Shaping Up with Weights for Dummies

Year Released: 2000

Categories: Total Body Workouts

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I have been doing one aerobic video for a long time and decided to become more educated on effective exercise. I quickly decided I needed strength training, if I was going to see results. So, I decided to start with this video.

My main concern in getting started was to begin to learn exercises correctly. This video does that for me. Tracy explains each exercise, how to do it, and what you are supposed to feel where during it. And my heart rate does go up during most of it, although not as much as during aerobic exercise.

For anyone who knows anything about strength training though, it would be too basic. I am using it to get me started and anticipate moving on from it fairly quickly. But it has given me the confidence boost I need to get more into different types of exercise.

Instructor Comments:

Laura S.


My wife and I are brand new to this whole exercise thing. We went to Target and bought the Firm 4 pack, but were overwhelmed by the choreography and pace. Wow, do we respect people who can do what those folk do. But it was way too much for us, in other words, we are Dummies (capital D).
So, we went to Barnes and Noble and I saw this tape. We were excited once again! We were please with both the pace and the content of the video. As newbies, we liked that Tracy took the time to explain each move before we were asked to implement it. And her constant attention to form caught us misbehaving on more than one occassion. My wife was sore the next day (was using 1lb and 3lb weights), but she is still excited because she DID IT! If we have one minor gripe with the instruction, it is that Tracy does the reps at a very quick pace. We felt like we were risking our form to keep up with her speed, so we slowed it down and did about 10 reps while she did her 12.
We will probably continue to use this video for a few weeks until we are confident with our form. Then, when we are no longer Dummies, we will move on to The Firm Basics which will arrive at about that time.

Instructor Comments:
Tracy was great. Not intimidating or out to get us. Her pointers were very helpful.

Nat Dennison


This tape was a disappointment. I was coming back to weight training after a long break, and I thought this might be a good tape to ease back in with. The box promised two sets of 12 reps, which seemed both little enough to be do-able, and intense enough to be worthwhile. At 45 minutes for a total-body workout, I thought I would be fine.

Instead, I found this tape to be all talk, no action. Literally. With 12 exercises in 45 minutes, I was thinking it would average 4 minutes per exercise, or two minutes per set. Nope. Instead, Tracy York speeds up the reps enough to dispense with the work in half the time, and spends the remainder lecturing. She begins each exercise with a longish explanation of how the move works, and how to position yourself. She speeds through the first set, leads a brief stretch, speeds through the second set, then pauses to explain the next move. I tried doing jumping jacks in between, but I still found myself getting impatient. I understand the need to position oneself properly for an exercise, especially in a beginner-oriented tape, but the philosophical musings and muscle physiology stuff dragged on, and would certainly be boring after the first viewing. I felt she might have been better talking DURING the exercise, rather than pausing the workout and leaving us sitting there with nothing to do.

I also felt that the exercises were a little unbalanced. She gives three lower body moves, but only one ab move. Shoulders get three exercises, but triceps only get one. Biceps get two, if you count pushups. I was not sweating by the end, possibly because of the frequent breaks, and her lifting speed was fast enough that I was not able to take advantage of the long breaks by going heavy. Overall, I felt that the pace of this tape just was not right for me. Collage ranked it as a favourite, which made me think that perhaps it might be suitable for someone starting back, or wanting a light day routine, but I think this tape would really only be suitable for someone who has never worked out before. And I think even they would be bored with the patter after the first few times.