Total Cardio Burn

Caroline Pearce
Year Released: 2013

Categories: Abs/Core , Athletic Stretch , Circuit Training (cardio and weights) , Total Body Workouts

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This workout is a real sweatfest! The menu is nicely chaptered into the warm-up, three 20-minute circuit routines, cool-down, and bonus features. Bonus features are an interview with instructor Caroline Pearce and option to turn off narration (music only); this last option is nice if you don’t like voiceovers or don’t need cueing. Caroline is listed as a “former gladiator” – she says to use weights from 1 to 3 kilograms, which converts to roughly 2 ½ to 6 ½ pounds (I had to look it up!), and I used five pound weights. The workout breaks down as follows:

Warm-up: Chest presses, side arm reaches, hip circles, kickbacks (hamstring curls), side lunges, toe reaches, chair squats, calf streches, high knee marches, reverse crescent circles.

Circuit One: Round one – squats, chest flies in bridge pose, crunches with weights.
Round two – squats with weights, chest flies in bridge pose, crunches with weights.
Burner (cardio burst) – side-to-side jumps

Circuit Two: Round one – good mornings with weights at shoulders (this was hard on my shoulders, so I kept the weights in front of me, lifting and lowering them as I bent forward and returned to standing), bent over flies, reverse crunches on the mat (I am NOT a fan of standing/floor/standing workout.)
Round two – good mornings with weights, bent over flies, reverse crunches on the mat
Burner – from seated position with weight in each hand, move arms back and forth in a sprinting motion. This was a great arm burner, for sure!

Circuit Three: Round one – plie squats, shoulder presses, side stretches with overhead weight (first one side, then the other)
Round two – plie squats while pushing weight forward away from body, shoulder presses, side stretch
Burner – squats with alternating side kicks

Circuit Four: Round one – side leg lifts, bicep curls with tricep extension, side plank dips. (The first time I did the bicep curls with tricep extensions, my triceps didn’t feel “worked”, so the second time I did the workout, I did biceps during round one and tricep kickbacks during round two.)
Round two – leg raises, biceps & triceps, side plank dips
Burner – “duck squats” (get into squat position and walk in place – REALLY felt this one!)

Note: Caroline pops in between circuits for a quick pep talk: "You can do it!" :-)

Circuit One: Round one – lunge pulses, push-ups to side plank extensions, roll-ups with overhead reaches
Round two – lunges, pushups, roll-ups with weights
Burner – plyo jumps

Circuit Two: Round one – bridge position pelvic tucks, parallel arm raises, reverse crunches
Round two – bridge pelvic tucks while holding weights overhead, lateral arm raises, reverse curls
Burner – Sprinter arms with weights

Circuit Three: Round one – plie squat to releve (lifting onto toes for calf raises), standing chest flies, crunch with punches (holding weights while doing sit ups)
Round two – plie squat to calf raise with weights, chest flies, sit up crunches while punching with weights
Burner – alternating froggers (from plank, bring alternating feet feet forward and placing them on floor near shoulder)

Circuit Four: Round one – curtsey lunge dips (pulses), overhead tricep extension (French press), plank position with alternating arm lifts
Round two – curtsey lunge dip with bicep curl, overhead tricep extension, planks with arm raises
Burner – jumps

Circuit One: Round one – front lunges, diagonal pushups, planks with knees to elbows
Round two – lunges with weights, diagonal pushups, planks with alternating knee tucks
Burner – burpees

Circuit Two: Round one – one-legged hip lifts from bridge position, superman swim, reverse crunch with legs to ceiling (pole vaulter abs)
Round two – one-legged hip lifts, superman swim with weights, pole vaulter ab crunches
Burner – punches with weights

Circuit Three: Round one – side lunge with weights pressed forward, arm circles with weights, star sit-ups (sit up while lifting one leg and reaching opposite arm to touch lifted foot)
Round two – side lunge with weights, arm circles with weights, star crunches
Burner – move from squat to knees, repeat (Jillian did a similar move called “prisoner squats” or something like that.)

