MM 21 Minutes/21 Days to a Long, Lean, Athletic BodyMarta Montenegro
Year Released: 2010
Categories: Circuit Training (cardio and weights) , Total Body Workouts
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I love love love this DVD.
This series includes 3 DVDs - 1 DVD titled "Strength", 1 DVD titled "Endurance", and 1 DVD titled "Power". You can buy all 3 DVDs together or you can buy them separately.
1) The Strength DVD includes 3 workouts: an upper body, a lower body, and a core workout.
1a) The upper body workout is mostly made up of trisets (3 exercises for 1 muscle performed one after another, as Marta says). So you work one muscle or set of muscles to completion, them move on to the next. However, in the upper body workout, all the exercises are actually combination exercises (you work lower body while working upper body). This keeps the heart rate up nicely, but you can easily leave out the lower body moves if you want to just work upper. You can't really use your heaviest weights with this one, b/c you're often doing a balance move as the same time. My only issue with the upper body workout is that some of the back and chest exercises use the shoulders a lot, even before you get to the shoulders section, so I feel like the shoulders are overworked. I will modify this by just switching out a few of the exercises, so it's not a deal breaker for me.
1b) The lower body workout uses 2 giant sets w/10 reps for each exercise, and there are some nice twists on traditional moves. You can use fairly heavy weights with this one. There are a few ab exercises thrown in at the end of each giant set (as breaks). I like that she touches the floor at the bottom of some of the squat or lunge exercises, and she moves at a nice slower pace, so you can really watch your form and there's not much momentum involved.
1c) The core workout also uses a lot of combination moves, but I haven't done this one yet.
2) The Endurance DVD includes 3 workouts. Each workout consists of 3 circuits (mostly strength work, some cardio thrown in). The 3 circuits in each workout are similar, but the 2nd is harder than the 1st, and the 3rd is harder than the 2nd. You will do similar moves, but she may add plyos, or pulses, etc., to make the move different and harder. She changes things enough so that the circuits don't get boring. These mostly include leg work and pushup/plank work.
3) The Power DVD includes 4 10-minute-ish workouts. One is all cardio, and the other three are more total body. Each workout is made up of timed exercises (either 1-minute or 30-seconds long). You can choose to play all from the DVD menu, but you can't program the DVD to play the workouts in the order you want.
I think these workouts are high intermediate or interm/adv (not the Insanity kind of advanced), and are core and cardio intensive. These workouts will work well on their own or as add-ons, and they are very well chaptered (a big plus with me). I really like Marta, although she is mostly serious and doesn't talk a whole lot.
There are a few cons: These workouts do not have warmups, or cooldowns, and are often a few minutes longer than 21 minutes (Endurance and Strength DVD) or 10 minutes (Power DVD). Marta does not move to the music, so when you do moves where you look away from the TV, you can get off-sync with her. If you are very musicall-driven, these won't do that for you. Also, Marta doesn't talk a whole lot or offer a lot of form pointers.
I'm really loving the Montenegro Method workouts. These are challenging athletic functional fitness workouts. I get DOMS when I do them. I'd have to agree with the early reviews that they are definitely high-intermed to low-advanced workouts.
If I had to characterize them, I'd say they are like a Tracie Long workout on steroids - more advanced, many functional whole body moves at a slow controlled pace. She does squats and lunges with great functional twists and they are slow & controlled, she takes twice as long to perform the same number of frantic squats you might do in Cathe's workouts, for example. Definitely athletic workouts. No talk of bikini-bodies and wearing short skirts. Marta encourages you to train like an athlete to get results.
Many of the moves resemble those in Rachel Cosgrove's workouts. Sort of like those Men's Health or Women's Health workouts you see that look challenging but too hard to follow on paper, where form is important.
And the filming, the picture quality, the camera angles - all very very good, movie quality. 10 times better than Tracie Long's. The music is techno beat, I've heard some tunes re-used in two workouts of the series, but it carries a good beat and has a good volume that suits the workouts. The set & production really gives you the feel of working out in a very classy Miami/South Beach fitness club.
If you like Tracie Long's workouts but wish they were more challenging with better production values, or if you like Michele Dozois' Ultimate workout, or if you have tried Rachel Cosgrove's paper workouts from her book Female Body Breakthrough but you thought the workouts were too long, this might be the series for you.
One caveat: Marta's movements are not always on the beat of the music. Also, she performs all 10 reps for a unilateral moves on one side before doing the other side and sometimes her pace varies ever so slightly between sides.
For example, she might do 10 clockwork reverse lunges on the right and it will take 30 seconds but on the left it will only take 25 seconds. I find that it doesn't really bother me and I really appreciate the slow controlled pace. But for folks who really want a 16-count move to be performed on the music's beat, this may be a deal-breaker.
Another point: the workouts are actually longer than stated on the cover artwork - I'm actually glad they're longer, the more workout time the better, it's worth it to me!
The workout times are here (thanks to ddj for listing these!):
Upper body 18:23
Lower body 25:13
Workout 1 24:25
Workout 2 26:15
Workout 3 26:37
Workout 1 12:50
Workout 2 14:02
Workout 3 14:00
Workout 4 12:21
Also Marta only minimally interacts with Sarah, her background exerciser who appears in the Strength & Endurance DVD workouts. She asks Sarah "are you feeling this move too?" or something similar perhaps 4 times in the 6 21-minute workouts.
I have been doing these for three solid weeks and I'm not bored yet. I'm scared I'm going to wear out these DVDs and get burned out overusing them!
Should folks pay $45-50 for them including shipping & tax? I'm not sure, there's so many other more affordable workouts out there. The individual DVDs are becoming available at Collage now. Maybe later on these will become available r/etail and come down further in price.
My favorite if I had to choose just one workout of the three? I'd have to say the Power DVD with the four 10 minute segments, you can mix and match them, they have a great variety of strength/cardio exercises and the routines flow nicely.
Marta is lovely, very fit and gives some form pointers throughout. However, this is not a series for beginner exercisers as her cueing and form pointers are minimal and geared for more intermediate to advanced exercisers.
Also Marta has a heavy Venezuelan accent which may be difficult for some to understand: for example, she pronounces "dumbbells" as "DOMbils" and says "come-on" as "CAMen". Even funnier, she introduces her background instructor Sarah with a heavy accent so it sounds like "Tarra". I actually find her adorable and feel her voice and accent lend itself well to the South Beach flavor of the workouts.
This review is for Montenegro Endurance.
This is absolutely my go-to travel workout. No equipment necessary. There are 3 twenty minute workouts on the disc, with each being progressively harder. When I am travelling, I like my workout to be done in 20 minutes. This is definitely an int/adv workout. Many times when a workout is classified int/adv (such as by collage) I find the workout easier/more intermediate. Not so with this one. It is challenging but do-able. If you dislike planks/mtn-climbers, skip this one. Her accompanying exerciser is quite beautiful and was an inspiration to me.
She is decent. Not a superb instructor, but good enough. The athletic drills are easy to follow.