If you enjoy group fitness classes but don’t want to pay pricey gym membership fees, exercise DVDs are an inexpensive and effective way to feel the burn. Most fitness DVDs sell for under $20, so they are a cheap way to exercise in your own home.
I received a bunch of newly-released fitness DVD titles to test. I’ve been working out to them for a few weeks, and I’ve also lent my review copies to a fit friend who actually enjoy group fitness classes to get an additional perspective. All of the DVDS reviewed below are currently selling for less than $10.
Lisa Rinna: Dance Body Beautiful-Learn & Burn and Lisa Rinna: Dance Body Beautiful: Jive, Jump, Ballroom Bump: These dance-inspired workouts from Dancing With The Stars alum Lisa Rinna fell flat with me but were a hit with my fit friend.
Lisa Rinna leads viewers through fast-pasted dance routines that you can do without a partner. “Learn & Burn” features the rumba, hustle, paso doble and the quick step. “Jive, Jump, Ballroom Bump” features jive, cha cha, salsa, and disco.
I’ll admit that I am rhythmically-challenged and not the quickest study when it comes to dance routines. So it isn’t surprising that I found the routines hard-to-follow and frustrating and Lisa Rinna’s 80s-esque outfits distracting. But I am clearly not the target audience for this DVD. My friend, a Dancing with the Stars fan, is both musical and fit. She enjoyed these DVDs as a pleasant and fun change from her usual routines and had no difficulty learning the moves.
“Boot Camp” is a thorough workout DVD that includes a 25-minute interval-based boot camp that will get your whole body in shape as well as a 10 minute ab routine that was fairly challenging in my opinion. I particularly liked the “5 by 5s” section, which included five 5-minute quick-fix workouts for each body part. “Body” includes four 20-minute routines customized for abs, legs, arms and buns. You can do all four routines in sequence or split up your workout over several days.
Modifications are offered for many exercises, which makes these DVDs a good fit for semi-fit beginners like me or super-fit people like my friend. And all of the exercises are done purely with your own body weight, which is great if you don’t own weights or resistance bands.
However, this DVD series isn’t for everyone. As you can guess from the title, the instructors use lots of language that isn’t appropriate for children. The frequent exhortations to “move your ass bitches” and other similar expressions might motivate some, but they made me feel like I was working out with Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie. I found the language a bit distracting. But I would recommend the DVD to someone who has no objections to the frequent use of profanity.
Abs of Steel: Sculpting and Toning and Buns of Steel: Sculpting and Toning are my hands-down favorites of all the DVDs reviewed. My fit friend liked them so much that she didn’t want to return them to me after testing them.
You might be familiar with the old Abs of Steel and Buns of Steel series. These DVDs are completely new and updated workouts that integrate techniques like yoga, ballet and pilates to make your workouts shorter and yet more effective.
Modifications are offered for each exercise, which makes these DVDs a good fit for people of all fitness levels. You can choose to work at the moderate, intense or ultimate pace. Instructor Leisa Hart offers clear and detailed instructions for each exercise that were easy even for a beginner like me to understand. And I really felt the burn after just one workout.
I also liked the simplicity and organization of the DVD menu. Depending on how much time you have available, you can pick and choose from different workouts. For example, I really like the 10 minute yoga ab workout and the 5 minute pilates ab workout. It’s great to skip right to those sections rather than having to watch the seated or standing ab workout segments too.
All of these DVDs are available for less than $10 at Amazon. (Click here to shop for exercise DVDs at Amazon.)
To win a copy of each of the DVDs featured here, leave a comment on this post by 11:59pm Eastern Time January 30, 2009 telling us your biggest fitness challenge or your exercise goals for 2009. (Unless otherwise specified, all Mamanista contests are open to U.S. residents only.)