Defining Shape

Tracie Long
Year Released: 2009

Categories: Total Body Workouts

Kath has provided an excellent breakdown of this workout, so I will just share some additional thoughts.

This is the first DVD that I have tried from Tracie Long's newest LONGevity series. As Tracie notes at the beginning, it is mostly a dumbbell workout, and she recommends having three sets of weights, light, medium, and heavy. She suggests a weight range of 7-10 lbs. for the medium only; I found this recommendation to work fine for some of the moves but to feel rather heavy for others, including the first weights segment. Tracie works out alone in a studio featuring a brick wall with covered windows and other accouterments such as a corn plant. The music was upbeat without being distracting. One additional note: the DVD is filmed in letterbox format, meaning those with smaller TVs in their workout rooms (like me!) have to contend with less screen space.

The 5.5 minute warm-up includes balance moves and dynamic stretches. Tracie then picks up medium weights for the opening lower body work, which includes different variations on reverse lunges and overhead presses; I found 8 lbs. a bit heavy for this. Next, Tracie moves on to lighter weight for shoulder and triceps work. This is followed by a LONG sequence of squats (about 5.5 mins.) using heavy weights (I stuck with my 8#). Tracie continues to combine upper and lower body moves together with a bicep curl/plie combo; this moves into plies with clean and press/upright row. The last weights segment again uses the heavy dumbbells and combines side lunges with step squats; this is followed by a deadlift/dead row series.

Before moving to the floor, Tracie does a short (5.5 mins.) standing balance segment. This consists of moves such as standing on one leg while tapping the other to the ground, one leg standing twist, and standing superman. For anyone who has practiced yoga or any other disciplines requiring balance/core strength, this section is likely to be pretty easily, especially wearing athletic shoes (although Tracie does note that taking off your shoes is optional). Given this, the segment felt out-of-place with the more intermediate level of the rest of the workout. For the floorwork, Tracie starts with a side plank move, then does a sort-of variation on the Pilates roll-up before repeating the plank on the other side. Tracie concludes with a nice stretch releasing the back and especially targeting the quads and hip flexors, bringing in the total workout time at just under 49 minutes.

In addition to the Play All option, the Main Menu also offers Chapters-Premixes-About Us. This DVD has two Premixes. Unfortunately, the times for these are mislabeled; they are actually backwards. The first premix, Below the Belt, is 20 minutes (not 15 as listed on the menu), and the second, Hour Glass, is 15 minutes (not 20).

Defining Shape offers a solid strength workout. I enjoyed some of the moves, especially many of the shoulder exercises (several of which seemed borrowed from Kelly Coffey-Meyers), but so far, I am not as impressed with Tracie's LONGevity series as I have been with her prior work (e.g., the TLT and TLP series workouts).

Instructor Comments:
I like Tracie, but I have never found her to be a particularly good cuer, and that was especially noticeable here. I found that she would sometimes cue only half of the moves--e.g., just the legs rather than both arms & legs. Also, she has a habit of preview an entire series of movements but then (without telling the viewer!) starting with only the first 1-2 moves. Finally (and I realize that I may be getting nit-picky here), there were several times when she stated that the feet should be "hip width" apart, but her own feet were clearly much wider, even wider than shoulder width! There just seemed to be little things like this which annoyed me throughout this workout, which is unusual for me.

Beth C (aka toaster)