Elle Beauty Sculpt

Sara Haley, Brooklyn Decker
Year Released: 2009

Categories: Circuit Training (cardio and weights)

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I exercise at home daily using fitness DVDs. I usually shy away from "celebrity" videos (although I have tried a few others), but it seemed like this might be a nice change of pace. First, the DVD does offer a real instructor, Reebok's Sara Haley, and second, I liked the idea that it featured two short (approximately 20 minutes each) workouts, as I thought this would be a good option for when I was shorter on time.

The Main Menu offers options for Play All - Beauty Sculpt Warm-Up - Beauty Sculpt Workout 1 - Beauty Sculpt Workout 2 - 50 Minute Power Option - Bonus Menu. I have described each segment briefly below.

WARM-UP (11.5 minutes)
This exceedingly long warm-up starts off rather chill. Haley leads model Brooklyn Decker through large, fluid movements such as squats with arm circles and dynamic stretches. Given this, it was a bit of a shock that for the last 3 minutes or so, they jump suddenly into impact moves, include high knees, heel kicks, and jumping jacks; I definitely would have preferred a more gradual aerobic warm-up.

BEAUTY SCULPT WORKOUT 1 (17.5 minutes)
This routine is described as an "interval based full-body workout." Using what appears to be very light weights (3 or 5 lbs.), Haley and Decker perform compound movements such as a plie squat with front arm raise and a "tennis serve" (twist from one shoulder to opposite hip). The are also combination moves that include a balance aspect--e.g., a side squat with a knee raise and bicep curl. After completing a series of movements on the right side of the body, Haley leads Decker through fast interval work. This includes some high knees, jumping moves, etc. (Haley does provide an option to remain lower impact). Haley times the interval work, and after several moves, the entire sequence is repeated on the left side, starting with the strength work and finishing with the intervals. There is no cool-down.

Although this workout is described as "abs work, speed moves, and intervals," it follows the EXACT same format as the first routine. Haley introduces compound moves one-by-one--e.g., a plie squat with a side arm lift, a curtsy squat with chest press--first performing each exercise individually, then repeatedly taking it from the top to perform all of the moves in a "flow." She refers to this flow as raising the heart rate, but most people will NOT see an aerobic benefit from the light weights and slow pace of the routine. As with the first workout, after completing the moves on the right side, Haley leads Decker through what she calls "speed and agility" drills--basically, these are moves performed slow, then at a quick pace for 10 seconds. All of the strength exercises are then repeated on the left side, concluding with the speed and agility drills. There is no cool-down.

The 50 minute workout is simply the entire routine put together. The Bonus Menu actually offers additional workout options, including Bonus Sculpt Workout 1 (5:53 minutes), a side plank challenge, and Bonus Sculpt Workout 2 (3:09 minutes), a core-focused routine using a weighted ball (or a dumbbell). There's also a section on 1-Minute Workouts, Beauty on the Go, Pack Like a Pro, plus interviews with both Haley and Decker.

In the end, I was disappointed by this DVD, which seemed mainly to be a vehicle for Decker. I didn't like how Decker introduced the workouts (shouldn't the trainer be doing this?). Also, it seemed like Haley was reluctant to correct Decker's form. This might be a good video for those who are new to fitness DVDs and who don't do much strength training, but I would advise more experienced exercisers to look elsewhere.

Instructor Comments:
I found Sara to be just okay. She seemed nice enough, but I thought she could have made more efforts to offer form pointers (including correcting Brooklyn's form).

Some VFers might be interested to know that in the credits, yoga instructor Tara Stiles is also listed as a trainer for this DVD.

Beth C (aka toaster)