Whenever I do a DVD that’s split up into multiple 10-minute workouts, I always think, “I can do anything for 10 minutes.” But with Core Fusion Body Sculpt, I was rootin’ tootin’ relieved that there were a couple of minutes of stretching built into the end of each workout because this DVD was a challenge. Core Fusion hits the entire bod: arms, glutes, thighs, abs and an all-over stretching portion. Fred DeVito and Elisabeth Halfpapp instruct here—actually, they go through the movements, while they also give voiceover cues. I imagine this is because their voices would be as shaky as their legs if they had to speak while doing the exercises. They do great with instruction and cuing, and it’s nice that they include modifications for many of the moves. The set is also pretty and new-agey, with wood floors, huge vases and a Buddha off to the side.
Upper Body Sculpt
As someone who knows the benefits of strength training with moderate to heavy weights, I scoffed at the instructors when they picked up dinky little dumbells. Cut to 30 seconds later, and I’m trading in my 5 pounds for the lightest I have, 3 pounds, which wasn’t light enough. The female instructor uses 2 pounds. The segment works the upper body hard, doing bent-over pulsing moves that hit the triceps and back. Next, alternating bicep moves with bent arms and presses that hit the shoulders, arms, chest and back hit all the sweet spots. With no rest in between the moves, you’re constantly engaged, which leads to a difficult workout.
The thigh moves start out easy enough, using a chair for balance, and for the first six minutes I was thinking “Bah! No biggie!” You do standing ballet-inspired squats with variations on positioning of the feet and tempo. By minute eight, though, I was crying out for the mercy of the stretching portion.
So after my legs were already shaking from the thigh routine, it was time for the rear. Also using a chair for balance, you lift one leg for a series of standing leg lifts. While you’re working your right glute, the fire in your standing leg/butt glows brighter and brighter. By the time you’ve done both sides, you’re spent. I even felt it in the uppermost portion of my butt, which is a tough place to hit.
Without a doubt, this was the most difficult ab workout I’ve done. Ever. In my life. You prop your feet up at an angle against a wall and lift your shoulders off the ground to engage your core. You basically stay in this position for seven or eight minutes, while doing various arm movements. You reset after doing each move, but resetting consists of still having the shoulders off the ground, so you’re never relaxed. I, again, tried to push myself and eschewed the modifications and breaks given, but I highly recommend breaking. (I don’t even consider myself crazy-advanced, but with the instructor talking about the difficulty of the moves, it really made me want to push myself to prove that I could do it.) You also hit the obliques and then, finally, put your feet on the ground, still keeping your shoulders off the ground for more variations on the moves. Think sitting mid-sit-up and moving your arms to the ceiling. A totally different ab workout than I’ve done before; I can see why they say it’ll give you washboard abs.
After starting this portion by just laying on the ground, I could tell the stretching portion would be a little less work than the other portions. But it was still a great segment. You focus on your breathing while doing yoga-inspired stretches for the entire body: hamstrings, glutes, mid-section, calves and back. While easier than the other segments, it’s surprising how challenging stretching can be, especially when you get to the balance stretch, which entails sitting in a V shape, grabbing the outsides of your feet.
Don’t let the difficulty scare you off of trying this one. Modifications are there to make it adaptable for beginners, and you can take a break at any time. I also loved how the stretching was built into the segments, emphasizing not only the importance of a good stretch but also proving you can work muscles to the point of fatigue in less than 10 minutes.
FBG Rating (Out of 5):
Long-Term Likeability: ★★★★
Fun Factor: ★★★
Meets Expectations: ★★★★★
Fit Bottom line: Yoga and Pilates meet hard-core strength, this video is fusion at its best. A challenge for advanced exercisers, beginners and intermediates would do best trying the modifications and building as they go. —Erin
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