Core Secrets Give Me 20

Gunnar Peterson
Year Released: 2003

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

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This little workout is a quickie 20 minute full body routine. Itís already been well broken down so Iím just going to add my reviews. This is my first experience with Core Secrets (and with Gunnar) and I was pretty pleased. The music is pretty good, they were all recognizable tunes from 10MS/later Firm workouts (not BBH), the setting was a nice, clean room and it overall had high production values. I wasnít completely crazy about Gunnar starting on the floor, standing up/sitting on the ball for a lot of arm work, then coming back to the floor to repeat the ab work that was done at the beginning, however, the workout did move very quickly and I feel it was efficient. Like others have said, it focused more on the core and upper body, which worked great for me as I used it right before a jog.

Gunnar and his group only used one set of weights (and the ball) but I felt it much more advantageous to use multiple sets of weights. He worked small muscles like the rear delts, then large muscles like the lats, which for me at least require a different poundage. It was easy to switch weights with his demonstrations of each move. For the wood chop move, I used a dumbbell instead of the ball to add intensity (also my ceilings are fairly low). I did like that some of the moves were functional and that every move incorporated the ball in some way, engaging the core and not just because they had to use it as a prop.

Gunnar did mention at the end that this workout should only be used for time crunched days, and encouraged you to do some of his longer workouts. I got a few Core Secrets DVDs in a bundle recently and hope some of his longer ones are even more functional, and more challenging. Overall I have a lot of optimism for this set! I already have the 10MS Pilates on the Ball (probably my favorite stability ball DVD) and the Denise Austin ball workout, and really feel like the Core Secrets DVDs will be a beneficial addition. I felt this was more functional than the Denise ball workout, which wasnít the best. Done as is, I would say this is a beginner-intermediate workout (especially if one light set of weights is used throughout, or you follow the modifier) but can be made a little more challenging (intermediate) with several sets of weights to challenge yourself. Overall grade B+!

Instructor Comments:
This is my first experience with Gunnar and I can see how he is a good instructor, he cues well and explains how your muscles work and why you are doing a certain exercise. Like somebody else mentioned (I think for a different Core Secrets DVD review) he focuses more on strength than he does on aesthetics, which is a refreshing change of pace. Heís not as personable or jokey as other male instructors (say, Patrick Gordeau or Tony Horton) but he certainly gets the job done and heís professional. I might liken him to a male Tracie Long? Serious, to the point, and efficient.

Emily B.


This "Give Me 20" program is a fast paced 20 minute workout which primarily focuses on the upper body and core with just a little bit of lower body work.

It was created primarily as an "add-on" type workout. I can see using it when one is short on time or as something you can do in addition to doing some cardio work.

This morning I did "FUNdamentals" first, then after a short break came back and did this one.

The workout has Gunnar and several background exercisers, one who functions as a modifier.

These sequence of exercises were already broken down by another reviewer so I won't include that in this review.

I am an advanced exerciser though relatively new to stability ball work. Though I have I have several other (non-Core Secrets) stability ball programs in my collections which I enjoy, the Core Secrets workouts are my favorites(I also have "Accelerated Core Training" and "Full Body Challenge").

If a person is brand new (or coming back from a long layoff) to exercise or stability ball work, I'd recommend starting with "FUNdamentals" before doing this or any of the other CORE SECRETS workouts.

The programs are filmed in a bright and roomy studio setting and the camera work is done in a way that makes the programs easy to follow (some programs I have in my collection try to get too artistic which make the workouts very difficult to follow).

For me, these CORE SECRETS programs have been well worth the money and time spent on them and I look forward to using them as a regular part of my exercise rotation.

Instructor Comments:
Gunnar is fast becoming one of my favorite instructors. He's personable, enthusastic without being "over the top" and his instruction is clear and concise.

