Great Weighted Workout

Karen Voight
Year Released: 2002

Categories: Lower Body Strength , Total Body Workouts, Upper Body Strength

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The Great Weighted Workout is one of the best toning videos I own. It is 80 minutes long and starts out with a nice warm-up, some standing leg sculpting with handweights, plies, lunges, squats. Then Karen and her troupe (you will find some familiar faces here - from other videos) continue with upper body. Don't be deceived by the light weights (I use 3 lbs) - it is very intense, fast moving, covers all parts of the arms and is 17 minutes long. You will definitely feel it. After the upper body, she goes into an intense 30 minute lower body workout - she puts an ankle weight on one leg at a time so you know which leg you are working. She also uses a bodyball but you can use a dumbell. I use 3 lb. ankle weights with 3 lb. dumbell (I know she is using much less, maybe 1 lb. ankle weights) - I find this very intense - she covers outer thighs, inner thighs, quads (unbelieveable), back of legs (never felt such intensity from an exercise that looks so easy), and buttocks on all fours with the weight on ankle and dumbell in the knee (making it 6 lbs. if you go all out). This is followed by a 15 minute ab section with one handweight which is very intense. This video is a must for any advanced exerciser. I have seen it in Sam Goody's and Collage carries it also. Don't miss it. I'd like to hear from someone who has tried it. It also has a relaxing cooldown and stretch with a towel. Enjoy this video.

Mary Ann Parker


This is a super long tape (80+ minutes) but it's probably the best toning tape I've ever done. And since spraining my ankle a couple of weeks ago (I got knocked off my step in step class by someone going to the left instead of to the right) that's all I can do. Karen as usual, is a stickler for form, and looking at her, you just do what she says! She's got the most toned body I've ever seen on video. She uses innovative moves, working upper and lower muscle groups together, which I like (2 for the price of one!) Sometimes I think her movements are too fast when using weights, but I just slow down and do one for her two). I always start out with moderately heavy weights but have to drop down because of the intensity. This toning workout is not for the feint of heart. Definitely an advanced tape.

Barbara Paola


80 minutes long chock full of every muscle group. Some interesting creative moves plus some tried & trues. A beginner could do 1/2 of the tape at a time. A great workout without using heavy weights. I liked the music, too.

Amy Pfau


This is my all-time favorite toning video. As usual, Karen gives superb instructions on how to maintain proper form throughoutthe 85-minute workout. She even knows what angles or positions will help you "cheat" and warns you not to do those! The entire thing is done with weights, even the tough abdominal section which is one of the hardest I've ever done. The video also has a standing leg section that combines lower body work with upper body; a tough upper body only section; and a seated lower body workout. Although the weights she uses aren't terribly heavy (three pound dumbbells and ankle weights), the sheer fact that she doesn't let you rest for more than a few seconds means your muscles will be groaning after no time. Another thing I like about this video is we see a different, more care-free side of Karen. She jokes around more in this video than in some of herother workouts, which makes me smile even when my body is pleading with me to put down the weights!

Carolyn Sproule


Tough is the one word that totally describes this! Whew! I've had this since it first came out way-back-when, and it still kills me.

It's a total-body sculpting workout. You start with arms, then move on to legs and abs. The total length is an hour and 20 minutes.

The arms are the real killers, even though the rest is not a piece of cake. With 5-lb dumbbells, you feel like you're dying.

On the legs, I use only 5-lb ankle weights, even though I use 10 pounds for The FIRM and other workouts. Even with only 5 pounds on this one, I still end up exhausting my leg muscles.

For the abs, Karen uses a body ball, but you can substitute dumbbells or no weight at all. The moves are done slowly and precisely, and you can really get a lot out of the moves this way.

I would not call this workout "fun" exactly. There are other sculpting workouts that are a lot more fun. But this one is certainly challenging and intense. I give it an A.

Annie S.


I have never done this video all the way through before. It's eighty minutes, which I COULD do but I like to do upper-body one day, lower-body the next, and also I've read that doing more than 45 minutes of weight-training at a time is a waste becasue after that time testosterone levels go down, especially in women who have hardly any testosterone anyway.

