Saturday, April 12, 2008

10 Minute Solutions Fitness Ball Workouts

THE WORKOUT: 10 Minute Solution Fitness Ball Workout ($9.99 at Amazon)


WHO CAN DO THIS: Anyone with a fitness ball and a modicum of fitness. And if you’re not fit, you’ll get fit doing it and isn’t that the point?

THE BREAKDOWN: The DVD is the best thing to happen to the home workout since the VCR and the 10-minute workout is the best thing to happen to the DVD workout because it allows so much programming flexibility. Do one, two, or all five 10-minute segments or mix segments up with workouts from other favorite DVDs.

The program features the fitness ball in segments targeting upper body, lower body, abs, cardio and flexibility.

The arms and shoulders workout is perfectly good but least creative; for much of it you sit on the ball and lift light weights—curls, rows, presses. You’ve done it all before, although likable instructor Kimberly Spreen points out that balancing on the ball engages core muscles while you lift, making it a value-added upper body workout.

Other workouts use the ball in more interesting ways. The lower body workout some challenging leg lifts for the glutes, done face-down with the ball under your hips, and the flexibility segment uses the ball as balance to help deepen your lunges. Coordination does come into play here, especially in the cardio sections. Dancing with a giant rubber ball is not as easy as you might think or as Ms. Spreen makes it appear—even keeping it still when you need to can be frustrating. A few safety tips wouldn’t have been out of place.

THE SWEAT FACTOR: This DVD manages to fit plenty of muscle burn into each 10-minute workout.

THE ENERGY LEVEL: The mood is fairly mellow. Ms. Spreen loves her workout but she’s low-key about it. The music, such as it is, won’t compel anyone to get up and boogie.

BUT IS IT FUN? Yes, in that if you enjoy exercising it’s fun and if you don’t enjoy exercising, it’s quick. Except for the ho-hum upper body section, moves are interesting enough to keep you engaged.

WHEN IT'S OVER: You’ll feel it. Today and possibly in days to come.

GEAR AND APPAREL: Light hand weights, a fitness ball and enough space to wave it around--which is a lot of space. Keep in mind, too, that if the ball gets away from you, things can happen.

FINAL WORD: This one made it into frequent rotation.

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