Lean Legs & Buns

Karen Voight
Year Released: 1991

Categories: Lower Body Strength

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This tape is a very solid, choreographed lower body toning tape, and represents an excellent demonstration of proper form which is valuable to anyone who does a lot of power stepping--the form pointers hold true for many power moves as well as these toning segments. The light jazz soundtrack is the same as in her "Firm Arms & Abs" tape, which can be annoying if you own both. The tape starts with a drill which teaches you to isolate the gluteal muscles while keeping the knees over the toes.

Karen starts with a calf section as part of the warm up, using the step for several variations on the basic calf raise. After the warm up, Karen uses the step for a series of squats, uneven squats and lunges. She even works in some power moves, which are taught VERY carefully and slowly. Because you are using the large leg and gluteal muscles, the workout is mildly aerobic, especially for beginner and intermediate exercisers. The ending section uses ankle weights and a chair to work the hamstrings and includes a traditional floor section for inner and outer thighs.

FIRM fans who are used to doing squats, dips, lunges, and leg presses with 10-15 pound dumbells won't be challenged, but everyone else will be. Actually, even FIRM fans would get a great lower body endurance workout with this tape.



Very well produced, bun- and leg-blasting video - Karen is known for her professional, no-nonsense style (as well as her bod of steel). Don't let the easy pace fool you; this series of squats, lunges and standing leg lifts will leave your lower half burning. Just fast-forward thru the "obligatory" (and thankfully brief) floor segment. Ankle weights used for some exercises. Pleasant, jazzy soundtrack. The only lower-body toning video you need.
Grade: A+

Sue B


This is a lower-body strengthening tape as the name suggests. Karen and the class use a step in the class, but you could do it without one. You probably won't get as much benefit, however. Depending on the height of your step, the video can be used from beginner-level up to advanced. I use 3 risers, and it's a killer.

The moves consist of basic squats, knee-up repeaters, hamstring curls, and inner and outer thigh lifts. (The curls and inner/outer thighs are done off the bench.) What makes it different is the use of the bench for the squat segments.

I wouldn't really call this a "fun" video, but it is a good workout. However, other leg workouts (FIRM, Buns of Steel) are probably more effective.

As always, Karen's cueing is great, and her form is excellent. She's careful to explain the correct way to do each move, especially the squats.

Annie S.


I acquired Lean Legs and Buns via the exchange (thanks, Jane). I wanted a leg workout that didn't use heavy weights for a change of pace; I wanted to use it in combination with Karen's upper body tape Firm Arms & Abs for a total body workout. This tape is a good lower body endurance workout using the step. I'm sure that it is effective in toning the lower body. However, I prefer to use heavier weights to train the lower body. I found this workout a bit tedious, and not the most interesting workout I have ever done. I did, however, feel a nice fatigue in my muscles when I was finished.

Instructor Comments:
Karen embodies the term professional. She is very no-nonsense and down to business. Her form and descriptions of exercise technique are probably better than anyone else's in the fitness industry.

Kristin Aziz


I just read the previous reviews on this tape & I can't believe that Wendy says the step section is "mildly aerobic!" Wendy, you must be in GREAT shape! OK, OK so yes, I am a beginner but I just can't imagine that the step section with all those squats and even jumping could be only considered mild! And I know that someone who is intermediate posted recently in the Forum that this tape got her heart rate up so high and she was so winded that she couldn't finish. Anyway, I do enjoy this tape, but it seems somehow disjointed to me. The beginning warm-up and calf work is fine. The 2nd section, as I mentioned, is a series of squats that take you on and off the step and it's tough. I've done it about 6 times now and have just started feeling like I can follow along and actually do the moves with her, but I am dripping sweat and breathing SO-OO-O hard. So much so, that when she starts the next section of hamstring work using legweights and holding onto a chair - I am still mopping my face with a towel. It takes me quite a while to calm down after that 2nd section, and I only use a 4" step. I think the sequence is somehow "off" because of this. Maybe the lying down stuff should've come first, or at least a cooldown before we have to stop everything and do toning. There is no heartrate check either, which surprises me. I love the floor work - which because you can really feel it working. Overall, this is a keeper, but I do feel like something is missing. I don't know what it is but it makes me hungry for more. Also, between each section she'll say something like "Go get your leg weights and a chair" or "take your weights off" and you have to pause the video to do it because she doesn't do it along with you - they just cut to the next scene. That bothers me a little because I feel like I have to catch up. I will continue to use this because I think I am benefiting from it. I'll add risers as I progress from my beginner status, because hopefully someday I'll eventually be in as good shape as Wendy! :)

Instructor Comments:
Karen's instructions are great. Her form pointers always make me feel as if she psychically caught me doing something that I need to correct. I mean it, it's uncanny - EVERY TIME she says to not lean forward or to shift the weight to the back foot, it's exactly what I need to hear at that moment because I'm doing the opposite! I don't consider the soundtrack jazzy, as others have described it, but I like it because it's non-recognizable so I'm not distracted by songs I know. She has a great body and a knowledgeable, no-nonsense style. I really like her.