So I do the warm-up and arms portion that lasts about 40 minutes on one day, and my own warmup and the legs portion on another day.

The arms portion (which is a bit of a misnomer on my part, as there are lower-body mover here, too) go pretty fast, so I stay with 3-pound weights. But I definitely feel it.

The lower-body portion is done on the floor, and has side leg-lifts, donkey-kicks and work for the quads. Karen uses a body ball for some moves but I use a dumbell. I just don't GET body-balls- they seem like they'd be really hard to hold, and no better than dumbells.

The abs portion can be done with a body-ball or dumbell (guess which I use!) and I think it's pretty effective (though for my money you can't go past Firm Five-day abs for abdominal work).

The music of this video is fairly non-descript, and the set is just a room. I'm big on atmosphere in videos but this is a great workout so all is forgiven.

Emily H


I'm sure someone else did a very through break down of this tape as it seems to be very popular with VF'ers. I find the upper- body weight section frustrating-it moves too fast for heavy weights and when I use light weights I don't feel anything (except in the rotor cuff which seems to be Karen's favorite muscle to work-how many exercises does she have where that seems to be the only muscle that's working?)

As for the leg and ab work-it just doesn't "do it" for me. Give me the FIRM parts videos anyday-at least the scenery changes so I have something to distract me while my abs are burning!

Finally-this video seems dated. The music and outfits are so late 1980's-and I think this tape was made in the 90's! This one, ladies and gentlemen, is headed for the exchange!

Instructor Comments:
Karen does cue very well, but I just can't get into her tapes. To me, she always seems robot-like. I have never found her very motivating. In addition, on this tape she asks the particpants to make noise (she says something like 'I can't hear you!') and this leads to some irritating "whooping". I will never understand why producers of exercise tapes feel that home exercisers enjoy hearing other wise sane people yelling "Whoo." Believe it or not, that's not what motivates me to buy a tape! :)



Other reviewers have done a great job of describing this video so I will just offer my opinion. I consider myself to be an advanced exerciser (I do cardio 4-5 times a week 45-60 minutes and strength train 3 days a week) and this tape is a great advanced workout using the low weight, high repetition concept. Most of my strength training comes from using the Firm, Cathe, or heavy weights at the gym so this workout was a very welcome change of pace for me and just as tough as any other heavy weight training workout. Because you do use light weights, there is hardly any rest between the sets so you do work your muscles to failure (at least I do). The first time I used it, I was very sore in places I have not been sore in a long time, mainly my quads, hamstrings, and shoulders. I know some have said that the reps are way too fast and they do not like using light weights but I find if you do concentrate on the muscles being worked and you do all the reps your muscles will be worked to the point of feeling fatigued. If you are an intermediate/advanced exerciser I think you will enjoy this tape. Especially, if you are used to using heavy weights and are looking for a way to get off a plateau or just change your routine.

Instructor Comments:
Karen has a distinct style that is all her own. She is very knowlegeable about fitness and I find most of her workouts to be excellent. She is great at giving form pointers.

Tiffanee Saunders


Just a short review before I trade this. I thought this workout was okay. It's a nice thorough workout and the DVD is well chaptered. However, I find that I don't use it very much. Actually, I've had it for 9 months and have used it once.

The first standing leg sequence just isn't that tough as far as standing leg work goes. The middle upper body segment is more like aerobic weight training, which is sort of fun, but not the best upper body workout. The floor work is pretty good but if I'm going to do floor work I'd rather do Margaret Richard or classic Firm's. Actually, for high rep/low weight I just prefer Margaret. The abs are really tough on here, as always for Karen, but I really hate traditional ab work and won't do it in isolation.

I think this is a good workout which has stood the test of time (well, except for maybe some of the outfits on there :)) If you want to try some high rep/low weight training without spending a lot of money this would be a good choice. I just feel that I have better alternatives now.

Instructor Comments:
When I first started workout out I really liked Karen a lot. She's got a nice straightforward personality. I find her a lot more relaxed in this workout. She seems to have more fun with the really tough workouts!



