Focus: Weightless

Tracie Long
Year Released: 2011

Categories: Circuit Training (cardio and weights) , Floor Aerobics/Hi-Lo/Dance , Total Body Workouts

This is Volume 6 in Tracie Long Fitness’ Focus Series.

I’m reviewing this workout after doing it twice.

General workout breakdown: LindseyLu and PeakFitness have already described this workout well, so I’ll just go into further details about the exercises and add a few thoughts of my own.

On Tracie’s forum this is classified under “cardio,” despite the fact that it contains exercises commonly found in strength workouts. Having never been a Firmie, I don’t understand the FIRM classification system, and I can’t define “cardio” in FIRM- or Tracie-speak well, nor do I feel able to argue for a better classification, so I’m not sure how to work this into my own rotations. I use this on designated “cardio” days in a suggested Tracie Long rotation, and it seems to work well for that purpose, but I have to take a day off after doing 2-3 days of her “weights,” “cardio,” and “interval” workouts in a row because my upper body, particularly my shoulders, starts to get cranky.

Total Workout Time = 31.5 min.
First song (5 min.): This is basically your warm-up. You’ll begin with several repetitions of prisoner squat – reverse lunge, pivot into lunge – front kick – pivot back, and pulsing squat – low back stretch. You’ll then add in two big steps, shuffle, and tap out with rotation; later you’ll add in a side lunge with a knee lift, adduction (leg sweep to the front), abduction (side leg lift to the side), or side leg lift to the rear, rotating through these with each run-through of the “combo.”
Second song (4.5 min.): You’ll do 4-6 burpees one at a time with marches in between. In between rounds you’ll squat with alternating calf raises; you might also do a step knee (option: push off to a hop). After 3 rounds of that, you’ll do two or so rounds of squat jumping ¼ turn, using the same pattern (although you’ll do several squat jumps in a row before marching in place).
Third song (almost 4.5 min.): You’ll focus more on the upper body with these kickboxing moves: alternating jabs, alternating upper cuts, 6 jabs & squat, speed bag arms, (high knee) jogging / jumping jacks, front kick – knee – front kick, and alternating hooks. This segment ends with a hold in a low squat, arms in guard.
Fourth song (4.5 min.) This features a combo of switch knees, squat – lunge, crescents (aka alternating lunge side to side with arms circling overhead), jump in & out, and pulsing static lunge. Hamstring curls, with optional power, are your recovery move. You’ll then move to the floor for triceps (elbows narrow) push-ups, after which you’ll bring alternating feet forward for a wide lunge while holding plank. You’ll come up to standing and roll out the back before taking a deep breath to finish this off.
Fifth song (4.5 min.) You’ll begin with a deep breath and shoulder roll before doing some side lunges with overhead stretches. After unrolling your mat, you’ll come down for triceps dips. Rolling back on the forearms but keeping the back up and straight, you’ll extend and bend in the legs. Next come double crunches (note: Tracie does not cue what you’re supposed to be doing – it’s only by looking at her that you realize she wants you to add in the reverse crunch part) and prone upper back extensions (adding in rotation, then arm sweeps). For many of these moves Tracie does single repetitions before using a syncopated rhythm that may take some getting used to.
Sixth song (5 min.): Plankwork is next. Tracie adds in a knee to the chest, to which you can add a turn and then a kick; you’ll also bring the knee to the opposite elbow. Next comes another round of prisoner squats, only this time you start from kneeling and move up one leg at a time to squat before lowering one leg at a time. You’ll then lean back and pull forward while kneeling (the “knee dancing” position). Push-ups, followed by push-ups with rotation (or T-push-ups), come next. Child’s pose serves as a release before repeating a few exercises on the other side and ending with mountain climbers (quick, then slow).
Seventh song (just under 4.5 min.): Tracie says this is your stretch, but first you have to hold a side plank, adding some arm movements to the front and over the head, with little hip raises. You’ll do a lying quadriceps stretch and a seated twist with ankle outside opposite knee. Seated hamstring stretch, table top with one leg extended, and a seated release of knees side to side into a quick pigeon pose finish out this segment.

Level: I’d recommend this to intermediate through intermediate / advanced exercisers.
I consider myself an int. / adv. exerciser, although I’m more on the intermediate side these days, and this was a nice workout that got my heart rate up and made me feel worked out. I found this rather uneven in intensity from segment to segment, however. I have to say that I’m not an intensity junkie who loves impact, although I do like to challenge myself and work in plyos and controlled jumps with workouts of this sort.

Class: Tracie alone, instructing live.

Music: This is one different upbeat soundtrack.

Production: clear picture and sound. I found the music almost starts to overwhelm Tracie’s voice. I know a bunch of people have strong, mostly negative, opinions about the sound on the first four Focus workouts, and are pleased with it on these latest two. But I actually dislike the fact that I have to crank these two up to hear Tracie, only to get an earful of music. (I work out in my apartment, which I share with someone who’s not always on my schedule, in a room that adjoins my neighbors’ apartment; I need to be able to keep the sound low and still hear instructions clearly.)

Equipment: I agree that a mat is a good idea. I’d also recommend a pair of sneakers and a supportive jogbra, too, if relevant.

Space Requirements: Tracie does the whole thing on a circular platform that can’t be more than 5-6’ in diameter. At 5’8” in a rectangular room of about 5-6’ deep by 7-8’ wide I had room to spare.

DVD Notes: Your main menu options are Chapter 1 – Get Your Fix (14 min.), Chapter 2 – Quickie (13 min.), and Weightless Full Workout.

Comments: For those who feel that one Focus workout isn’t enough, may I recommend pairing them up? (This isn’t to say that you can’t get a good workout from one or even part of one by itself or that someone who can only do one or part of one at a time should in any way feel inferior; it’s just a suggestion for those who relish a challenge and have the time for it.) Both times I’ve done Weightless I’ve paired it with Break Through. I chose to do a little bit of a warm-up on my own since neither have much of a warm-up, but if you’re tight on time I think starting with Weightless might be a better idea since I feel like there’s a little bit more of a transition from standing still into the workout.
I also think this is a good “finisher” workout to tack on after another short weights session and finish off anything you may have left in the tank.

Although I miss the 10-min. segments of the earlier 4 Focus workouts, I prefer the more unified approach of the latest 2. Even though this still feels a bit hodge podge-y at times, at least it feels like the workout has a focus with the alternating intensity levels and inclusion of bodyweight moves.

I actually rather like the title. It’s a nice play on the fact that you don’t need weights plus makes you aspire to feel weightless as you go airborne and, if you need to, get in shape and carry around less weight.

Instructor Comments:
Tracie is, as always, down to business and focused on the workout. There is no extraneous chatter here; it’s all about the workout. I agree that Tracie’s cuing, while not bad, could be better. In addition to the examples PeakFitness gave, I’ll add that sometimes she warns you of upcoming move changes well in advance, but sometimes she announces them right on the move change. (Although personally I prefer a little advance warning, what I really prefer is consistency.) Tracie does provide some nice form tips from time to time, and she does mirror cue (meaning when she says “right” she means the at home exerciser’s right, not hers).