30 Minutes to Fitness: Body Training

Kelly Coffey-Meyer
Year Released: 2009

Categories: Lower Body Strength , Total Body Workouts

I’m reviewing this workout after doing both sections twice each.

General workout breakdown: This DVD contains two workouts focused on bodyweight strength training.

*Workout One – Standing (33.75 min.) targets the lower body, building endurance and some strength, although your heart rate may climb a little, for some bonus cardiovascular work. This workout can be rather quad-dominant, with glutes a close second, and not as much for the hamstrings and hips.
The warm-up (2.75 min.) consists of straight leg kicks to the front, alternating cross body kicks, squats, a static stretch for the quadriceps, and alternating side lunges.
The exercises: squats (slow 4-count down & 4-count up, singles), angle step (a lunging move) into a pulse squat & step back, side leg lift (3 & set, repeating), stationary lunge (singles, low pulse) into knee in (repeater), lunge front into wide side squat & lunge back – move back & forth between lunge and wide side squat position, back leg lift (3 & set, repeating), side lunge w/ knee pull – stationary side lunge (push up 1 & down 3, low pulses), squat & heel front (singles, low pulses), lunge front & back on same leg (w/o toe tap in between) – quick back & forth lunges, standing front lift into extension & lower straight down – lift into extension & swing around to come down, plies walking out in 3 progressions – low pulse in full plie, curtsy lunge into knee lift – low pulses in curtsy lunge, and squats (slow 4-count down & 4-count up, singles – same series that began the workout).
The stretch (2.25 min.) is short and covers the hip flexors, quads, hamstrings, and glutes / outer hips, pausing in each for only a few moments. I made sure to add on inner thighs and calves.
Throughout this entire workout Kelly tends to work in 8 counts. Most exercises are done for a single 8 count, but a few continue for a second 8 count. Where relevant, Kelly does one leg, then the other, so no long series on one leg before switching to the other side. Kelly moves at a deliberate pace that’s not so fast that you can’t concentrate on maintaining good form, which helps get more benefit out of these exercises. Kelly will stop after each exercise to shake out the legs, walk it off, or allow you to get a sip of water. Personally I like having the rest breaks, but if you prefer to keep going (and your legs don’t protest too loudly!) or do little cardio bursts (like jogs in place, jump rope, etc.) I don’t see why you couldn’t. Kelly’s overarching design seems to be based more on alternating large and small movements (rather than muscle groups, for example).

*Workout Two – Pilates/Floor (28.5 min.) is more of a total body workout, with more attention to the arms (biceps, triceps, and shoulders), chest, abs, hips, low back, and hamstrings and less to the quadriceps and upper back. Despite the title, there’s at least one standing pose, and there’s not much that’s true Pilates (I’d say more Pilates-flavored or -influenced, but close enough).
There is no warm-up here; you get right to the exercises.
The exercises: table pose w/ leg in & out + push-up, plank into down dog into shoulder push-up & back again, side-lying leg series (lift & lower, knee in & extend, knee in & press up, knee to knee & heel to heel, quick back & forth variation of previous movement), push-up from floor & all the way back down, locust (lift & lower, hold), table w/ knee cross behind & kick out to side (slower, then faster / smoother), lunge starting w/ knee on floor & pushing up – low pulsing lunge, dolphin push-ups (the “dolphin” part refers to your legs starting bent, then kicking out into full plank position; this is not the dolphin pose many of us know from yoga), side v-sit-up alternating w/ legs straight & w/ tuck – straight sets of straight legs & then tucks, table w/ leg out behind for tap & lift into hamstring curl into press up w/ bent leg, on forearms for fire hydrants and circles, side-lying triceps press/push up, and sit-up pulling in alternating knees.
The stretch (3 min.), also with short holds, stretches the outer hips / glutes, low back, side of the torso, hip flexors, calves, and neck, and also includes shoulder rolls.
Throughout this entire workout Kelly tends to work in 8 counts. Most exercises are done for a single 8 count, but several continue for a second 8 count. Except for the side-lying and quadraped legwork, Kelly usually does one leg, then the other, so no long series on one leg before switching to the other side. Kelly moves at a deliberate pace that’s not so fast that you can’t concentrate on maintaining good form, which helps get more benefit out of these exercises. There is much less down time in this segment than in Workout One, with a few short child’s poses or hip stretches thrown in before quickly moving on.

