Smartbell DVD (Basic, Fusion, Sculpt)Lisa Wheeler
Year Released: 2005
Categories: Strength Training (Total Body)
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After agonizing whether or not I wanted to spend the money, I ordered the Smartbell set from www.bodybars.com. The cost was $79 for three DVDs and included a 6 lb smart. The set arrived about a week and a half after I ordered it.
There is a clip available here here: http://www.smartbells.com/SmartBellsHighlights.wmv and more info on system at the www.smartbells.com
First a little about me: I do a mix of traditional and functional workouts (and a lot of yoga). I typically do Cathe for traditional weights, and Cathe + Spinnervals/Runervals for cardio, although I also like P90X, Slim Series, and FitPrime. For functional workouts, I like all the workouts from Tracie Long and Core Synergistics (P90X). In the fall, I went to a body bar workshop and was impressed how they used the evenly distributed weight when designing exercises so I was anticipating the new workouts. I’m not overly gadget-happy but I do like body bars, the bosu, and the gliders. I don’t like the Firm gadgets – I have found them to be somewhat poor quality and not necessary (but haven’t used the TransFirmer).
Now on to the review – the package comes with three DVDs: basic, fusion, and sculpt. The first two are 45 minutes long and the last is 1 hour. The teacher Cheryl Wheeler is excellent IMHO, skillfully teaching up to five progressions or variations of each exercise. The set is typical CIA – and may be even in the newest CIA videos but I don’t have them so I don’t know. The music is instrumental and good enough for me. Cheryl often asks you not to go to the beat of the music anyway but to do your own rhythm.
Basic really does show the basic moves. The workout was solid intermediate. You get a great feel for the smartbell in this workout and I suggest starting with this one. Sculpt has a lot more complex moves and gets aerobic, especially with a 6 lb bell. If you do all the progressions this is an advanced workout but the first variation she shows isn’t usually much beyond what is shown in the basics DVD. The Fusion is a pilates/yoga inspired workout. It would work better IMHO with a 3 lb bell (which is what they used in the workout). It was nicely done and the bell was used to really enhance the stretches.
The smartbell itself is very high quality – brightly painted with paint that looks like it will never chip off. The shape of the bell really enhances the exercises, which often used “controlled momentum” – a swinging of the smart bell. I know several people thought these workouts would be OK with dumbbells but I don’t agree – I think it could be dangerous and hard to control since dumbbells weren’t made to swing but the smartbell is. But more important – you’d miss all the fun. The motion of this bell really enhances the exercise – as you swing, the bell balances almost by itself because of the way it is shaped, at the top of the movement. So as far as gadgets go, if you are going to get a gadget, this one is of high quality.
There were many moves that are in other functional workouts like one legged squats and putting a weight on and off a shelf. But there were many unique moves as well that you could only do with the smartbell – especially in sculpt. If you like to dance, you may like these, because the workouts were all very flowing.
I really thought Cheryl was very professional and the workouts were well filmed with the right angles at the right time. The workouts themselves really could be beginner to advanced because of the all the progressions she shows. The package is a bit pricey, but if you like functional fitness, and have the funds, (it turns out to be about < $30 per workout because you get the smart bell), I would recommend it.