All About AbsMindy Mylrea
Year Released: 2006
Categories: Abs/Core , Balance/Medicine/Mini/Stability Ball, Gliding Disks
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Mindy Mylrea, the queen of functional fitness, presents three 15-minute ab workouts on this DVD. The first one uses a medicine ball, the second uses a balance ball, and the third uses your own bodyweight. There is also a bonus 10-minute gliding disk segment.
This is an advanced DVD, but don’t be scared off if you’re at the intermediate level. One of the background exercisers, Susie, demonstrates modifications.
Medicine ball workout: You start this workout by tossing the ball from hand to hand at waist height, then raising your arms higher as you keep tossing the ball from hand to hand. I wouldn’t have thought of this as ab training, but as Mindy points out, “You’ll notice that your abs are firing”. Then you pass the medicine ball under each leg in a figure-eight pattern (it’s handy to have a small medicine ball for this bit) then circle it around your body. Then you move to the floor where you repeat the same movements. As Mindy points out, “When you take your legs out of the equation, your abs fire a little bit more”. This is lots of fun — it feels more like playing with a friend than doing an ab workout. This is followed by some Pilates-inspired moves and crunches using the ball for added resistance. Then you do split push-ups with one hand on the medicine ball, followed by pushups and planks with both hands on the ball. This is tough!
Balance ball workout: This segment is the most challenging — and the funniest. If you like seeing super-fit people falling off their balance balls, you’ll enjoy this workout! It starts off with planks and pushups with both hands on the ball, then moves to one-legged planks with your elbows on the ball. A reprieve follows with opposite arm and leg lifts, and reverse crunches on the ball. Then things get really tough with pushups and pikes with one leg on the ball and the other in the air. Then there are long lever exchanges where you lie on your back with the ball held between your feet and crunch up to transfer the ball to your hands, roll ups using the ball for resistance, and side planks with the ball clutched between your feet as you raise your arm up in the air then tuck it under your body. At this point Mindy falls over. “I just did that to show you what it would look like!” she laughs. This is followed by some very tricky balance work on the ball, as Mindy falls off once again. “Just practice that on your own!” she says.
Bodyweight workout: This workout starts with a series of killer crunches followed by some Pilates-inspired moves. This is followed by Mindy’s own variations of side planks, planks and pushups — she sure has a way of "toughening up" traditional exercises! After all this, you get a well-deserved stretch.
Ratings out of five:
Production values ****
Workout design *****
Fun factor *****
Meets expectations *****
Mindy is an engaging, inspirational instructor who always seems to be having a blast.
This DVD presents four strength routines, from 9 to 16 minutes, which target the core.
One routine uses a weighted medicine ball (which needs to be large enough to support both hands in plank position), one uses a stability ball, and the third has no equipment. There is a 9-minute bonus routine featuring gliding disks.
The workouts are led by Mindy Mylrea. She instructs live, and she mirror-cues. There are four background exercisers, two men and two women. One woman demonstrates easier modifications. There is a functional fitness emphasis in all the routines, meaning the entire core, and not just the abs, is worked from many different angles. Core stability is constantly challenged, and flexibility training is also incorporated into the routines. There are a lot of plank variations, and surprisingly few crunch-type moves.
All About Abs is from Mindy’s own Fitflixs production company. The set is on the dark side but pleasant enough and it is easy to see everyone. Music is typical exercise fare (provided by Power Music) but decent.
The DVD is chaptered by individual routine. The workouts break down as follows:
-Med Ball (12 minutes): Mindy begins standing, tossing the ball back and forth, doing figure 8’s under the legs, and circling the ball around the body. Side crunches and twists follow. It is then down to the floor where Mindy repeats the ball tosses, etc. while seated. Next are a series of partial roll-backs, first holding the ball out to the front, then sweeping back to each side (adding in optional center tosses), then side-to-side floor touches. Crunch variations with the ball between the knees and balanced atop the ankles follow. We then flip prone for pushups with the ball under first one hand, then both hands. Plank work follows with both hands on ball and moving the legs. Supermans with the ball balanced on the back of the legs completes the med ball workout. (At one point during this routine one of the background guys loses control of his ball and has to chase it halfway across the set. I’m glad they left this in – besides making me grin, it also assures me I’m not the only one this ever happens to!)
-Stability Ball (16 minutes): The routine starts off with standing twists side to side, then raises overhead (be prepared to modify if you have 8-foot popcorn ceilings like me!), then some clock circles and a few standing rollouts. Next is some plank work, with first hands, then elbows, on the ball. Bird dogs follow, then there is a long set of back extensions. Mindy next has us put our feet on the ball for pushups, then adds in pikes (very challenging!). Flipping to supine, we do ball transfers from feet to hands, then full situps holding the ball in front of the body. Next are side planks with the ball between the ankles. Switching position to torso atop the ball, we do side twists then some traditional crunches (to which Mindy quickly adds some non-traditional variations). We finish this workout with a silly/fun move, doing 180-degree twists with the torso supported on the ball.
-No Equipment (15 minutes): Mindy begins with standing twists, knee-ups and side bends, before moving to all fours for cat-cow, then leg shoot-outs incorporating pushups. We move prone for Pilates swimming and upper back extensions. Next we flip over for a long set of crunch variations that also incorporates the legs. Spinal rolls follow, ending in a V-sit. Planks are next, and it’s a very long set. We begin with a side plank, incorporating hip dips and then a curl over to a pushup. Next is an elbow plank, during which we shift the body forward and back, and then move up and down in the plank from elbows to hands and back. The side plank series is repeated on the other side, then back onto the elbows for another plank, moving the legs in and out. A well-deserved cat-cow stretch ends the segment.
-Bonus Gliding Workout (9 minutes): This one uses Mindy’s gliding disks. If you don’t have the disks you can try paper plates (if you are working out on carpeting) or rags (if you have a hard surface). Some VFers have successfully substituted furniture moving disks for gliding disks. We begin on all fours with feet on the disks, doing first bird dogs then planks with variations. Next is sliding from all fours to prone with the disks under the hands, followed by pushups and back extensions. A version of side plank follows with a disk under the supporting hand. Mindy does crunch variations with the disks under both feet before concluding the routine with the side plank on the other side.
I have just a couple of quibbles. Mindy does some stretching, but more stretching at the end of the routines would have been welcome. And what’s with all the pushups?! Luckily all the pushup sets are short and easily modified.
Collage rates this DVD as advanced. It is certainly challenging (a local VF friend who is an advanced exerciser says All About Abs makes her want to throw rotten tomatoes at Mindy!). I’m an intermediate exerciser and I often can’t keep up or do all the reps. I follow the modifier a lot. But I like that there is room to grow with this one, and that Mindy herself is always very encouraging. All About Abs is definitely not for the novice exerciser, however.
Bottom Line: Good functional core work is an exercise priority for me, but I find many of my favorite forms of exercise (e.g. barre, Classical Stretch) or most-used instructors (Margaret Richard, Leslie Sansone) lacking in this area – the core work presented is too easy, too crunch-based, too difficult to do without risking injury, or doesn’t train the back as well as the abs. Lately I’ve been subbing in short core routines that do fit my standard, and All About Abs is an excellent addition to this section of my workout DVD library.
All About Abs is readily available online at Collage and Total Fitness DVDs (there are clips at both sites) as well as Amazon.
Mindy Mylrea is a veteran video fitness instructor. She’s very chatty, a bit goofy, even – dare I say it? – kind of perky. Some find this annoying, but I’m entertained – which is a great distraction when a particular exercise is killing you! Besides, Mindy knows her stuff, instructs well, and is always encouraging.