CIA 2201: Strength Express

Mindy Mylrea
Year Released: 2002

Categories: Balance/Medicine/Mini/Stability Ball, Gliding Disks, Total Body Workouts

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This is a very enjoyable workout, thanks to Mindy's fun-loving personality and two co-exercisers. Unlike a lot of strength workouts, it doesn't call for a lot of equipment. (Attention travellers!) I used just a set of 5lb hand weights in place of a medicine ball and body bar, and didn't 'toss' the weight like one can a medicine ball. It was a good re-introduction to weight work again for me, a formerly advanced exerciser who took a break from strength work during pregnancy and the post-partum period, until my abs began feeling better. With a lot of modifications, I could do the abs, plank-style work and push-ups even though I had a Cesarean birth three months ago: what a thrill!

It's not the workout's fault, but I'm a fan of regular weight-lifting rather than sports drills and lighter weight work. I imagine this won't be a regular in my rotation, but I'm glad to have tried it, and I liked it. My chest and hamstrings (and abs, post-partum) were pleasantly sore the next day. (My abs were too, of course.) It works you out and you don't need a pile of equipment to do it. I would recommend this for those at an intermediate level looking for a fun strength workout without a lot of equipment OR for use when travelling! A backpack could take the place of much of the medicine ball work.

Instructor Comments:
Mindy is fun-loving and cracks jokes, dispenses good info: she's knowledgeable and having fun.



This is a very interesting video. It's like nothing I've ever done before. It's very challenging but it's so versatile too. You get a lot of breaks between exercises which is a good idea because they're tough. This is NOT a cardio workout. Now - for the exercises - I'll just give you an idea b/c the others have already broken it down but in case you don't have the patience to read through it - warm up with a med/ball, weighted bar exercises while balancing at the same time, pushups on paper plates so your hands are sliding. All kinds of stabilization stuff and an awesome ab segment. This one's a keeper!

Instructor Comments:
Mindy is a lot of fun in this video. She can be kind of annoying with her chatter, but not in this video. She's an absolute trip and that's important when you're doing her workouts b/c they're HARD. She screams when doing pushups - it's so funny because what you're feeling she's expressing with those screaches. Needless to say, I liked her in this.

Denise Berger


THIS VIDEO IS TOUGH! I would not recommend this for beginners OR intermediates. You better be a solid advanced exerciser who has eaten Wheaties for breakfast, gotten a full 8 hours sleep and taken some vitamin supplements before attempting this workout! And then, it may still be too difficult to do without modifications (at least it was for me and I am a pretty advanced exerciser). I can't say I don't like this video, but I can't say I like it too because I felt so wiped out and overly challenged all through it - this workout is heavy on the aerobics with strength mixed in and there are lots of really difficult exercises involving planks (which for me are the most difficult of all exercises).

My main problem with the video (and this is probably just my personal taste) is that Mindy is SO hyper, loud and chatty all through the video - I felt like I was getting a headache. Lots of groaning, whooping, and loud continuous hyper chatter - almost "enthusiasm overkill".

It's a really tough workout and if you like aerobics, and a high-energy style and you are a very advanced exerciser, you may like it. As for me, the jury is still out. I will give it one more try, though.

Instructor Comments:
Mindy is a very enthusiastic, energetic instructor who seems like she really has a good time. As I mentioned in my review, she's VERY chatty and hyper and this can be annoying to some people.



In my opinion, whatever fitness level you are, this video will bring you up a notch even the first time you do it. Mindy somehow gets me to do things I would never think I could do, like stabilizing planks with both hands on the medicine ball, while lifting one leg. What is equally amazing is that despite the fact that this video presents you with some of the most challenging exercises you've ever done in your life, Mindy makes you WANT to do them, do them ALL and WANT MORE! There is something magical about her. She has a way of making the toughest workout feel achievable. She makes you believe you can be just like her (strong with great endurance).

