Exhale Spa Core Fusion Body SculptElisabeth Halfpapp, Fred DeVito
Year Released: 2008
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This is one of those workouts that I like, but don't love, though I wish I could get into it more.
The workout is split into 5 ten minute sections, which are:
Arms & Upper Body - this starts with a Lotte Berk style "marching in place" warm up. You then work your arms and shoulders from various angles using light weights and little pulses. This section feels thorough and hits the triceps quite a bit (imagine the "underarm tightener" from Callanetics done with weights and with variations).
Thigh Sculpt - this section consists of various little pulses in plie position on tiptoes, performed with legs turned out and in parallel and using a chair as a "barre". I get frustrated with this section because there seems to be a lot of pauses and holds. I feel like I want to be moving more.
Gluteal Sculpt - this section uses the chair for balance again, but you are folded over so that your hands rest on the edge of the chair seat rather than the back. You do a series of single leg pulses to the side and back, with straight leg and with a bent leg. This section tends to frustate me too for the same reason as the thigh section does, there seems to be a lot of pausing and holding positions.
Ab Sculpt - this section is my favourite, it is a very good, thorough c-curve ab workout wich works the abs all over (upper, lower, obliques etc). I'm used to doing c-curve ab work with legs up from doing Callanetics frequently, so I prefer not to use a wall to rest my feet on as demonstrated, I think this actually makes the exercises more challenging for me and keeps my leg muscles engaged too as a bonus.
Each of the above sections includes stretches relating to the muscles worked which minimises soreness the next day (for me at least) and makes it easier to use a section as an add on without doing the whole workout.
Stretch Sculpt - this section features various yoga stretches, with Liz doing the more advanced ones and I think Fred modifies some with a strap. A thorough stretch segment and quite relaxing.
What I like about this workout:
I like the energy and vibe of the workout and of Liz and Fred. I like how each section includes stretches, and I think the arm and ab sections feel very challenging and thorough.
There are a couple of bonus sections, an ab section from Pilates Plus and something else for the thighs using a playground ball. Good if you feel like adding on something extra, but I've only tried them once each.
What I don't like:
You can't customize / program the workout (like you can with say 10 minute solution, e.g. just put 2 or 3 sections together for a mini workout). This isn't a big deal, but it would be nice if it had this feature.
I can't seem to get into the thigh and glute sections. It could be a problem with my form, and/or my impatience with holding postions! I much prefer the thigh and glute work in Super Callanetics (except for the kneeling one, I skip that!).
I like Fred and Liz, they seem to genuinely enjoy the exercises. They cue very well (by voice over), give form pointers and explain the benefits of the exercises, and they manage to do this without being overly chatty. The music is generic, perky workout music but not too noticeable or loud. There is a music only option too which I imagine will be a good option for those who learn the workout very well.
If you like barre workouts in general (and if you don't have any "issues" with ten minute segments or voice-over), I suspect you'll like this. If you are new to barre, you may find this more challenging than it appears (this is true of most barre work).
Likable. I prefered Elizabeth to Fred (her cues seemed better and timelier). Gently spoken voice over; detailed cueing. Both gave modifications for more advanced work. BodySculpt is a barre style workout, similiar to Bar Method or Squeeze.
It's shorter and less intense than Squeeze (but I still like it more). Actually, it's been a loooong time since I did a Full Body Squeeze so I'm not sure just *how* much less intense it is. It's like Bar Method, but (most of the time) there is less time spent on set-ups. It's done in voice over, so the two instructors just do the work out without stopping for explanations. (I DID think they could have moved a little more quickly from exercise to exercise in the Thigh segment; but they seem to be really into "strength through stillness.") Since the workout is segmented into five ten minute segments, there is a short pause at the beginning of each segment where they show you this peacefull rainy screen and tell you about the muscles you are about to work (takes 30 seconds or so each time); the only warm up is at the very beginning (lotte berk/squeeze style leg lifts for about 60 seconds). The arm segment had me whiny, lol. And the thigh and stretch segments were my favorites. The "gluteal" section really, really reminded me of LB HRA; the entire segment consisted of leg raises (in four positions, each side) while folded at the waist. Believe me, I felt that one! The ab section is done with your feet on a wall (or in my case, on my Fluidity barre since I don't have an available wall). You do some twist and c-curves, etc. The instructor claimed it might be the toughest ab work you ever do. It was tough on my neck! (I repositioned my neck/hand behind my neck a few times.) I'm not sure what the toughest I've ever done is! Probably not this,...but this I felt, too!
There were some "modifications" for easier/harder variations on several moves (I had to do the easier for abs bc I didn't have a wall). I'm going to say the level is intermediate??? I think how it ranks would depend on your barre experience. I have a lot of barre stuff. It's easier than iballet. Similiar to Lotte Berk, but longer and it hits more muscle groups.
If you have Exhale Spa Core Fusions Pilates Plus dvd, I would say that this one is slightly less challenging than that one (though both are good). The quality of the workout and the convenience of ten minute segments will mean I get some good mileage from this one. Hope that Helps!