Ultimate Sweat and Tone

Angie Gorr
Year Released: 2013

Categories: Circuit Training (cardio and weights) , Floor Aerobics/Hi-Lo/Dance , Step Aerobics , Total Body Workouts



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NOTE: I received a free review copy of this DVD from the instructor.

This is my first exposure to certified group fitness instructor Angie Gorr, although she has had several prior DVD releases, including 50/50 Cardio and Weights and Cardio and Strength Interval Circuit Workout. Interestingly, Gorr's web site explains that she is NOT a full-time instructor; rather, she works as a system analyst, but she has relied on exercise and holistic medicine to manage the chronic health problems that have plagued her since her late teens.

ULTIMATE SWEAT & TONE is a high reps, low weights workout. It is definitely geared towards advanced exercisers--the full routine is 85 minutes long!--but is suitable for higher intermediate levels and above. The equipment used includes dumbbells, a step, and a mat for the floorwork. Gorr works out with two background exercisers, one of whom shows modifications without the step. Because the cardio featured in this workout is high impact, Gorr herself will briefly demonstrate a lower-impact alternative, but no one consistently performs the low impact modification. However, the cardio moves are athletic in style and easy-to-follow: each cardio sequence is just two minutes long, broken up into 30-second segments.

The Amazon listing provides screen shots of the different menus included on this DVD; this setup offers users a wide variety of options. I will list these and then provide more information on the individual exercises below.
MAIN MENU:
* Introduction
* About Angie
* Short Premixes (30-48 minute workouts)
* Long Premixes (50-85 minute workouts)
* Play Entire Video (88 minutes)
* Select Individual Exercise
LONG PRE-MIXES:
* Entire Video [85 min.]
Alternate upper and lower body
* Entire Video [85 min.]
Lower Body, then upper body
* Lower Body Calorie Torcher [62 min.]
Work every angle of your thighs, glutes and calves. This premix plays a few of the cardio sections twice to keep your heart rate elevated.
* Cardio First [51 min.]
15 minutes of cardio followed by shoulders, triceps, back/chest, biceps/calves, and all three ab sections
* Weights First [51 min.]
Back/chest, biceps/calves, triceps, shoulders followed by 15 min cardio and all three ab sections
SHORT PRE-MIXES:
* Total Body Quick Fix 1 [38 min.]
Leg tap series, shoulders/triceps and ab pulses
* Total Body Quick Fix 2 [32 min.]
Lunges, inner thighs, back/chest, biceps/calves and planks
* Upper/Lower Body Combo 1 [42 min.]
Leg tap series, inner thighs, triceps, shoulders and all three ab sections
* Upper/Lower Body Combo 2 [43 min.]
Lunges, back/chest, leg pushes, cardio, biceps/calves, floorwork
* Cardio + Abs [30 min]
Cardio workout followed by ab work

The descriptions above are as listed on the on-screen menus. For both the Long and Short Pre-Mixes, there is the option of including the Warm-Up (3.5 minutes) or leaving it off simply by unchecking it onscreen. The warm-up features side-to-side steps, marches, basic steps on bench, taps on bench, jogs, heel jacks, punches side to side, and squats with a side leg raise. All of the workouts finish with a short (<4 minutes) cool-down/stretch sequence that is performed mostly on the floor. The stretches include seated reach for toes, butterfly, cat/cow on knees, lying one-legged quad stretch, and then coming to standing to stretch the hamstrings, triceps, forearms, and shoulders.

The individual exercises submenu is broken down into three categories, Lower Body, Upper Body, and Abs, and it includes all of the exercise segments that are featured on the DVD. I have provided brief details of each item listed on the menu below, including times for each segment, whether the segment includes cardio, and a description of the exercises.

