Video Fitness

Cougar Workout

Joyce Vedral

This was my first experience with veteran instructor Joyce Vedral, who is so full of personality that she is nearly bursting through the screen. In this workout, she takes a term usually thought to have a negative connotation, cougar (ie, as most people consider a cougar to be an older woman on the prowl), and makes it her own, insisting that a cougar is a woman who has decided to look good no matter how old she gets. Along that vein, Joyce performs the workout with two female background exercisers, and she states that between the three of them, their average age is 53.

While Joyce's personality is definitely a bit over-the-top, the workout itself is solid. It is intended to be used as either a 2-Day or a 3-Day split. For the first option, you would do Upper Body the first day (28.5 minutes), Lower Body the next day (35 minutes), repeat twice, and rest on Day 7. For Option 2, you would do Upper Body on Day 1, Legs & Back on Day 2 (15.5 minutes), and then Hips & Abs on Day 3 (19.5 minutes), repeating the sequence once. All of the weight work is performed in a pyramid style--ie, you repeat a sequence of exercises for 12 repetitions each using your lightest weight, then pyramid up to a mid-weight for a second set of 10 reps each, and finally, you use your heaviest weight for a final set of 8 reps per exercise. Joyce encourages you to start light or even use no weights at first if needed.

All of the exercises for each segment are listed below. Joyce moves quickly from one exercise to another without pausing for rest between exercises or between sets.

First 16.6 minutes, standing:
Arnold press
double arm tricpes
reverse Arnold press
concentration curls
single arm kickback
alternating biceps curl
alternating kickback
simulataneous hammer curl
simulataneous kickback
side lateral
shoulder press
Pee-Wee lateral
front lateral

Final 12 minutes, performed on a bench:
flat press
curl press
triceps press
close bench press
single dumbbell extension
(For the second set, Joyce adds a biceps curl and changes the order of exercises; the third set returns to the original order, no biceps curl.)

LOWER BODY/Legs & Back
seated back lateral
seated bent lateral
squat (alternate: standing leg extension)
front squat (alternate: seated leg extension)
bent lateral
hack squat
regular row
side row
palms up row
squat (alternate: seated side leg lift)
one dumbbell squat (alternate: lying leg lift)
upright row
leaning 1-arm dumbbell row
(NOTE: the alternate exercises are explained briefly on a separate chapter of the DVD entitled "Special Thigh Work.")

LOWER BODY/Hips & Abs (floorwork)*
Lying on one side:
saddlebag stripper
lower butt side kicks
lower butt curls

Lying on back:
bent knee lifts
clamshell front
ceiling stone lift
toe reach front
side reach front
bent knee crunch
elbow-to-knee crunch
leg raise
knee ins

Lying on other side, same exercises
*15 reps of all exercises; repeat entire series twice

The Warm-Up is a very brief (1.5 minute) segment that has Joyce and crew performing muscle stretches without sufficiently warming up the body first. For the "Cool-Down," Joyce and pals spend approximately 30 seconds lightly punching the various muscles worked while repeating over and over "Ha, ha, ha! Ha, ha, ha!" Obviously, this is supposed to be fun, but as with the warm-up, the lack of a decent cool-down really detracts from what is otherwise a very solid workout.

Clearly, Joyce's personality is not going to appeal to everyone. She is really playing to the camera here, and some might even find her style to be a bit on the cheesey side. However, I could also see Joyce really connecting with certain women--particularly older ones--who are prepared to fully embrace the idea "I'm not getting older, I'm getting better!" If you have never worked out with Joyce before, I would suggest that you view a clip before purchasing this workout. But if you already know and love Joyce, this workout might be a good addition to your collection.

Instructor comments: As mentioned above, Joyce is clearly hamming it up for the camera in this workout. She makes a lot of goofy statements, from saying "don't look at my butt!" to assuring viewers that they will look better than her after this workout due to her own genetic limits. One of her two background exercises counts out loud for her, and the other shows modifications of some of the exercises.

Beth C (aka toaster)

January 9, 2009

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