This workout had me sweating up a storm, got my heartrate to soar, and made me feel great. The warmup starts out with standing and moving while holding a medicine ball (she has a 4-pounder, which is what I used also). I really felt like the warmup was more of a workout because there are squats and arms movements, and I felt it in both my arms and legs, and the heartrate got up there. I was already warmed up from doing cardio before this tape, and I think it's probably better to do some warming up before this tape. The beginning consists of some really challenging plyometric movements with the medicine ball, and interesting variations of squats and 3-way lunges. Mindy graduates up to a 6 pounder for a whole bunch of leg work and compound movements. She does some innovative exercises in this workout, using, of all things, paper plates (I know she wouldn't want me to spoil the surprise, but let's just say it was TOUGH, but you will LOVE IT!) There are exercises with the Body Bar, such as bent-over rows, military presses, biceps curls and some really challenging moves for shoulders. Nothing is ordinary in this workout; Mindy always puts in some type of challenging variation on the traditional exercises, all of which I thought were great.

When you finally get to the floor, it is a welcome relief. There is some fun chest work lying on your back throwing the ball up toward the ceiling. There are some challenging abdominal exercises, including variations of twists holding the ball, and full range sit-ups with the ball. Mindy's ball jokes were funny in context---you have to be doing the workout to appreciate them.

Mindy's cooldown is the most challenging of any I've done. She does a sequence of downward dog with legs wide, scooping into upward dog, followed by a push up low and then high. It was a nice flow but not easy. I don't think there's anything on this tape that could be classified as easy. It's definitely for advanced exercisers, but I also think that intermediates should do it because it is something to work up to. The day that I can do everything exactly like Mindy does in this workout will be a triumphant day for me. I highly recommend this tape! Grade A+

Instructor Comments:
I don't think there's any video instructor out there whom I enjoy as much as Mindy. She really makes me laugh. She's also a petite, lean, super-athlete! I just love her, even when she's torturing me.



Today I did this tape for the second time. First time was about a month ago, and I had to psyche myself up to do it
because this time, I knew what I was in for. Yes, it is extremely challenging, yes, it is intense, but guess what? It's fun, too!

Mindy has 2 background exercisers with her, both of which she interacts with throughout the workout, which makes it more
fun. Important to know: This workout gets very intense very quickly immediately following the warm-up (at least it does for me!!!) so next time, I plan to warm up thoroughly with 15-20 mins of light cardio beforehand, just to get ready for it, because it'll slam you if you're not prepared. this will also give me a little extra cardio, as this workout's first section (about 25-30 mins) is cardiovascular.

You start off with an aerobic warm-up with the ball. Side steps and lateral ball raises and drops, etc. It's quite a bit of fun, and a great way to start out this workout. The warm up is pretty short, 3 -4 minutes. You move into a sequence (here we go...) with star-type lunges with side steps, then you do these plyo jumps back with a sumo-squat-style walk back up - all of this is done holding the ball. These are very challenging. This move gets me anaerobic. There are more moves here I am missing, I'm sure, and they are all similar in intensity. This aerobic/functional strength part lasts about 20 minutes. Next you grab the body bar for simultaneous upper body/balance work. A nice break after those plyo jump/squat walks! You do work for the back, shoulders, biceps, with some recovery squats here and there. I went lighter with my weight here, because you hold the bar for awhile, and you'll feel it, even with a light bar. Then you start the plate work-paper plate, that is. you do lateral, back and circular slides with one foot/leg at a time, foot on the paper plate so your foot slides easily, while your weight is supported by the stationery leg. Tricky, because you might not feel it at first but this exercise sneaks up on you and the intensity grows very quickly. I'm going to have to work up to getting through this without a break. (Heck, I'm going to have to work up to doing just about *every* section without a break!!!) After this section, it's time to go to the floor for more upper body and core work. You use 2 paper plates (I used 2 pieces of heavy-grade paper and this worked fine). You do a sequence of paper plate hand slides (the movement is like using the ab-roller) and sets of push-ups while sliding your hands together at the top of the movement (I have to work up to this). There are also sets of push-ups with one hand on the ball ( I modified this too), and sets where you hold in one position and then do a set of plank with one hand on t he ball while lifting one leg and then moving your leg to the side, then back, then down. One set for each leg. Also, some sets of plank, hands on the ball.
Then you do more core work, but ab-focused. Some very functional moves with the ball in pilates' boat pose. Crunches with the ball.
Sit-ups holding the ball. supine chest press (you throw the ball and catch it). More exercises, too, can't remember all of them.
End with a very active yoga set, down dog into up dog into low push up (notr exactly relaxing!!!) into plank, about 4 times.

