Strength In Movement

Jen Carman
Year Released: 2006

Categories: Circuit Training (cardio and weights) , Total Body Workouts

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Jen Carman of Firm fame leads Tracie Long Training's "Strength In Movement". Approximately 52 minutes including final stretch, this workout uses a medicine ball and various sized weights. Jen is upbeat without being fake, her cueing is flawless, and she looks fantastic!

The set is inside Tracie's new gym in Charleston, SC overlooking the harbor. Cindy Thorpe shows some advanced modifications and another exerciser named Lindsey shows beginnier modifications. This workout is TOUGH! I loved it! It was so much FUN! The time flew by and at the end I felt worked out - not wiped out! My one suggestion .. make the music a bit louder. I loved the music in this one but I wish I could have heard it better.

I was already tired from the warm up which uses the med ball in dynamic stretching and light cardio sequences. Lindsey has I believe a 1 or 2 pound ball, Jen has either a 3 or 4, and Cindy is sporting a 5 pound ball. They use the squishy ones and you really do need something like that as opposed to a larger one you can't grip. I didn't have one, so I used a small 3# dumbbell this time.

We then use heavy weights (I used 10# bells) while we balance on one leg, lunge back with the other, and then press overhead. This move will be familiar to TLP fans. It's super tough and tests your balance! We then do rows balancing on one leg, then biceps curls.

Next is cardio using the ball. We dip with overhead presses, progressing to lifting the opposite knee while twisting to that side holding the ball. I love how functional fitness moves in Tracie's workouts show all those progressions! It gives you something to work towards. Lindsey uses a dowel for balance in this segment. Your arms get tired so don't use a heavy ball unless you're familiar with this and have no shoulder issues.

Next Jen says to pick up light weights. Listen to her! There are rotator cuff moves in the next sequence and even though it's weight work, your heart rate will stay up there. We do those "draw the sword" moves it's hard to explain. Think of reaching down with a weight to where the hilt would be and then drawing it up over your head to get ready to fight. That's the best way I can describe it.

Next come squats where you hold the low position and tap back, side, and back. OUCH! I used 8# only because there is scaption in between and I already knew to be ready for that. And now you know as well! We do more swordplay too so don't go too heavy, especially if you have shoulder issues. We then do box squats which are harder than they look, and there is time right before them to heavy up if you want to.

Next is tricep work and you may want to use lighter weights at first until you get used to the moves. They are deceptively difficult and your arms do get very tired. We do across the body moves, pushing the arm back with the palm facing forward, and what Jen calls stomp and throw, which was a little tricky for me but I finally figured it out. Then we pulse back with palms facing back this time and it's fast and you REALLY feel it by then!

Cardio with the med ball again, and this is the highest impact in the whole workout. Lindsey shows grounded moves. We shuffle with progression to really fun pendulum moves!! This segment was a blast!! The arms are working the entire time so again use a lighter ball if you have shoulder issues. Your outer thighs and glutes will burn in this segment too!!

Squats with overhead presses are next and I used 10# dumbbells without trouble here. Then tricep pushups where Jen and Cindy are on light weights and Lindsey is on the floor. You need the weights nearby though since you take turns lifting one arm to the back while doing a triceps press. Cindy is on her toes to do this and Jen is on her knees. We then stand and do rhomboid work with rotator cuff moves, so you may want to keep the light weights when you stand after the push-ups.

Cardio again with the ball where we circle our arms and move side to side, then progress to adding front mambos slow then fast, and finally adding what Jen calls play it safe, which is passing the ball side to side in opposition of your moving legs. It takes coordination and is really fun!

Next are functional one arm rows where you twist the upper body along with the dumbell. Jen had 8# and I had 10#, and I couldn't tell what the other two used. This progresses to lifting the opposing knee which really tests your balance, so don't be a hero and go too heavy at first or you'll fall. I picked up the 8's again for side lunges with inner and outer thigh sweeps, which progress to one leg squats with the opposing leg to the rear and arms out in front. YOWZA!! This was tough!!

Light weights again for delt work. It's very different than what you're used to - this is not your momma's delt work!! My shoulders really felt this with only 3# bells! On the floor then and we do oblique twists with one foot on the ball, which we roll in on every other twist. It's very hard to do and I kept losing my ball. At this point I used my Oof ball, but I think a squishy one might stay put easier. We then hold the ball between our knees and do reverse curls.

The last is bridge work. You keep the hips lifted and walk the feet first in and out, then front and back. VERY difficult to stay lifted and your glutes and hams will burn without weights here, but if you don't stay lifted it will seem too easy. Then we use weights but don't go too heavy because we lift one leg and pulse the hips, then sweep the leg in and out slowly. OUCH!!

The final stretch is dynamic involving first plank work, then standing moves. FANTASTIC workout and I absolutely adore it!! A++!!!



Strength in Movement is one of four new functional fitness workouts from the Tracie Long Training (TLT) group. The concept of functional fitness means that the exercises are designed to mimic the movements you perform in "real" life, which generally means including many balance and other core-strengthening moves. This makes for a workout that is unique, varied, challenging, and fun all at the same time. Those who are familiar with Tracie Long's previous workout series, Tracie Long Productions (TLP), will recognize this type of work; personally, I thought that Strength in Movement was very similar in feel to the TLP Functional Foundations set (Core Strength/Core Cardio) but without the high impact moves contained in those workouts. I also recognized some of the music from the old FitPrime workouts (I believe From the Ground Up in particular).

