Perfect Legs, Glutes & AbsMichele Olson
Year Released: 2010
Categories: Lower Body Strength
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Full disclosure: I received a free review copy of this workout.
The DVD is divided into two 25-minute lower body toning workouts: Mega Moves, which targets the large muscle groups of the lower body, and Master Moves, which focuses on deep muscle conditioning by zeroing in on the smaller stabilizing muscles of the lower body. For the workout you will need one heavy dumbbell (you could also use a kettlebell), a medium/heavy set of dumbbells, and a light set of dumbbells; a mat for the abs sections; and a chair for balance. From the main menu, you have the option to select from the following chapters:
>Introduction (she explains the workouts, how they were designed, and what you'll need)
>Mega Moves Legs & Glutes
>Mega Moves Abs
>Master Moves Legs & Glutes
>Master Moves Abs
You do not have the ability within the workout to skip through various exercises as the workout is not chaptered by exercise, but by workout.
This DVD offers two separate workouts, each with a distinct focus. Mega Moves utilizes squats, lunges and abdominal combinations to exhaust the major muscle groups of the lower body. She uses unilateral set building, supersets and changes in tempo to fatigue the muscles and keep them guessing. In this section you will find a variety of static lunges, first done slowly, while adding rotation and cross-body chops to challenge your balance, before picking up the tempo. Mega Moves also contains power-oriented moves such as swings and plyometric jumps to further challenge the legs and elevate the heart rate. She also throws in an unevenly weighted squat with rotation to overhead press move to challenge your balance due to the uneven weight load in each hand. I had never done a move like this and it seemed effective.
Master Moves utilizes sets of deep muscle exercises with a greater focus on balance and firing up the stabilizing muscles in the lower body. In this workout, you will find a variety of plie squats, wide and narrow stance, that get deep into the muscles. Using the chair for balance, she thoroughly exhausts one side of the body, using leg lifts and heel raises, before switching to the other side. She repeats the process with T-stance one-legged squats, flexing and extending the knee of the supporting leg, and curtsy lunges. Then she moves on to one-legged sit and stand chair squats and one-legged good mornings.
While this workout can be adapted to accommodate multiple fitness levels by modifying the exercises, varying the number of repetitions, adjusting the weights used, or doing the two workouts separately or together, I would rate this workout high intermediate to low advanced.
Michelle leads the workout on her own. She gives lots of good form pointers and explanations and encourages you to maintain good form. She just seems so very knowledgeable. I really liked her in this workout.
In general, I really liked the legs and glutes sections. I can't imagine doing both workouts at one time, but I have done more than just one of the legs and glutes sections at a time (more like 1.25 sections). I didn't really enjoy the abs sections because they seemed so very hard to me. I don't enjoy many abs workouts, especially ones on the floor, so this may have just been me. They would have been better for me if she had been quicker to offer modifications in these segments.
She is knowledgeable, motivating, and informative in this workout. I like her.
Michele leads this 60 min workout alone in a cute set on a little raised platform. You will need dumbbells and a chair for this workout. The dvd is nicely chaptered and divided up into: warmup, Mega Moves Legs & Glutes, Mega Moves Abs, Master Moves Legs & Glutes, and Master Moves Abs.
Mega Moves Legs & Glutes: (20 min) The 'Mega' workouts focus on large muscle groups. While this segment is more traditional sculpting, Michele varies the pace & tempo to keep the moves interesting & to challenge your muscles in new ways. Exercises include: static lunge-twist, side squat, dips, squat w/ twist, squat single arm OH press, side knee pulls, KB swing, squat jumps, etc. This section got my heartrate up nicely.
Mega Moves Abs: (6 min) All done on the floor.Exercises include: double leg extension, bicycle rollups, Russian twists, sit up- leg extension combo, hip circles, etc.
Master Moves Legs & Glutes: (21 min) The 'Master' workouts focus on deep muscle conditioning. This section def hit my muscles in a different way than my usual routine. Exercises include: pliets, close leg ballet style pliets, pliet jump, curtsy lunge. Exercises using the chair include: 1 legged squats sitting & standing, side leg lifts while lifting your other heel (nice burn here!), balancing stick, single leg good mornings,etc. Michele does a great job of adding in balance work in this segment & also varies the tempo of the exercises. Received this dvd to review.
Now I know why everyone's raving about this one. There are actually two workouts: Mega Moves and Master Moves which both include leg, glute and ab work. You can do one workout or do the whole thing which I did today.
Mega Moves - Cross Chops (used 8#), kettlebell swings (I used 13# dumbbell) which she supersets with squats. Then she does another superset with Side and Rear Lunges (used 8#). Then she has you use dumbbells of varying weights in each hand (I used 8# and 5#). She does a combination of 2 squats, cross squats (opposite arm coming down to knee using heavier dumbbell), come up and do 4 military presses with other hand (lighter dumbbell), 8 standing oblique crunches pulling arm down, 4 oblique crunches without arms. I think she repeats this set about 3x before moving to other side. Abs consist of in and outs (V-Sits) (felt like an endless amount of reps!), bicycle with hands crossed in front, 1-legged rollups and alternating half hip circles. That's the end of Mega Moves.
Master Moves - Plie Squats in 2nd position (I used 8#), 1st position plie in releve (on toes) (also used 8#). Plyo jacks. Go to barre. Do leg lifts with toe of turned in working leg in releve. Then do leg lifts with working leg on the ground. In a T stance, bend and straighten working leg while other leg is behind you. Then she does a much needed glute stretch and you repeat sequence on other side. Move away from the barre and do curtsy lunges (she does them slow and fast - I used 5#). Then she does a split chair squat (lower yourself into a chair - for advanced people don't put the toe of your non-working leg down). 1 legged deadlifts, split chair squats again and then 1-legged deadlifts on other side. Abs included: Stretch legs out and bring them in keeping chest off the floor, double and single bicycles, dougle leg lift (straight up and corkscrew), dying bug (opposite arm and leg lift (straight legs, then bent legs).
Cooldown consists of a few plie squats, alternating lunges with arm movements sweeping across the body and overhead, hip flexor stretch, some shoulder rolls and I can't remember what else.
Burned 406 calories during this workout and kept my HR up for almost the entire workout. Your legs will be like jelly if you do both workouts. One workout is sufficient to feel the legs worked. The ab sections are only about 5 minutes each but you really feel worked by the end.
Only problem I found with this workout was production-wise. You can either pick the full workout to Play All (both workouts) or otherwise you have to go to each chapter individually to play Warmup, Mega Moves Legs & Glutes, Mega Moves Abs, Master Moves Legs & Glutes, Master Moves Abs and Cooldown.
Michele is a pleasant instructor. She gives easier and advanced modifications throughout. There is one part where she says something about not worrying about creaky or popping knees or joints. My joints always pop so it's not an issue for me but this statement was offensive to many people (understandably if you have knee issues).