Where I come from: I consider myself intermediate/advanced. (Cardio-intermediate. Weight work-int/advanced.) Here are my impressions.
This is a pretty advanced workout - it is challenging and intense, yet I think it has a high fun-factor, which makes it easier to pop the tape in. Some of the moves can be modified (one of the exercisers shows easier modifications) and would be very good for a person to who wants to make gains in balance, endurance and functional fitness. This is not a muscular-strength-type workout. It is very challenging to the muscles you might not normally use, though, so you won't be lacking in feeling well-exercised when you are through. It features some innovative moves that you may have never done before, so they might feel strange at first. This workout has a 'sports drills' feel (or maybe that is just Mindy's personality) but it doesn't actually include any real 'drill'-type segments (as in Energy Action Circuit). It feels more organic than sports drills, but you are moving from one thing to the next quickly as in sports drills (or my experience of them, which isn't much!). At first, some of the moves had me staring at the TV, bewildered. But once I tried the moves, I realized that I could do them, or work up to them. They weren't so far-fetched. I love that about this workout. She shows you that things are possible that maybe you didn't think you could do! Mindy is funny, engaging and challenging yet supportive in this workout. She does encourage you to modify if the moves are too difficult at first. The background folks are funny as well, and the rapport is very good between them all. Personally, I like this workout because I find it very innovative, I like the mix of balance and muscular endurance training, and I love how the ball helps you move muscles that might be a little rusty. The core work is very innovative as well, and there is much for me to grow with in this workout. All in all, a real (challenging and fun) keeper.

DVDiots: I don't know how CIA has it chaptered on DVD, but this would be perfect on DVD if well-chaptered. The segments would be very easy to break up. I hope next year when Mindy puts out DVD's, she releases this, Interval Express and Med Ball Training on one DVD, all chaptered! Now that would be *incredible*!!!!

Instructor Comments:
I enjoy Mindy's style. She is very funny, full of energy, and challenges you to do your best.

Kathy Weller


I found this to be a great workout; the focus is strength but there's plenty of cardio in there and you will be sweating.

Mindy uses a medicine ball for much of the workout, a body bar and paper plates for some low-tech but effective one-legged squats and lunges. You'll do challenging push-ups with one arm on the ball and one arm of the floor. An interval where you hold the ball behind your head, step forward for a lunge, bring the knee up and step back for another lunge. When your quads are burning, she decides to jump lunge it.

A total body workout with great abs, plent of upper body and lower body work.

Instructor Comments:
Great cueing, great exercises. Mindy always is enthusiastic and has fun. She is encouraging but lets you know she's working hard, too.



Workout Type: AWT ( weight training done simultanous with cardio training) and CIrcuit (weight training alternating with cardio.

Fitness Level: Beginners may want to take it easy, and slow the moves down. Intermediate and Advanced will definitely be challenged.

Equipment needed: 3 and 6lb medicine ball... (will make it more fun); Body Bar ; two paper plates.

Workout Length: Warm up and AWT - 20min. Body Bar Circuit and AWT - 12.30 min. Floorwork and Corework - 20.30 min. Cooldown and Stretch - 4min. Total - 57min.

Effectiveness: If you want a cardio weights workout combined, this workout has intervals and AWT and will get your Heart Rate up and keep it up... IF you can handle it?

Music: Dynamix - the usual CIA, nothing out of the ordinary, but a good beat for those who love a beat!

Presentation: I cannot imagine someone becomming bored since her energy just flows out at you. She is a dynamic instructor. and you are too busy attempting to follow the moves.

The Set: The most finished look on a CIA set so far, not overly busy, but fully decorated. ... The Burgundy washed walls in the background, have blue trim. There are corners that are set up with pictures, tables and chairs.. the chairs against the side wall are small living-room type chairs. If you like those colors and I do! this is a beautiful set. (IMO!)

