Sculpt Sweatfest

Tracey Staehle
Year Released: 2007

Categories: Bosu and Balance Disks/Boards, Total Body Workouts

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I’m reviewing this workout after previewing it once and doing it twice.

General workout breakdown: This somewhat unusual sculpting / toning / strengthening workout offers two different sections: one focused on minor muscles often overlooked in your typical strength training videos or classes and one focused on more traditional strength moves done with balance challenges. This is a high rep – low or no weight workout meant to have you feeling the burn.
There is no warm-up. Tracey advises doing light cardio beforehand.
*Sculpt Section One (29 min.) begins prone with legs bent at 90 degrees, raising one leg at a time. Next comes an elbow plank sequence (alternating between modified, full, one arm lifted, one leg lifted, and finally one arm and opposite leg), followed by child’s pose with arms extended. Turn onto the back, with upper body raised on elbows, and hold legs a few inches off of the ground. After a quick supine stretch comes a jackknife sequence, varying the position of the legs and/or torso as well as tempo; this leads into a bicycle series, with a quick knees to chest stretch afterwards. Next is a side-lying series, beginning with a straight leg lift with turn out (for the periformis), the clam, and rotator cuff work, with a shoulder stretch to end. The final exercises are done prone, with arms lifting and lowering in a T, Y, and then W position, with short cobras in between. The segment ends with child’s pose with arms extended and then threading each arm under. Most exercises, except for some of the corework, alternate between doing singles (i.e. the full range of motion within the exercise), usually at a fairly quick tempo, pulses, and isometric holds (e.g. singles for two 8-counts, pulses for 3 8-counts, hold for 2 8-counts, and then 2 more 8-counts of singles).
*Sculpt Section Two (23 min. + 8 min. stretch) begins with a squat sequence (including explosive singles focusing on the upward thrust, isometric holds, and low pulses) and then moves right into the infamous kneeling on the ball sequence with opposite biceps curl & triceps overhead extension alternating with lateral raises (modification: sit on ball or stand w/ 1 leg raised; I’ve done it kneeling on my Bosu). Next come elbow planks on ball (walk forward & back and hold – or just hold), triceps dips off ball with foot / feet on Bosu; the sequence is done 2x. While lying on stability ball, do chest press (alternating and together), then chest press with rotation (shoulder comes off ball), and then chest press with crunch. Out comes the Bosu for biceps curls while in V-sit, raising one and then both legs; this is followed by one-armed bent over row while kneeling on stability ball. The Bosu comes back out for squats with rotation while holding medicine ball; then, drop the medicine ball for one-legged squats. This segment ends with supine stretches: full body w/ arms extended, knees to chest, twist w/ bent knees, one ankle over opposite knee (for glutes), hamstring, and inner thigh; it finishes standing with lower back stretches. These stretches are actually held for quite a while, but unfortunately that means there isn’t time for stretches for the quadriceps / hip flexors and upper body.

Level: I’d recommend this to experienced intermediates (preferably on the higher side) through low, possibly mid-, advanced exercisers. This is NOT for beginners; there is far too little instruction here. If you don’t have some coordination and balance already as well as significant knowledge of and comfort with conventional weight lifting and floorwork, you may find some of the exercises frustrating and potentially even dangerous.

Class: 1 man and 3 women join Tracey. 2 of the women show some modifications for less equipment or less strength, while the man shows some more advanced variations.

Music: Mostly instrumental and some vocal with a driving beat, it’s actually pretty loud in comparison with Tracey’s voice. One song is that “Tequila” number. Another sounds like it’s skipping, which sends me into a panic over my DVD player every time I hear it. A few selections appear in other videos by Tracey.

Set: the CIA’s recent “blue barn door” set – a bright interior with neutral-colored walls with a blue door and window, with patio furniture off to one side and a (dry) fountain off to the other.

Production: decently clear picture and sound; helpful camera angles, showing almost all of all exercisers at all times. Although this is CIA-filmed, something went wrong in post-production because the color is off and sometimes the contrast fluctuates.

Equipment: Although the first segment claims to need no equipment, you’ll need a light dumbbell (1-3 lb., although if you regularly do rotator cuff work and are more advanced you maybe could try 4 or 5 lb.) and a mat or equivalent. The second segment uses a stability ball, a Bosu, a couple of pairs of medium to light dumbbells, and a medicine ball. I don’t have a stability ball and get by just fine (I take the stability ball exercises to the Bosu, except for the bent over rows, which I just do standing). I use the 3 lb. Green Genie-like soft ball instead of a hard, heavier med ball. You don’t want to go too heavy since you’re balancing on the Bosu and doing shoulder work with it, but if you don’t have a weighted ball, you’ll probably be fine with a dumbbell.

