Circuit Zone

Tracey Staehle
Year Released: 2008

Categories: Circuit Training (cardio and weights) , Kettlebell, Step Aerobics , Foam Roller

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The main workout has already been wonderfully reviewed so I want to review the premixes. The overall good points: premixes did not feel long at all (the longest was 49 minutes), the modifier was clearly shown, Tracey had good form pointers and terrific banter with her crew, and the exercises were different enough that I didn’t feel as though I were doing the same thing over and over again. The bad: lack of warm up and/or cool down with the premixes, and Tracey (although she gives good form pointers) does not always execute the best form. The so-so: This may bother some people: does not lift to the beat of the music and Tracey will sometimes stop to walk around the room and help her backgrounders with their form.

I have not done this workout in its entirety, but I have done all the premixes.

Here is a listing of the premixes:
High – Upper Body
Circuit 1
Circuit 3
Circuit 3 Bonus
Circuit 5

What I liked: all of the upper body was hit. Sometimes, when total body workouts are split up into premixes, a body part gets neglected. Tracey hit all of the upper body, which was good. The workout did not go crazy on reps either. I also liked that there weren’t tricep dips, which are hard on my wrist. In fact, I don’t think there were any moves that hurt the wrists. What I did not like - lack of a cool down and stretch, triceps seemed to be worked more than biceps, shoulders, and lower back. And I actually like working triceps. Additionally, could have used slightly more set up time to get weights in place. Music was pretty forgettable.

Fit - Custom Mix
Circuit 3
Circuit 2
Circuit 5
Circuit 7
Circuit 1
Circuit 6
Circuit 5 Bonus
Circuit 4
Circuit 7 Bonus – Stretch

The good: this workout hits all the body without being repped to death. The bad: Total lack of warm up. Why no warm up but a stretch?

Fast - Short and Sweet
Warm up with GirlFight
Warm up with Hot Legs
Circuit 1
Circuit 6
Circuit 3
Circuit 2 Bonus
The good: this workout hit most of the body parts. I felt I got a good workout without being repped to death. The bad: Did not include stretch. Why include two warm ups and no stretch?

Low- Lower Body
Hot Legs
Circuit 2
Circuit 2 Bonus
Circuit 4
Circuit 4 Bonus
Circuit 6
Circuit 7
Circuit 7 Bonus

Okay, a complete workout! Has a warm up AND cool down. Yummy ☺
I really liked this premix. Lots of DOMS today, and some nice variety among the exercises. I also liked the banter between Tracey and crew. There was one, hmmm, strange comment that Tracey made about "Good date, bad date" and your abductors/adductors. I had to rewind it three times to be sure I heard it right LOL! However, I just figured she's a raunchy gal and let a bit much of her personality shine through. We could probably hang out in real life. Also, if you have this DVD, check out the credits. They are too cute! Plus, the lower body premix is the only one that, in my mind, was complete. It had a warm up, workout, and stretch. The other premixes were missing one or the other. This might be a keeper! One small pet peeve – have all your equipment handy, because this premix uses the most equipment and there is precious little set up time.

A word on the stretch – It was a little hard to get into the stretch when Tracey kept saying, “ouch, this hurts.” Why not “this may feel tender” or “this is really tight?” Also, she did not roll out any of her upper body. Would have been nice to see her roll out her upper body. For a positive note, she did show some close ups of her on the roller, and she did mention that if we reached a point of great pain, that we should stop or decrease the intensity. Great stretching music too! Do wish she would have rolled us out a little more.

Last notes: Great effects and layout. Not sure if those are the proper terms, but I liked the wavy fade-outs and the snowy fade-outs. Those who have the DVD know what I’m talking about ☺ I also liked the clean, neat fonts and the crisp design of the covers, DVD label, and menus. I know that sounds funny (and doesn’t affect the workout at all), but I notice these things.

Overall, I liked this workout and am glad to have it in my collection. Will it stand the test of time? I don’t know, but for now I love it, if only for the lower body premix alone.

Instructor Comments:
Tracey is hilarious! I love her personality. She seems to be serious about fitness, but does not take herself too seriously, if that makes sense. She finds it okay to show her vulnerability, which I find refreshing. She could still use work on cueing and form, but I hope she stays in the fitness industry.



This workout is about 74 minutes long when done in the original format, but also offers some nice pre-mixes so you can customize your workout. The menu choices include Play All, Short Circuit, Work Zone, Video Zone and Credits. Short Circuit gives you an overview of the workout, and lets you know which exerciser to follow based on your energy or fitness level. Work Zone offers four pre-mixes, as well as access to each chapter of the workout. The premixes include Fast – Short & Sweet (31 min); Fit – Custom Mix (49 min); High – Upper Body (24 min); and Low – lower body (43 min). The Video Zone feature offers a quick preview of the circuits, with small repeating clips of the work involved in each one.