Diane Ingino


Karen uses the step to cover every inch of your legs. (She includes some floor work but it is short and fairly strightforward). There is a lot of repetition of similar moves. You could do this off step, but you won't get nearly the variety of positions and angles. Because of the reps, this could be a very tough work out for beginners. BUt the instruction is good, it is very helpful. Intermediates will get a solid workout and advanced will find her attention to form helpful as well. Anyone who uses or wants to use early Firm volumes NEEDS this video. Karen has safety in mind when she teaches and you will learn correct form to help you through all those fast lunges and squats, with your hands (holding weights) going over your head. You will get more solid, impeccable instruction in 45 mins., than you will in the nearly 6 hrs. of the "classic" series. A must have, even if it no longer challenges you at an advanced level.

Instructor Comments:
There is no one on video with more attention to form and detail than Karen Voight. Her pre-work out squat drill and emphasis on careful instruction and safety make this video a good lesson for beginners.



I periodically check out the local Target store to check for new videos and, although this one isnt new, it has been repackaged as a set with Firm Arms and Abs and is being sold at a price that I couldnt pass up!!! It is a very different workout for those used to The Firm or Cathe because you use your own body weight and ankle weights, but I did feel this workout deep in the glutes the next day. If your an experienced exerciser, you can still get a good workout with this video-just dont be afraid to use those risers on your step. Overall, I have enjoyed this workout each time that I have used it and, like everyone else, I LOVE A BARGAIN!!!

Instructor Comments:
I know that Karen comes of way to serious for some, but I really appreciate her cuing and form. I wish that some of my local aerobic instructors had her savvy for making a workout safe-it makes things a lot easier on the knees and joints.



Am I the only exerciser who is "creeped out" by the woman who has the Stepford Wife smile on during the whole video? I find her very distracting! The workout is worth looking past her though!

Instructor Comments:
I love Karen Voight--her professionalism, her attention to detail, and how thoroughly I feel after using her videos.

Lisa Greenwood


This video, however, merits caution. I consider myself intermediate/advanced and this is the only video in my collection that resulted in an injury...not once, but twice. Karen cautions the viewer on form but proceeds to bring us through multiple complex footing on the step with squats done off the step in quick fashion. Last spring, I strained my knee and the swelling kept me from jogging for 4 weeks. Deciding to try again, I did the workout for a second time two weeks ago (6 months have passed) and I strained my knee again. Haven't had a knee strain in years and did it twice to the same workout. Caution...this workout may cause injury to fragile knees.

Instructor Comments:
Karen Voigt deserves much praise for her intructional style, expert cues and well designed workouts. I have loved Your Personal Best and Great Weighted Workout on lighter days.

L. Frantz


On cardio work, I am an intermediate exerciser who enjoys with intermediate to advanced choreography. I also enjoy my ďeasierĒ workouts on those mornings I donít feel like thinking that much. With strength work, I am an intermediate exerciser, who doesnít really want to move up to advanced work. I have really enjoyed getting into workouts on the ball and Pilates as an alternative to traditional strength training.

When I do workouts with weights, I prefer workouts which will lead to gains in my capability. Whether it is power lifting, endurance, AWT, or anything else, I like to feel like I have made some gain in strength or endurance or some of both. This workout is a high rep, no- to little-weight workout. In her introduction, Karen positions this as a muscle conditioning (as opposed to strength) workout. That makes sense given that the workout uses your own body weight and light ankle weights. The exercises in this tape were reminiscent for me of Step & Tone. They were done in the same era and are both high rep/low weight workouts, so I guess that makes sense. The moves in this workout were better instructed and a lot less fun than Step & Tone.

Karen does the workout with four background exercisers in a workout studio type of set. There is a warm-up and calf work, then a squat segment using the step, and hamstring work with the step, a high stool, and ankle weights. In the squat segment, she added arm movements to the squats. They just annoyed me, so I left them out. She gives lots of form pointers and it was clear what I was to do.

Overall, I really didnít like this workout. It just didnít have enough of an emphasis on strength or endurance. It was more of a pure ďtoningĒ workout. I also didnít find it fun at all. Iíve had this workout in my hand at Ross multiple times. Iím glad I ended up trading for it!

Instructor Comments:
She gives excellent instruction and is more animated than in some of her other workouts from the same era.

Laura S.