Scott (Yogadad)


I thought that this was a great workout combining strength training with the stability ball, and I really enjoyed it. In just 20 minutes, you will hit all major muscle groups, and you will definitely feel worked out by the end! Instructor Gunnar Peterson begins with a 3.5 minute warm-up on the ball; he gets right into things with squats and lunges (using the ball for balance) plus some static stretches. In the next segment (3 minutes), you'll lie on your back with your feet on the ball and holding a weight across your chest for abs work; you also roll onto your side to work the obliques. Next you return to standing for the "woodsman" move--holding the ball over your head to one side, you sort of chop it down to the other side, coming to a lunge. Gunnar does two sets, and I really felt these! You'll continue the leg work with some rear lunges and then sit on the ball for flies and rows (4 minutes total for the standing/seated segment).

Gunnar then has you lie over the ball for more upper body work, including flies and chest press. Seated on the ball, you'll do side lats and an overhead chest press. You'll do another abs move with weights on the ball and then finish off the upper body on the ball with bicep and hammer curls (5.5 minutes total). Next, you'll return to the floor for a final 4-minute segment. First, you'll do a triceps press with your feet on the ball, then you'll repeat the abs series from the beginning, this time without any weights. Gunnar ends the workout with some very quick stretches to finish. I can definitely see myself using this workout often, particularly when I'm short on time--highly recommended!

Instructor Comments:
This was my first Core Secrets workout and so my first experience with Gunnar. I liked him--he leads in kind of a drill-sergeant-like manner with his frequent counting, yet more pleasant, more encouraging.

Beth C (aka toaster)


This is one of the add-on workouts from Core Secrets. It is (as the title suggest) a 20 minute workout done on the stability ball. Most of the work focuses on the upper body and abs. It is complete in that it works all areas of the upper body, but I would have liked a few more sets for each body part.

It has very nice production values and decent instrumental music. I really like Gunnar and enjoyed the workout. However, I preferred some of the other Core Secrets workouts over this (because they work you a little more), and didn't think I would choose this one very often, so have decided not to keep it.

Lisa C


This is a 20min quick full-body workout using the stability ball and a set of dumbbells to add intensity. It's a solid intermediate workout that includes a good variety of exercises focusing on upper body & core. Good music, good instruction, some fun moves - it's one of the only Core Secrets workouts focusing upper body. Give Me 20" is an add-on workout to the original infomercial set.

It's filmed on a bright studio set with big windows and art deco walls. Gunnar works out with four gals who all use the silver 65cm Core Secrets stability ball and 5-8lb dumbbells. I found a 55cm ball works fine. Michelle shows modifications for beginners (no added weight, less range of motion).

The music in the workout is loud pop instrumental (by Daveed). Interestingly, this workout is close-captioned which some might find useful for following the workout.

It's got a 3min warm-up, 16min toning exercises and 1min cool-down. Gunnar demonstrates the first rep and then everyone joins him, he usually performs 10-12 reps. There's 19 different exercises in the body of the workout, tons of variety, not too many reps. He repeats 4 exercises. He really evenly hits all upper body muscles, bunch of exercises for the ab & core, and really there's only 1 exercise for the lower body.

I enjoyed this workout, it's faster-paced yet it flows well and I felt like it would be good as an upper-body refresher workout with added core work for those days where I literally only have 20 minutes. This is going to be a good workout to alternate with P90X or do on rest/lighter days. I just love the tremendous variety in these workouts, I don't think I'll ever get bored with them.

The breakdown is below. Every single move uses the ball, typically Gunnar does 8-12 reps:

WARM-UP 3min
ball roll-out
supported side lunge
crouch back stretch
overhead back stretch
kneeling roll-out
chest/shoulder/bicep/triceps stretch
ball drape

weighted crunch w/legs on ball
upper/lower weighted crunch roll-in
side crunch
wood chop
(repeat woodchops)
"elvis" rear lunges
bent-over rear delt raise
bent-over row
chest flyes
bench press
side lateral raise
shoulder press
bicep curls
hammer curls
tricep kickbacks
tricep dips with feet on ball (these are HARD!)
crunches (the next three exercises are similar/repeats of first 3 exercises)
crunch roll-ins
side crunch

hamstring stretch
ball roll-out stretch
overhead back stretch
crouch back stretch
curl up

TOTAL: 20min

Instructor Comments:
Gunnar is straight-forward, cues and motivates with a bit more expression than in some earlier tapes - some have described his voice as monotone.

Dawn P