The equipment needed for this workout includes dumbbells, a bench or step, and a resistance band or versa loop. Optional equipment includes a foam roller, kettlebell, medicine ball, and BOSU. There is always a modifier shown not using the optional equipment. The BOSU isn’t used as much as it was in The Parts Series or Sculpt Sweatfest. Also, I don’t have a traditional foam roller, but used my Fitbody Roller during the foam roller work. It made a decent substitute, and provided a nice balance challenge during the triceps exercises that are done while lying on the foam roller. But, it doesn’t seem nearly as dense as a foam roller, so I don’t think I got as much from the stretch as I would have from a real foam roller. Tracey mentions rolling your muscle until your feel tenderness, but I never really felt any tenderness or sensitivity. Tracey also says that you can use a rolled up yoga mat or a tennis ball in place of the foam roller during the stretch, too.

It took me a little bit to warm up to this workout, but after the first 20 minutes or so, I was enjoying it. I’m not sure why I didn’t get in to it sooner, and it could have just been my mood. The music is pretty catchy in this one, and I did recognize a few songs – like Blondie’s Call Me, and The Clash’s Rock The Casbah. Though I think they were different remixes than the ones used in Glute Camp. Tracey walks around more than I remember from the other workouts to check form on the background exercisers, and I didn’t think that was really necessary. I also wished she would have spent more time with the foam roller stretches, as she mentions a few more foam roller exercises at the end of that segment, but doesn’t demonstrate them.

I liked the biceps curls combo, the triceps work on the foam roller, the other balance work, and the slow motion kicking sections the best. Since I’m still pretty new to kickboxing, the kicking section looks like a nice way to practice kicks (and Tracey says as much, too). I also liked the work with the versa loop, especially the jumping squats from Glute Camp. So again, another good workout outside my preferred format. Overall, I enjoyed my Tracey Staehle rotation, look forward to trying some of her other cardio workouts one of these days, too.

And the breakdown:

Warm Up – there are actually two warm ups – one for upper body (5:20) and one for lower body (4:30); each are kickboxing flavored, with mostly punches for upper and mostly kicks for lower; both are relatively easy to follow

Circuit 1, Chest (4:15)
dumbbell (or kettlebell) pullovers
dumbbell chest press, various leg options shown to add more core work
knee tucks from push up position, alternated with push ups
dumbbell reverse flyes

Circuit 2, Legs (4:40)
alternating dumbbell lunges onto BOSU, step. or floor
boxer squat (fast squats with one leg positioned a step behind the other)
reverse dumbbell lunges, with rear leg onto BOSU, step or floor
prisoner squats, adding jumps and jump tucks at the end

Circuit 2 bonus, Leg burn (4:30)
explosive lunges
low knee jump kick combo
lunges, front to back with no rest
jump tucks or deep squats

Circuit 3, Biceps & triceps (4:50)
curl combo – hammer, regular, outside, reverse
overhead triceps extensions (dumbbells or kettlebell)
medicine ball (or dumbbell) wood chops

Circuit 3 bonus, Triceps burn (4:40)
lying triceps extensions with medicine ball or dumbbells, into a medicine ball throw or triceps press on foam roller or step
triceps kickbacks, palms facing each other
triceps kickbacks, palms facing behind
triceps kickbacks, palms facing forward

Circuit 4, Versa loop (6:00)
standing side leg lifts with resistance band around ankles
soccer kicks to the front, with resistance band around ankles
jumping squats (from a squat position, jump in and out of a narrow and wide stance with band around ankles – like in Glute Camp )

Circuit 4 bonus, Versa loop burn (2:30)
standing leg kickbacks, with resistance band around ankles, at different speeds

Circuit 5, Shoulders (4:45)
wide grip dumbbell row
bent arm lateral raise, going into the beginning of a dumbbell shoulder press at the top, then back down into into the end of the lateral raise
dumbbell overhead press
lateral raises in an arc (lateral raise with your arms at a 45 degree angle, rotating your hands toward the floor, and down in a sweeping or figure 8 type motion – like in Strictly Upper Body)

Circuit 5 bonus, With weights (3:00)
weighted front punches
weighted cross punches
weighted hooks
weighted uppercuts, then into a combo of all four

Circuit 6, Legs – yowza! (7:30)
one legged squats
alternating front lunges with a two arm dumbbell row
fast paced knee ins, one minute per side

Circuit 7, Legs & balance (7:40)
slow paced front kicks, with a static hold at the end of the set
slow paced side kicks, with a static hold at the end of the set
slow paced roundhouse kicks, with a static hold at the end of the set
then repeat each kick sequence twice, slightly faster with less reps, with a stretch before switching sides

Circuit 7 bonus, foam roll stretch (6:00)
lie face down, with roller under your hip, and roll back and forth in short motions
lie face down, with roller under your quadriceps, and roll slowly back and forth
sit on the roller, with hands on the floor behind you, and roll slowly back and forth on your glutes
sit on the roller, with hands on the floor behind you, and shift to one side, and roll slowly back and forth on the side of your leg

Instructor Comments:
I really like Tracey, and her instruction seems to improve with each video. I find her funny, and like the energy of her workouts.