Physique 57: Arm and Ab Booster 30 Minute Workout

Shelly Knight
Year Released: 2009

Categories: Abs/Core , Upper Body Strength

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This is the first of the 3 DVD set that I tried, and I'm giving this a solid B+. The name "booster" says it all: it's a great add-on to cardio or other workouts.

Since Fuzzie already gave a breakdown of the workout, I'll second her opinion, with the exception that I got a tad thrown off because there is no mirror cuing. When she says bring your left leg forward and raise your right arm to the back, it's really the opposite. While it caused me to pause and replay the DVD once, next time I'll be prepared for it.

The arm section flew by, and overall I feel it hit all the upper body quickly and efficiently. Compared with the arm work in the Squeezes and Tracy Anderson, P57 Arm & Ab Booster is much easier. I used 3 pound weights and might have to go up to 5 pounds, whereas Squeeze and TA have me longing for 1 pound weights.

I only did the first part of the ab section which uses the playground ball behind the lower back. At the time of this review I'm 5 months into my second pregnancy and cannot do prone abs. When Shelley mentioned C-curve, I felt right at home having cut my vidiot teeth on Callanetics before moving on to the FIRM in the late 80s. I'll take Fuzzie's word that it's a challenging core section, and I can't wait to try it once I've delivered.

So far I'm pleased with what I see, and I can't wait to try the Classic and Express Full Body Workouts.

Instructor Comments:
Shelley is bright and fun and is the fastest talker ever, to the point where my normally quiet husband commented about it.



Physique 57 is a technique developed by Tanya Becker, a former Lotte Berk instructor. Tanya has succeeded in updating the LB Method while retaining its essence. The result is a challenging, high-energy, FUN workout that produces awesome results. P57 uses upbeat music (dance, drums, hip-hop) and it is a non-stop workout. I have tried and enjoy pretty much all “barre” workouts available and this is by far my favorite. It’s addictive!

The workout is set in a bright studio with wood floors and blue panels in the background. There are five background exercisers, all instructors or students from the NYC studios. They are fit and extremely flexible. All participants smile during the workout and seem to be genuinely enjoying themselves. Their enthusiasm is infectious! One participant (Mandy) demonstrates modifications for less experienced exercisers and some advanced variations are also shown throughout the workout. Equipment required: Two sets of weights (they recommend 3 and 5 lbs), a mat, thick cushion (or rolled towel), and a playground ball.

The Arm and Ab Booster Workout is taught by Shelly Knight, Associate Director of Training at P57. I feel the DVD provides a well-rounded upper body workout and a tough core training session. There is also a bit of lower body work involved since some exercises are compound moves recruiting the legs and especially the inner thighs. Here is a general breakdown:

Warm-up and standing upper body:
• Alternate knee lifts
• With the feet in 2nd position, you perform pli้ variations while working the upper body with your heavier weights: (1) bicep curl variations; (2) Shoulder presses; (3) Pec deck; (4) Small lats pulldown; (5) Alternate shoulder presses.
• Turn the feet parallel and lean forward to work the back with back row and back fly variations.
• Bring the feet together: Alternate triceps press
• Grab one lighter weight to work the triceps and posterior delts: (1) One-arm shoulder extension; (2) Press the arm in toward the body; (3) Press in and lift up; (4) Shoulder extension with the palm up.

Upper body and core on the floor:
• Flowing pushup/plank series: (1) Pushups; (2) Plank with hip extensions, first with a straight leg then with the knee bent; (3) Pushups with one leg extended up; (4) Side plank.
• Forearm plank: (1) Alternate knee tap; (2) Dip hips side-to-side.
• Triceps dips.

• Lean back with the legs extended and place the ball behind the lower back, holding light weights at the chest. The abs work isometrically as you move the arms: (1) Alternate arm raise overhead; (2) Overhead press; (3) Open arms side and pulse up; (4) Arms in front, tap weights together then cross the hands.
• Remove the ball and get back into the c-curve with the weights held at the chest: (1) Small curls; (2) Twist side-to-side.
• Place the ball between the knees and lie on your back with the legs in tabletop position: (1) Squeeze ball; (2) Lower legs toward the floor and lift up. Repeat with the shoulders off the floor, then with the legs extended over the hips and shoulders on floor, then with the legs extended and shoulders off the floor.
• Isometric series in which you use the abs as to stabilize the body while performing countless variations of leg movements, with the ball between the knees or held in the hands, and the shoulders on the floor or held up.
• V-sit with the ball between the knees.
• Oblique curls with the ball / Alternative twist side-to-side.
• Place the ball between the feet with the legs turned out and extended over the hips: (1) Squeeze ball; (2) Lower legs toward the floor and lift up; (3) Bend knees and extend legs. Repeat with the shoulders off the floor.

Brief stretch focusing on the entire core and inner thighs.

Instructor Comments:
I really like Shelly as an instructor. She has a unique voice and talks nonstop, really fast; this might irritate some exercisers but I find her motivating and fun. For instance, at one point during the never-ending core work she says: “Roll your head down for one moment that way you’ll like me again.” She smiles and laughs a lot and it helps me to keep going through the burn. Shelly alternates between demonstrating the exercises and walking around the class instructing, providing many useful cues.