Friday, December 19, 2008

Kathy Smith Total Body Lift

THE WORKOUT: Kathy Smith: Total Body Lift


WHO CAN DO THIS: This isn’t suitable for rank beginners not only because it’s fairly strenuous, but also because a level of body awareness is required to do the moves effectively and avoid injury. (For example, when Kathy cautions against “taking it in the back,” you should know exactly what she’s talking about.)

THE BREAKDOWN: Well, Kathy Smith, as I live and breathe. Where you been, girlfriend? Long time no see.

Kathy is old school like Tamilee Webb, minus the cocky machisma. While Tamilee is boastful about her feats of lifting, Kathy acts like starting the arms segment with 20 slow pushups (done in sets of five) is no big deal. She’s pleasant and friendly but never perky or even chipper.

Even the dance-inspired warm-up gets warm real fast. Kathy doesn’t candy coat these five strength segments—warm-up, upper body, leg, butt and abs—which range from about 12 to 15 minutes each. There’s nothing flashy here, but keeping up requires concentration and discipline. You gotta want it. Kathy uses just two-pound weights for biceps, shoulders, pecs and triceps but the segment is long with few breaks and I felt the burn using just one-pounders. (The upper body segment is the only one that uses weights.) Butt and legs segments use lifts, lunges and isometrics. The abs segment includes crunches with Pilates-ish exercises. Your muscles will like the attention even if your fun buttons aren’t pushed.

Kathy’s patter is mostly instructional with just a little bit of motivation here and there. She makes her fitness chicks do much of the work while she stands by, explaining form.

THE SWEAT FACTOR: You will generate heat.

BUT IS IT FUN? Strength training is never terribly fun to me but it’s a necessary aspect of fitness. This is a broccoli sort of workout—I like it because it’s good for me.

WHEN IT'S OVER: You may feel proud of yourself.

GEAR AND APPAREL: Mat, chair, towel (optional).

FINAL WORD: A solid workout and a keeper, though I probably won't do it as often as I should.

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