Slim Series: Tone it Up

Debbie Siebers
Year Released: 2003

Categories: Total Body Workouts

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Tone It Up is one of the workouts from Slim Series, and it is a full-body weighted workout that comes in at just under an hour (59 minutes). Instructor Debbie Siebers leads her sister, Judy, and another background exerciser, Kevin, in fast-paced, 4-limbed movements (ie, using the upper and the lower body at the same time), thereby providing some cardio benefit along with the weight training.

The workout begins with a 5 1/2 minute warm-up, the first part of which is a somewhat repetitive aerobic series consisting mainly of knee raises and front kicks combined with arm movements. Debbie then does a few exercises to loosen your waist/torso and then moves on to some side lunges/pulses to warm up the lower body. The workout begins with a back lunge series: Debbie does 1 set each of lunge, lunge with knee lift, lunge with front kick, and pulsing lunge. Debbie does not use any resistance here, but I held 5 lb. weights by my side, which made it a TOUGH opening segment. Continuing with the legs, there is a squat series that consists of squats, pulsing squats, squats with a rear kick, pulsing squats again, and then a front/rear kick sequence.

Next, Debbie picks up weights for combined lower and upper body work. She uses only 3-lb dumbbells throughout the workout, and most of the time, I found that I wasn't able to go any higher than this, especially when she was doing moves which require you to hold the arms at shoulder height, which is where she begins. First, she does three sets of delt rows: with a side step, with a squat, and then a one-arm rear row. I was able to go up to 5 lbs. for the next sequence, which included bent over lat rows, lat raises, upright rows, biceps, and pulsing squats with biceps. A front lateral raise combined iwth a pull-back (squeezing the shoulder blades) ends this section.

Continuing to use all four limbs at once, Debbie moves on to a plie squat series combined with arm movements. You'll do the plies with a 1-arm cross-over, a chest pull-up, and then a chest-press; finishing in a regular squat position, you'll do triceps kick-backs. Debbie then returns to the rear lunge series from the beginning of the workout, this time adding arm movements in the form of front lateral raises. Following this, she does a forward lunge series with bicep curls and a side lateral, making this entire leg segment really challenging.

The next series begins with a 3-part move: a front lateral raise, a side lateral raise, and then a rear pull-back (squeezing the shoulder blades). I used 5 lbs. for this as well as the rotator cuff exercise that followed, but then I had to drop back down to the 3 lb. weights for the "W" move: you hold your arms out to the sides, elbows bent, then raise your arms overhead, working both your shoulders and biceps. Next, Debbie gives the arms a little break by doing some additional squats and knee lifts before transitioning down to the floor for more upper body work (you are about 34 minutes into the workout at this point).

Once on the floor, you will begin with chest work, including flyes and a chest press, then work the triceps with a triceps press and a triceps extension combined with a pelvic tilt. This provides a segue into more lower body work: first, still lying on your back, you will open and close your legs to work your inner thighs, and next, transitioning to your side, you will do a series of simple leg lifts to target your outer thighs. Although the latter exercises were quite basic, my outer thighs were screaming, and I couldn't make it through all the reps here. A brief set of push-ups is performed before repeating the outer thigh work on the second side. Ankle weights are optional; I had a hard enough time without!

Weighted abs work is next. Here, Debbie uses a slightly heavier weight--8 lbs.--which I was able to match. She works both the upper and the lower abs, but oddly enough, there is no oblique work (which I didn't miss--I think the obliques are much less of a problem area for most women). She then moves right into the cool-down, including a nice hip/butt stretch, for a total of 4 minutes.

All-in-all, this was one tough little workout! Although it was significantly shorter than the one other Slim Series workout I've done, Shape It Up (which comes in at 78 minutes), in some ways, it felt even tougher, as Shape It Up has more standing abs work, which provides you with a little "break" from the weighted work (although Debbie did sometimes do a short set of marches/knee-ups inbetween segments here). The counters which run along the side and bottom of the screen certainly help keep you motivated, especially when little comments like "you're halfway through!" appear. Also, if you don't like the music selection, the DVD includes a "music off" option. This certainly isn't the most fun workout you'll ever come across, but it's probably one of the most effective, and I'd definitely recommend it, particularly for people who enjoy high-repetition, low-weight routines.

Instructor Comments:
I liked Debbie; she seemed friendly and motivating, although her comments were a little goofy at times (eg, "don't hate me!"). She sometimes stops doing the moves to walk over to Judy and Kevin to adjust their form; Kevin in particular seems to make many form errors. Debbie's own form was good, although she does not provide mirrored cueing and does not suggest modifications for most of the exercises.

Beth C (aka toaster)


If you are only going to get one Slim Series workout, it should be this one. Nearly every body part is hit in an hour, plus you get a little bit of cardio with the high-rep, light weight moves characteristic of the series. If you want something a bit more thorough and have more time, Iíd pick the 70-some minute Shape it Up workout.

I use 3, 5, 8, and 10 lb. weights and ankle weights in this workout. I would say this workout is high intermediate. The number of repetitions makes it challenging, but the moves are simple, nothing more complicated than plies.

I like the standing ab work, but the floor ab work in this one is pretty boring, standard stuff. Iím also not a big fan of Slim Series stretches, so I generally skip the ab work done on the floor and do my own stretch. This one has a good outer and inner thigh sequence, as well as some pelvic lifts for the glutes. Slim in 6 has some thigh work, but no inner or outer thigh work, so I tend to prefer Slim Series for that reason.

The horrible form and goofy grin of Kevin, the background exerciser, really bother me, but now I find him more comedic than annoying. This is a workout I do on automaticóit doesnít require much concentration, but at the same time, even after doing Firm workouts for a month, I really feel it all over.

