Kari Anderson
Year Released: 2005

Categories: Total Body Workouts

This is an hour-long strength workout. It has 30 minutes of standing work, 20 minutes of floor work, and a 10 minute stretch at the end. The DVD menu lets you choose the standing work, the floor work, or the stretch section, so you can go straight to the floor work easily.

The standing work is ballet- and yoga-inspired versions of classic strength moves like squats and leg lifts. This work targets all parts of the lower body – butt, quads, outer thighs, and some hamstrings. Kari combines several exercises into a little set that flows together nicely, and you then repeat that set a few times. For instance, you’ll do a plie squat then push up on one leg, lifting the other leg out to the side, bring that lifted knee in towards the standing leg with a little twist and squat, and then return the leg out to the side and down. The sequences work balance as well as strength. The floor work has planks, so pilates-inspired ab work, some outer thigh work lying on the side, and some lower back work lying on the stomach.

This is a really enjoyable and nicely challenging workout for the lower body and abs, and for balance and flexibility. It’s similar to Kari’s ALC 1 and 2, but it flows more as a single workout rather than the sections that the ALCs are broken up into. It still has the flavor of having short combinations of several exercises that you repeat for a bit, though. It feels like a more thorough lower body workout to me than the ALCs, and I think people who *wanted* to like the ALCs but weren’t sure what to do with them might like Reach better.

I generally do heavier weight workouts with Cathe or P90X, but this is a really nice change of pace. It challenges me in a different way, makes me feel strong and streched, and doesn’t require me to get out any equipment other than a mat. (They don’t even wear shoes in the workout!) It is tough enough that I feel like it counts as a “real” workout for the day – some fusion workouts leave me feeling like I should do some cardio or weights in addition. It would also be great for people who like to do recovery weeks (a la P90X) – it would be a good substitute for Core Synergistics (though there’s minimal upper body work – just a set of pushups during the plank sequence).

There are 6 or so background exercisers. The background exercisers are wearing brown capri pants and lighter tan tops, and Kari is in brown pants and a brown tank top. They use deep orange mats and the set is backlit with yellow-orange light. The set and outfits give a calming, earth-tone feel, though the set is still well-lit and bright enough. I liked seeing the browns as opposed to the usual black bottoms and colored tops. The music is instrumental and good; Kari does a nice job in all her videos of using music that complements the movements. Some of the songs are from Cathe’s CTX series to give you an idea of what the music is like.

Instructor Comments:
Kari is her usual wonderful self. She gives clear instructions and is very encouraging. She’s also really graceful and inspiring to watch.