The Next Challenge

Cindy Crawford
Year Released: 1993

Categories: Total Body Workouts

The Next Challenge is Cindy's second workout video with personal trainer Radu. Radu's role is more minimal here, as he counts out repetitions only during the warm-up; for the majority of the workout, Cindy does all of the cueing. Unlike her first video, Shape Your Body, this video contains only a single longer workout session, making it slightly more challenging. The workout begins with a series of warm-up stretches; although these moves are very similar to the ones Shape Your Body, the pace is a bit slower, and at 7 minutes, the entire warm-up is a little longer. Next comes what Cindy refers to as the "cardiovascular" segment, which is described as "legs" on screen. I found the legs section to be somewhat like interval training: there were brief cardio bursts alternating with lower body toning moves plus frequent on-screen breaks for water/rest. For the first two minutes of cardio, you perform a series of simple footwork: jogging, knee lifts, heels up, jumping forward/back, etc. You'll then do a tough series of front/back lunges followed by a break and then lunges at a faster pace, including lunges with kicks. You'll break again, do some quick jumps, skips, and squats, break, and then move into some kickboxing-type kicks. For the final leg segment, you'll add leg lifts to the squats, then perform some brief stretches for a total of about 17 minutes.

Next you'll move to the floor for a 13-minute abs and chest work segment. For the abs work, Cindy does a range of crunches which target the lower and upper abs plus obliques; she also does a set of full sit-ups. For the chest work, there are a wide variety of moves, many of which I'd never seen before such as cirlcing the arms of the floor, moving the arms in a V-shape, combining a flye with a chest press, etc. The floorwork ends with a second abdominal segment, again performing 20 repetitions of each abs exercise (10 repetitions are used for everything else). You then move back to a standing position for additional upper body work. Again, an extensive assortment of exercises is used, although you do only one set of each move (with the exception of bent over double rows--for some reason, there are FIVE sets of these). Although Cindy performs the repetitions at a more reasonable pace than she did in Shape Your Body, the transitions between exercises is still very quick, and so you don't really have time to change weights (you can keep a set of heavier weights at your feet for the rows). However, your muscles may be so fatigued by the last few exercises that you may actually need to DROP the weights altogether for these. The standing arms section is about 12 minutes long, and then it's back to the floor for a final 8 minutes of abs and back work. I found some of the abs moves in this section to be a bit odd; I wasn't really feeling the work in my abs, so I modified and did my own crunches at times. The back work consisted of just a few basic back extentions while lying on your stomach. To finish the workout, Cindy performs about 4 minutes of yoga-ish stretches. She definitely does not hold the stretches long enough, although she states "you might want to hold these stretches longer." The total time for the workout was approximately 64 minutes, not including the glossary of exercise terms at the end.

I'm not quite sure how to classify this workout or exactly how I feel about it. It's definitely not a cardio workout and not even true interval or aerobic weight training; on the other hand, the weight work is too fast-paced to be considered a traditional strength training. I did like the lower body portion, as the moves were a little different yet still seemed effective, but I felt more ambivalent about the upper body and some of the abs moves. This might be a good workout for someone who is specifically seeking a high repetition, low weight toning workout, although personally, I prefer Cindy's A New Dimension workout to this one. Like all of Cindy's workouts, however, this video has excellent production values, as it offers a good vocal music soundtrack and is filmed in an assortment of pleasant settings. Overall, I would rate this workout at 3 1/2 out of 5 stars.

Instructor Comments:
Cindy does most of the cueing herself in this video, and she does an adequate job, although she does not do mirrored cueing, which gets a bit confusing at times. She has a good on-camera personality and comes across as an encouraging workout buddy. Radu's role is so minimal that it's a surprise when he does appear.

Beth C (aka toaster)