Jen Carmen, a former Firm instructor (as is Tracie), leads this workout, which she describes as interval training. Although you are alternating strength and cardio work, the entire workout has a strong aerobic benefit: according to my heart rate monitor, I was in my target zone for about 30 minutes of this 55 minute workout. You'll need three sets of dumbbells (I used 3#, 5#, and 8#, just like Jen) as well as a medicine ball for cardio work (again, I matched Jen at 4#). Jen works out with two background exercisers: Lindsey, who shows easier modifications (sometimes using a dowel for balance), and Cindy, who performs the more challenging versions. I've provided an overview of each segment of the workout below (all times are approximate and don't necessarily correspond to the DVD chapters).

*Warm-up with medicine ball, 3.5 minutes.
Includes side steps, dips, and side lunges (lots of these in this workout!).
*Moving stretches with ball, 3 minutes.
Stretches include dips, triceps, side lean, hip flexor, and calf stretches. There are also lunges with rotation and a plank-pike (down dog) sequence.
*Weight work with single heavy dumbbell, 3 minutes.
First comes a move called "Statute of Liberty" which involves alternating a 1-arm overhead raise with a rear lunge; single leg squats are added in as well.
*Weight work with two heavy dumbbells, 3 minutes.
Includes both rows and bicep curls in a quick-quick-slow pattern.
*Cardio with ball, 2 minutes.
Dips with ball overhead raises, eventually adding in a rear hyperextend and standing crunch.
*Posture work with light weights, 2.5 minutes.
Side lunges with a shoulder rotation and a single-arm "sword" move.
*Weight work with two medium weights, 2.5 minutes.
Front lunges with tap to back and side; upper body scaption move adding in an inside pivot lunge.
*Weight work with two medium weights, 4.5 minutes.
Begins with a "box squat" (lean right, squat, lean left, stand) and moves into side squats with an upper body rotation component. Next comes a lunge/triceps combination and a front "stomp" (lunge) with a triceps "throw."
*Cardio with ball, 3.5 minutes.
A shuffle-reach-pendulum combination.
*Weight work with two heavy dumbbells, 2.5 minutes.
A traditional squat with overhead press moving into a pivot squat with overhead press. This segment really exhausted my upper body due to the high number of repetitions with the heavier weights.
*Weight work with light weights, 2 minutes.
First you go to the floor for push-ups with a tricep extension, then it's back up to standing for rhomboid work with rotations.
*Cardio with ball, 2 minutes.
Another step-touch series, this time adding in arm cirlces, mambos, and side tap/arm extension move called "play it safe."
*Weight work with one heavy dumbbell, 3.5 minutes.
Standing in a wide stance, you'll do a one-armed row, adding in a rock and then a knee lift. The section finishes with a dip/biceps combination.
*Stabilizer work with two medium dumbbells, 3 minutes.
More side lunges, this time adding inner thigh sweeps and outer thigh taps. Following this, you do a single leg squat to "superman" combo.
*Delt work with light weights, 2.5 minutes.
Interesting sequence of side delt lift, straighten arms to the side, rotate, and down; finishes with "punches" up and down.
*Abs work on floor, 3.5 minutes.
This short but tough abs segment includes oblique work with one heel on the ball (eventually moving the knees in a bicycle pattern) and lower abs curls with the ball between your knees.
*Bridge work, 3 minutes.
Lying in a bridge position, you'll take small steps with your feet while keeping your hips raised; you then raise and lower one leg while resting dumbbells on your hip bones.
*Final stretch, 6 minutes.
Starts with plank work and quickly moves through stretches for all of the major muscle groups (and some smaller ones as well).

There is no chapter menu on this DVD (you can chose only to play the workout or to preview another one of the TLT workouts, Better Burn...Better Buns), but it IS chaptered, so you can skip around as needed. The day after doing this workout for the first time, I felt it in my inner thighs and especially my outer glutes--I guess this wasn't surprising given all the side lunge variations, but during the workout itself, I thought the upper body work presented the greater challenge. Overall, this is an excellent, low-impact cardio and weight interval workout which will work your body in unique ways while at the same time being both challenging and fun.

Instructor Comments:
Jen instructed very well, with excellent mirrored cueing. I could hear echoes of The Firm at times (eg, "two to go!"), but Jen comes across as appropriately serious. I would have liked a bit more instruction on the more unique moves at times, but I think that once I become more familiar with the workout, this will not be an issue. Both Lindsey and superwoman Cindy (does this woman ever sweat???) do a nice job in the background.

Beth C (aka toaster)


Jen leads this 55 min strength & cardio routine in a brick set with an awesome view of the ocean through the windows. You will need a med ball and dumbbells for this workout. There are 2 background exercisers all performing a different level of intensity. The DVD includes a premix.

After a warm up using the ball, exercises include weighted balance stick & one legged squats w/ overhead press & tri work, bi curl balancing one leg, dip & row, balance glute raise & oblique ball pull, side lunges w/ wiper & diagonal raises, WV & reach down to squat, lunge series, shifting squat series, ball pendulum, tri push-ups, plank & kickbacks, ball cardio routines, side lunge w/ inner & outer thigh sweeps, floor core work, bridge series and a final stretch.

I rate this an intermediate routine following Jen. The pace is quick so I recommend using moderate weights. Jen uses lots of tempo variations to work your muscles in a different way. The TLT set focuses on purposeful movements so the more you focus on each exercise the better results you will get. Jen is a great lead & this dvd has a lot of fun routines. I did not receive this dvd to review.