Kickbutt Strong Bear

Keli Roberts
Year Released: 2005

Categories: Circuit Training (cardio and weights)

Women's Health & Fitness Network Strong Bear is part of the KickButt series and contains 10 minutes of Pilates, 8 minutes of cardio, 4 minutes of yoga and 30 minutes of weights. With stretches it's about 54 minutes. Keli Roberts leads dressed in an orange top and black shorts, and she does a great job! As with all WHFN workouts the music is great, the colors are vibrant and alive, and the production quality is perfect.

The warm up includes tall box stomps. We then move on to step squats using medium to heavy weights. I'm an intermediate/advanced exerciser and I used 2 12# dumbbells here, which were fine for me. We move from step squats to step with abduction, then to squats with overhead presses and releves. There's a balance challenge here, as there is with all WHFN workouts. One thing I love about these is no wasted movements. No endless, boring repetitions of the same tired move. You're always working with variety and compound moves, incorporating functional fitness, balance, and core work!

Keli then says to "heavy up" but I kept the 2 12#'s to do plies with upright row and biceps curls. We alternate lifting the heels to work into one leg, and she takes us through a slow rotation and lunge sequence between sides. Small jumps from the plie stance are included, and they did not bother my knees, which are often bothered by moves like these. Pay attention to form and alignment and they're safe and effective.

Next we do side leg press, with the non-dominant heel on the step. Again, pay attention to Keli's form pointers and your alignment, and you will feel these correctly. So much of these workouts depend on what you put into them in terms of paying attention to form and posture. They're designed to work these, so you have to cast off what you "think" you know and pay attention to what the instructor is saying. You will work muscles in different ways and really feel and notice a difference the more you do this type of work!

We then move the non-working leg closer to the step and do leg press from the side, again pushing into the non-dominant leg on top. I used 2 12# weights again for this and really felt it!

Next are planks, into slow push-ups, back into plank, and a small jump as we stand. This is similar to the same move in FitPrime's Strong Bear, but there is more emphasis on the yoga positions and it's not as choppy this time. VERY challenging and I loved it!

We then do slow leg press with weights again, working the non-dominant leg and dipping back with the opposite one at the end of each leg press. It's slow and controlled, and there's a balance challenge involved when we lift the opposing knee at the top of the leg press, so be careful with weight here. One arm lat rows follow, and I used a 20#. However, bear in mind that immediately after the lat rows we do one arm biceps curls, and a 20# was too much for me!

We then do push-ups with the dominant hand on the step, and stand to do french press with one weight, standing on the non-dominant leg. I used a 12 pound weight.

We then stand on the dominant leg and do overhead shoulder presses, and I used 2 12#'s for this which was very challening for me. We then pick up light weights (I used 2 5#'s) and do front, side, front for shoulders, while standing on the non-dominant leg this time. We then stay on the non-dominant leg to do lateral raises with the arms.

Then, it's back to leg press this time on the dominant leg. The slow leg press sequence follows, this time on the non-dominant leg, followed by push-ups with the non-dominant hand on the step. This may all sound confusing but Keli keeps it straight by telling you which hand or leg to be on - dominant or non-dominant. A well-deserved and excellent stretch follows all this.

Next are hover squats using no weight. We incorporate pelvic tilts so pay attention again to form and alignment and you will feel the work.

Hip work is next, starting with the non-dominant leg on the step, the stick in the other hand, and doing roundhouse kicks which we then hold at the top. Burner! We then lie on the same side using the step and do side raises with the non-dominant leg. They are slow and effective! A pigeon stretch for that leg follows, then we move into triceps push-ups with planks, triceps kickbacks with small weights while leaning over the step, and finally triceps dips with small walks to the front and back, VERY challenging! We then repeat the hip work sequence on the dominant leg.

Next are calf raises with small jumps, which also did not bother my knees because I was very careful with form and I used the stick for balance.

Oblique work and inner thigh is next, and Keli suggests using ankle weights for a greater challenge. I will try this next time. Finally we do ab work including traditional crunches, and then a very relaxing yoga stretch follows.

I loved this workout!! I give this one an A+!!

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