Attire: Black pants and black tops

Cast: Mindy, Carmen, and Jeff

Warmup: (5 min.) She eases you into the cardio work with a 3lb Medicine ball. it quickly becomes intense and you wonder if this is a warmup or the real thing.
She stretches then skips from side to side stretching out the ball in her hands.(several times)
Later holding the ball as you would a bowling ball moves it forward and back. (several times)
then double hand reaches down almost to ground then up to ceiling. (several times)
twists trunk from side to side. (s.x.)
then reaches ball one side up and opposite side down to ground. in angles.(s.x.)
then stretches trunk around in big circle with ball, up side down other side.. (s.x..)
then holds the ball to one side while holding one foot is off the ground (s.x.)
One side leading then other side leading...
Walk it out.

Workout begins: at 5 min. Picks up a 6lb medicine ball.
Skips from side to side while throwing ball up and down slightly
combines with a forward, then side, then rear lunge alternates leading legs.
then quick side to side steps.
at 8.30 min. begins squats.
alternating leg lifts with a squat in between, calls it "Sumo-Squat"
at 10 min. front leg lifts.
walk in place...
at 11 min. "Donkey Kong Walk"
double leg jumps back 4 x then squat walks forward - 12 sets.
at 13 min. - puts ball between legs at knee level and double leg hops side to side - 32 reps
takes a break
then does 32 reps again. (feels like jumping squats)
12 bicep curls with Bar.
then lunges front and rear with same leg.
then alternating lunge hops
repeat other leg.
20 squats while throwing ball up.
then 40 alternating knee lifts (or 20 per leg.)

at 20 min. Body Bar
12 bent rows (goes right into it)
5 lift one leg straight back and bend the front leg while alternating with Bent rows.
Military Press 20x while straightening and bending one leg out and in. (promotes balance)
then other leg leading.
at 24 min. get a paper plate
with Bar on shoulders you put a foot on the plate and stretch the leg out to the side(lunge position) while bending the oposite knee.
(this can be done on a smooth floor but the plate makes the foot slide out easier) (very easy to go too far - be careful!)
6 slow 12 fast then slide foot behind you into lunge position. 6 slow then 12 fast .
then make large circle lunges with the same leg a few times clockwise and then counter-clockwise. other leg.
then alternating ham lifts (kick your buttox with your feet)
Bicep curls - 8 reps then (a la Cathe crazy 8's) then lift from down position to middle a few times then lower from lifted position to middle. and then full lifts.
Deadlifts - 16 reps then
8x = one deadlift then up to one frontal lift...
16 squats.
at 32.30 Floorwork Pushups - one hand on floor other on ball while in lifted position hold foot up behind then to side then behind ... other leg then pushups again with ball ... (straight or bent knee) Ball between knees lifts one arm to ceiling behind her then the other then does pushup with each hand on a paper plate... slides out forward to down position. 16x then spreads arms wide to sides and back in .. 16 x repeats both paper plate moves. Bridgework while holding ball between knees. Supine chest press - Bench press the ball (optional -throw it in the air) in halfway up seated position (pilates like) twist trunk side to side with ball in hands. Intensifier -> holding legs off the floor then puts one ball under knee above the other and alternates. then torso twist - put ball behind you on one side, pick it up on the other side. then full situps... reaching to knees with ball On back - with ball between knees - lift legs upward then take knees to one side then other almost to floor. stabilisers again. at 53 min. - downward facing dog to upward dog then to low pushup 5x then stretches at 57 min. - End

Total Rating - Although the name of the tape is misleading... you think it is a pure weights tape...
that does not take away from the fact that this is an intense tough workout... I enjoyed it...
(even if I couldn't do everything) but there is always more challenge.. It's not for everyone...
but it IS for me! so I give it a 9 1/2 out of a possible 10 points. (due to the name)


Instructor Comments:
Instruction: The cueing is ok...? She does not demonstrate the moves before doing them, she tells you what to do and you sort of begin together. I rewound a couple of times, but familiarity with the tape will make you be able to follow it.
You may want to watch it once through.



