, 2000

This video is already well reviewed. I wanted to add my own opinion.

I'm a big fan of Joyce Vedral. She advocates gym-style, split weight training. Her weight training routines changed my body long before I ever bought my first workout video. When I stumbled across this forum, I saw that Joyce's videos seemed to generate a little disdain. That really surprised me. My hero! Who could dislike Joyce? I finally gave in to my curiosity and bought this video,

Well, I'm not going to kid you. The video disappointed me at first. It lacked ….. pizazz. No bells, no whistles. Joyce's video persona isn't nearly as engaging as her book persona.

But I did the workout and now I'm glad I did. WOW. I own the PS / BodyMax/ MIS upper body workout videos by Cathe, three upper body videos by Cory Everson, and one by Gilad. This is my first choice over the others. My upper body felt more pumped up after finishing this video than with any of the other videos. I've never experienced much soreness with my workout videos, but I could hardly MOVE for two days following this workout. Argggggghhh…. The trick is to go as heavy as you possibly can, of course - don't use 3 lb. weights throughout, as Joyce does. Go as heavy as you can, while using good form, of course.

A gem! This is one of those videos I'd grab if my house was on fire.

Michelle Easton
October 26, 2000

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