Full Fitness FusionIvy Ingram Larson
Year Released: 2013
Categories: Total Body Workouts, Yoga
Video Fitness reviews may not be copied, quoted, or posted elsewhere without the permission of the reviewer
I had never heard of fitness instructor Ivy Ingram Larson prior to trying this DVD. Although she could easily pass for a college student, she mentions in her Introduction that she is a 36-year old mom. Even more remarkably, Larson was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in her early 20s, and when making this DVD, she was still in recovery from major surgery that left her unable to walk for SIX months. Therefore, she set about designing a workout that would be accessible to those with health limitations and would have NO impact. Larson also notes that her three background exercisers are all her best friends, and they each have their own fitness challenges (e.g., one is pregnant, one has had knee surgeries). One background exerciser shows modifications for many of the exercises during the workout.
The Main Menu of this DVD offers the following options: Introduction - Play All - Warm Up - 30 Minute Solution - Stretch and Firm - For Best Results - About Ivy. The fact that this routine is repeatedly billed as a 30 minute workout is unfortunately rather misleading. The Warm-Up is 5 minutes long, the "30 Minute Solution," or main body of the workout, is 27 minutes long, and the Stretch and Firm is 8.5 minutes--so, if you do just the Warm-Up/main portion, it is 33 minutes, and if you do the ENTIRE workout, it is even longer at 41.5 minutes. This workout requires a variety of equipment, including a kettlebell, dumbbells, and a chair. For intermediates, Larson recommends a 5-8 pound kettlebell and 3-5 pound dumbbells.
The Warm-Up starts with Around the Worlds, a reach up overhead and down to the side, performing several in each direction. Larson then quickly comes into a forward bend (my hamstrings definitely did NOT feel ready for this) and then moves into plank, bending and straightening the legs. Jumping forward, she keeps up the pace with fast-moving standing exercises such as pulsing chair pose, side bends, squat to side leg lift, squat to standing star, and pulsing side-to-side squat.
The main workout starts with picking up the kettlebell for diagonal overhead reaches from side-to-side. This is followed by one-armed kettlebell swings (which Larson does by pushing her hips forward beyond perpendicular, which I do not believe is correct), and a fast-paced deadlift-like move where the kettlebell starts at the chest and then reaches towards the floor. Then its down to the mat for push-ups, a one-legged bridge, a crunch with dumbbell overhead press, and two kneeling moves, pelvic rotations (a.k.a. "knee dancing") and a pelvic raise with weighted overhead pull-down (using dumbbells).
Going back to the kettlebell, Larson stands in a wide plie and performs an upright row. This is followed by a little cardio break: rapid speed bag to either side and then rapid cross of the arms in front. Next, it's back to the kettlebell, this time holding it in one hand for an overhead press while performing a side lift with the opposite leg. (Note: Larson holds the ball of the kettlebell here, not the handle.) Larson then repeats the previous deadlift-like move, this time bringing the arms from overhead and then down to the floor.
Now it's time to go back to the mat, for for a "bear walk" (simply a crawl forward and back) and then bridges with both feet on the chair. This is followed by a plank series that involves alternating between elbow plank, superman, and a flutter three times. Returning to a standing plie, Larson performs what she calls a "high pull," really a two-handed press overhead. This is followed by pulsing squats and then a punch break. Next, you'll place your hands on the chair for semi-circle leg lifts out to either side. You'll then sit on the chair for a combination anterior delt raise, stand, overhead press, and squat back to the chair to repeat. Larson concludes with additional mat work. First, she sits in a c-curve position and tosses one dumbbell from hand to hand as she twists from side-to-side. Next, she holds the kettlebell for a half getup-type move, then performs hip raises and mermaids (oblique crunches) all on the same side before repeating these three moves on the other side.
The final segment, Stretch and Firm, combines yoga postures with more traditional stretches; as with the rest of the workout, all of the movements flow from one to the other. Larson starts by going from warrior 2 to reverse warrior to side stretch, repeating this series several times. She performs a shoulder stretch in the center and then repeats the series on the other side. Next comes down dog with a knee in and chair pose adding a twist. She concludes on the floor with seated forward bend.
Although I did enjoy the variety of movements in this workout, I had a few problems with it as well. I generally consider myself in the high intermediate range for strength workouts, and I found Larson's weights recommendations to be WAY off for me. The second time I did the workout, I found I needed to have at least two sets of dumbbells available (8# and 10#) and the ONLY time I used my kettlebell (12kg, or about 26#) was for the swings, as it just didn't seem to work well for the other movements. Taking the time to find the right weight was difficult, however, as Larson moves SO fast that there is virtually no time for setup between the moves; I had to pause the DVD many times when doing this workout. She also provides virtually no form pointers throughout the entire workout. Also, as I noted above, I really didn't feel sufficiently prepared by her warm-up moves, and I think that in order to use the main portion of this workout, I am going to need to do my own warm-up.
Despite the flaws of this routine, I still will keep this DVD because I liked Larson, and I think she created a unique workout here. I would be interested in future efforts from her--hopefully, she will slow things down just a little bit and make it easier for viewers to follow along. In the meantime, I would definitely recommend this DVD for experienced exercisers ONLY, as I think beginners would be completely frustrated by Larson's quick pace and lack of detailed instruction.
As I noted above, I did like Ivy. She comes across as a bit cheerleader-like (although her web site notes that she WAS a cheerleader!). I think her cuing could be better--e.g., more time for setup, more form pointers--but her story is certainly inspirational. Check out her web site at www.fullfitnessfusion.com for more information.
Ivy leads this 41 min fully chaptered fusion workout barefoot in a studio with 3 background exercisers. You will need dumbbells, a kettlebell, and a chair for this workout. One exerciser performs lower intensity modifications.
Exercises include: KB swings & diagonal press, pushups, bridge, unique kneeling pelvic rolls, weighted full body crunches, pliet upright rows, speed bag, criss cross isometric arm work, rows, overhead press abduction, bear walk, planks, superman, squat pulses, fast punches with your feet moving, standing donkey kick series, squat to chair with clean & press, reverse plank, weighted V sit pass, partial get ups and concludes with stretch.
This is a lower intermediate workout. The modifications in this workout are great – not just marching in place. Lots of unique exercises combined in a fun & fresh format. Lots of variety and some unique exercises make the time fly. I really liked Ivy as a lead and cant wait to try more from her. I received this dvd to review.