I had this workout on video for quite awhile. I kept coming back to it, doing it again and trying to like it. Overall, itís a well-done workout. I felt it after doing it. The problem for me was the dread factor I felt in doing it. It seemed to go on and on and on.

Overall, Karen does a very good job at cueing and at explaining how to do the move. I would swear that she could see me, because, when she makes a form correction, I would find that it was relevant to what I was doing wrong. It was like she could SEE me.

I thought that getting it on DVD would be a help. But, I ended up trading it because I still felt that dread factor, even though I could break it down. I tend to prefer full-body strength workouts, so dividing between upper and lower body on separate days doesnít appeal to me. Consequently, the DVD chaptering didnít do too much for me.

Instructor Comments:
She is an excellent instructor. She clearly explains how to do the moves.

Laura S.


I am an advanced exerciser but recommend this to exercisers at all levels. As far as equipment goes, you'll need one ankle weight. Start at 1 lb. I now use 3 lbs and that's plenty. You'll also need either a dumbbell or a small squishy weighted ball--the kind that usually shows up for $5 or less at TJMaxx. This workout is pretty much the only instance where I think the ball is better than a dumbbell. I've worked my way up from a 3 lb ball to a 6 lb ball. But if you want to prolong the life of your ball, don't use it as a pillow or cushion the way Karen occasionally does--I broke my 5 lb ball that way. Instead, when she does those moves I use a $1.50 child's play ball, which is far more comfortable anyway.

I love having this workout on DVD--I use the 30 minute lower body floorwork segment, which is separately chaptered, about once a week. (The full workout is 80 minutes, daunting for many) I don't use the standing legs & upper body part--don't think they're very useful. Instead, before doing the floorwork, I usually do the 15 minute standing legs workout from Firm Super Body Sculpt. But one could also get a terrific workout just by doing the warmup, floorwork, and stretch from this DVD. The abs segment (traditional) is also terrific and makes effective use of the weighted ball.

With floorwork, you can attain a great deal of strength and definition in your legs without needing a lot of weight. Also, while floorwork feels harder, it's not as stressful (I think) on your lower body. I've been doing a lot of cardio and standing lower body work lately, and I think I've developed a mild case of shin splints. So I've had to lay off the standing leg work, but I can still do this because it puts no pressure on the shins.

This workout is old--it was made in the early 90s I think. But the music and outfits aren't nearly as off-putting to me as the old Firm workouts are, nor is Karen stepford-ish like the Firm instructors. I actually have come to really like the music--sounds a little like Pat Benatar maybe?

I have dozens of fitness DVDs, but none gets as much use as this one. I enthusiastically recommend it to everyone--it's very reasonably priced at deepdiscountdvd and amazon. I would be very upset if mine broke and I'd immediately replace it. I might even buy a second copy as insurance.

Instructor Comments:
Karen gives the best form pointers in the business, right when you need them. It's as if she can see you and knows precisely what you're doing wrong. She gives the form pointers as you're doing the exercises, so there is zero wasted time here. Because she does not use her workouts as an opportunity to crack jokes, they can be used again and again without becoming annoying.



This is an older Karen Voight workout that uses weights 100% of the time, except in the warm up and final stretch. It clocks in at a whopping 80+ minutes but there are three sections that could be used standalone: the warm up/standing leg/standing upper body; the floor leg series; and the floor ab work. I primarily use this workout for the warm up/standing leg/standing upper body series which is about 35 minutes long, although the floor work and ab work is meticulous and thorough. I have read that many others keep this video just for the floor work (it is famous right up there with Firm Volume 1).

This video is invaluable. Yes it is dated looking (if you canít stand the dated look donít even bother here, cause itís VERY dated), but the exercises are safe, effective, and very challenging. I use 3-4# weights for the arms and would not recommend any higher. This is definitely an endurance workout: high reps and low poundage. Karen works every area of the arms and upper back, and she does it evenly and thoroughly. And the workout is just fun! The music is recognizable (ďI Will SurviveĒ among other tunes) and Karen laughs and jokes with her background exercisers (two women and two men), and sometimes kids about how many reps there are, which I found annoying at first but after several uses I know when they are coming and itís no longer a concern. I sing along with the music but still get in a great upper body toning workout. Some of the moves incorporate lower body work, but does not really have a 4-limb effect; it is mostly to keep the legs warm for the floor work section.

