Sculpt & Burn Body Blitz

Denise Austin
Year Released: 2011

Categories: Boxing/Kickboxing/Martial Arts , Total Body Workouts

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This Denise Austin DVD has four 10 minute chapters (two cardio and two strength) and separately chaptered 5 minute warm up and cool down. It was not immediately apparent from the DVD menu that you could select several chapters (there is not a simple “play all” option) but if you hit the ‘workout trailers’ or something, you can custom select up to six chapters. It is nice to be able to play them in any order you’d like, but I also would have liked a play all option to save the hassle of having to individually select all the chapters.
Denise works out in a pleasant studio setting with a medium sized class (about 2-3 men and 2-3 women) as she leads you through the below chapters. The DVD is high quality and the music is generic but pretty good, although Denise does not always synchronize exercises with the beat of the music, which can be a little annoying.

Warm up (5 minutes): I did not do or preview this workout. I will say that the two cardio chapters are low intensity enough starting out that you don’t really need an extra warm up. I’ve been using this DVD in chapters when I’m short on time and have just jumped into the cardio. However, if you were doing just the strength chapters, I would tack on the warm up.

Mixed Martial Arts (10 minutes-cardio): Denise leads you through some MMA style cardio. I just assumed this would be all kickboxing (and there were some punch/kick combos) but there was also a lot of athletic drills (jump rope, side to side lunging with arm blocks). It was mildly fun but also seemed disjointed. Some of the moves were pretty fun but then she only did a few reps of them before moving on so it was hard to “get into.”

Athletic Conditioning (10 minutes-cardio): Fun, fun fun (although Denise’s cuing isn’t the best here). Denise leads you through several athletic drills including: walk out to plank then hold plank or plank jacks; side to side twisting lunge into hopping lunge with touch to floor; side to side leg raise than front raises while reaching arms to leg; fast feet; side to side shuffle with basketball reach in middle; a “gymnastics” move which she went way too fast on and she didn’t bother to explain, although but it was challenging, crouch until your hands touch the floor than weave your leg behind you then through your arm/leg on each side (by the time I understood the move, the reps were all over). All in all a fun routine which got my heart rate up.

Kettlebell Inspired (10 minutes-strength): Requires one light dumbbell. (I used a 10# kettlebell for the swings but had to use a 8, 6, or 4# dumbbell for the other exercises; all exercises require a weight). Exercises include: Heisman run with one dumbbell; suitcase swings, alternating weight with legs together; full range of motion kbell swings raising bell all the way overhead then step forwards and backwards, next set step to face one side then the other side (Jillian calls these “heroes” in her kbell workout)-my heart rate really got up with these using my 10# bell; woodchops with static lunge (repeat on opposite side); static lunge with double arm overhead press into a side crunch; side lunge with a big range of motion dumbbell sweep across chest (had to go lighter on this one). On the whole a fun strength workout, with especially good core work, although I think you can get more out of it by varying poundage for each exercise (otherwise use one light weight). Followed by the cardio chapters, really kept my heart rate up there!

Cardio Sculpt (10 minutes-strength with cardio emphasis): This was a mostly traditional strength training (biceps with front lunges, side lunges with lateral raise) and had a few interesting moves like a dumbbell sweep to overhead into a French press and a crouching move while kicking one leg back into the air (felt this in the glutes!) Probably my least favorite of the set, it’s OK but doesn’t have anything special to add that’s not already out there. Requires two light weights.

Cool down (5 minutes): Denise leads you through several standing athletic stretches. I tend to do my own stretches but appreciate the solid five minute placeholder.

I have to say this was a really fun workout (particularly Kettlebell Inspired and Athletic Conditioning). There were fun, mildly challenging exercises which keep you engaged and get your heart rate fairly high. This is nowhere near as challenging as Firm Express or Jillian’s workouts, but they have the same style (particularly the two chapters I mentioned): athletic style drills and some kettlebell style moves. But less intense and not nearly as many reps. All in all I would say this is an intermediate workout. It is fun for lighter days (I am high int/low advanced) and will have a place in my collection. I’ve already picked it up a few times when I’m short on time and energy. This would be challenging for beginners (although possibly a little frustrating or even unsafe to follow due to some of the kbell moves and Denise’s lack of cuing) but would be spot on for intermediates. Out of the 7 or 8 Denise videos I have tried (and enjoyed to various extents) this one is my favorite. Grade A-.

Instructor Comments:
Denise is very enthusiastic, encouraging, and bubbly, with comments like "Train like an athlete!" and “show me that smile!” People either like and appreciate her style or steer clear of it entirely. I like her style and it makes me smile as I am working out. She really does not cue but just jumps into a move, which can be sort of confusing to follow, and with as few reps as she performs in this (it’s like she’s got exercise ADD!) it is a shame the cuing isn’t better. I’m hoping with more usage of the DVD I will just anticipate what is next. Additionally, it is really drill-based and not choreographed so it is not hard to follow anyway.

Emily B.