Core Strength & ConditioningTracey Staehle
Year Released: 2007
Categories: Abs/Core , Bosu and Balance Disks/Boards
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I love this workout. If you like ab workouts, you have to get this. This is an advanced workout. The cover says it is 48 minutes but that includes a warmup, the actual workout and a stretch. This is not the "same old same old" ab workout.
I did the entire workout and I have Major Doms.
Tracey has two background exercisers. I say this is advanced because beginner modifications are not really shown; there are modifications given for the lower back.
She includes lots of dynamic tension holds and pulsing of crunches at various levels. She seems to take the traditional gym style moves and kicks them up a notch. The crunch sequences have lots of variations, the stability ball is not used for endless crunches but in ways I have not seen used much in other workouts. One exercise she has you on your back with the ball between your legs and you pulse up. This not only works your abs but inner thighs too.
She has a tough plank section using the ball and a super tough side lying sequence that ends with side dips.
In the middle of the workout she has a long superman sequence on the ball for the back and she even ends with a nice stretch at the end yoga inspired moves.
The workout is chaptered so you can pick and choose.
I give this one an A+.
Upbeat, professional, friendly, not overly chatty, great cueing
The positives: I think that Tracey gets *huge* props for her excellent form and instruction. Moreover, she actually gives adequate -- but not too much -- rest between exercises. (That's one of my pet peeves: when an instructor keeps working the same part of the abs for > 5 minutes without any recovery time. It's impossible to keep good form, or to use maximum effort! I'm glad that Tracey recognizes this.)
The exercises themselves are well-structured, not too complex, and really work your belly. Some of my faves: the spider pushup (going from plank on the elbows to plank on the hands, and then back again); the side leg raise (REALLY works the obliques!); plank with hands on the ball (which is finished with writing your name with the ball... pray that you have a short name!).
Tracey also has a very well-structured warm-up, which is in my experience unusual for core/ab-only DVDs.
Finally, the DVD is a great length, and really well-chaptered. BTW I think that if you wanted to do only 20 minutes, you very easily could.
The negatives: I was hoping for a more balanced routine -- a more Core Foundations/Core Synergistics-type emphasis on the WHOLE CORE. But I guess if that were what it was, some folks would've been bummed that there weren't more abs! So YMMV. .... Also the music (Jamaican and African themes) may annoy some.
The funny: occasionally, I think I can hear one of the b.g. exercisers moaning in the background... makes me feel better about finding this so difficult! (It's not loud enough to be distracting. You have to listen REALLY closely.)
Overall, I think this is a great workout for what it is. I'm personally not a huge fan of ab-only workouts, as I have trouble keeping up the intensity. I may keep this to use as an "add-on" to other workouts though.
Tracey is warm, well-spoken, and a has a great camera presence (especially considering that this is her first w/o series!).
I did 1/2 last night, 1/2 this morning. (a good break point IMO is at about 21:30 minutes into it, before you pull out the stability ball) I'm sore!! If you can do the entire 40 minutes you will be challenged!
Tracey works out with Donna and Alison. She offers great tips throughout (example: she offers a way to prevent cheating when doing reverse curls). There are lots of reps (about 1/2 way through I heard one of the background girls let out a moan!). Here (as shown on the menu) are the exercises Tracey listed:
Full Body Crunch
Isometric Lower Ab Work
Wide Arm Ab Crunch
Bicycles with isometrics
Reverse crunch **this is where I broke it up into 2 w/outs**
Full extension body lift
Stability ball planks/pushups
Side lying ab work
Stability ball ab lifts
Tracey begins on your stomach & you'll raise one arm up and the opposite leg. You'll repeat several times before raising both arms, then both legs then raise them together. Cobra stretches front of body and childs pose also stretches you out. She then does a different version of a cat/cow. This sequence is unique because she varies the undulations from the lower back to the upper back.
Crunches are first and are done lying flat on your back with arms overhead, legs straight on floor. You'll take 2 counts to bring it all the way up, then you will move into singles. Legs in and out are next. The next one is very challenging. Prop up onto elbows, legs are on floor in a wide V position. Heels come up an inch off the floor and you will hold in an isometric contraction. Bicycle is next (lots of holds, count variations really make these hard). Reverse crunch with knees lined up over hips is the next move. She'll perform some sets of those then do regular crunches in that position. Tracey also incorporates a lengthy set of pelvic tilts with curls in various counts. Bicycle repeats a little quicker this time and she demonstrates some isometric holds. Combo crunches (reverse with regular crunches combined) are next then she adds twists to work your obliques.
Tracey grabs her stability ball (Donna uses the bosu for all the ball sections) to perform extensions. Lots of reps & variations shown. Next up is the full body extension lift. (lying on your back with arms overhead you will raise the arms & head up only, then leave arms down and just raise the legs then for the full challenge raise both arms/legs together) Ouch, felt that one!! Planks on the ball are next. Several variations are demonstrated with several sets. Put your ball away and prepare for side lying oblique work. Tracey also does a set of side planks. These are felt very quickly in the working muscle! For the last exercise Tracey grabs the stability ball and places it between her legs. Then you'll crunch up and reach toward the top of the ball.
Some brief stretches conclude the workout.
The music is great! I thought the beat was good and it made me want to workout. Tracey's cueing was good and again, she provided tips and also had one of her girls modify the workout.