UnderReview: Montenegro Method DVD Series
As I’ve already shared with everyone, I’m quite the tennis fan. And after watching a rousing bout of Wimbledon (longest tennis match ever, say wha?) I was primed to review the Montenegro Method (MM) workout DVD series. Why, you ask? Because DVD creator Marta Montenegro features tennis cuties in her DVDs! Not one, not two but three tennis superstars—Fernando Verdasco, Feliciano Lopez and Carlos Moya—grace the DVD with their beautifulness. Serious points from me on eye candy alone.
But enough with the beautiful Spanish manliness in the DVDs, let’s talk about the workout and Marta herself. A Venezuelan-born journalist, Marta is the founder, publisher and editor-in-chief of SOBeFiT Magazine. She holds two master’s degrees—one in finance and one in exercise physiology—and is an adjunct professor at Florida International University. She is also a certified fitness trainer and a strength and conditioning coach. Basically, she’s really busy and qualified. Plus, she has a cute accent and serious guns. But that rocking body you see above does come with a price. Girlfriend works out A TON. According to her bio, she does three-hour daily training sessions complete with running, boxing and weight training. Yeowsers. She really must be busy!
Marta has recently taken her approach to training to the masses and created three workout DVDs for the average person (read: someone without three hours to dedicate to the gym—so 99.9 percent of us). The three DVDs are pretty intense and fuse traditional fitness and weight-lifting moves with sports drills and exercises like plyometrics. Plus—and this is really cool—the series offers both Spanish and English options. Below, we review each DVD and give you the fit bottom line, to see if they live up to the hype—or are just eye candy…
Before I get too persnickety in this review, I should mention that my running injury is getting much, much better, but it’s still not healed, so I still have to be very, very careful when doing strenuous leg work to make sure that I don’t tax myself too much and end up back at Dr. Tony’s. (I’ll have a full injury update for you on Monday!) And this cardio workout DVD? Not what the doctor ordered for me, as it includes a lot of lunges, squats and other torturous (for my injury) lower-body moves. To be honest, I spent most of the DVD watching. And cursing Marta for her inability to sweat and breathe hard during mountain climbers.
In each of the three workouts on the DVD, Marta leads you through about 25 minutes (the DVD says 21 minutes, but it’s closer to 25) of three different circuits. Each circuit takes basically the same exercise and changes it just a bit to keep things fresh. All of the workouts include a mix of cardio and body-weight strength exercises—no weights needed. Each of the circuits is pretty darn tough. From jumping lunge-squats (yes, you read that right) to plank variations, girlfriend works you good. While the continual-legwork gave me a sad face, I was also highly disappointed that the DVD had no warm-up or cool down. Injury or no injury, everyone needs a warm-up and cool down.
I’m a sucker for a good, quick strength workout and the promise of 21 minutes had my attention with this strength DVD. The DVD includes three 21ish-minute workouts, divided into the upper body, lower body and the core. I say “21ish” because each was a little longer than 21 minutes, which isn’t that big of a deal if you do each on your own, but I drank crazy for breakfast (remember, I’m a quick strength kinda gal) and did them all back to back on morning. The whole workout wasn’t just a touch over an hour like I expected (21+21+21=63); it was 75 minutes! And believe me, after 75 minutes with Marta doing combo moves, you’re ready to call uncle.
While the segments are divided by body part, they’re really more full-body than she leads on. During the upper-body section, you’re constantly lunging and squatting. For the lower-body workout, you’re engaging your core for balance work. And throughout the core workout, you’re getting plenty of shoulder work (read: BURNING!) in. You get your heart rate up in all of the sections because of the leg work, which is nice, but in my humble opinion, the time between exercises is too long. Like so long it gets boring and kind of annoying. Especially when you do the entire DVD because it just drags and drags. My advice? Do one workout at a time. Unless you are a glutton for strength-training punishment, love slow workouts—or are actually a professional tennis player.
After my rather lengthy experience with the Strength DVD, I was happy to move on to Marta’s Power workout, which includes four 10-minute express workouts. Much like the exercises in the previous DVDs, this one focuses on a lot of legs (oye!) and a lot of balancing moves with some explosive stuff, too.
I was hoping that these 10-minute bouts would be more exciting than the other routines. After all, they’re only 10 minutes long each! But alas—although the moves are effective and some of them quite unique combos—I was still bored. Marta is cute as a button and ripped like a cavewoman but the techno-y music just drones on and Marta doesn’t really talk that much. There’s no consistent counting, minimal encouragement, and cues on form are few and far between. This is definitely a workout for those who have mastered basic exercises and are well versed in weight-lifting techniques and safety.
FBG Rating (Out of 5):
Long-Term Likeability: ★★
Fun Factor: ★
Meets Expectations: ★★
Best for: Advanced exercisers who like a slow, yet tough full-body workout and like moves that are sports-related, Marta just may have your perfect workout DVDs. On the other hand, if you have exercise ADD like me and need some excitement in a workout or if you don’t have a lot of experience lifting weights, check out our other great workout DVD reviews!
FIT BOTTOMED LINE: A TOUGH SERIES OF DVDS THAT IS ONLY FOR THOSE WHO REALLY LIKE TO WORKOUT, DON’T NEED ENTERTAINMENT AND KNOW WHAT THE HECK THEY’RE DOING.
Want to try these yourself? Leave a comment and one lucky random commenter will win the set! U.S. residents only, pretty please. Happy commenting! —Jenn