Thursday, May 5, 2011

Official Product Review: The Physique 57 Thigh & Seat Booster DVD

Let's talk about your booty, baby. More specifically, let's talk about how it might react to this:

It's the Physique 57 Thigh & Seat Booster DVD, which I received in the mail a few weeks ago. Are you familiar? Apparently Kelly Ripa loves this method of exercise and I don't blame her. (If you jump on over to YouTube, you'll find a video of her teaching Anderson Cooper a few moves.) This 30-minute workout, as well as the others in the Physique 57 series of DVDs, employs "isotonic and isometric exercises complemented by orthopedic stretches" to create an interval-based workout that essentially overloads the target muscle or muscle group. The equipment? Minimal. It's all based on your own body weight, which is nice. The particular DVD above requires the back of a chair and a "playground" ball.  Both of which can be found in just about any household. (But if you don't have a "playground" ball, you can still do the workout—which makes this a great DVD to pack when traveling.) And did you notice that this workout lasts just 30 minutes? I'm all about workouts condensed into succinct packages.

Let me tell you, my legs all 30 of those minutes.

I always thought that my lower half was relatively strong. And as I've said before, it takes a lot to push my legs past their comfort zone. So when something does just that, I tend to back it with all that I've got. So let it be known that about 5 minutes into this DVD, my legs were shaking. Yes, shakin' like a salt shaker. I felt like a wimp, but I pushed through it. Perhaps I've been too cookie-cutter with my workouts lately.

What I loved about the Physique 57 Thigh & Seat Booster DVD:
1) It was fast paced, but not too fast that I couldn't follow along.
2) Modifications were provided (because we can't all work alike).
3) Again, there wasn't a lot of equipment involved.
4) The instructor's words were perfect. I knew exactly what to do.

What I didn't love about the Physique 57 Thigh & Seat Booster DVD:
1) The camera angles were deceiving at times, especially for a newbie.
2) The stretching portion felt rushed.

So what's the workout like? Think ballet, but not really. A lot of leg lifts, new takes on classic lunges. Squats with pulses. Good stuff, really. Going back to the concept of isometric exercises, you're essentially contracting your "thigh & seat" muscles in a repeated fashion with the end goal being to fatigue said muscles. All while using your own body weight. And if you don't think it'll be enough weight for your strong muscles, you might want to think again.

If you live in New York or Los Angeles, you can hop yourself on over to a Physique 57 studio and take a class. For the rest of you, visit the Physique Boutique if you're due for a new workout DVD (or some cute clothes).

If shopping isn't in your pocketbook right now, I give you the following.

A Daily Dose of Fit Thigh and Seat Workout
1) WIDE SQUAT JUMPS: Start with your feet together, jump out into a wide squat, immediately jump back in and repeat without stopping.

2) WIDE SQUAT HOLD (and CALF PRESSES): Hold the wide squat, then once complete, remain in the squat as you alternate from foot to foot with calf presses.

3) CURTSY LUNGES: You'll find this one on the DVD! Start with your right foot forward, left food behind you in lunge position. Turn your right foot out, turn your left foot out, then bring your left foot back and to the right until it lines up with your right shoulder behind you. Proceed to lunge (curtsy). Repeat on your other side. (Feel free to pretend like you have a big ballgown on.)

4) SINGLE-LEG BAND PRESS: You'll need a resistance band with handles for this one. Lie flat on your back, knees bent. Extend your right leg and loop the band around it, keeping the handles (and consequently your hands) down at your side. Press the hips up, pushing your foot up into the band while contracting your glutes and hamstrings. Fight to keep your hands by your sides. Lower and repeat, then repeat on your other side.

5) LEG EXTENSIONS: This is another one you'll find on the DVD! But also one I've seen in other places. I always forget how much it burns. Stand tall, hold onto something if you need help with balance. Bend your right leg to 90 degrees, lifting your knee until it lines up with your hip. This is your starting position. Straighten your leg while contracting your quad, return to your starting position and repeat. Repeat on your other side.

I recommend starting with two sets of twelve. Hold the squat for 30 seconds, building up from there. Go through everything once, then go through it again to complete your second set. To increase the challenge, move through the first two exercises without stopping.


Question: Do you have any experience with Physique 57 DVDs? Is there a workout DVD (Physique 57 or any other) that you can't live without?

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