Slo-Mo Strength ChallengeAmy Bento
Year Released: 2007
Categories: Strength Training (Total Body)
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This DVD has three split strength workouts - chest/biceps/triceps, legs, and back/shoulders - plus premixes for shorter workouts, upper body or lower body only, and core. I'm reviewing the three splits as filmed. All the workouts are well chaptered so you can skip a set or pick and choose to create your own workout.
This workout is billed as a strength challenge, with almost all exercises performed as 3 sets of 8 reps. Though this is the standard format for heavy weights and muscle building, Amy advises you in the introduction NOT to pick a weight that makes you hit failure at rep 8, but rather a weight with which you can complete 8 reps safely and with good form. There are enough pauses, equipment set-ups and stretches between exercises that the workout is definitely strength building over endurance.
That "don't pick up your heaviest fail-at-8 weight" advice seems good since many of the exercises are non-traditional, and some use a stability ball for an additional balance challenge while the strength move is being performed. For this reason, I would NOT recommend this workout to anyone new to strength training. You need to know how to perform the basic strength exercises safely and with good form - squats, lunges, chest press, chest fly, biceps curls, shoulder press, lat rows. Then you can try Amy's variations, see if they work for you, and modify back to the traditional exercise if needed. You will need an adjustable barbell, various weighted dumbbells, a band and a stability ball for the workouts. You also need a step (used as a weights bench) and enough risers to make an incline bench.
The list of exercises in order:
'Around the worlds' - lie on bench/step holding dumbbells, extend arms, do a snow-angel kind of sweep with the arms from overhead to hips
Decline chest press on bench
Barbell concentration curls
'Biceps bonfire' - variation of biceps curl done while lying on bench/step
Incline biceps curl with band
Skullcrushers (Amy calls them something else)
Dips with legs elevated on step
Jefferson squats (dumbbell in one hand)
Squat side lunge
Hack/wobble squats with heels elevated on step risers
Hammy rock (lunge position with rear leg elevated on step, do lunge, straighten rear leg, bend leg back into lunge position, rise up)
Standing glute kickbacks
One-legged squat on ball
One arm rows on ball
Single-arm pullover on ball
Seated band rows
Overhead press on ball
Cuban press (hard to describe)
Front delt raise on ball
Reverse fly with rotation
Amy does vary the rep count for each set - usually the first 4 reps of a set are 4 up/4 down count, then she goes into either 6 up/2 down or sometimes up 2, hold 2, down 4. Occasionally she gets mixed up in the rep count and will say "up 4" when she means "up 2, hold 2". There are pauses between sets.
Some of the exercises can be risky if you are not an experienced exerciser or do not respect your limits. The 'around the worlds' for chest would be challenging for anyone with shoulder problems. If you go heavy on the decline chest press, getting up and down off a declined bench with a barbell can be stressful. The biceps bonfire puts the arm/biceps/shoulder in an uncomfortable extended position below the step. Sumo squats and Jefferson squats can be hard on the lower back. Hack squats can be hard on the knees. The pullover on the ball has to be done meticulously or it works the chest instead of the back. The Cuban press calls for a lot of shoulder mobility.
I like this workout for Amy's inventiveness. I enjoy working with heavy weights and the traditional exercises get boring after a while. Amy took a chance with this workout and tweaked some old familiar moves to make them new and refreshing.
Having said that, I again emphasize the need for strength-training knowledge before you try this workout due to the unfamiliar nature of some of the moves and their potential to cause injury if done incorrectly.
Amy is cheerful, upbeat and cues clearly (though the warmup for the Legs split is cued fast and on the move rather than ahead of it). She is very fit. She does not show good form when she picks up and puts down her weights, often bending her back down instead of bending at the knees - dangerous! Some of the trickier moves could have been explained better with more form pointers (biceps bonfire, all the squats variations and the Cuban press in particular come to mind).
sorry, that's BAND kickbacks in the triceps section of my review, not 'bank'11/02/2012
This is a strength w/o that has 4 main workouts with 8 premixes ranging from 15- 75 minutes. Amy works out w/ 2-3 background exercisers in a medium sized space w/ colored screens & cute round windows. Amy & crew use a variety of equipment: dumbbells, step, barbell, band, and a stability ball. I dont have a barbell & it worked just fine. One exerciser shows modifications.
I chose a 65 minute total body premix this morning and all of my muscles were worked pretty darn thouroughly! Amy uses 4 count up, 4 count down method to control both the up and down motion. She then mixes it up w/ 2 up, hold for 2, and then down for 4, etc. She gives you a brief stretch in between sets. She repeats each set two - three times.
The exercises in the premix I did included: a hack squat (heels on a step riser- I used my sculpting stick) w/ a bicep curl, hack wobble squats, shoulder press on the ball, side lunges, lat pull w/ the band wrapped on the barbell (I used a dumbbell), 1 legged squats on the ball, posterior fly, around the world lying on the bench (chest move), concentration curls, tricep dips w/ your feet on the bench, balance stick ab circle, standing clamshell crunch, rollouts to plank using the barbell (I used a stab. ball), tuck (bun pull) to the step, a jumping tuck plank, and concludes with a stretch.
I really liked this workout and it moved right along. Even with the slow movements I was not bored or clockwatching at all. I will def be getting a copy of this one for myself! I really liked using heavy weights at a slow pace. Amy is an excellent instructor w/ spot-on cueing. I would rate this as a high intermediate w/o. I followed Amy's poundage and it was just about perfect for me.