Circuit Four: Round one – lunge with a kick while holding weights, plank crawl from hands to elbows and back, side plank with overhead arms holding weight
Round two – lunge with kick and weights, plank crawls, side plank with weight
Burner – plank jump to catcher squats

Cool down: Chest stretch, tricep stretch, forward fold, standing quad stretch, side lunge stretch, spinal twist, glute stretch, hamstring stretch. These stretches felt GREAT after the workout, and they were held for a good, long time.

Instructor Comments:
The pace of the workout, coupled with the voiceover (and the accent) reminded me a little of Sylwia Wiesenberg’s first Tonique workout. Caroline says “good stuff!” and “great stuff!’ a lot! Also, I normally enjoy outdoor workouts, but this one made me feel hot – there is lots of white sand, but no water and no shade.

Debbie J


I did a very quick run through before doing the workout, so her names for exercises might be a little different from mine! Each move in the circuit is 30 seconds, which is then repeated, and the cardio is the last little blast before moving on to the next circuit.

Warm up:
Chest openers
Side reaches
Hip circles
Hamstring curls
Side lunges
Toe touches
Fold over w/arm sweeps
Dynamic chair w/arm sweeps
Calf stretches
Knee to elbow
Leg circle/hip opener
Twist jumps

Workout 1:
Squats (w/db press out second round)
Bridge w/chest press
Crunch w/db
Cardio – side to side bunny jumps

Good mornings
Chest fly
V sit ups
Cardio – "sprint" sitting down

Plie squats (w/db second round)
Shoulder press
Side bends (like going into a windmill but not all the way)
Cardio – squat w/side kicks

Side leg raises
Bicep curl/tricep kickback
Oblique side plank (raise arm up second round)
Cardio – duck squats (stay low and march in place quickly)

Workout 2:
Lunge dips or split lunges (w/db second round)
Push up to side plank
Sit up w/ arm reach (w/db second round)
Cardio – lunge jumps

Bridge w/ hip dips (w/db second round)
Side lateral raises
Knee in and out (lower abs)
Cardio - "sprint" sitting down

Plie w/calf raise (w/db second round)
Bent over Y’s
Crunch w/punches
Cardio – switch jumps

Curtsey lunge (w/bicep curl second round)
French press
Plank w/arm reaching forward
Cardio – plyo squat jumps

Workout 3:
Front lunges (w/db second round)
Push up at 10 and 2 o’clock
Plank twists (knee to opposite elbow)
Cardio – burpees

One legged brige w/hip dips
Superman upper body only (w/db second round)
Straight legs in and out (lower abs)
Cardio – seated front punches (like the sprints, just more of a punch this time)

Side lunge w/db
Arm circles w/db
Sit up, raise leg and touch toes with opposite hand
Cardio – UFCs or surrenders

Kick and punch w/db
Walking planks
Oblique plank with arms reaching up and down
Cardio – squat thrust and catch (like a half burpee)

Cool down:
Chest stretch
Tricep stretch
Fold over and hang
Quad stretch
Side lunge for inner thigh, then she goes deeper almost like a pigeon but not quite
Seated twist
Pull knee into chest then hamstring stretch
Reach up in seated position

Instructor Comments:
First, I have to say Caroline has an amazing figure. We both had the same shoes on, but that's about all I have in common with her!

I just did the workout and was pleasantly surprised, I was just drenched at the end. No puke in the bucket feeling, but just a nice workout in general. Like the warm up, I found a lot of the moves to be very dynamic - despite the pace, I could still get deeper into a move and increase my range of motion.

I had a whole range of weights planned out upon previewing the workout, but she moves at a pretty good pace, so after the first circuit I just ended up using 5 lbs for the whole thing! I might try 8 lbs next time and have the 3 lbs handy for arm circles and superman moves. I love the cool down where she actually goes through a good number of stretches and h-o-l-d-s them!

If you like Jackie or Jillian type workouts, this is right up your alley. If you have Jillian issues, I found Caroline's instruction and demeanor much more pleasant (there really is no comparison here, Caroline is just plain nice and encouraging), so this would be a good 30 Day Shred alternative for you. If you like Tracey Mallet's pink and blue workouts, but want something a notch harder and maybe more athletic, this would be a good alternative, too. Love the set!