Shape Up & Shed Pounds

Denise Austin
Year Released: 2011

Categories: Floor Aerobics/Hi-Lo/Dance

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Back in my early days of working out, I got a Denise Austin videotape from her Hit the Spot series (Arms & Bust I believe it was.) Denise was WAYYY too peppy for me, so I never got another workout of hers. But I've mellowed over the years, and apparently she as too judging by some DVD's I recently got. Including this one, part of my final order from Collage (sniff.)

Anyways, this is not a killer workout. What is is is a great workout for beginners and for anyone looking to take it easy, but still get a workout with lots of variety. It's split into two workouts, which you can do individually or play all. You can do these with or without Denise's instruction (all of her recent workouts seem to feature this option.) I always do it with instruction on, as I don't like the aggravation of constantly looking at the screen.

Workout 1, Low Impact Cardio: 30 minutes of light cardio. Denise teaches a variety of routines. The choreography is pretty basic, but she keeps things moving so it's fun. It also would be easy to modify parts of it to higher impact if you desired. This includes a Latin segment, an ab toning segment with knee raises, a short ballet ronde de jambe segment, and lots of lateral motion. The music is fairly unforgettable. There are a few background exercisers, including a woman with a gorgeous afro whom I could not stop staring at. The segments are short and once you complete one, you are done. No TIFTing.

Workout 2, Stretch & Tone: 20 minutes of light, really varied toning. No weights are used. Denise and co. are standing on yoga mats wearing their shoes, which REALLY bugs me. You can definitely remove your shoes for this one. I've noticed that the Denise videos I've gotten lately keep things moving, and this one is no exception. If you don't like an exercise, you won't have to suffer through it long. This sequence includes some standing yoga moves such as chair and a Warrior sequence. This is followed by a sort of dead lift move, lunges and standing oblique-focused ab work. She then moves on to some ballet-inspired plies and squat/leg extensions. The last 10 minutes are floor work: modified push-ups, elbow planks, a bridge sequence, side planks, bicycles (plus some other ab work I don't really know the names for) and triceps dips are included. I really like this segment--although it's short, the variety is fun. If someone were new to exercise, this would be a great introduction to lots of moves in a format that's not overwhelming.

Denise's cuing is pretty good here. The studio is brightly lit and cheerful, the production is tidy and professional as always. There is no chatter between Denise and her fellow exercisers. As I said, this is an excellent option for a beginner's workout, but intermediates can get something out of it as well. This is going to be one of my go to DVD's for days when I need a lighter workout.

Instructor Comments:
Denise is still Denise. Her energy level is more manageable for me in this one. She still has her little sayings ("Burn that butter", "If you don't squeeze that tushy, no one else will!") But she speaks in a calmer tone and doesn't do the constant crazy eyes at the camera-even if you like her, I know you know what I'm talking about. There's not a lot of exercises that target sides of the body singlely, so I didn't notice the reps disparity she's known for in these parts.