Space Requirements: You should be able to lie down with your arms and legs extended. If you’re doing the second segment, you’ll also need space off to the side for the ball and Bosu when you’re not using them.

DVD Notes: Exercise sequences are chaptered (e.g. in section one, the planks are all in one chapter, but each of the three side-lying exercises are chaptered separately; in section two, most exercises seemed to be paired within the chapters). There is no way to access chapters, including the ending stretch, directly from the main menu, however.
The main menu offers the following choices: Intro to Workout, Sculpt Section One, Sculpt Section Two, Sculpt Sweatfest Mixes (Burn it up Mix, all upper body exercises, 31 min.; Bottom Blast Mix, All Lower Body Exercises, 24 min.; Balance Challenge Mix, all balance exercises, 18 min.; Belly Burner Mix, all abdominal exercises, 9 min.), and Tracey’s Credits.

Comments: This is not a must have; that said, it could have its place. Sculpt Sweatfest is probably best suited to a recovery slot within a usual rotation. I’m not sure it’s best suited for your regular strength training, but it makes an interesting complement to the usual weight training video.
I have to say there isn’t much of a fun factor for me with this workout. There are a fair number of repetitions, so if you get bored easily, this may not be for you! I do feel the burn, but surprisingly this time around I don’t really have any DOMS. That may change if I were to do this video more regularly and became more comfortable with the moves, thus enabling me to go deeper, push harder, etc., and not just worry about staying upright.
I prefer the first segment to the second; it feels more ordered and organized, and the exercises seem to have more of a purpose. I agree that some of the moves in the second part feel more like “neat tricks” than useful exercises (kneeling on a ball and doing quick arm movements is an interesting test of your balance and strength, but what other value does it have?). Also, I can’t quite figure out the chest press series, especially the reason for the shoulder lift with the slight rotation; after previewing and doing it twice I’m still puzzled as to what’s going on and why. My shoulders are kind of achey today, the day after doing this, and I think that’s the culprit. Anyway, the first segment seems like one of those things you should do with some frequency to balance things out, but I’m not sure when I’ll find the time in among all the other things I should and want to do, too!

Instructor Comments:
Tracey has a pleasant, low key on screen persona. She’s gently encouraging, often saying “C’mon,” “Just a few more,” etc. I can see how she’s a great instructor in person, but she’s still a little uncomfortable in front of the camera, although she does seem to have an extra spark during core work. She mirror cues, and she cues decently, but I wish she would be more consistent and specific, however. She doesn’t always explain exactly what we’re doing and why. I don’t want her to slow down for set up, as she does before the side lying series, but I do want more explanation of correct form, a few more form tips, and more discussion of which muscle we’re working – and in the first segment why we’re working that particular one – during the exercise. For the most part she announces exercises beforehand and sometimes even discusses what type of weight to use, but she hops on the ball to do that series without saying anything before, which is where I needed advance warning the most. Her use of the term “singles” was potentially confusing; at one point even her background crew wasn’t sure which type of “singles” she meant. I also wish she wouldn’t use “hurt” or “pain” as she does, because she’s not implying that real muscle or joint pain is acceptable.



Was not sure about this video until it arrived. This a dark horse. It compliements weight trainging in that it gives you a work out using no weights orlight weights.
First section is on the floor. Isometric movements delivered with "subtle" style that well and truly "bite" but in a good warm glow. I felt that I was able to gain an alternative to a weights workout that was well worth doing. I realise that I can build up lactic acid in my shoulders and upper back with little or no weight.
The second half was working with the Bosu. It was not the usual type of tape. It was 20mins. of working with light hand weights on the Bosu. This was educational in more ways than one. I knelt on the Bosu for a balance challenge with light weights in both hands. It showed me that I had muuscles that were quivering and twitching as I adjusted to the unstable surface.
The delivery was in stages. Two feet, then lift one foot then the other and hold briefly. Sneaky but very effective. I am left with a different glow from lifting weights. New, innivative, effective, not the average run of the mill. This is worth a serious look at if you are interested in developing balance and discovering more about your own body awreness. Tyler the "hunk" was muusle defined and displayed that he was being challenged!
Excellent, innovative and something different but effective.

Instructor Comments:
Professional delivery, good cueing and innovative. Creative in move creation in that she can take a movement and develop it further.