Ease Into Fitness

Karen Voight
Year Released: 2000

Categories: Seniors/Seated , Total Body Workouts

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I got this DVD as part of a multi-part trade. After such a bad fitness year last year and in trying to come back from that this year, I figured that this workout might be a good one to have on hand. After being sick with a cold and repiratory infection for two weeks, this seemed like a good workout to try after not exercising for two weeks.

Karen is backed up by three background exercisers, all seniors. As usual, her cueing and form pointers are impeccable. The form by the background exercisers isn't very good at several points and Karen doesn't interact with them at all. The music is big bandish and is pretty good.

This workout is fine if you are alreadying exercising at home and have a lot of workout gear. If not, the expenditure to be able to do this workout would be pretty big. You need bands, ankle weights, dumbbells and balls. Beginners, this workout's target audience, just wouldn't have all of that.

The workout really is a beginner level. There aren't a lot of reps. And, Karen does explain the moves well.

Laura S.


I bought this DVD for my 69 year old mother who has never lifted weights in her life. The reason I chose this DVD was because Karen Voight has a good safety reputation and I trusted her to bring out a safe beginner workout.

On to the workout review - I am not sure about this DVD for an absolute beginner if they will be doing this by themselves. Firstly, you need a lot of equipment that a beginner just would not have - a genie ball, hand weights, optional ankle weights (which I didn't see listed on the DVD back-cover), and an exercise band. (Luckily I had everything but the ball (bought it cheaply at Target).

As my mother had never lifted weights before I thought it best that I worked along side her for the first few times, and I am glad I did. There were a few times when she didn't know which muscle she was supposed to feel it working, and another few times when I had to correct her form. Karen Voight has excellent form, as usual, and she does give some great form pointers, but not for everything. The wall pushups and tricep exercise gets a big long set-up introduction, but I found a lot of the other exercises just moved into another too quickly for a novice exerciser to set-up correctly for and are not explained enough for a novice (the squats, for example).

My mother also commented that Karen will say to move slowly and resist through the movement, but then seems to move quick anyway. (As someone with previous experience, I can tell that Karen is resisting but do agree that she could have slowed the moves down a bit).

After doing the workout 6 times, my mother has commented that she now does feel the exercises as she is doing them and has felt it the next day (in a good way), so it's doing something. And she quite enjoys it.

The DVD has several options which is great - but the lower body option includes the back exercises, so you can't just do a complete upper body workout.

The background exercisers are all seniors, which I think helped my mum overcome her "seniors can't do weights" attitude.

Overall - I am not sure! I like Karen, and she has some good, safe exercises, but I am glad I didn't just hand the DVD to my mother and let her do it by herself the first few times. Maybe this would be true of every first workout video though (my first strength video was so long ago, I can't even remember).

And the amount of equipment required makes it a big investment for a first timer - especially if you don't buy the correct weight the first time around.

This workout does seem to be over very quickly so it is not a big ask to try and fit it in on a regular basis.

Instructor Comments:



This is a very solid introductory strength training workout geared to seniors, but is suitable for any beginners. The set is kinda hokey, especially when you see the panels that say KV. But it is open and well lit. The music is a big-band new-age fusion that wasn't bad.

I got this video because I've had several nasty injuries and I figured it would be an ideal way to build strength back up, and it was $6 at Target. This video was too easy for me, even with stitches on my arm, neck and breast and an ankle brace. It will, however, be a very good video for my mother in law, whose only trips to resistance training land have been Leslie Sansone's Walk Aerobics Interval training for seniors.

Karen's exercisers are also seniors, and they are much older than the duo she had pictured with her on the box. They don't always use very good form. I would've really liked seeing Karen interact with the group more, like I've seen Kari Anderson and Keli Roberts do, to correct form and motivate. My real criticism with this video is that requires an awful lot of equipment. Bands, ankle weights, dumb bells and balls. My video came with the band and I have bells and ankles weights, but I don't have Voight balls, and I suspect most seniors and beginners don't either. Bells and ankle weights are widely available and cheap but I have only seen the Green Genies thru Collage and Voight's mini-catalogue.

To me, requiring a low weight that costs so much money ($30) for a beginner workout is ridiculous. Many beginners don't want to fork out that much money for a low weight, especially if they aren't sure they'll stick with it. The balls are used frequently, so you need them or a substitute to get a good feel for the workout. So unless you figure out substitutions, this is not a great workout to buy in a store, take home and try out because you'll miss a lot. I tried it once and found that a tennis ball works well for the rolling and dropping exercises and a folded up towel worked well as thigh support. (It would be nice if Karen had given some suggestions- like what to do until your green genies come in).

Overall, though, this is a very beginner friendly strength workout. Good form, good progession of exercises.

Instructor Comments:
Karen is very thorough and professional, as always. Her form is exact, and her instructions are very detailed.



I bought this video for my father, who has just completed physical therapy after back surgery, in order to help get his muscles stronger and to help with his flexibility. This video is divided into segments, and most of it is done sitting in a chair. The warm up is done in the chair holding a weighted ball, and Karen uses her green genie. The exercises basically warm up the shoulders and arms using various movements with the ball, and then she puts the ball under the foot and rolls it around to warm up the legs, mostly the lower part of the leg: the calves and anterior tibialis. The next segment uses the dynaband for some upper body work for the chest and back, also seated in the chair. She also does some push-ups while standing and pushing against the wall and then she does some triceps pushdowns with the dynaband over the top of a door. The next segment is done seated in the chair using light dumbbells and consists of such exercises as biceps curls and alternating shoulder military presses and some side raises. The next segment uses ankle weights and consists of leg extensions while seated and then standing hamstring curls. She also does some squats and leg raises to the rear. Then there is a cooldown in the chair. That is a general outline of the tape.

My impression of this tape is generally good. I think my father will do it (hopefully). I think it is good because it uses basic exercises, has variety and Karen's instruction is quite good. The negatives are: The music is sort of old-fashioned band music, and is a little dull, in my opinion. I think that my dad, who is a senior, would have preferred more lively music. I watched my father doing the video and he found some of the tempos of the exercises too fast, especially as he is learning the tape. Also, Karen does very few reps of some of the exercises, so just when he started to understand the exercise, she was moving on to the next one. I don't recall there being any abdominal exercises. There is a lot of different equipment used in this tape: the green genie, the dynaband, the dumbbells, and ankle weights. I think my father thought it was sort of interesting since he never used anything except dumbbells before. He did have some trouble with the dynaband; holding it and controlling it, especially on the negative, so I suppose some seniors may have similar problems.

There are two ladies and one gentleman doing the workout behind Karen, and they appear to be seniors. I hope this will motivate my father, but it is possible that some seniors would rather not be reminded that they ARE seniors, and may want to do a Cathe or Gilad tape. All in all, I think it is the best senior-oriented tape that I have seen, and has the clearest and best instruction that probably most people could follow.

Instructor Comments:
I have always liked Karen's style which is straight-forward and concise. In this tape she is especially sensitive to the target audience, which is generally seniors and others who need to "ease into fitness." She is not condescending, but rather, she gently reminds you to use correct form and assumes the audience is just starting out.