I tried this workout yesterday and am plesantly sore in my upper abs, obliques, chest and shoulders. I haven't been sore in my upper abs in I don't know how long so this is actually a new kind of soreness for me. I do lots of ab work with pilates, Cathe's abs and nothing has left me sore like this tape!! This workout is very challenging. I used a 4 lb. medicine ball and an 18 lb. bodybar. Mindy and her cast used a 6 lb. medicine ball and right now I think my 4 lb. is heavy enough. Mindy is really funny in this video and even the 2 participants have a laugh or two during the core/pushup segment. It's very entertaining to see how they are interreacting to each other although at the time I wasn't laughing. I was hurting! :-)

The first 20 minutes includes a ball warmup and what she calls 'Cardio Strength Legs'. This segment is about 20 minutes long and pretty aerobic including some plyos/drills. There is no stretching in the warmup. This segment uses the medicine ball the entire length. I don't remember the order of the drills but she does lunges, squats, plyo squats, little tosses with the ball while moving, a lunge/plyo lunge sequence similar to her Interval Express Hi/Lo lunge segment with the woodchop arms. She does this one exercise called 'Donkey Kong' Walk. You do 4 jump squats backwards (looks like Cathe's Bunny Hops) and then she walks forward very low like she's almost sitting down in a chair when she's walking. This is very tough and she does what seems like endless reps! Let's see..there is some tossing the ball from hand to hand, double side to sides with a jump in between and during this part she lets go of the ball slightly to where you have to catch it. There is also a drill she does where she places the ball between your legs and does ski hops twisting side to side. This is alot tougher then it looks and I had to hold the ball during the 2nd segment. It felt a little uncomfortable between my legs. You really have to squeeze them hard to keep the ball from falling. Mindy is out of breath during this segment in spots so you know if she's panting it's gotta be tough!

After this segment you put the ball away and get a bodybar. You do some back row extensions while balancing on one leg and lifting the opposite leg up and down. She also does a military overhead press while doing an active tree pose where you bring your foot to the inside of your opposite leg and then swing your knee out to the side and forward. So there is quite a bit of balancing going on during these upper body exercises.

Then you get to play with the paper plate and do more leg work with side lunges, back lunges and a circular motion lunge. This is very tough cuz you can't assist with your moving leg at all. I could not keep up with her at her speed during the fast rep speed! Oh..and you are holding the bodybar as added weight while performing these lunges! Then you get to do some more upper body combo exercises with bicep curls and anterior raises and deadlifts with anterior raises. I wasn't too sure if the paper plates would work okay on my carpet but it worked fine! Too fine I should add

Then you go on to floor work and if you think you get a break here...NOPE! I've never done a more tougher set of pushups and core stabilizers then with this workout! She uses a ball and I had to cheat quite a bit during this segment. The pushups she uses the paper plates to slide out and slide in. I couldn't slide out as far as she could. She also does a pushup where you slide the plates outward and inward. The ball is used for the core stablizers and some regular pushups. The core stabilizers you place both hands on the ball and you remain in a plank pose..then you lift one leg up and swing it to the side and back..then remain in the plank pose for a few seconds..then the other side!! She also does pushups with both hands on the ball but I couldn't. I had to do it with one hand on the ball and one hand on the floor. Then you do a TOUGH ab section and none of it is traditional abwork so you really work your obliques, lower abs and upper abs with some fun and innovative and TOUGH ab exercises. One non ab exercise I loved is where you are lying on your back and she starts out with chest presses with the ball and then you end up tossing and catching it at a very fast speed! Then when you know the abwork is done and you think the cooldown is about to begin she really throws in a challenge and has you do those paper plate pushups again and the core stabilizer again. Yowsa!!!! Then you finally do the yoga strength work. This is about 4 long reps of a yoga combo doing a downward dog, rolls up into an upward dog (without touching your knees on the floor). Her legs are really spread wide and she keeps her toes curled so it's a variation of the upward dog I guess. Then she goes right into a low pushup (I had to drop to my knees) and then up into a high pushup. She holds each pose for a few seconds. She says this strength cooldown will invigorate you. It certainly doesn't relax you..HA!

The actual ending athletic stretch was disappointing. I will have to include more stretching next time I do this video. It's basically maybe a couple minutes long? I felt after an intense workout like this we deserved a very relaxing and longer stretch.

If your looking for a tough medicine ball workout then this is a must! It is defintely a workout I can grow with. The volume was loud and has your typical CIA music (nothing out of the ordinary here). The workout length was 60 minutes.


Deb Rolin