Body Bar Express: Basic Training

Sherry Catlin
Year Released: 1999

Categories: Body Bar , Total Body Workouts

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With strength work, I am an intermediate exerciser, who doesn’t really want to move up to advanced work. I have really enjoyed getting into workouts on the ball as an alternative to traditional strength training and Pilates. Recently, I have also been getting into shorter full-body workouts so I can get my strength work in. I’m more into cardio, so I try to use videos and instructors that don’t discourage me from doing weighted strength workouts.

I received this video in a trade and wasn’t really expecting a lot. It was the first Sherry Catlin workout I have tried and the first body bar workout. But, I figured it was worth checking out and I am SO glad I did. Overall, it’s a good full-body strength workout in 30 minutes – although I have some reservations about it. But, I would recommend it to people looking for short strength workouts.

There was no discussion that I saw on what weight to use. And, there is little to no time between exercises to switch weights. I stopped it a couple of times to do that and grab dumbbells. Most of the time, I used my 12-pound bar, but upped the weight on the back and chest exercises. She gives LOTS of form pointers and descriptions of the moves and what it should feel like.

In this workout, she has lots of moves for the shoulders, back and triceps. The lower body is a little on the short side, although she does include squats – and they burn! For chest, she just did push ups and I substituted chest presses (due to hand and wrist issues). She ends with a short abs section.

I felt very worked out at the end of it and was surprised at how much she packed into 30 minutes. I also liked all the form pointers. It is a pain when an instructor assumes you will use the same weight through an entire workout, but I figure that’s what the Stop button on my remote is for.

Instructor Comments:
She is very descriptive of the moves and gives lots of form pointers. She also motivated me to stay with her. I liked her straightforward approach.

Laura S.


Type: Strength
Format: Bodybar
Length: 30 minutes
Difficulty: intermediate
Choreography: easy to follow
Music: Was there music?
Set: very basic

The Workout: This was an interesting BodyBar workout using several moves you don't often see: the clean and press, as well as holding the bar behind your back and raising it out behind you. This workout really toasts the shoulders but isn't much for the legs. Thats fine with me! I prefer to work legs separately, anyway. Sherry uses the Bodybar to work the abs as well, which was nice. The workout was fun and seemed to be over with quickly. This is a nice short weight workout for a day when you want to add a 3rd weight workout to the week.

Pros: Really toasts the shoulders!!
Nice and short for an add-on, or on its own as an easier workout.

Cons: This is my problem with Bodybar workouts in general: a 12 pound bar for the whole entire workout just doesn't really cut it. I find myself grabbing my 40 pound barbell for chest or back work, or I don't feel it at all. She does a lot of reps for biceps to really toast them, but still, I get a better workout if I start out with 10# dumbbells and then go down to the bodybar when I am tired.

Instructor Comments:
I really like her!! She is laid back, and has a sort of dry sense of humor. Cues well. I took a class of hers at a fitness conference and I wish she would put something as difficult as that on DVD!! She is Queen of the Body Bar, imho..

Peggy Elliott


This is an efficient and elegant 30 min body bar w/o that uses every second of the half hour. There is a short warmup that goes right into shoulder work (the shoulders are worked a lot), Since there are no pauses, you’ll want to select your bb weight carefully. That thing will get heavy fast! You do different shoulder & back exercises (overhd presses, lat raises, front raises, combos, clean & lift, etc.), squats & plié squats, delts, biceps, triceps, with some nice if momentary stretching. There is a quick bit with pushups, and just as quick with abs, but we’re not really there for those. As Joyce T. pts out in her review, the “killer part” is that you do a set of 8 reps, then 8 reps pulsing at different heights, thus working everything. A couple of times, Sherry says, “Are you awake? We’re awake” or “Are you dying? I’m dying,” and that was right when I was. It’s a tough, quiet, quite satisfying workout. You could also do this with dumb bells.

I should say I haven’t done this on its own. I like to do cardio, especially a kickbox or boxing oriented w/o, and then finish with this. For me, it pairs really well with something like CIA 2203 Cardio Kick It!, or Fit To Kick, or TKO.

The camera work is good. You can see what each of the three of them are doing (LaShaun and another woman are there), and a couple of times, there were very useful overhead shots to show the movement.

Beth Lee Simon


I'm not a huge Sherry Catlin fan, but I enjoyed this tape. It is more of an endurance tape than a body-building one, but I feel I got a good workout with it. It is very easily adaptable to using with dumb bells too which is a nice bonus. You might need to go one notch lower if you modify it that way to preserve form on some of the exercises because using a bar reduces wrist strain on some of the lifting exercises and you would need to compensate for that. Most of the work here is pretty standard: upright rows, squats and the like. The upper body is definitely favoured, although this is supposed to be a total-body tape. Most of the lower work was in compound movements like tacking on squats while you do something else. Biceps and triceps got very little attention, but this tape is short enough that you can tack on a segment from another tape. Overall, a nice change of pace workout, but I wouldn't recommend it if it's going to be your only strength work.



This tape is a pretty intense 30 minute all weight workout which covers all body parts using only a body bar. A barbell or dumbells could be substituted but the workout moves very quickly in order to get everything in so there isn't a lot of time to change weights.
The workout begins with a very short warmup, approximately 2-3 minutes. It progresses into exercises for the shoulders consisting of upright rows, lateral raises and overhead presses. The killer part of this tape is that you do 8 reps of the exercise using the full range of motion for that exercise, then you do 8 pulse reps in the lower range of the moves, then 8 pulse reps in the mid range of the move and 8 more pulse reps in the high range, finishing off with a final set of full range motion of the exercise. My muscles were burning on every exercise. It's tough! Sherry even comments about how she is dying!
After shoulders, you work your legs with squats using the same regular motion, pulsing, etc. You do regular squats and plie' squats. Other than that, there is no additional work for the legs so if you prefer more lower body work in a tape, pass on this one. The rest of the tape is all upper body working your back, triceps, biceps, chest and finally abs again using the same full range set, pulse set, etc.
I was pleasantly surprised with this tape. It is a decent total body workout perfect for when you are short on time but still want to get weight training in. It would also be a great add on tape when you just want to perform more reps. The only complaint I have with the tape is that since they are using one weight for the entire workout, they do move quickly through the routine not allowing much time for a home exerciser to change weights if needed. However, they don't rush through the reps which is really nice. Overall, I give this tape 2 thumbs up!

Instructor Comments:
Sherry does a nice job of leading this tape. She provides good form reminders for properly performing each exercise.

Joyce Thurman


Sherry Catlin presents clearly defined movements. She is a model of focus. There's a kind of slow burn fire under the ashes feel to her that I like.

definite keeper

beth lee