While I am a big fan of complex, dancy choreography done to fun, rockiní music, I find myself returning to Slim Series over and over again because it works FOR ME. High repetitions and low weights seem to work to make my body look the way I want it to look. Plus, itís nice to be able to know Iím getting a good workout without having to think much. I wish the workout had better music, but thus far Iíve been too lazy to use the ďmusic offĒ option and put on my own.

I could never do just Slim Series, itís way too blah. I alternate the workouts with cardio from other instructors, or go running. I also generally add in some Pilates or other ab work, and as mentioned, can see changes in my body every time.

Instructor Comments:
Like others have mentioned, Debbie is generally jovial, but bland. Now that Iíve done this workout many times, I usually tune her out. Some of her form pointers are odd or even unhelpful, but she generally exhibits good form. The workout is simple enough to follow that it doesnít matter whether she cues well or not. Iím not excited to be working out with her, nor am I annoyed.



This workout is almost exactly the same as all the others in this series, very similar in look, feel, structure, content and nature. If you like Debbie's other stuff, this will be welcome news. If you are merely so-so on Debbie, this tape won't convince you.

I have extensively reviewed other tapes in this series, so I won't do yet another breakdown when it is so similar. I don;t recall anything in the routine worth special mention. But I will say that if you are debating between Slim in 6 or Slim Series, which this workout is part of, go with option B. Slim in 6 is the series I personally prefer, but it always bugged me that Debbie only used bands in it and did not show modifications for using weights. In the Slim Series, she uses weights, which I prefer.

Overall though, this workout is not one of my exercise staples. It is too long, and I just didn't click with Debbie that much. I know many VFers love this series but for me it is not a favourite.

Instructor Comments:
Debbie is not my favourite instructor, but she is growing on me a little. I did not mind her here. But for some reason she does not say "fun" to me.



Before I go into my review I should say a few things about myself. I am an intermediate exerciser and usually work out with the Firm, Karen Voight, and a little bit of Cathe. I like a variety of exercises, well thought out workouts, and professional production levels. I only have two workouts from the Slim Series Ė Tone it Up! And Mix it Up! Therefore, this review is based on this workout alone and not within the context of the entire set.

Honestly, I have no idea why people think this series is so wonderful. I thought this workout was average in every way. The music was boring, the instructor was average, the exercises were monotonous, the workout construction was poor, warm-up and cool down were inadequate, choreography was average etc. It was tough, Iíll give you that, but I didnít feel it was tough in a good way. Debbie worked the muscles to the point of unnecessary pain and I had to modify my workout choices for the next few days to compensate. I can see why people have great results with this but I can also see why many experience burnout after a few weeks.

One thing that really bothers me a lot about this workout is the stretching. I should say lack of stretching because there really isnít much of it to speak of. Youíd think after a 60 minute weighted workout there would be a good long stretch at the end focused on the muscle groups worked. Wrong. Tone it Up! contains a lot of upper body weight work and yet there were no upper body stretches at the end. Thatís right, none (save for a short side stretch). I know that Slim Series does have a separate stretching workout, but I think itís important to stretch muscles while theyíre still warm from the weights. This, combined with the speed and repetition of the exercises and poor form among the background exercises made this workout almost feel unsafe to me.

Instructor Comments:
A lot of people really like Debbie but she seemed very average to me. She just didn't click with me.



I did Tone It Up last night and it's 59 minutes. Wonderful. I'm so sore from doing Tear It Up and Tone It Up back to back. There is a BRUTUAL lunge and squat sequence. Many movements are compound.

Tone It Up breakdown (tons of reps at a 1 sec pace):

Warm Up:
Arm raises w/ knee ups
Horizontal bicep curl/tricep extension w/ front kicks
Arm raises w/ knee ups
Horizontal bicep curl/tricep extension w/ front kicks
Running in place w/ bicep pumps
Half jacks

Lateral side reaches
Overhead side reaches
Across the body reachs w/ step touch

Speed skaters
Side lunge pulses
Speed skaters
Side lunge pulses
Reverse lunges
Reverse lunge into knee up
Reverse lunge into front kick
Reverse lunge presses
*repeat series on other leg*

Squat presses
Squat into rear kick back
Squat presses
Front into rear kick
*repeat series*

Side step w/ row
Squat w/ bent over row
One arm rear delt row
Bent over lat raises in increments
Full range lat raises
Upright rows
Bicep curls
Squat pulses w/ hammer curls
Front lateral raise into a pullback

Plie squats w/ one arm cross over
Plies squats with chest pull ups
Plies squats w/ chest press
Narrow squat w/ tricep kickbacks

Reverse lunge w/ front lateral raise
Reverse lunge into a kneeup w/ front lateral raise
Reverse lunge into a front kick w/ front lateral raise
Reverse lunge presses
Forward lunge w/ bicep curl
Stationary Lunge w/ lateral raise
*repeat series*

Front lateral raise into a side lateral raise into a rear delt pull back
Narrow squat w/ ďWĒ press
Narrow squat pulses

Chest flyes
Chest press
Tricep press
Tricep extension w/ pelvic tilt

Inner thigh work (leg separators??)
Side leg lifts
Side leg extensions
*repeat series*

Pushups 2 counts up / 2counts down

Weighted crunches
Curl w/ reach thru
Long lever lifts
Reverse crunch

Cool down



This is a weighted workout. It uses a lot of compound moves (upper/lower body simultaneously).

My inner thighs and triceps felt the fire in this workout.

There is also some floor work: pelvic lifts, inner thigh work, adductor work, and weighted ab work.

This is my least favorite in the series so far, but I still think it's an excellent workout.


Instructor Comments:
See my other Slim Series reviews.