This is a set of three tapes that math Joyce's book: an upper body tape, an abs and back tape and a lower body tape. As usual with Joyce, there are very few direct instructions, and you just follow along, so it is best to read the book first. It is a very thorough workout. You do 2 exercises per body part, and 5 sets of each, pyramiding the weights. Until I did the video, I didn't realize how much cheating I was doing with rests by doing it on my own. I was sore the next day. Still, it does take me a bit longer to do it with the video; I don't know why. Also, Joyce suggests doing the ab/back tape on lower body day, but I find I am better doing the back work on upper body day as it involves rows, which work the arms as well. My arms are too sore the next day!
An improvement over the fat-burning workout Joyce previously did is that she now includes a very small stetch at the beginning. It is not very thorough, but it is a good reminder for me. I would love for Joyce to address the importance of stretching more in the future, perhaps release a companion tape of only stretches.
Overall, this is a solid workout IF you are already familiar with weight lifting routines and jargon a bit. A newcomer might be intimidated by the lack of instruction. Also, it is good if you need motivation to exercise. I am a pretty no-nonsense exerciser myself, but I find especially on lower-body day that I need an extra bit of encouragement. If however you need no support or convinving, stick with the book: it's cheaper.
Instructor comments: Joyce is very fit and enthusiastic. She does not offer very many instructions though, so it is best to have the book first. Joyce is also very good about standing by her work, and will email you back if you have any questions.
The definition set includes 3 videos or one DVD. The video set has one tape for upper body, one for lower body and one for abs. The DVD contains all three programs plus an extra abs section Joyce claims is not in the tape. I am reviewing these as a set, although each VHS tape can be purchased separately if desired.
Each workout is based on the plan in Joyce’s book Definition. She offers you both the regular version and the advanced version in the video: the programs runs 15 minutes for the basic version and double that for the advanced version, which has additional rounds per body part. In other Joyce programs, she has simply filmed the advanced version and then expected you to fast forward through the parts you don’t want to do if it is the basic version you want. I was gratified to find she hadn’t done that here. She filmed the regular workout, then all the extra work follows it as a separate round. This means that you wind up doubling back on body parts, which is different from the way the plan runs in the book.
This is a full pyramid workout. You do two exercises per body part in the basic plan, and you do FIVE sets: lightest weight-middle weight-heaviest weight-middle weight-lightest weight, adjusting reps accordingly: 12-10-9-10-12. Until Cathe Friedrich did her Pyramid set, there was no other full pyramid tape on the market. It is a very effective workout technique, and it is amazing how much Joyce packs in to the 15 minutes.
The caveat though is that she packs it in by performing every rep at absolute lightening speed, with form that leaves something to be desired. She also assumes one has read the back, and so does not spend time on any sort of cueing at all. A newcomer to weight training should absolutely NOT start with his video! Please, read a book to learn proper form (I recommend Joyce’s “Weight Training Made Easier” book, or the book that goes with this video set). Also it might help to follow the routine from the book first, at your own pace, to get used to the moves.
Comparisons between this tape and Cathe’s are inevitable. Cathe’s tape has better cueing, good form and instruction, and a slightly different mix of exercises. It moves at a slower than Joyce’s tape (but still at unusually brisk pace for a Cathe tape) but it offers more content too---some really interesting and challenging ball workouts. Cathe also does a much better job chaptering her DVD’s---Joyce’s is pretty limited to letting you select with of the three workouts you want to do.
Joyce’s trump card is the tape length. If you enjoy this sort of weight work and know your form well enough that Joyce’s somewhat amateur non-cueing won’t bother you, you can get almost the equivalent of Cathe’s 45 minutes in a third the time. And compared to other 10-15 minute workouts out there, Joyce packs an unparalleled wallop into that time.
Joyce is not the most polished or professional instructor and her cueing is minimal. But she is amusing to watch!