One Minute Workout

Minna Lessig
Year Released: 2006

Categories: Total Body Workouts

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This dvd is a very interesting programmable concept which features numerous one-minute sections of different exercises. You tell it your level, whether you want to work upper body, lower body or abs, and how many minutes you want to work, and it combines the different sections into a workout for you. You get a different mix every time.

I think this is a wonderful concept for a workout dvd, but the first time I tried it on 'beginner level 1' and got one-armed push-ups for my first exercise, I was scared away and did not do this dvd for over a year. I went back to it recently and found that I really liked the lower lody work, but I still have some reservations about the workout choices for upper body that Minna offers. She is a competent, clear instructor, but some of the upper body moves are very challenging, and the dvd may not always offer suitable choices for the level the user chooses.

On the plus, I found the lower body exercises to be fantastic. In all the combos I have tried, Minna alternates a standing exercise with a floor exercise. I prefer to get my floor work in short bursts, so this is just perfect for me. Some of the moves are quite creative, too. There is one I liked which has come up a few times, where you touch your heel to the floor and them bring your knee down in front of your other leg. It really targets the inner thighs.

In summary, then, I give this workout high marks for concept, and I think that for me, it is quite useable as a lower body workout, either in itself or as an add-on. But you need a strong upper body and a desire or ability to handle lot of push-up and balance moves if you want to use this in your upper body program, and for me, it was not the best fit. If Minna ever does a sequel using the same format but some different moves, I would for sure check it out. And I have gotten a lot of use out of this on lower body days! It just is not the upper body workout for me.

Instructor Comments:



I sort of have a love/hate relationship with this DVD.

I like Minna as an instructor. I like the ability to program what areas you want to work at what time. Most of the exercises are pretty good. I would say they are adjustable in intensity with the length of time and the weight load. For example, today I did 20 minutes of upper body with 12 and 8 pound weights and was fairly fatigued at the end.

What makes me curse the TV set: Getting up and down is half of the workout practically, which is tiresome to do for a long length of time. But what really annoys me is when I program 8 minutes of ab work and get the same ab exercise of side curls 5 times out of 8 minutes! The DVD just seems to be repeating stuff unnecessarily. True, you can just go on to a new exercise, but that eats up time fiddling with the remote which sort of defeats the purpose of a One Minute Workout.

Truly a mixed review.

Instructor Comments:
Minna is pleasant, concise and very clear with her instructions to form.

Lady D


I’m reviewing this workout after previewing it extensively once and then using it several times.

General workout breakdown: This weight training DVD includes warm-ups, multiple options for strength training, cool-downs, and a bonus stretch among its 2 1/2 hours of material. The warm-ups and cool-downs last three minute each; the strength exercises are each given one minute. The weights exercises are classics—nothing too fancy or unusual. Some of the floor exercises are borrowed from yoga (e.g. cobra) and Pilates (e.g. double leg stretch, rolling like a ball) but definitely have an athletic feel to them. The reps are performed at a quick pace, but it doesn’t feel too fast at all.
There are two levels: level 1 is easier, with a more limited selection of exercises, some of which are modified (e.g. with alternating arms) or done with light or no weights, and level 2 is slightly harder and draws from the entire database of exercises. For upper body, level 1 gives you workouts of 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, or 24 min., with the sequence of chest – back – arms #1 – arms #2; while level 2’s workouts run 7, 14, 21, 28, 25, or 42 min. and include chest 2x – back 2x – arms #1 – arms #2 – total body. For lower body only, level 1 lasts 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, or 18 min. with the sequence of lunge/squat – lower body combo l./r.; level 2 runs 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, or 24 min. with the sequence lunge/squat 2x – lower body l./r. For abs, level 1 runs 1, 4, 8, 12, 16, or 20 min.; level 2 lasts 2, 4, 8, 12, 16, or 20 min. with every other exercise drawn from the advanced abs/core options. For the total body, level 1 offers workouts of 8, 16, 24, 32, 40, or 48 min. with the sequence chest – back – arms #1 – arms #2 – lunge/squat – lower body combo l./r. – abs/core; level 2 offers you 12, 24, 36, 48, 60, or 72 min. in the order chest 2x – back 2x – arms #1 – arms #2 – total body – lunge/squat – lower body combo l./r. – abs/core – advanced abs/core. Additionally, there are two Fast Tracks: Fast Track 1 lasts three minutes and has total body – chest – back; Fast Track 2 last four minutes and has total body – chest – back – total body. (After you’re done, you’re returned to the Fast Track menu where you can choose to repeat the Fast Track again, select the other Fast Track, or go back to the main menu.)

