Slim Toning on a Ball is a 30-minute stability ball workout. Collage rates it as intermediate. I would say it is more beginner/intermediate, since (1) Karenís always-excellent instruction and form pointers are especially beneficial to beginners and/or those new to the stability ball, and (2) the half-hour length and full body focus donít really allow for a lot of intensity.
In Slim Toning the emphasis is on the upper body and core, although in a few exercises Karen incorporates leg positions to include a little lower body work.
Besides the stability ball, you will want two sets of weights: a heavier set (Karen suggests 5-8 lbs.), and a lighter 3-5 lb. set. Karen has separate chapters for each weight set. You may want to add a yoga mat underneath for added foot traction and for floor work. The participants wear shoes, but barefoot works fine.
There is one background exerciser, Samantha (or ďSamĒ) who demonstrates more advanced versions of a few of the exercises. The set is pleasant. The music was okay, but not as special as what Karen has featured in other releases.
The workout is very well chaptered as follows: Warm-Up (4 minutes), Core Conditioning (4 minutes), Heavy Weight Training (5 minutes), Light Weight Sculpting (6 minutes), Abdominals (6 minutes) and Stretch (5 minutes).
I used to be suspicious of Karenís upper body weight work, as she does not keep to traditional moves (e.g. The Firm), but Iíve come to appreciate how her variations target the upper body in more unique ways. For example, in the Heavy Weights section she starts off with bilateral chest flies, then does a set working just one side at a time, which challenges core stability. She remembers to work the rotator cuff, which most videos neglect. The ab work here is not her most challenging, but still quite good -- mainly crunch variations incorporating the ball although there is also one short section with pikes. Karen does not neglect the lower back, which I also appreciate. As noted, there really isnít much for the lower body , although a few of the positions engage the quads and the hamstrings.
Overall this is a nice little workout and probably one of Karenís most accessible to date. The main problem with it -- at least as of the date of this review -- is its high price. As far as I know, currently Slim Toning on a Ball and its companion, the 30-minute Quick & Slim Cardio, are only available at Collage and Karenís own website. At both sites they sell for $19.95 each, not counting shipping. Iím sorry, but this is way too pricy for half-hour workouts no matter who the instructor is. To be at all competitive with the current exercise video market, these two workouts should be priced at closer to $12.95 each or -- better yet -- combined onto a single DVD at $19.95. I truly respect Karenís talent as an instructor, but have to question the decisions of those marketing her workouts lately. Maybe the plan was to soak us ďvidiotsĒ first before offering these for wider distribution at a lower price? Sorry, but there are way too many other interesting, better-priced videos out there, and even vidiots have budgets.
In sum, I enjoy Slim Toning on a Ball, but, based on its price, cannot honestly recommend it over several other excellent ball workouts out there.
Karen is one of the best video instructors in the business. Excellent instruction and form tips, as always. In this workout she is very relaxed and personable -- the dour Karen of her earliest videos is long gone.
May 19, 2007