Your Best Body Circuit is part of the Your Body Breakthru series by instructor Michelle Dozois. This was my first video in the series, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. The DVD Main Menu offers the following options: Full Workout, Express Workout, Chapters, Testimonials, More on Your Body Breakthru, Michelle's personal message, and Contact. The Full Workout is 58-minute workout consisting of a warm-up, seven cardio/strength circuits, and a cool-down, while the Express Workout provides a shorter (35 minutes) version of this. Equipment used includes 2 sets of dumbbells (medium and heavy) and a resistance band (Michelle and crew use a straight band, but my handled one worked fine).
Here are the chapter breakdowns:
Circuit 1 (Back and Biceps 1)
Circuit 2 (Chest and Triceps 1)
Circuit 3 (Back and Biceps 2)
Circuit 4 (Chest and Triceps 2)
Circuit 5 (Shoulders w/Legs)
Circuit 6 (Legs)
Circuit 7 (Abdominals)
The warm-up is just under 5 minutes long and is consists of some light aerobics plus moving stretches. Each circuit begins with a short (2-3 minutes) cardio segment consisting of a simple series that is repeated 3 times. The cardio sequences are performed first on 1 side of the body, then the other (ie, you do the same cardio moves for Circuits 1 and 2, but your start on your right leg for 1 and then move to your left leg for 2). The cardio is fairly basic, with moves such as jacks, lunges, and knee lifts, but the addition of some punches and kicks adds a kickboxing flavor. Although there is a bit of impact to some of the exercises plus a few plyometric moves such as power jacks, one of the four background exercisers always shows a low-impact option (I chose to follow the modifier at times and still had no problems keeping my HR in my target zone).
I especially enjoyed the strength work for assorted reasons. First of all, the exercises were quite varied and different, especially the band work. However, Michelle also offered new twists on more traditional exercises, such as lowering into a squat, pulsing while lifting one foot, and then raising back up. For further variety, Michelle varied the count of the exercises, doing 2-2, 4-1, 1-4, etc. (similar to Jari Love's Ripped workouts). Furthermore, I liked that there was a functional fitness component to many of the moves, with twisting exercises like the wood chop as well as balance work. I also appreciated the strong emphasis on back work, as this is an area that is often overlooked. The only complaints I had about the weight segments were that 1) Michelle moves very quickly, sometimes making it difficult to set up the next move in time (particularly when working with the band), and 2) in Circuit 2, there was a push-up series that was extremely challenging--although a modification was shown, the difficulty level of this exercise seemed out of proportion with the rest of the workout.
I consider myself to be an advanced intermediate exerciser, and I found this workout to be perfect for both my level and my preferences. However, given both that modifications are shown and that you can always vary the amount of weights used (I used mainly 8# and 10# dumbbells), I think that this DVD would appeal to a wide range of exercisers, from advanced beginners to intermediates to those at a full advanced level. Michelle has done an excellent job in creating a challenging workout that is both interesting and fun to do; highly recommended!