The exercises are grouped as follows:
*Chest Exercises: chest press, chest press w/ alternating arms, chest press w/ narrow arms, chest press w/ reach across, chest fly, chest fly & chest press superset, chest fly w/ alternating arms, plank walk to push-up position, power push-up, push-up, push-up w/ hands narrow, and push-up w/ rotation.
*Back Exercises: bent over row, bent over row w/ alternating arms, bent over row w/ 1 arm, floor cobra, floor cobra w/ rotation, mud crawl, pull over, pull over w/ alternating arms, rear delt, rear delt w/ alternating arms, superman, and superman w/ alternating arms.
*Arms #1 (Shoulder/Biceps): bicep curl, bicep curl w/ alternating arms, curl & press, hammer curl, hammer curl & press, hammer curl w/ alternating arms, rotational curl, side arm preacher curl, side curl & press, and standing preacher curl.
*Arms #2 (Shoulder/Triceps): boxing, front shoulder raise, front shoulder raise (front to side), front shoulder raise w/ lateral raise, overheard press, overhead press w/ alternating arms, overhead tricep extension, rotational overhead press, tricep kickback, and tricep kickback w/ alternating arms.
*Lunges/Squats: front lunge w/ alternating legs, front lunge w/ alternating legs & opposite arm reach, front lunge w/ lateral bend, plie squat, plie squat w/ calf raise, reverse lunge w/ alternating legs, side lunge, side lunge w/ alternating legs, side lunge w/ alternating legs & opposite arm reach, side lunge w/ lateral bend, side squat, single leg squat, squat, squat and reverse lung superset, squat w/ calf raise, squat w/ feet together, stationary lunge, and stationary lunge w/ leg lift.
*Lower Body Combo L./R.: bridge & leg lift, front leg kick w/ bicycle, inner thigh, kneeling leg abduction, leg circles, outer thigh, rear leg extension, side leg lift w/ knee pull, side-lying knee-to-heal tap, and single leg bridge.
*Total Body: front lunge & alternate press, front lunge & curl, front lunge & overhead press, front lunge w/ curl & press, plie squat & front raise, reverse lunge & curl, reverse lunge & front raise, reverse lunge & lateral raise, reverse lunge w/ reach down & press, rotational lift & chop, side lunge & alternate press, side lunge & curl, side lunge w/ curl & press, squat & curl, squat & overhead press, squat & press w/ alternating arms, squat w/ curl & press, and squat w/ side raise.
*Abs/Core: alternate arm & leg extension, bicycle, curl-up, curl-up – reverse curl combo, dipping toes into water, elbow plank hold, half roll back, half roll back w/ obliques, lower & lift, obliques, reverse curl, reverse plank, and rolling like a ball.
*Advanced Abs/Core: bicycle w/ obliques, boat pose, curl-up w/ long arms & alternating legs, double leg stretch, plank walk-out, plank w/ knee pull, quadruped w/ leg abduction, reverse curl w/ legs long, reverse plank w/ alternate leg lift, roll-up, scissors, scissors w/ obliques, and side plank.

Minna generally sets up each exercise as follows: she announces the name of the exercise, indicates which set of weights (“heavier” or “lighter”) if applicable, and tells you what position to assume. She then demonstrates the move once, often at a slightly slower pace, while discussing the basic execution of the move, before asking you to join in. (When the move is done on both sides in the same minute, she’ll demonstrate just one side and then begin again with that same side. If you do the demo with her, sometimes there’s enough time to sneak in a quick rep on the other side between the demo and the exercise proper; otherwise you can sneak it in at the end.) During a few exercises she changes the tempo or adds pulses. The segment usually ends with a shoulder roll, if an upper body move done standing, shaking out legs, if a lower body move done standing, or a quick back stretch.
During the minute, Minna focuses on encouraging you. She’ll tell you what you’re strengthening, and then she’ll probably make an appearance- or calorie-burning-focused statement. “Make this minute count” or some variation on that theme is another common motivational comment. Minna will also usually include one or two form tips or reminders during the exercise. She counts down the last few reps only, so there’s no constant counting or “Up. Down. Up. Down.” She mirror cues flawlessly (well, as far as I have seen).

Level: I’d recommend this to experienced beginners through intermediates. You need to have previous weight lifting experience because Minna offers little form instruction and only a few form tips per exercise, although some of her tips are good. I consider myself at least a solid intermediate in weights. I usually use Cathe (although I can’t go nearly as heavy as she can!) and Jari Love. This video is less intense than workouts by those instructors, but I can make it work for me and get a good, solid workout. The intensity of 1-Minute Workout varies, though, depending upon the level and time you select. It is certainly comparable to strength videos by Kathy Smith, Karen Voight, and Tamilee Webb, for example. You can choose a different weight for each exercise, so in that regard you get more out of this than intermediate weights videos that use one weight for everything. (Surely I’m not the only person who can’t use the same weight for back rows as shoulder raises…)

Class: Minna alone.

Music: upbeat instrumental stuff with a beat. It’s pleasant but nothing special at all and very quiet.

Set: large, bright uncluttered “living room.”

Production: Crisp picture, good sound. The camera angles don’t change too quickly or abruptly. All of Minna appears as she introduces the exercise; after that the camera switches between the front and center shot and appropriate close-ups (e.g. Minna’s biceps during hammer curls). Some of the zooming in is actually quite helpful, as it shows you the move from a different angle.

