Functionally Fit: Lower Body Firming

Kathy Smith
Year Released: 1996

Categories: Lower Body Strength

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NSTRUCTOR: Kathy Smith
DURATION: 31 minutes
EQUIPMENT: sneakers
LEVEL: Basic/Intermediate
TYPE: Toning
MUSIC: nondescript
IMPACT: Low, but can be tricky if you have knee issues

This is a lower body toning workout led by lovely fitness veteran Kathy Smith. Found on the compilation DVD "Yoga Sculpt", this workout features lower body toning exercises using no equipment. Most of the exercises are fairly simple, standing lower body routines, but if you know you cannot do squats and lunges, stay away!

The setting of the workout has wooden floors, bright windows, and looks as if it's being done in someone's living room (maybe Kathy's LOL!). There are four participants, a guy and female showing advanced moves, and two females showing easier moves. Kathy shows moves that are in between. She also demonstrates the modifications before letting the others show them throughout the workout.

The workout begins with a simple warm up. Side to side moves with knee raises, swinging the arms, swinging the legs, the standard stuff. Then we move on to the first half of the workout. The moves consist of basic squats, one legged squats, bent one legged squats where you do a leg raise, plie squats, and a variation of the one legged squat. The first workout is the "basic" workout and the second workout is the "challenge". What is the challenge? Well, instead of alternating legs like you do in the "basic" workout, in the "challenge" you do the entire series of exercises on one leg and then you switch to the other. However, they are all the same exercises. Following the "challenge" workout is a nice cool down/stretch.

PROS: this workout is great for small spaces! I also found that I had some great DOMS after doing this workout, even without using weight. You can really grow with this workout, because you can make it harder by adding weights or pulses. Kathy Smith also cues very well in the workout. I also like that she has modifiers that you can clearly see. Finally, the time is spot on: who can't spare 30 minutes for a lower body workout?

CONS: I wish that the "challenge" workout had included different exercises.

This may be a con for some, but it wasn't for me: the workout was made in 1996, so some folks think it looks dated. I don't. I think that production quality is top notch, the exercises were executed safely and effectively, and that the workout outfits would still look good today.

Instructor Comments:
Kathy is charming and lovely, giving clear instructions. I like working out in her living room.



This is not an exciting video, as others have mentioned, but it is very effective. I don't enjoy lower body work, so I found the length--two 12-minute workouts--perfect. Even I can motivate myself to exercise for 12 minutes! My one complaint is that the 2nd workout contains exactly the same exercises as the 1st workout. The only difference--and it's a big difference in terms of what your legs feel--is that instead of alternating right and left legs as you do in workout 1, you go through the entire series of exercises on the right leg and then go through the entire series again on the left. While I appreciate what this does for my legs, it bores me silly. So I have a feeling I won't be doing both workouts very often. No matter: workout 1 alone is enough to make me quite sore the next day, and at 12 minutes, it's a great add-on.

I also like that there are no lunges in this video--only variations of squats. This workout feels a bit safer for my knees than many other tapes I've done.

Instructor Comments:
Kathy's form pointers are excellent in this video: the beginning exerciser will learn proper form and the experienced exerciser will find tips that help intensify the moves.



Nobody does basics like Kathy Smith. Perhaps recognizing that squats and squat variations are not the most exciting lower body work (although they are very effective), Kathy splits this tape into two 15-minute sections. The first begins with a perfunctory warm-up of basic arm swings and leg pulses, then heads into standard fare: squats, one-legged squats, pulse squats.standard stuff. But nobody cues the basics better than Kathy, and she is pleasant enough (and the section short enough) that the time flies by. Section two is more of the same, with a few more one-legged moves for the more advanced. This is hardly the most imaginative lower-body tape out there, but Kathy understands the home exerciser like no one else. The warm-ups use basic choreography that anyone can follow, and the sections are short enough that anyone can fit them in; long enough, when combined, to challenge all but the most advanced exerciser; and intense enough that progress can be seen in a short time. She's not fancy or hard-core, but Kathy Smith is a pretty solid choice for beginner to high intermediates, and this tape is one you can grow with.



This video kicks butt!!! It was meant to..and it does. I'm sitting here on the best sore glutes ever. I highly recommend this tape as a lower body tape. The moves that contain one legged squats are wonderful and I love the "bend over and pick it up" move..I knew that one was gonna hurt the next day. She also does something like "hover squats" similar to the Firm. It was mentioned that the tape contains dated clothing and the reviewer was bored by the series. I didn't feel that way about the lower body tape. I was too busy trying to keep good form and not lose my balance. I make post-it note notations on my tapes and the only thing I would add are 8 lb hand helds for the ballerina squats.

Instructor Comments:
Kathy is a little more subdued in this 1996 video. And as always, she continues to give form pointers throughout. I am slowly warming up to Kathy and will probably add more of her tapes at a later time.



Both of the functionally fit videos in my opinion were uninspiring, boring. They are more suited to people that are below the level of beginning. I would say these tapes are for the novice exerciser, someone who has not done exercise in a long time, but then again, someone who hasn't exercised needs tapes that will indeed keep the motivation up. In these tapes the set looks like a "home" set, I guess this is due to the fact that it has to coincide with the title of "Functionally Fit", boring set, even boring exercise outfits, look like the ones years and years ago that people used to wear, before the updated "cool" exercise fashions came along. All in all, I'd give these videos a D, I don't believe there was as much time put into these videos as her others (like Fat Burning, Great Secrets of a Great Body Volumes 1 and 2 or Instant Workout or Step Workout)and I think it was just a video to make money rather than be inspiring, or effective.

Terrie B.


This is a brand-new video; apparently it just came on the market in November '96, along with it's partner. Functionally Fit: Peak Fat Burning (which I also have but have not yet done).

This tape breaks down the workout into 2 parts, approximately 12 minutes long each, with a warm-up and cool-down. The first part is the 'easy' part (although you can adjust for your own preference), consisting of squats (my personal favorite), both 2 legged and 1 legged. The second section is very similar to the first in the type of excercises, but more intense. I have been doing aerobics for over 15 years, and tapes for 8 or 9. I don't think I have ever done a tape that left me with such sore muscles (for 3 days no less!) considering the length of the tape!! Now, there is a 'good sore' and a 'bad sore'; this definitely was of the good variety. I used this tape after a step tape for toning; it probably will be good to do after the Peak Fat Buring partner tape. I'm going to try that this weekend. If you want a short, intense workout for your legs, this is a good tape for you.

Barbara Paola


Consists of two sections of lower body toning; a regular workout and the "challenge". Am gearing myself up to try doing both tomorrow.. I have been using the first half in conjunction with walking, Yoga, and using my Health Rider for about one month, and SUCH a difference!!

The first time I did the routine, I was in agony the next day.. my butt didn't know what had hit it! But it was a wonderful ache, reminding me that those muscles were getting stronger! The workout consists mostly of one and two-legged squats, some plies, and other toning moves. I really appreciated the modifiers the first couple of times through, when I couldn't maintain the highest level. The "floor-touch" does such a job on the glutes!!

I would rate this video: A

Lorna Burden