For being such a dated workout, the production value is excellent and the music synchs very nicely to the exercises. The background exercisers, along with Karen, are all smiling and having a great time. The background is a dance studio setting with hardwood floors and some stained glass design in the back. Collage Video lists this as advanced and I agree with this rating, especially if you were to do the 80 minute workout all in one sitting Ė itís hard! But for a more doable workout (and with time constraints) breaking this workout up is easy and convenient. I have the VHS version so I cannot comment on the DVD version or the chaptering. You better believe when my VHS wears down that I will get it on DVD! Grade A+!

Instructor Comments:
Karen is an immaculate cuer, obviously enthusiastic about her workouts, she is highly competent and definitely has a gift for exercise videos. She is the QUEEN of form pointers! I have used hundreds of instructors but nobody cues like Karen Ė it is like she is in the room with you. She doesnít just remind you WHAT to do, she also reminds you what NOT to do, and she always gives pointers at exactly the right time. Sheís really thorough, but not chatty or over the top. She has an amazing physique, although Iíve read that itís thanks to her meticulous diet more than her workouts, but those are great too.

Emily B.


Instructor: Karen Voight
Type: Strength workout, total body toning
Level: Intermediate
Impact: Mixed
Duration: 83 minutes (7 minute warm up, 69 minute workout, 7 minute stretch)
Upper Body - 29 minutes, Upper/Lower - 25 minutes, Abs - 15 minutes
Equipment - Light hand weights, weighted ball, light ankle weights

This is a classic Karen Voight DVD from the 1990s. First, do not be afraid of the 90s cheese LOL! From the bright workout clothes (unitards for the men, reminiscent of Saturday Night Live, and slouch socks for the women) to the neon "Voight" sign outside the window to the bright textured walls that reminded me of the opening scene from Saved By The Bell, there is PLENTY of 90s in the DVD. Very, very dated looking. It also includes some great music from the 90s.

Now that you have been warned, this is a GREAT tough workout! It's feels mostly lower body, but the upper body gets a workout too. Most of the moves in the first 30 minutes are compound exercises, and your body moves the entire time. You move from one exercise to the next quickly, so use light weights. Don't worry, those 3 pound weights will give you a great workout.

Now to the lower body floor routine. This is perhaps the toughest lower body floor routine I've ever done! My butt and hamstrings were so sore, not to mention all the other parts. I can't describe the exercises because it would make this review very long, but trust me, it's tough. I have had to use more floorwork when doing lower body, because my knees act up. I can truly say that if you have wonky knees but still want to work your lower body, grab some ankle weights and this DVD!

Throughout the workout, Karen gives excellent form pointers. Karen cues each move very well. She is also quite the inspiration, as her body is sculpted perfection (I am secure enough to say this without feeling jealous LOL!)

PROS: the music, the late 80's cheese, and Karen's professional demeanor. The lower body section was worth its weight in gold alone.

CONS: the upper body segments may be a little difficult to navigate on the first try. You move very fast, and I had to do some of the exercises a beat slower than they did. There is just so much going on with the compound moves, you may want to isolate at first or view the video in it's entirety before moving on. Plus, the video's focus was lower body, even though there were some good moves for upper body.

Instructor Comments:
Karen cues very well and has a professional demeanor.



Wow and ouch! Those are the two words I use to describe this workout. Karen targets every muscle in unique ways. During the standing portion (the first time I did this workout), I started with 3 lb. weights, then dropped to 2 lb. weights, and then to 1 lb. weights near the end. THAT's how tough this workout is!

The floorwork is just as killer.It's tougher than FIRM Volume 1, IMHO.

Instructor Comments:
Karen is very professional and cues superbly. I think she has the best physique!

Garrie A.