Action Hero Babe Training SystemValerie Waters
Year Released: 2009
Categories: Strength Training (Total Body)
Video Fitness reviews may not be copied, quoted, or posted elsewhere without the permission of the reviewer
This program consists of 6 total body resistance circuit workouts on DVD, three for each phase (4 weeks for each) for an 8 week program. This program also contains binder w/ inserts (for program materials), a CD of the AHB materials (nutrition, workouts in paper format w/ photos), Basic training DVD (demos form for exercises & discussed the equipment used & different variation of her common exercises in the workouts for each type: Burn, Build or Sculpt), Getting Started DVD (Val discusses the program, some nutrition, intentions), bonus 15 min. power yoga workout w/ yoga instructor Tom Morely, interview CD w/ a stuntwoman, interview DVD w/ actress Rachel Nichols.
These workouts are circuits like Valerieís others program but the different types are not mixed into one workout rather has on day devoted to each type. Build (similar to Valís Sculpt circuits) is the heavier weights focused workout, Burn (similar to Valís Sweat circuits) is the light resistance, more bodyweight exercises focused workout w/ a high cardio effect, and Sculpt uses lighter weights than Build but focuses on shoulders, arms, core & lower body (similar to Valís Polish circuits). The workouts are geared towards intermediates+, but could be modified up or down to fit one's abilities & needs (and Valerie does provide tips on modifying the workouts).
Valerie recommends to alternate interval cardio workouts w/ the AHB resistance workouts. Itís a 6-day-a-week program, with one rest day (but she states that yoga can be done on rest day). The priority for workouts (if one was to miss some) is to not miss the resistance circuits, but the cardio.
Equipment used: Dumbbells, bands (attached to door or wrapped around stable object, like cardio machine or pole, but can sub in dumbbell variations for bands), stability ball, med ball (can sub in light dumbbell), body bar (can sub two dumbbells or kettlebells), Valslides/Gliding discs (can sub in paper plates or frisbees), dowel stick (only used for 1 exercise in phase 2), high step, small loop resistance band (could use long, flat band & just make a small loop)
Valerieís workouts tend to be very balanced, works total body (major muscle groups & some small) and without overworking/focusing on any area. One does get a lot of work done in the time period, and there are scheduled rests after each circuit is complete (about a minute, one can reduce the rest periods or have longer ones if needed). There are 2-3 circuits in each workout that are repeated mostly 2 times each (total of 3 times), some are repeated just once (total of twice, this is usually the last circuit in the workout). Each workout has a similar movement prep of dynamic stretches & movements to warm-up with, I found that my body responded well to this w/ flexibility gains (liked it much more than a standard warm-up of cardio), and the cool-down stretches (static) are similar in each workout.
Build 1- about 45 min., focus on lifting heavy, weight recommendations: 10-25 lbs. each dumbbell, and 30-40 lbs. total, rep ranges: mostly 10-12 reps for the weighted exercises, the abs/core exercises are 15-20, 4 exercises in each circuit, Some exercises in Build 1: dumbbell chest press, pikes w/ Valslide, sumo squat, roll away on ball. 3 circuits total, the first two are done 3xís each, the last one option is 2-3 xís.
Burn 1- about 46 min., weight recommendations: light band for band exercises, 5 lbs. for dumbbells, rep ranges: mostly 12-15 reps, the abs & cardio-ish exercises are 20 reps, only the Valslide Oblique Mountain climbers are done for 10 reps. Some of the other exercises in Burn 1: Step-ups, kickback, Valslide reverse lunge, Alligator walk w/ Valslides (body in plank position, feet on Valslides, move forward & back with hands, feet go along for the ride). 8 exercises in each circuit, there are 2 circuits total, both done 3 xís each.
Sculpt 1- about 50 min, many bodyweight exercises (high reps) in this workout, weight recommendations: 3-10 lbs., rep ranges: most 12-20 reps, a few are 10 reps, some exercises in Sculpt 1: windmill, Valslide knee tuck, skull crushers, bent over row & donkey kick. 3 circuits: first two done 3 xís each, the last one 2 xís each.
