Shape Pink Power: Flat Abs 5 Ways

Jessica Smith
Year Released: 2011

Categories: Abs/Core

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This DVD, let by fitness instructor Jessica Smith, offers five fast-past, challenging workouts, each just over 10 minutes in length. Smith instructs live with two background exercisers, Madison and Jersey; Jersey offers modifications for some of the movements. The Main Menu offers options for playing all of the workouts, selecting each of the five workouts individually, or customizing your workout.

I have listed each of the workouts below and provided a brief overview.

This routine features two circuits, each consisting of five exercises. Smith goes through the circuit once, and in the second round, she and Madison make things a bit more challenging, while Jersey repeats the first circuit. Exercises include crunch with diagonal reach, cross crunch, knee tuck, seated Russian twist, and plank with moving feet.

This is more of a fusion Pilates segment; Smith notes that the moves are inspired by both Pilates and ballet. She starts with a modified roll back and also includes versions of scissors, hip lifts, and teaser; planks with leg movements conclude this routine as well.

Smith mentions that this routine focuses on the entire core, which includes not just the abs but also the back and even the hips, butt, and thighs. She opens with a core tightener and then a plank with a leg sweep. Additional moves include crunches, side plank work, and wide Supermans. She finishes with a "plank climb," stepping the feet to either side.

In this section, Smith alternates brief cardio bursts with "recovery" moves. Several of the moves involve jumping in and out of a plank position, including a squat thrust and a plank ski jump. Recovery moves were move basic, such as knee raises and v-sits.

This segment uses optional light dumbbells; Smith and Madison use 3 lbs. The first half of the routine is performed standing and includes moves to target the core such as a Figure 8 and triangle side reach. The second half is performed on the floor, adding the weights for half rollback, a weighted cross crunch, and a one-armed weighted roll up. This was my favorite segment, as the addition of the weights felt like it made the moves more effective.

The Main Menu of this DVD also includes instructions for downloading an optional sixth "bonus" program from the Gaiam web site. Here is a brief description of that program:

This routine emphasizes the obliques with many twisting movements. Smith begins with the same core tightener that she did in the Core Makeover segment, and she then goes on to do several plank-based exercises, adding rotational movement. This routine also includes several side plank exercises. Smith finishes with more plank work plus a crouching knee rotation move.

These are nicely done routines that are likely to appeal to intermediate and above exercisers. To me, however, many of the exercises on this DVD felt like they were being creative just for the sake of being creative, not necessarily being more effective. Furthermore, they are VERY heavy on plank work, and the modifications shown by Jersey do NOT offer alternatives for the planks. Therefore, those with any wrist or shoulder issues might want to stay away from this DVD.

Instructor Comments:
Jessica is a good instructor, and she does a nice job here; I just wasn't crazy about the exercises themselves.

Beth C (aka toaster)