Buns of Steel Pregnancy Workout and Buns of Steel Post-Pregnancy Workout

Madeleine Lewis
Year Released: 2004

Categories: Pregnancy/Postpartum

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This 1994 video holds up very well, and is the workout I've been going back to again and again during my pregnancy. Lewis does the workout with two background exercisers, all of whom look between five and seven months pregnant, on a standard aerobics set with standard aerobics music.

It begins with a good long warmup and stretch, a little short of 10 minutes. Then she has three low impact aerobics "songs," in total about 15 minutes, with two heartrate checks and a perceived exertion check. These aerobics get most of their intensity from the arm movements, and one exerciser shows less intense arms from time to time. The moves are basic, easy to follow, and cued well. This is followed by a brief leg stretch and then about 10 or so minutes of what is a surprisingly good lower body toning segment. Although you do short sets of moves (e.g. four sets of four squats followed by four pelvic tilts), the section never lets you stop to catch your breath, and I usually find my heart rate higher during the toning section than the aerobics section. Then she shows some very safe abs moves for pregnancy, and ends with a 5 minute, yoga based stretch.

This is a great video for someone who started their pregnancy as a beginner or intermediate. More advanced exercisers or choreo buffs might find less to like. Lewis has choreographed for Kathy Smith, and I keep seeing echoes of Kathy's workouts in this tape (the arms remind me of Kathy's Step Workout, the toning reminds me of Kathy's Instant Workout, and a little of her Functionally Fit Lower Body video).

My one small beef is that many of her combos overuse the right side. In the warmup, she does three times the rocks on the right foot that she does on the left. The arm combos, too, often leave the right arm in the air twice as long as the left. I can switch on the fly to try to even out the sides, but I hate having to think that hard during a workout. I also wish she'd shown some upper body toning work; it's hard to find a pregnancy workout that shows you modifications or replacements for exercises like pushups or chest flyes that either take too much core strength or are usually done on the back.

But given that, this really is a quality workout that I keep going back to over and over again. It's just the right amount of challenge without leaving me feeling wrung out when I'm done, and I use the abs exercises to replace the abs in other workouts.

Instructor Comments:
She's a calm and encouraging presence, and gives great form pointers, especially for how to get your back into the aerobics moves.

Heather Fraser


of Steel Pregnancy Workout and Buns of Steel Post-Pregnancy Workout with Madeline Lewis of Steel Pregnancy Workout and Buns of Steel Post-Pregnancy Workout

IMPORTANT NOTE: All pregnant women should consult with their doctor about their exercise program. Always remember that the reviews on this page (and in the rest of the guide) are usually not written by fitness experts, and should *never* be used as a substitute for the advice of trained medical personnel.

Instructor Comments:
Upbeat, excellent instructor, explains steps in detail. Seven months pregnant in pregnancy video.

The pregnancy video provides an aerobics workout and lower body toning. Lower body toning include squats and leg lifts. All toning is done using a chair, no floor work. Cuing is excellent, routine is easy to learn. I swore by this video during my pregnancy. About 45 minutes long. Madeline Lewis instructs, with two other pregnant women. It has been reviewed by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecologists.

Post Pregnancy Workout: I had a c-section and was able to start this video about a week after it. Madeline Lewis instructs again. Discusses ab and leg work to do immediately after delivery (contracting ab muscles and leg pull-ups, NOTHING strenuous). Concentrates on the abs and lower body, no aerobics. It's broken down in three ten minute segments. Includes squates, lunges and an excellent, easy to do ab section. I was complimented on how fast I got my shape back after my pregnancy and credit it all to this video. Also reviewed by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecologists. 30 minutes long - a must have after delivery!!!!

These videos would make great shower gifts!

Nancy Webb


Fitness level: all levels, early post-partum
Setting: Studio
Breakdown: 3-minute segment floor exercise segment for the very first days post-partum; 5-minute standing warm-up; 10 minute segment for abs; 10 minutes for buns; 10 minutes for legs
Music: cheesy "exercise" style--it's so bad I have no words with which to classify it! Focus on the excellent instruction instead and you'll be just fine :)
Production: good
Safety: A+++ meets ACOG guidelines

I bought this tape before my daughter was born, after reading in Shape Pregnancy that it had a segment you could do right away even after a cesearean delivery. That was what I was facing, so into my shopping cart it went along with the diapers and baby lotion. How glad I am that I bought it. Next pregnancy I'm going to buy Madeleine's pregancy workout to rotate with Kathy Smith's. This lady, like Kathy, not only pays attention to safety, but she calls in the experts to help her make it safe. Bonnie Rote, RN was the medical collaborator on both BOS Pregnancy and B & A Post-Pregancy.

I did the three-minute segment at the beginning when I was a week post-partum, then added the five-minute warm-up two days later. At two weeks I added the abs. The rest, as they say, is history.

What I loved about this workout was that each toning segment has its own little warm-up and cool-down, so I could break it up and work out whenever I had 10 minutes of time. When I was breastfeeding, especially in the first three months, that was often all I had time and energy for. (New moms in the group can probably relate to this--right?) Besides, I have this thing about floor exercise. I'd rather eat nails. Doing it in 10 minute increments--and with Madeleine and her crew suffering along with me--made it much more bearable. This tape was all I did for about 6 months post-partum before easing back into aerobics.

Madeleine is an excellent instructor--she cues well, provides just the right amount of encouragement, and best of all, is friendly without getting on your last nerve. Somebody get this woman in front of a camera again!
I, too, recommend this as a great present for a new mom or mom-to-be. Put it in a pretty basket with some bubble bath and a gift certificate for free baby-sitting, and you'll be a shoo-in for Friend of the Year. . .

Grade: A+ and ten points extra credit

Instructor Comments:

Madeleine has choreographed several of Kathy Smith's videos, including Fat-Burning Workout and Weight Loss Workout. The only videos I've seen where she's the "star" are Buns of Steel Pregnancy, Buns and Abs of Steel Post-Pregnancy, and an old video called California Calorie Burner, or something like that. She looks like a California girl--blonde, perky-looking, friendly in a girl-next-door sort of way. Her on-camera style is lower-key than Kathy's, but with the same trustworthy, thorough instruction Kathy's so famous for. I'd like to see her produce more workouts of her own.

Melissa Cooper