10 Minute Solution: Blast Off Body Fat!Suzanne Bowen
Year Released: 2010
Categories: Ballet/Barre, Strength Training (Total Body)
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I will start by saying I am not a big fan of 10 Minute Solution workouts. I've owned a few, and have sold or traded them away. This one is no different in it's choppy flow, but I find that I actually need those dead seconds between mini-workouts because these are very intense. Suzanne has created a winner, I think!
As with all other 10 Minute Solution DVDs, this one offers the options of playing all, choosing a workout, or customising a workout. As with all others, I wish there were a separate warm-up and cool-down. The only 10 minute segment that includes the classic knee-lift barre warm-up is the arm workout, which comes first if you choose play all.
Suzanne is alone on the set which is set up like a gym, with black puzzle mat on the floor and exercise machines and equipment on the sides. It's light and spacious.
Arms: Suzanne uses 1-3 lb weights for standing exercises and then moves down to the mat for pushups and tricep dips. She uses larger moves, pulses and holds and reminds you to resist up and down. I especially liked the pulsing pushups. I was shaking from head to toe!
Thighs: She does both standing and floor thigh work in this segment. The standing thigh portion had my legs shaking. Suzanne pushed me and then had me hold for a count of 8, all to push me a little more! It's tough, but it's good tough. As the previous reviewer said, the addition of light weights really amps the intensity.
Glutes: This segment includes both standing and mat work. I'm not a fan of sigle leg squats, so I didn't enjoy this part of the workout as much. The mat work includes exercises on all fours, some with the addition of a small dumbell behind the knee, reverse plank, and bridge work with the dumbells resting on the hips. This was a pleasantly intense 10 minutes!
Abs: This has to be one of the most intense ab workouts I've done. My obliques are still sore two days later! The exercises are mainly pilates-inspired, but Suzanne adds dumbells, little pulses and holds to exercises like the criss-cross, leg dips with one leg straight up, v sit with pulses and holding dumbells, and a killer side plank sequence.
Total Body: Suzanne uses compound moves in a standing sequence that she does on one leg and then the other, then she moves down to the floor for exercises from donward dog position, plank and forearm plank.
I really like the exercises on this DVD, but I personally prefer Suzanne's weekly downloads.
Suzanne Bowen is pleasant, cues very well, explains what each move is for and encourages you all the way through.
I would describe Blast Off Body Fat! as Core Fusion meets Brazil Butt Lift meets V-Core meets Pulse Yoga meets Pilates. Instructor Suzanne Bowen takes the most effective barre, Pilates and bodyweight exercises and boosts the intensity with light weights, tiny pulses and isometric holds. I would rate the workout as intermediate/advanced.
The set and music are a bit more funky than previous offerings from 10 Minute Solution. In the introduction, Suzanne says you will need supportive footwear (which I found a bit odd, as the workout is completely non-impact) and light weights (I used 2kg dumbbells throughout). As with the rest of the 10 Minute Solution series, the DVD provides five 10-minute workouts which can be programmed to play in any order, or you can choose how many segments you would like to do.
Trim & Toned Arms: After a brisk warm-up, you will perform strength training classics with an extra range of motion, or tiny pulses. Suzanne then takes it to the floor for pulsing pushups (“up an inch, down an inch”), triceps pushups, and side planks while holding a dumbbell with your outstretched top arm. Unfortunately, there is some talk about “bingo wings”, “sexy arms in sundresses” and “sexy tops”.
Thin Thighs Fast: In this segment, you will perform exercises such as holding a plié squat in an isometric hold, then pulsing. Then you will hold a dumbbell at the top of each thigh; this adds a surprising amount of intensity. Then you will hold one heel up off the floor, while still pulsing, as you sink into an even deeper plié squat. “You should be on fire!” yells Suzanne encouragingly. Then it’s on to a lunge with one heel lifted while holding the dumbbells out in front of you, and pulsing. Then, if you’re not already in enough pain, you will perform a lunge with one heel lifted and continuing to pulse while holding a dumbbell at the top of each thigh. “I’m shaking — you’re shaking!” yells Suzanne. Then she announces that we’re performing the side lying series from Pilates. But this is no regular Pilates session; again Suzanne amps up the intensity by holding a dumbbell on each leg.
Better Butt: This segment again increases intensity by adding light weights, pulses and isometric holds to classic exercises such as single-leg squats, the chair pose from yoga, bridges and the “rainbow” from Brazil Butt Lift (get down on your knees and forearms, then sweep one leg from side to side in a wide arc).
Fab Abs: After a quick reminder on engaging your abdominal muscles, Suzanne takes you through the “C-curve” from Core Fusion, but with the added intensity of pulsing while holding weights with your outstretched arms; pulsing crunches; a V-sit while pulsing your legs in and out; pulsing side planks, and other forms of torture. “Your abs are shaking — that’s good!” cries Suzanne.
Fat Free Total Body: This segment revisits some of the moves from earlier segments, but with a larger range of motion. Exercises include a “controlled throw” (holding a single-leg squat while raising the other leg up and down and raising and lowering weights from your sides to above your head); standing on one leg, hinging forward and holding out weights in front of you while pulsing your rear leg; a pulsing three-point pushup; and a rocking forearm plank.
In summary: Suzanne has excelled herself by bringing together moves from different genres, increasing their intensity, and giving them a fresh twist. She does say some odd things, such as “You have totally burned off fat in only 10 minutes!” and “Feel that shaking? That’s muscle eating fat!” — although I would blame the 10 Minute Solution production team, rather than Ms Bowen, for these remarks.
As with all the 10 Minute Solution DVDs, there is no wasted time, although most of us may need some extra stretching after the workout. I would highly recommend Blast Off Body Fat! for barre-istas, and other people with a high tolerance for pain.
Ratings out of five:
Production values *****
Workout design *****
Fun factor *****
Meets expectations *****
A note on the UK version:
At the time of writing (March 2011) Blast Off Body Fat! is only available in a Region 2 format for the UK market. This edition comes with a bonus programmable disk, Best of 10 Minute Solution, which includes these segments:
• “Pilates for Buns & Thighs” from Pilates (Lara Hudson)
• “Arms” from Target Toning For Beginners (Cindy Whitmarsh)
• “Fat Burning Blast” from Kickbox Bootcamp (Keli Roberts)
• “Belly Fat Blaster” from Blast Off Belly Fat (Suzanne Bowen)
• "Yoga For Flexibility & Relaxation" from Yoga (Lara Hudson)
Suzanne, as always, cues very well, is motivating and friendly and provides enough form and alignment tips to make the workout safe. Anyone who can smile cheerfully and provide encouragement while feeling “the burn” as much as I do earns my deep respect.