Stephanie Huckabee
Year Released: 2009

Categories: Abs/Core , Athletic Stretch , Floor Aerobics/Hi-Lo/Dance , Lower Body Strength , Upper Body Strength

Kath provided a very detailed review that included excellent breakdowns for each of the workouts in this set, so I'll just add my shorter impressions.

Like Kath, I was attracted to the shorter (20-minute) routines in this set; as I'm getting older (late 40s now), I am finding that I generally prefer to mix-n-match workouts, and I will often reach for something short rather than do nothing at all. I also liked that this series uses a band for the strength work: I think it's great to challenge the muscles with something other than weights once and awhile. I was a little hesitant about the instructor, Stephanie Huckabee, who had previously work for The Firm franchise. I do like some of The Firm workouts, but may of their instructors tend to be rather cookie-cutter, so I wasn't sure what to expect here; more on that below.

Each of the five workouts in this DVD set comes on its own DVD. This felt completely wasteful for me, especially since each routine is just 20 minutes long. It is also inconvenient--i.e., if you want to do two routines on the same day, you have to swap out disks. Each workout has an approximately 3-minute warm-up, and each includes with about 2 minutes of stretching, so the actual workout length is about 15 minutes.

A few notes:
CARDIO - I expected to like this workout, as I prefer simple, easy-to-follow cardio routines. It was that, but it was barely aerobic for me, and I actually found it quite boring. The only part I enjoyed was the 2-minute standing abs section just prior to the cool-down
CHEST TRICEPS & BUTT - This was the shortest workout at just 18 minutes. There was VERY little biceps work, but it did include some abs work. The second half of the routine was entirely on the floor.
BACK BICEPS & THIGHS - This workout was also half standing/half floor, and this time, the biceps are worked from various angles with the band. This routine also includes some abs work.
LEGS & SHOULDERS - There was a "power" segment to this routine that was rather laughable, as it was SO slow! A good deal of abs work is included.
CORE FUSION - This was the first workout I tried from the set, and it's probably the one I liked the best. The first half is a blend of crunches and other abs-focused moved, and the second half is stretching.

I generally consider myself pretty solidly intermediate in terms of fitness--I exercise daily and am a yoga instructor, but I don't do much advanced stuff. I would say that these routines are solidly beginner--perhaps more experienced beginner, but still beginner. I often find that beginner workouts are still useful for me, as I can use them on lighter days, and I can usually modify up. I just don't think that's going to be the case with this set, in part because after doing all the workouts once, I have absolute no desire to do them again.

Instructor Comments:
Stephanie's personality is definitely a factor in this. Although she is a good instructor who cues well, I just did not click at all with her style, which involved MANY repetitions of pat phrases such as "you can do this; I know you can." After the 10th time, it just starts to sound stale, and that's how I felt about this set overall.

Beth C (aka toaster)