LOWER BODY:
* Leg Tap (right leg) [9.27 min] fast-paced toning followed by cardio moves
Starting with the right foot on the bench. Gorr performs knees up, kicks front, side knees up, and then a turned out kick front. She does three sets of each exercise and then moves through a "power" set, one set of each. This is followed by approximately four minutes of cardio, including jogs, step-ups, side-hops, and side touches over the bench.
* Leg Tap (left leg) [9.27 min] fast-paced toning followed by cardio moves
The entire sequence above is repeated, starting with the left foot on the bench.
* Inner Thighs [4:02 min] toning only
This section begins with pulsing pliés. Gorr adds dumbbells, taking the pliés deeper. She then varies the movement with climbers (reaching up as if climbing a rope, then sinking down deeper), and twist and pulls towards either foot. Again, she performs three sets of each exercise and then a "power" set.
* Lunges [10:11 min] cardio plus toning
Gorr opens this segment with two minutes of cardio. The moves include modified frog jumps, ski jumps, curtseys, and side-to-side hopovers. The lunges are performed without the step and using weights. Gorr starts the sequence all on one side, performing pulses, knee ups, optional front kick, pulse holds, two down-two up, and mini pulses.
* Leg Push Off Bench [10:57 min] cardio plus toning
This segment also starts with two minutes of cardio. Here Gorr performs bench touches, high knees, a second round of bench touches, and bench taps/jumprope on bench. The leg push movement is another version of knee lifts with one foot on the bench; Gorr varies the tempo fast/slow and also adds the option of kicks. She does the same three sets of eight and then one power set.
* Floorwork [6:02] toning only
Coming to lying on the back with the feet on the bench, Gorr performs various bridge moves, including pulses, tempo variations, one leg, and leg up-down-in-out.
UPPER BODY
* Shoulders [6:11] toning only
Gorr emphasizes that you will need low weights for the shoulders, which are high rep and intense. She moves through upright rows, front raises, front raise with pull backs, v-raises, overhead press, chest squeeze, running arms, and then clapping hands to finish, performing the usual three sets of eight and then a final power set.
* Triceps [6:23] toning only
This was a unique series that really hit the triceps. Gorr starts with triceps dips off the step, adding one leg variations. She then stays seated on the step for overhead triceps press but ups the challenge with pulses and isometric holds. Next, she comes to the floor for a really tough series of pulses and holds with the dumbbell positioned just above the eyes. The entire sequence is repeated once.
* Back/Chest [6:23] toning only
In this section, Gorr moves through rear delt raises, straight arm rear raises, rear flies, and pulsing rows. She then moves to the floor for push-ups, alternating between eight singles, four doubles, three sets.
* Biceps/Calves [3:53] toning only
It would be hard to go too heavy here, as Gorr does pulsing moves for the biceps and adds calf pulses at the same time. She starts with traditional bicep curls but changes things up, moving through hammer curls and side bicep curls, continuing calf raises the entire time. Next comes the option of performing the calf raises off the side of the step while moving through the same bicep series, and finally, simply stretching the calves while still working the biceps.
ABS
* Play All Abs
* Planks [3:11] toning only
Here Gorr begins with the feet on the bench for a series of plank variations, including knees in and legs to the side.
* Pulses with Side Twist [5:27] toning only
The first move in this section is sort of a modified version of the Pilates hundred in a v-sit position. Remaining in the v-sit, Gorr performs side-to-side twists using a dumbbell. She also holds the dumbbell overhead, raising one leg up to meet it. The entire sequence is repeated once.
* Up & Twist [2:47] toning only
For this section, Gorr begins lying with the legs raised perpendicular in a slight v-position, performing a crunch with a twist and hold. The next move is similar to the double leg stretch from Pilates.

I really liked the flexibility of this workout. When I'm exercising, I often mix-and-match segments from different DVDs to customize to suit my needs on a given day, and the excellent menus and chaptering on this DVD make that easy for me. I also like the many little unique twists that Gorr adds to the moves--I thought that both the triceps and plié work was particularly unusual and effective. But there were a few things that I didn't like as well. First, I didn't like that the cardio segments were not separately chaptered from the strength work. Because of this, it is difficult to choose a "strength only" workout from the pre-mix menu--i.e., you have to know which segments contain cardio if you are trying to avoid them. A second issue is that with the exception a single longer pre-mix for the lower body, there are no "split" pre-mixes that focus on upper or lower body alone. You can create your own by choosing the individual workout segments, but this seems to be an oversight. Finally, it was disappointing that one of the modifiers didn't show low-impact modifications throughout the workout. I modified most of the impact on my own, but I think most viewers would appreciate ongoing modifications.

Despite the few minor flaws, the versatility of this DVD is a major asset. For this reason, I know that I will get a lot of use out of it, and I would definitely recommend it, particularly for high intermediate exercisers and above.

Instructor Comments:
I liked Angie. Although her long, wavy blond hair gives her a bit of a Barbie doll look, she actually seems quite down-to-earth. She actually reminds me just a bit of Carissa Foster from The Firm in the way she says "almost there!" Overall, I found her to be friendly and motivating.

Beth C (aka toaster)

11/19/2013