Low Impact Cardio StrengthEllen Barrett
Year Released: 2012
Categories: Circuit Training (cardio and weights) , Strength Training (Total Body)
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Full disclosure: I received a free review copy of this workout.
OK. I got this workout because I generally like Ellen Barrett's workouts and the clip showed a workout that I might enjoy. Just for total disclosure, my blood type is O, but since I don't really think blood types have anything to do with the workouts I do and enjoy, I didn't really care. It's an interesting marketing angle.
This workout includes several sections:
> There is the cardio section that is meant to work your muscles from various angles. To me, it seemed like a fancy walking workout or a very simple cardio workout. The moves are simple and easy and she repeats them multiple times. They are taught in add-on style, so you learn the moves as you go.
The general pattern of the workout is to do the moves on the right side and then do the moves on the left side and then do them on both sides. If you think that this sounds like the moves could get repetetive, yes, you can feel that way. On the other hand, she does mix up moves with variations that helped keep it from being a snoozefest. To enjoy this section, you need to like simple moves and not mind repeating them multiple times. I thought the moves were fun, for a walking type workout, and they were repeated too many times.
> The aero/tone segment is really a cardio segment with toning benefits as you hold weights while you do moves. She says to use "the sand weights" which I assume would be included with the kit this workout seems to have been intended to be a part of. I used 3-pound weights and felt that was plenty. This segment I enjoyed more than the previous cardio segment, but then I tend to like workouts that combine cardio and weights at the same time.
> The stability ball segment starts with standing moves with you holding the ball and doing moves with it. I used a medicine ball in this part of it. Then, it moves into moves ON the ball that focus on the core. Moves include planks (hands on the ground with your knees on the ball behind you) where you pull in your knees, crunches, and hip circles.
> A stretch at the end uses a band. As usual, she stresses that stretching is as important as the strength moves; they balance each other.
The set is white and you'll see a lot of discussion about it in reviews. I didn't like the set, but it didn't stop me from doing the workout. It had enough texture to it that it wasn't discombobulating like Charlene Prickett's old set was to me. The music was not great techno-beat music with vocals.
To me, the biggest disappointment about this DVD was the lack of chaptering with it. It offers four distinct sections, yet they do not give you any way to access the later segments unless you play or fast forward through the first cardio segment. Why do workout producers NOT use DVD technology, even basic functionality? It wouldn't have been that hard to give a submenu with access to those segments.
To me, this workout was meh. I liked it, at least, sections of it. I also thought it was overly repetetive in some parts. I have other workouts by Ellen that I like a whole lot more, so I can't see myself reaching for this one much. For people who want a basic workout with variety in the moves, this could be a good workout.
Ellen is her normal supportive self. I didn't think the cuing in this workout was up to her normal standards.
I tend to compare all of my basic low-impact workout (in terms of complexity and intensity) to Leslie Sansone’s walking workouts. This was a little more complex and a lot more fun. Even though this workout is supposed to be for people with “Type B” blood types, I don’t think anyone is buying into that; and if they are, they shouldn’t. This workout is for anyone and everyone. Consider some of the statements made throughout the workout: “Type B’s need to stretch after exercise” and “Type B’s should eat more grains and less processed foods.” The same could be said for everybody, not just people with Type B blood.
The warm-up was pretty basic: marching, side taps, rear taps; Ellen confides that she’s obsessed with working the foot. The Cardio Fusion section was pretty much the same as the warm-up, except Ellen jazzes it up a bit with jumps and triple step moves. She added a few new moves as well: arm “swooshes”, lunges with kicks, and lunges with pulses. I enjoyed this 20-minute section, although the techno music really didn’t seem to go with the calm tone of the workout. Thankfully, I was able to tune this out.
Next was toning work using sand weights; Ellen used two-pound weights, and so did I. The moves continued in the cardio-fusion vein: step-touch w/side-arm raises; side leg lifts w/arm raises; grapevine w/kicks; all kicks; squats w/bicep curls; then repeat with jazzed up moves including rear leg lifts and side kicks; still the same horrid techno music.
Working with the stability ball came next. We began by standing and holding the ball, circling it overhead in one direction, then the other. This is followed by wood chops with the ball; first on the right, then on the left (Ellen calls these “heave ho’s”.) After this, we move to the floor for pikes, obliques, and crunches on the ball. After 10 minutes of this mostly ab work, we grab a band for some stretches. I don’t normally enjoy band work, but these stretches (seated arms, supine legs to ceiling) were heaven.
Ellen has a nice, calm, girl-next-door appeal. I think she could make a terrific barre workout, and maybe a decent beginner kickboxing workout – but I don’t think she would be energetic enough (for my taste) for an advanced kickboxing workout. I’m making these comparisons because some of the moves in this workout were barre-like while others were kickboxing-like.
I received this as a free preview; my comments and observations are my own opinion.