Build Up Your Muscles

Gin Miller
Year Released: 2006

Categories: Total Body Workouts

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This was my first time using one of Gin's strength workouts, and I'm glad I made the leap! I am really pleased with the investment--I think these workouts add some variety to my usual routines. Here are some brief thoughts on each program.

Dumbbells: This is the most straightforward of the workouts, with very little of a learning curve. Still, most of the exercises do get unique twists that make this one different from other dumbbell workouts. Gin uses one set of weights the whole time, but I found that by varying my weights I got a great total body burn.

Wrist and ankle weights: Although I was least interested in this program, I love this one! Gin says it's a lot like ballet, and I totally agree. The movements are hard to describe, but they are very fluid and dance-like. A lot of them challenge balance and coordination in interesting ways. Again, I felt that using an appropriate weight for me (2#s for wrists, 6#s for ankles) made for a surprisingly intense workout. My shoulders were especially fried.

Exercise balls: This program seemed like a fusion of the first two to me--some straightforward movements that eventually became fluid and graceful. I switched between dumbbells and exercise balls for this one. I think you could probably do most of the workout with dumbbells if you were so inclined, and that may be necessary to up the intensity for more advanced exercisers. My legs really felt the burn on this one.

Tubing: I had high hopes for this segment, and I wasn't disappointed--it's my favorite. I enjoyed Gin's use of the tubing, but since I don't have many tubing workouts I can't say if her moves were especially unique. However, I got a thorough workout from this one, and varying the tubing would make it as intense as you wanted.

Overall comments:

These are workouts that leave you feeling worked out, but not exhausted. I felt energized and (often) graceful, and I really look forward to doing them again. Gin is moderately goofy, but gives excellent form pointers and modifications to make the moves easier or harder. As far as the moves themselves, I found them to be creative and challenging. Some of them even seem like they might have a functional fitness aspect.

In terms of level, I can see this workout being used by almost anyone. Beginners will get a great introduction to resistance training, intermediates will get a challenging workout, and advanced exercisers might find these programs perfect on a lighter day. Some advanced exercisers may be put off by Gin's extremely thorough set up for the exercises, but once you know what you're doing, you can just start in right away.

There were a few cons. Although Gin's Elvis impersonations were fine the first time through, they need to be toned down. Gin often uses versions of the same moves, so there is some similarity among workouts, which some people may find a negative. Since each workout gave these repeated moves a slightly different twist, I didn't mind. Also, these workouts have very little ab work. Finally, I believe each program used the same soundtrack, which was pleasant but mostly forgettable. I was a little put off by that at first, but in the end it didn't bother me.

Instructor Comments: