The Ultimate Body ShaperStephanie Vitorino
Year Released: 2009
Categories: Circuit Training (cardio and weights) , Lower Body Strength , Upper Body Strength
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The DVD has already been well reviewed so Iím just going to add my opinions. I was excited to pick up Stephanieís workout (this is the only one I have so far) because I recognized her as a background exerciser from some Pink Firms and from some Patrick Gordeauís workouts, and I was hoping her style would be similar. I would say it is very similar! Like both Patrick and The Firm, there is an AWT component from the multi-muscle work, moves quickly from one exercise to the next, and there are some ďintensifiersĒ or brief 1 minute cardio intervals sprinkled throughout (mostly high impact). More like Patrickís workouts, Stephanieís exercises are unique and functional, which help you to work your muscles in new ways (the exercises sort of reminded me of Michelle Doziosís Ultimate Workout strength chapter as well). Since the moves are functional, I would recommend using somewhat lighter weights than usual. I usually use 6-8-12-15# for Pink Firms but had to fall back to 5-8-10# for this workout, as I tend to have to with Patrick as well. But those lighter weights donít sacrifice intensity! I definitely had my heart rate up throughout.
The DVD menu allows you to play all (as outlined by other reviewers) or by each chapter. There is a little countdown timer for the 5 minute warm up, two 30 minute AWT chapters, and 5 minute cool down. I am at an intermediate level and prefer to break this down from a 70 minute workout to a 40 minute workout by doing just one of the main chapters. The music is pretty good (comparable to a Patrick workout, better than a Pink Firm) and the production quality is high. The camera angles made the moves difficult to follow once or twice, but thankfully the problem didnít persist. I personally didnít like the little pop ups at the bottom, but those can be turned off at the DVD menu.
I wonít reiterate the exercises, but just to add my opinions:
The warm up was to the point and efficient. The two pushup sets were tough! I liked the countdown timer, even in the warm up.
In the step workout, Like Nyx said, I was surprised there wasnít more biceps work, and there was an overload of shoulders and back, but I just subbed one of the repeat shoulder exercises for biceps so it wasnít a big deal. I really appreciated the creativity of the exercises, but found two of them tricky to execute (the first being the frontal raise with leg press off to the side-but maybe thatís because my step was a little taller than theirs, theirs looked about 10Ē while I was using the 14Ē Firm Fanny Lifter-I had to drop my weight to keep good form). The second was the one legged squat with front shoulder raise, which was tricky (and a little scary) to do on top of the step, and I might feel safer doing it on the floor in the future (what if you lose your balance?!), but itís difficult because the next exercise segueys from the step. But I could always not use weights, or use the shorter 8Ē step instead, Iím sure I can play around with it t make it work for me. With that said, I really DO appreciate that she does utilize the step for every workout Ė which was great because I do really enjoy using the tall step. And the rest of the exercises were both creative and easy to execute, while being majorly challenging!
In the mat workout, itís all standing with the last 5 minutes or so on the floor. There is a lot of core and balancing work in this one, which was great! I felt like Stephanie intensified the shoulders and back, but also had a lot of work for triceps (yay!), biceps, and chest, so I felt well balanced by the end. This was a great routine. The floor work was intense with the super slow chest presses with leg raise. Ultimately I think I liked the mat workout better, and I really bought the DVD for the step workout. What a nice surprise! Also, I did the workout barefoot on a padded mat and it worked great.
I really enjoyed the yoga-inspired cool down and it was a welcome change from the athletic stretches that most DVDs offer. The music on this was especially good.
I am confident that I will add this workout to my regular routine (I love AWT workouts!!) and I appreciate the creativeness of the exercises. If done in entirety, I would say this is advanced, but can become more intermediate if done in pieces (in 40 minutes instead of 70). If you do halfsies, I think they complement each other nicely. They are both shoulder intense but you get more of a leg/upper focused in the first workout and core/upper focused in the second workout. Like Lindsey said, I would likely not recommend this to beginners, the exercises are too complex for a beginner, and there is also no modifier. This is definitely a high quality, creative workout. Overall grade B+!
I was looking forward to seeing Stephanie as a lead, and she has great camera presence. She has a big glowing smile, reminding me of Heidi Tanner from The Firm/WHFN. She has an articulate voice (albeit she sounds a little valley girl-ish), she mirror cues, and gives good form pointers. I would definitely considering buying more of her workouts.
This dvd has two 30 minute AWT (aerobic body shaping) workouts, a seperate 5 min warmup and 6 min cooldown, plus a bonus 6 minute ab workout. Stephanie works out with 2 background exercisers in a nice open room with hardwood floors and her V Body logo in the background. There is a small countdown timer in the corner. One workout is a high step and one is a mat (mostly standing strength with some intensity bursts). You will need a high step or fanny lifter and 2 sets (or more) of dumbbells for this w/o.
This workout is, what the Pink Firms should be IMO. It has enough strength work to count as a strength day but it gets & keeps your heartrate up with cardio bursts & intensity intervals. Fun, effective, NO dread factor but still a booty kicking workout!!
The 1st workout is 30 minutes of nonstop strength + cardio work using the tall step and dumbbells. There are a lot of moves that use multiple muscle groups-they are all paired nicely so the poundage works for all components of each move. She does some straight cardio (high knees jumprope, etc.) and a lot of the strength work will get your heart pumping as well- squatting off the high step while doing a frontal shoulder raise, tricep dips off the box, a back V raise, etc.
The 2nd workout is a "mat" workout. Its a strength workout with 1 min intesity intervals throughout. She incorporates a lot of core and balance work in a lot of the exercises. A side raise while in tree pose, a twist while holding the dumbbell, squatting low holding the head of a dumbbell, a "toss the laundry bag over the shoulder" type move, a TOUGH roll back and then jump up move, and ends with a few minutes of lying ab/ chest work.
The ab workout is 8 of Stephanies favorite core moves and includes crunch, plank, and spinal work variations. Stephanie works out alone in this segment.
There were a lot of unique moves in this that were fresh and not at all awkward like some "new & exciting" exercises can be. She really packs a lot into each of these 30 minute workouts and the pace is right on-no wasted time but I didnt feel at all rushed or frenzied. I also like that the w/u and c/d are seperate as I usually do my own and skip those anyways.
This is a high intermediate that you can make a bit tougher by modifying. I would say an intermediate would be able to do this but its not a beginners workout. Stephanie is a wonderful lead! She is very motivating and has great form pointers & reminders throughout. There is even the *cutest* feature on this dvd-a miniature Stephanie runs across the bottom of the screen from time to time (only 4-5 X total) with a pointer or form reminder! Its not distracting AT ALL! You do have the option to turn it off if you choose though.
The Ultimate Body Shaper offers up a variety of routines in a tough advanced aerobic/toning interval program (you won't get bored!). Stephanie also demonstrates exercises for core stabilization and balance so you'll get all this plus fat burning and muscle toning. You can choose to do the first 30 minute program that uses a high step, which is great for toning the hips & buttocks or the second which also includes the 1 minute "Intensity Bursts" but doesn't use the step (or for a Super Fat Burning Challenge, do the entire program).
The workout has a timer so you'll know precisely how much time you have left to exercise and a unique "pop-up" feature that offers additional training tips throughout the workout from Stephanie. (this option can be turned off if you choose) Stephanie also offers a bonus abdominal section that she calls her "V8", 8 of her favorite core exercises to trim and tone all areas of the abs including the obliques.
The main menu selections are as follows:
High Step Shaper
V8 Bonus Abs
Pop Ups on/off
The set is a bright, open studio with hard wood floors. The music was instrumental.
The workout uses intervals of strength training and cardio conditioning. You'll begin with a 5 minute warmup to generate heat throughout the body and prepare the body for the main workout. Stephanie uses big movements here (squats, lunges, step touches) which quickly raise the heart rate. You'll also get the core ready with a few twists.
High Step Shaper: Using a high step (with 2-4 risers depending on fitness level) and 2 sets of hand weights, you'll really get the heart rate up and burn serious calories in this 30 minute segment. Beginning with a march you'll progress into jump rope, heel kicks and high knees. Next you'll pick up your medium/heavy set of weights and perform a step up with biceps curl. (step ups are great lower body shapers) Next you'll perform a row to work your back and then make it harder by pulling your knee up onto step. Repeat to left side, expect this time you'll perform a set of hammer curls. Then you'll be ready for another cardio drill. Stephanie does a hop & reach and progresses into plank pushups. Grabbing your light weights, you'll perform a diagonal lunge with an overhead reach and a small triceps kickback. Shoulder combo is next consisting of a forward raise into side raise. A squat into a kick is next, building in intensity. Perform some jumping jacks then move to the other side for the squat/kicks. Grab one med/heavy dumbbell and stand on top of the high step. You'll be doing a one legged squat with a core/shoulder move. Next you'll do a squat off the side of the step, varying the rep count. Repeat opposite side. A bent over straight arm high V shoulder move follows. (you'll need light weights for this move) The next move is a side plank using the high step. It is an effective move that simutaneously works the core and shoulder. Jack & jab is next to boost the heart rate. Repeat the sequence to other side. Side to side jumps with elbow strikes follow. The next move is a plank row. You'll place the weights on top of the high step and walk your feet out into a wide V plank and hold the position. Then you'll perform alternating rows maintaining the plank. Next move is plies with a small rotation at the waist. Following this is a squat side leg lift. Next, seated on your high step with light weights, you'll perform a chest fly. (you'll feel this one) Triceps dips on the step follows. Stephanie then performs a yoga pose called Chair Pose. Seated ab work is next. You'll begin with knee lifts, using the core to do the work. The next move effectively tones the obliques which act like a girdle to "tighten you up". You'll grab a light weight and perform a "row the boat" motion. That completes this section.
Mat Shaper: Still using your 2 sets of hand weights, however you'll sub your mat for your high step in this section. You'll begin with a side to side step touch which turns into a skater move. Next is a plie move with chest fly. (you'll see lots of compound moves throughout the workout which keep the heart rate up all while toning the muscles, making it doubly effective!) Next is a balance move with toning. You'll balance in tree pose and do a shoulder raise. The next intensity move is a series of walking planks and mountain climbers on the floor. One heavy weight is needed for a lunge and double arm overhead press with a rotation. Overhead triceps extension is next. Next you'll work the core with some twists and chop moves. Jacks with forward & side arms and power jacks boost calories. Runners lunge and row with a heavy set of weights work both the front leg (working leg) and the back. Next you'll hold balance on one leg and row only. Biceps curls are next with various rep counts. Left side runners lunge/row sequence. A set of hammer curls follows. A quick jumping roll up is next. (this move was hard~if you have back issues may need to modify this move) Next using your light weights you'll perform a single leg dead lift with a V lift press with the arms overhead. Stephanie then does a waist toner side bend. High knee runs and tuck jumps follow. Perform single leg deadlifts, etc to other side. Another oblique exercise followed by squats are next. Stephanie then does a walking triceps dip move across the floor on the mat. Next you'll move to the floor for chest & ab work. You'll do a chest sweep with different crunch variations. Next is a plank with a kickback. Repeat the chest/kickback sequence to the other side. Finish this section in a low elbow plank hold.
The 5 minute cool down is yoga inspired and lengthens out the muscles gently. You'll begin with standing poses and conclude with seated stretches.
Stephanie cues well and offers tips throughout. Her website is www.stephanievitorino.com. This was a review copy.
Warning: I haven't actually done it (in the middle of STS)
But, it looks great, and although I thought SV was going to be too valley-girl for me, I really like her. There are two workouts, a high step workout, and a mat workout. The mat workout is not a floor workout, although you do a few exercises there. The workouts each alternate between intensity boosts (cardio blasts) and weight segments. Her intensity boosts build up, so at the beginning of the boost you aren't working as hard as you are toward the end. There is a workout timer that counts down the workout, and I included when each segment ends according to that clock). I couldn't tell how heavy the weights she's using are, but the back of the DVD says 3-10 pounds is needed. She pops up at the bottom of the screen to give you hints or encouragement, but you can turn that off. She also includes her V8 abs segment, which is a bonus and you can select that from the menu.
Warmup - 5 minutes - use this warmup for both workouts (there's only one warmup on the DVD)
Side lunges w/punches, step touches and then add a knee lift, alternating squats, squats with twist and open arm rotations, 8 pushups (all on her toes), 8 tricep pushups (all on her toes), calf raises w/muscle arms, lunges, jumprope and jogging in place
Workout 1 - High Step Workout - 30 minutes - This workout is done with a light and heavy set of weights and the high step w/4 risers. Breakdown:
Intensity boost - run w/heel kicks, run in place, run w/high knees
Grab heavy weights - high step leg presses with biceps curl, then stationary back rows w/one leg up on step, then tap up with rows (keep one leg on high step and tap other leg up onto step and then onto floor - kinda like a half Firm style leg press), switch legs (end 25:30)
Intensity boost - planks on high step, squat thrusts with hands on high step, triceps pushups on high step, repeat (end 24:01)
Grab light weights - alternate diagonal lunge with overhead press and kickback at end of lunge, then stop and do standing front raises with a row back at the top, then lower (end 21:52)
Intensity boost - side squat w/ side toe tap, side squat w/side knee raise, side squat w/side kick, then side squat and tap floor with hand (go very low) w/ side kick/punch, jacks, repeat other side (end 20:20)
Grab 1 heavy weight - single leg squat while standing on high step with front raise, then stand and circle weight over head, then squat pulses onto floor from high step with front raises, repeat on other leg, then side to side squats to finish off. Grab light weights - rear deltoid raises, planks on high step with weight raise and twist (end 13:33)
Intensity boost - jack and jab, fast feet with punches (end 12:33)
Repeat rear deltoids and planks with weight raise above (end 10:26)
Intensity boost - power squats (fast squat side to side) with single then double elbow strikes, then muscle arms (end 9:25)
Grab heavy weights - planks on high step while holding dumbbells, alternating rows, then plie squats with a reach down to the knee and pull back w/rotation, then do a single leg squat and hold while raising other leg, then switch legs.
Grab light weights - seated upright chest fly's. Triceps dips, then add tricep dip pulses with leg extensions, then pulse and hold yourself on one hand and extend legs (looks hard!) Chair pose and hold. Knee tucks on high step. Side chops with weights.
The only thing I was wondering is why there wasn't a bit more biceps work in the first workout. There are more shoulder, back, and triceps exercises. The pace is changed up quite a bit. Many times you start out lifting a weight slower, and then pick up speed. This one is definitely more leg intense than upper body.
Workout 2 - Mat Workout - 30 minutes - Need same weights as above
There is only one warmup, see above
Intensity boost - skaters (end 29:13)
Grab light weights - plies with chest fly, tree pose w/lateral raises and front raises (end 26:40)
Intensity boost - planks w/climbers (end 25:30)
Grab 1 heavy weight - Back lunge with single weight push up overhead, add a chop to side, then stationary lunge with overhead triceps extension, pivot twists with weight "swings", repeat on other side (end 20:54)
Intensity boost - jacks with arms to front and side, power jacks, repeat (end 19:42)
Grab heavy weights - Stationary runners lunge with back rows, come up and balance hold one leg up and back and row, then standing biceps curl, repeat (end 15:39)
Intensity boost - start standing, roll down onto back on the floor and come up, then add a jump (end 14:44)
Grab light weights - single leg deadlift, add a v-press up to ceiling at top of deadlift, then add a back leg lift on non-working leg at top of deadlift, then side bends holding weights (end 12:36)
Intensity boost - run w/high knees, fast tuck jumps, repeat (end 11:24)
Repeat deadlift sequence above and instead of side bends do knee raises with elbows to the knee holding weights (end 9:39)
Intensity boost - pulse squats and hops (end 8:47)
Grab one heavy weight - windmills (like a side bend) and squats (end 5:30)
Intensity boost - crab walk side to side with triceps dips (end 4:26)
Grab light weights - lying crunces with overhead weight circles and leg lifts, then planks with triceps kickbacks, repeat on other side, more planks
The music is repetitive instrumental stuff, but has enough of a perky little beat for me most of the time. She snaps her fingers sometimes, like during an inhale/exhale where you send the arms up and down. I never saw saw an instructer do that, but I actually thought it was cute. : ) There are enough different moves thrown in with traditional moves to make the workout interesting.
I can't wait to do this!