Level: I’d recommend this to intermediate through intermediate / advanced exercisers. There’s not enough instruction here for those who aren’t already familiar with proper technique for basic moves (squats, lunges, push-ups, quadraped work, and so on). Those with strong lower bodies and/or experienced with bodyweight workouts may find this on the easy side, even doing these back to back or after other workouts. But for those of us still working on lower body endurance they provide a nice challenge.
I consider myself an intermediate / advanced exerciser, although I don’t do a lot of floorwork (outside of Pilates). I found these got me to that level of fatigue but not real burn (except for maybe the side-lying leg sequence in Workout 2 – ouch!).

Class: Sam (whose form isn’t super crisp in a few spots) and Lauren join Kelly, who instructs live. Lauren provides a few modifications.

Music: upbeat mostly instrumental, with some recognizable tunes (many of which are classic rock).

Set: the 2009 CIA set, with mostly neutral-colored walls, stone columns supporting air, and plants and other decorative objects arranged about; Kelly’s “Coffey Fit” banner hangs over the “window” along the back wall.

Production: clear picture and sound, the usual CIA camerawork that’s for the most part helpful rather than distracting. There’s one or two places where you can see the seams of different takes edited together, but you’d really have to be looking for them.

Equipment: For the standing segment, you only need sneakers, although you might want to be near a wall, sofa, chair, etc., if your balance is shaky. For the floorwork, you’ll probably want a mat (depending upon your workout surface). Kelly and crew do this part with sneakers, too.

Space Requirements: This is a fairly space conscious workout. For the standing segment, you need to be able to lunge forward and backward plus to the side. If you have a narrow space, you can reset yourself for the other lateral moves; Kelly doesn’t do any moves that go directly from one side to the other and back again. For the floorwork, you should be able to lie with arms and legs extended plus have plenty of room to raise your legs behind you and kick out to the side.

DVD Notes: The main menu options are Introduction, Workout One “Standing,” Workout Two “Pilates/Floor,” Pre-Mixes (B.T. Mix One – 31 min.: Warm-up, First 6 standing and 6 floor exercises & Stretch; B. T. Mix Two – 33 min.: Warm-up, Last 6 standing and 6 floor exercises & Stretch; B. T. Hip Mix – 22 min.: Warm-up, 6 exercises, Abs & Stretch; B. T. Strength Mix – 16 min.: Warm-up, 6 exercieses, Abs & Stretch), Contact, and Music On/Off.

Comments: For those with knee or other lower body issues, definitely approach this one with caution. To make the standing portion more knee-friendly, some suggestions include doing all forward lunges as reverse lunges (which for many of us feel better), doing the angle lunges straight on, swapping out the curtsy lunge with something else (how about a 1-legged squat for some variety?), and going at your own pace.
Those with wrist, elbow (me, me!), or shoulder issues may want to be careful with the floorwork portion. I’ve done it twice, and that’s probably more than enough for me, as push-ups and my elbow don’t get along well. The workout is chaptered so you can skip an exercise that doesn’t work for you, however.

The first time I did this, doing both workouts back to back, I can’t say I loved it. I knew going into Kelly’s preorder this was a bit of a reach for me, since my usual lower body routines are weighted and I’m not a floorwork kind of gal, but I took the chance because it’s Kelly, who has persuaded me not to give up cardio and weight circuit videos entirely and even to try a “bootcamp” workout again. This most recent time I think I’ve found how this would work best for me: as add-ons after kettlebell workouts. Yowza! With kettlebells a little goes a long way, and one of these workouts tacked onto the end of one of those short workouts finishes things off.

Kelly seems to have found her niche with these 30-Minutes [sic] to Fitness series. She always has been time conscious, so this is a natural extension of her interest in workouts that pack a punch in a reasonable amount of time. You get the feeling with her workouts that she puts out things that she herself enjoys doing, that work well for her and her students.

Instructor Comments:
Kelly focuses on cuing - there’s not a lot of instruction or even that many form tips and reminders here - and encouraging (“C’mon, I know you have one more set in you”). She mirror cues. As always she comes off as very down to earth and approachable, but she’s even more relaxed on film in this series than she’s been before, with some humor coming through. Kelly’s low key but positive and friendly but professional personality is what keeps me buying her workouts.