Build 2- about 45 min., weight recommendations: 5-20 lbs. each dumbbell and 15-45 lbs. total, rep ranges: 10-15 reps, some exercises: witchís cauldron on stability ball, 1arm shoulder press, squats, weighted glute bridge on stabilty ball. 4 exercises in each circuit, 3 circuits total: first two done 3 xís each, the last one 2 xís each.
Burn 2- about 40 min., weight recommendations: 5 lbs. each & band can be same or heavier than what was used in phase 1, rep ranges: 10-15 reps, some exercises: dips, lunge kick, alternating biceps curl, skaters. 5-6 exercises in each circuit, 3 circuits total: first two done 3 xís each, the last one 2-3 xís each.
Sculpt 2- about 52 min., weight recommendations: 3-12 lbs. each dumbbell, rep ranges 10-20 reps, some exercises: Valslide leg curl (hamstring curl), stability ball Wís, single leg reaching squat to press, fire hydrant w/ kick. 4-6 exercises in each circuit, 3 circuits: 3 circuits total: first two done 3 xís each, the last one 2 xís each.
Valerieís cardio-ish exercises in the workouts tend to be athletic, some of those are:
step-ups on high step
hops side to side (w/ band & w/out)
plyo jumps w/ overhead swing w/ med ball
Overall, a program w/ solid total body resistance workouts. I completed the 8 week AHB rotation, and and had previously only finished the phase 1 month of workouts. I definitely liked the Phase 2 workouts more, they were more challenging, had more unilateral exercises & liked the different variations sequenced in w/ the Valslides & bands (I generally use dumbbells, but like to use the bands too, for more variety). The workouts can seem equipment heavy, but one really only needs dumbbells, a stability ball, step & some gliding tool. The bands can be subbed w/ dumbbell exercises, and the exercises on the ball (many can be subbed on the floor or done standing, except for a few). The reason that Valerie is known for her workouts is because of the results she gets w/ her clients, obviously if she did not, she would not be well-known for her work. I like that the circuits move quickly, theyíre not boring and they hit total body w/out overkill in exercises, so thatís appealing to me. And the impact on the joints is minimal, but the cardio effect is high so another plus to me. The set is Valís gym, and switches from black & white to color, throughout the workouts. She times the rest periods manually w/ a timer.
Val is not as polished in these workouts (somewhat nervous or relying on paper to stay on track moreso in the phase 2 workouts, in phase 2 itís much more smoother) than her newer offerings. But since it was her first intro. into making fitness videos, itís understandable. She is clear in instruction & form pointers, and is motivating, too (always encouraging people to work within their level of abilities & feel proud of their efforts).
About me: Advanced exerciser. I like P90X, P90X+, Cathe, Insanity, running. I was hoping this set would give me a cardio boost along with strength work. I really wanted to be challenged.
Well, I'm going to have to say that this set is not for me. I really like to be challenged, it's part of what motivates me. This just didn't do it, even with increased weights. I'm sorry, I just prefer to have my butt kicked and this wasn't it. Val mentions a few times how she is sweating, as if this was a surprising and icky side effect. Personally, I want to sweat. The more the better. It's hard for me to be motivated by someone who seems to dislike the sweat and the work. I didn't feel like the woman likes to workout. I'm coming off an Insanity rotation (which I absolutely loved). Compare Val to Shaun T and you can decide who is more motivating for you. Different strokes.
From a production standpoint, I thought the quality of these was fine. I always kind of felt like Cathe over does it and I'd rather she lower her quality a bit to get out more quantity. But, the fact that this set costs as much as a Cathe or a BB set is a bit ridiculous. I don't care who Valerie Waters trains. Her workout is certainly no better (or special) than Cathe, Jari, KCM, Amy Bento, Shaun T, Tony, etc. I'm sure they train famous people too, they just don't use it as a marketing tool (probably because they think it's as worthless as I do . . . and cheezy).
If you are someone that prefers an Intermediate level workout and is motivated by new rotations, this may be something good to try. Otherwise, I did not see anything today that makes this series revolutionary. Maybe it's in the other disks, but I just don't think I'm going to get around to trying them. By they way, I didn't even notice there wasn't any music. But how can she charge $100 for a series that doesn't even include music. IMO, This is SO not worth the price.