Strength In Movement

Jen Carman
Year Released: 2006

Categories: Circuit Training (cardio and weights) , Total Body Workouts

Strength in Movement is one of four new functional fitness workouts from the Tracie Long Training (TLT) group. The concept of functional fitness means that the exercises are designed to mimic the movements you perform in "real" life, which generally means including many balance and other core-strengthening moves. This makes for a workout that is unique, varied, challenging, and fun all at the same time. Those who are familiar with Tracie Long's previous workout series, Tracie Long Productions (TLP), will recognize this type of work; personally, I thought that Strength in Movement was very similar in feel to the TLP Functional Foundations set (Core Strength/Core Cardio) but without the high impact moves contained in those workouts. I also recognized some of the music from the old FitPrime workouts (I believe From the Ground Up in particular).

Jen Carmen, a former Firm instructor (as is Tracie), leads this workout, which she describes as interval training. Although you are alternating strength and cardio work, the entire workout has a strong aerobic benefit: according to my heart rate monitor, I was in my target zone for about 30 minutes of this 55 minute workout. You'll need three sets of dumbbells (I used 3#, 5#, and 8#, just like Jen) as well as a medicine ball for cardio work (again, I matched Jen at 4#). Jen works out with two background exercisers: Lindsey, who shows easier modifications (sometimes using a dowel for balance), and Cindy, who performs the more challenging versions. I've provided an overview of each segment of the workout below (all times are approximate and don't necessarily correspond to the DVD chapters).

*Warm-up with medicine ball, 3.5 minutes.
Includes side steps, dips, and side lunges (lots of these in this workout!).
*Moving stretches with ball, 3 minutes.
Stretches include dips, triceps, side lean, hip flexor, and calf stretches. There are also lunges with rotation and a plank-pike (down dog) sequence.
*Weight work with single heavy dumbbell, 3 minutes.
First comes a move called "Statute of Liberty" which involves alternating a 1-arm overhead raise with a rear lunge; single leg squats are added in as well.
*Weight work with two heavy dumbbells, 3 minutes.
Includes both rows and bicep curls in a quick-quick-slow pattern.
*Cardio with ball, 2 minutes.
Dips with ball overhead raises, eventually adding in a rear hyperextend and standing crunch.
*Posture work with light weights, 2.5 minutes.
Side lunges with a shoulder rotation and a single-arm "sword" move.
*Weight work with two medium weights, 2.5 minutes.
Front lunges with tap to back and side; upper body scaption move adding in an inside pivot lunge.
*Weight work with two medium weights, 4.5 minutes.
Begins with a "box squat" (lean right, squat, lean left, stand) and moves into side squats with an upper body rotation component. Next comes a lunge/triceps combination and a front "stomp" (lunge) with a triceps "throw."
*Cardio with ball, 3.5 minutes.
A shuffle-reach-pendulum combination.
*Weight work with two heavy dumbbells, 2.5 minutes.
A traditional squat with overhead press moving into a pivot squat with overhead press. This segment really exhausted my upper body due to the high number of repetitions with the heavier weights.
*Weight work with light weights, 2 minutes.
First you go to the floor for push-ups with a tricep extension, then it's back up to standing for rhomboid work with rotations.
*Cardio with ball, 2 minutes.
Another step-touch series, this time adding in arm cirlces, mambos, and side tap/arm extension move called "play it safe."
*Weight work with one heavy dumbbell, 3.5 minutes.
Standing in a wide stance, you'll do a one-armed row, adding in a rock and then a knee lift. The section finishes with a dip/biceps combination.
*Stabilizer work with two medium dumbbells, 3 minutes.
More side lunges, this time adding inner thigh sweeps and outer thigh taps. Following this, you do a single leg squat to "superman" combo.
*Delt work with light weights, 2.5 minutes.
Interesting sequence of side delt lift, straighten arms to the side, rotate, and down; finishes with "punches" up and down.
*Abs work on floor, 3.5 minutes.
This short but tough abs segment includes oblique work with one heel on the ball (eventually moving the knees in a bicycle pattern) and lower abs curls with the ball between your knees.
*Bridge work, 3 minutes.
Lying in a bridge position, you'll take small steps with your feet while keeping your hips raised; you then raise and lower one leg while resting dumbbells on your hip bones.
*Final stretch, 6 minutes.
Starts with plank work and quickly moves through stretches for all of the major muscle groups (and some smaller ones as well).

There is no chapter menu on this DVD (you can chose only to play the workout or to preview another one of the TLT workouts, Better Burn...Better Buns), but it IS chaptered, so you can skip around as needed. The day after doing this workout for the first time, I felt it in my inner thighs and especially my outer glutes--I guess this wasn't surprising given all the side lunge variations, but during the workout itself, I thought the upper body work presented the greater challenge. Overall, this is an excellent, low-impact cardio and weight interval workout which will work your body in unique ways while at the same time being both challenging and fun.

Instructor Comments:
Jen instructed very well, with excellent mirrored cueing. I could hear echoes of The Firm at times (eg, "two to go!"), but Jen comes across as appropriately serious. I would have liked a bit more instruction on the more unique moves at times, but I think that once I become more familiar with the workout, this will not be an issue. Both Lindsey and superwoman Cindy (does this woman ever sweat???) do a nice job in the background.

Beth C (aka toaster)