Equipment: sneakers, several pairs of dumbbells (your choice of weights—Minna only says “heavier” and “lighter”), and a mat (if needed for the surface you work out on).

Space Requirements: You should be able to lie down with arms and legs extended and take a big step in each direction. Overall this workout is very compact and could be easily done in a dorm room, hotel room, small studio apartment, etc.

DVD Notes: Ah, where to start… First of all, kudos to fitness video producers for making a DVD that a) takes advantage of the DVD’s storage capacity, b) is meticulously and perfectly chaptered, c) uses DVD technology without being too cumbersome or difficult to understand, and d) is affordable! In this day and age there is NO excuse for pricey DVDs with one 30-minute workout and NO chaptering. (Are you listening, GoodTimes?)
And, yes, I’m still ga-ga over this DVD, so my feelings about how this is one of the coolest workout videos may in time fade. A little.
The main menu has the following options: Introduction and Explanation, Warm-Ups (you select, and your player gives you one of three), Customize Your Workout, Cool-Downs (you select, and your player gives you one of three), Fast Track Workouts, and Special Features (7-min. Bonus Stretch, Tips & Techniques, and How to Get the Most out of this Program).

Conclusion: If you get bored easily, like being surprised by what comes next, and / or are susceptible to dreading that exercise that you know is coming, this is the video for you. If you like having control and / or knowing what’s next, skip this one. If you have any issues that prevent you from doing a significant number of the exercises (e.g. wrist or knee problems), this might not be a good option for you unless you are used to subbing in other exercises. Be aware that there’s a possibility you could get the same few problematic exercises multiple times in one session—and not get them at all during another session.
This is a keeper for me. Yes, there are some things that could be better, like more exercises for the triceps, the ability to pick and choose the segments you want and not be forced to stick with what your player throws at you, smarter programming that prevents constant transitions between standing and being on the floor, some sort of memory that keeps it from playing the exact same exercise several times in one session, and better checks and balances to make sure it stops at the time limit you selected instead of keeping on going. (It’s the exercise video equivalent of the Energizer Bunny!) That said, this DVD is a great value and very flexible. Minna’s a pleasure to work out with, too.
If you use this one so much you get sick of the music and Minna’s comments or if you want to go heavy with the weights, you could turn down the sound, put on your own music, and lift to your own beat once you see what exercise pops up.
I got this workout when I was starting to add strength training back in after watching my weights collect dust for several months due to mono. This is perfect in helping me work my way back up to where I was before. I will definitely keep it around once I recover for rest and/or time-crunched periods. This is the weights DVD I’ve been wanting for a while, actually. Now that I’ve moved on to more serious weight lifting, the one-weight wonders (yes, I’m talking to you, Karen Voight and Tamilee Webb) just don’t do much for me any more strength-wise, no matter how much I like those instructors. I’ve kept their videos around for days when Cathe isn’t an option, but I’ve been passing them by because I don’t find them as appealing and effective. So, bye-bye, Crunch Bootcamp, Burn & Firm, and I Want That Body. Consider yourself replaced by 1 Minute Workout.

Instructor Comments:
Minna comes off as serious about strength training for its own sake, although she does sometimes mention burning calories. She has a pleasant, low-key personality that’s professional and encouraging. She’s comfortable in front of the camera (more so than in Fat Eliminator and Strength & Grace); her time as fitness consultant for the CBS morning show must have helped. She looks great after having two children recently. I’m so glad Minna has returned to making videos; I’m a big fan of hers, and I suspect that she may well be one of tomorrow’s fitness video stars.
By the way, Michelle and Phil Dozois (who have given us the 10 Minute Solutions—apparently that was too long?!) are executive producers on this DVD, and Michelle’s influence is perceptible.



I really liked this workout.This innovative dvd allows you to choose between 2 different intensity levels. Level 1 is the beginner level, Level 2 I would say is a high intermediate level because you can modify most of the exercise with heavier weights than she is using. You also get to choose the duration of your workout. There are many different time frames on both levels from 4 min to 72 min. There are 3 different warm ups, and cool downs. You wont know which one you will be getting each time. You also have the choice of working lower body, upper body, abs, or total body. You also have a stretch segment. There are also some "fast track" workouts you can pick for quick workouts. I have not tried any of those yet. The exercises on this dvd vary from traditional exercises, to moves that work a variety of muscle groups at once. For instance, a lunge with front raises for the shoulders. There are also some pilates, and yoga style moves. In conclusion, I have to say this is one of the most fun, and yet challenging workouts I have bought lately. I will definitely be keeping it. The music is stuff I have heard before, nothing real exciting, but not bad at all. The set is a basic living, workout space in plesant neutral colors.

Instructor Comments:
I really enjoyed Minna Lessig. She is friendly, yet not overly chatty. She demonstrates almost every exercise, and gives pointers about using good form, and focusing on each muscle group.

sherry Karstens