Total Body Lift

Kathy Smith
Year Released: 2008

Categories: Ballet/Barre

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I've had some interest in this DVD since it was released several years ago, so I finally borrowed it from my library. It is a barre-style routine (i.e., lighter weights, higher reps, ballet-type movements) which I tend to like as an occasional alternate to traditional strength routines. It's led by veteran fitness instructor Kathy Smith. Smith, who was born in 1951, is in her EARLY 60s at the time she filmed this video--and she looks amazing! Definitely a testament to regular exercise.

Smith is featured here with two female background exercisers. She teaches barefoot and live, alternately doing the moves herself and walking around to assist the other two. The Main Menu of the DVD offers three options, Workouts, Customize, and More from Kathy Smith. There are five different workout segments listed on that menu, and the "Customize" option allows you to play them in any order--an nice feature. For each segment, there is the option to exercise with Smith's instruction or music only. I have broken down the workouts in detail below.

WARM-UP (5:11)
This simple flow segment features moves such as feet tapping forward, reach for the knees, knee lift, twists, knee circles, stretch and reach, side lunge with reach, and side bends. Smith finishes off with a low-back stretch.

Smith starts in plank and then proceeds with four sets of push-ups, 10 reps each (not my favorite thing!). She concludes the floorwork with alternate arm/leg supermans and floor tricep dips. The standing segment uses light weights and has a strong emphasis on the shoulders. It includes both front and side delt raises with various tempos/pulses, bicep curls in an extended position, and straight arm triceps work. Smith uses a towel to assist with stretching at the end.

THIGH LIFT (13:31)
Smith uses both a chair and a towel for this segment. The towel is placed between the thighs (I used a squishy ball instead) and the chair is used for balance. The moves are a series of ballet-style exercises, almost all performed on toes and including parallel plies (ending with pulses and "spring ups"), v-stance plie (with dips and pelvic tilts), and wide plies with pulses and alternating heel lifts. To focus more on the hamstrings, Smith places the towel behind one knee for one-legged bent knee presses. The final sequence is a pelvic lift series performed with the heels of the feet on a chair. Smith again uses the towel for a reclined leg stretch, and she concludes in a seated wide leg stretch.

BUTT LIFT (12:25)
Here Smith again uses a chair, first for balance, then for bent over work. She begins with a single leg squat, adding a knee lift. The bent over work includes straight leg rear pulses, both back and out to the side. The next series includes bent leg rear lifts, finishing with a side push. Smith then does a short series of stretches from a lunge position (low lunge, twist, runner's stretch). She finishes lying on the floor for pelvic lifts and then seated for pretzel lifts.

TUMMY LIFT (12:44)
The moves in this section are a cross between barre abdominal work and Pilates. Smith starts by establishing a c-curve to the back for seated "scoop" work; several different sets are performed. She then moves onto the back with the legs in a tabletop for a move somewhat similar to the Pilates hundred plus taps, toe dips, bicycles, and leg lowers. She stretches with bridge, cobra, and a cat release, concluding with a side elbow plank with hip dips. The final stretches are a wide leg seated pose and seated spinal twist.

This is a generally nice DVD with a good variety of options; the segments are sufficiently difficult and can be made even more so by using higher weights. I would have preferred 10-minute segments (all here are 12-15 minutes) to use these more effectively as add-ons, but that's just me. Overall, I would recommend this DVD.

Instructor Comments:
I can take Kathy Smith in small doses, but she tends to be a bit over-enthusiastic for me. Although she doesn't "whoop" here, she does say some things that annoy me (like "you can do anything for 10 seconds" - umm, no, and I shouldn't have to). But she definitely is in amazing great shape for any age!

Beth C (aka toaster)


I am reviewing this workout after doing it last night, and I must say I am quite sore. This is not the hardest barre workout but it gives me a good enough workout without dread. I would say that this is intermediate. The workout is broken down into the warm up, upper body, legs, buns, and abs. It is nicely chaptered with each segment being about 12 minutes except for the warm up which is 5 minutes. Each segment features a stretch too so it can easily be an add-on or stand alone workout.
the set is bright and she features two background exercisers, one performing more advanced moves and one doing the more basic modifications. They are attractive without being distracting at all. Kathy often stops to teach the moves in the workout then joins in later.
The music is pretty nondescript and I cannot remember it at all.
A barre or chair is required (and a high step in only a brief segment), light weights and a towel ( I used a squishy pilates ball and I liked that much better than a folded towel).
I like this workout quite a bit since I can focus on the moves without losing form as with other barre workouts. Just enough intensity for a lighter day or to build up muscle endurance.

Instructor Comments:
Kathy is her usual upbeat encouraging self. No shrieking, yelling or wooing. She looks fabulous.



I'm a beginner at barre workouts and this is my only Kathy Smith DVD. I am reviewing it after having completed the workout twice.

Total Body Lift is a no-impact workout that is done barefoot on a mat. You will need a chair, a pair of light dumbells and a towel to perform the exercises.
The workout is divided into a 4 minute warm-up, and a 10 minute each "upper body lift", "thigh lift", "butt lift" and "ab lift". There is no stretch segment, but each segment includes stretches for the muscles that you have just worked.

- Upper body lift: begins with planks and four sets of 5 pushups on the knees "unless you are a superstar". Then she picks up a pair of light dumbells (1-3 lbs) for non-stop upper body exercises. She hits the biceps, shoulders and triceps very well, I think. I like that she explains how to work with light weights effectively, telling you to lift and lower with control, as if you were pulling the weights through thick taffy. My arms feel very well worked after this segment, especially the triceps!

- thigh lift: You start out standing beside the chair for plies to work the front and inner thighs. After plies and pulses you face the chair with a towel between the legs to further work the inner thighs with squeezes and pulses. Then you put the towel behind your knee to work the hamstring with squeezes, lifts and pulses. This segment ends on the floor with the feet on the chair doing lifts.

- Butt lift: You start out standing beside the chair for single leg squats and pulses, then you face the chair for a relatively long series of pulses and small kicks done with one leg first and then the other, hitting the glutes from all angles. This segment really fatigues your glutes! you end on the floor doing glute squeezes and a pretzel.

- Ab lift: Starts out with a demonstration and practice of the c-curve position. Then you do several pulsing exercises, starting by holding on your thighs with both hands, then reaching with one hand and finally both.
I find this position hard to stay in and I'm not sure I do the exercises properly. I want to try doing the exercises with my Overball behind my back for support, as it's used in Barre3
After these exercises you do some side lifts for the obliques, a long series of bicycle crunches and end with leg lifts for the lower abs.

I think this workout is very complete. I like that you can do as little or as much as you have time to do, and the instruction is very down to earth and easy to follow.

Instructor Comments:
Kathy Smith is friendly and encouraging. She does most of the workout with her background exercisers, but takes breaks a few times to show proper form and what the exercise is working on one of her background exercisers.
I find her cuing mostly good. There are a couple exercises that I need to get the hang of because I'm not so sure of the exact positioning. It helps that she tells you how it should feel and what muscles you are working.