Definition Series

Joyce Vedral
Year Released: 2000

Categories: Total Body Workouts

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This is a pyramid style strength workout from veteran fitness guru Joyce Vedral. They pyramid style goes up in weights and down in reps, and then goes back down the pyramid by going up in weights and down in reps. The reps are as follows: 12, 10, 8, 10, 12. The set is ordinary, but the music is good. Joyce is by herself on set, so no modifications are shown. She uses three sets of weights (light, middle, heavy) and a bench. Optional to use a mat for the floorwork.

The DVD is broken up into seperate upper, middle, and lower body routines, plus bonus ab work. There are two types of workouts - the regular routine and the maximize. The regular routine is just the first 15 minutes of each workout (15 minutes for upper, and 10 each for middle and lower). You simply tack on that extra time at the end for the "maximize" workout, so it isn't actually two seperate workouts. So if you want to only do 15 minutes of each workout, you have to go back to the main menu and choose each workout.

The upper body workout consists of exercises for the chest, shoulders, triceps and biceps. The middle consisted of exercises for the abs and back. Lower body was strictly lower, although I did feel some in my abs. Supersets are utilized for each body part worked, meaning that each body part gets two exercises worked, back to back, without rest in between. The exercises are broken down, so I won't go into that again.

The good: There are some traditional and unique exercises included in this workout. For instance, one exercise that I had not seen before is one where you put a dumbbell between you feet, lie on your stomach, and do hamstring curls. Loved that! I also like that the workouts are set up so you can stop at 10, 15, or 30 minutes and still feel worked out. Joyce has a great personality, and I love her accent (but I'm from up north, so i'm biased!). She says real sayings like "i don't have great genetics; i have to workout to look this good". The music, while it didn't stand out, fit the workout and was pretty good.

The bad: Oh wow, the bad!
(1) Joyce cannot count reps to save her life. Plus, since her weights are so light, she flies through the reps while I'm still struggling to get out those last 12 reps while going down the pyramid. I spent a lot of time pausing the workout. If you KNOW this will bother you, by all means, run screaming from this DVD. Because she is consistently OFF reps. I paused quite a bit. However, Joyce's personality and the exercises were so good that I didn't mind pausing the DVD so much.

(2) Oh, and Joyce definitely does not show the best form throughout the workout, even though she gives good form pointers LOL! So I wouldn't suggest that a brand newbie start with this as their first strength workout, because they would probably hurt themself; either from the poor form or too fast reps.

(3) There is NO WARMUP! In fact, the only "warm up" is about a minute's worth of static stretches that you do. However, she doesn't warm up the body before she does the stretches. I would have rather she left the stretches out than stretch on a cold body. your own warm up.

(4) The modifications for some of the exercises are shown at the very end of the workout. This does not make sense to me. Either show them at the beginning of the exercises or have a modifier. Why show them at the end, when you're already probably halfway to hurting yourself?

OVERALL: This DVD is probably for someone familiar with proper weight training form who just likes Joyce's personality. I like it because I can tweak if for my own uses. However, someone who does NOT want to do that should not use this DVD.



The definition set includes 3 videos or one DVD. The video set has one tape for upper body, one for lower body and one for abs. The DVD contains all three programs plus an extra abs section Joyce claims is not in the tape. I am reviewing these as a set, although each VHS tape can be purchased separately if desired.

Each workout is based on the plan in Joyce’s book Definition. She offers you both the regular version and the advanced version in the video: the programs runs 15 minutes for the basic version and double that for the advanced version, which has additional rounds per body part. In other Joyce programs, she has simply filmed the advanced version and then expected you to fast forward through the parts you don’t want to do if it is the basic version you want. I was gratified to find she hadn’t done that here. She filmed the regular workout, then all the extra work follows it as a separate round. This means that you wind up doubling back on body parts, which is different from the way the plan runs in the book.

This is a full pyramid workout. You do two exercises per body part in the basic plan, and you do FIVE sets: lightest weight-middle weight-heaviest weight-middle weight-lightest weight, adjusting reps accordingly: 12-10-9-10-12. Until Cathe Friedrich did her Pyramid set, there was no other full pyramid tape on the market. It is a very effective workout technique, and it is amazing how much Joyce packs in to the 15 minutes.

The caveat though is that she packs it in by performing every rep at absolute lightening speed, with form that leaves something to be desired. She also assumes one has read the back, and so does not spend time on any sort of cueing at all. A newcomer to weight training should absolutely NOT start with his video! Please, read a book to learn proper form (I recommend Joyce’s “Weight Training Made Easier” book, or the book that goes with this video set). Also it might help to follow the routine from the book first, at your own pace, to get used to the moves.

Comparisons between this tape and Cathe’s are inevitable. Cathe’s tape has better cueing, good form and instruction, and a slightly different mix of exercises. It moves at a slower than Joyce’s tape (but still at unusually brisk pace for a Cathe tape) but it offers more content too---some really interesting and challenging ball workouts. Cathe also does a much better job chaptering her DVD’s---Joyce’s is pretty limited to letting you select with of the three workouts you want to do.

Joyce’s trump card is the tape length. If you enjoy this sort of weight work and know your form well enough that Joyce’s somewhat amateur non-cueing won’t bother you, you can get almost the equivalent of Cathe’s 45 minutes in a third the time. And compared to other 10-15 minute workouts out there, Joyce packs an unparalleled wallop into that time.

Instructor Comments:
Joyce is not the most polished or professional instructor and her cueing is minimal. But she is amusing to watch!



This is a set of three tapes that math Joyce's book: an upper body tape, an abs and back tape and a lower body tape. As usual with Joyce, there are very few direct instructions, and you just follow along, so it is best to read the book first. It is a very thorough workout. You do 2 exercises per body part, and 5 sets of each, pyramiding the weights. Until I did the video, I didn't realize how much cheating I was doing with rests by doing it on my own. I was sore the next day. Still, it does take me a bit longer to do it with the video; I don't know why. Also, Joyce suggests doing the ab/back tape on lower body day, but I find I am better doing the back work on upper body day as it involves rows, which work the arms as well. My arms are too sore the next day!

An improvement over the fat-burning workout Joyce previously did is that she now includes a very small stetch at the beginning. It is not very thorough, but it is a good reminder for me. I would love for Joyce to address the importance of stretching more in the future, perhaps release a companion tape of only stretches.

Overall, this is a solid workout IF you are already familiar with weight lifting routines and jargon a bit. A newcomer might be intimidated by the lack of instruction. Also, it is good if you need motivation to exercise. I am a pretty no-nonsense exerciser myself, but I find especially on lower-body day that I need an extra bit of encouragement. If however you need no support or convinving, stick with the book: it's cheaper.

Instructor Comments:
Joyce is very fit and enthusiastic. She does not offer very many instructions though, so it is best to have the book first. Joyce is also very good about standing by her work, and will email you back if you have any questions.