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American Gladiators: Ultimate Workout

Until last year, American Gladiators was but a memory of my childhood. Now, it’s back—accompanied by a workout DVD, of course. While I haven’t watched the new 2008 season, from what I’ve caught online it looks to be a modernized version of the 1990s show. Knowing how buff the Gladiators are, I was quite interested to see what the workout entailed.

The DVD features three main workouts, including two strength segments and one cardio section. Three 5-minute workout challenges are also included for the glutes, abs and arms.

Muscle Madness (Strength 1)
The 25-minute Muscle Madness introduces you to Titan, Phoenix and Wolf dressed inflashy, tight silver outfits. Whoa! While the warm-up and cool downs are glossed over, the meat of the workout is solid. Lunges, it must be said, are the basis of the workout. Titan begins with lunges with weights, bent-over rows, squats, bicep curls and wide rows. Titan, it must also be said, has the most massive thighs I’ve ever seen, so it did get on my nerves that he acted like he was exhausted after about two reps of anything.You don’t get those thighs taking it easy. Next, Phoenix takes the lead, introducing some cool combo moves, such as forward and side lunges with rows. Wolf comes in to finish off the set, focusing on the core. Side twists with weights trim your middle, and side-to-side lunges with a dumbbell work the obliques. The toughest move for me was lifting weights overhead while in plank position.

Muscle Makeover (Strength 2)
Toa, Crush and Jet again rush you through a warm-up before kicking off the workout with dead lifts, always guaranteed to make my hams sore. Push-ups, curtsey squats, tricep kickbacks, and regular squats worked both the upper and lower body. Leg raises from plank position were a challenge for both my legs and arms. My worst frenemy—mountain climbers—are also included here. Squats with chest scoops and combo push-ups with leg lifts were challenging as well.

Crush didn’t seem too sure of some of her directions, saying “I guess you do it like this…” which doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence. On the other hand, Jet does a good job of instructing, encouraging and discussing which moves help which body parts. She focuses on core work, planks and abs. This segment is about 20 minutes.

Cardio Crusade
The whole gang teams up for the cardio segment. You immediately start with a couple of static stretches (odd at the start of a workout, I think) before moving into half-hearted dynamic stretches. You start the real cardio with a boxer shuffle and punches to start the heart a beatin’. Upper cuts, repeater knees, lunges and jumping jacks keep your heart pumping. Heavy on boot-camp moves, football drills and mountain climbers are also included, along with torso twists that will keep your heart rate up for the segment’s 19 minutes. Some brief stretching at the end finishes off the the Crusade.

5-Minute Challenges
I won’t detail each of the 5-minute segments, but they featured only one Gladiator whofocused on one section of the body. I liked the one-on-one better because it was easier to hear the instructions than it was in the group format (more on that below). These segments are great if you’re short on time—they pack in lots of basics in just a few minutes.

While the workout consisted of a lot of basics and boot-camp style moves, it wasn’t always fluid. Because they’re Gladiatorsand not instructors, it sometimes seemed that they were unsure of what was coming next, which led to a somewhat awkward DVD at times. Background chatter and giggling also meant that you couldn’t always hear what the leader was saying, while the rock music reminded me of something you’d hear on a generic how-to video and was too repetitive for me to enjoy.

FBG Rating (Out of 5):
Instruction: ★★
Long-Term Likeability: ★★
Music: ★
Fun Factor: ★★★★
Meets Expectations: ★★★
Overall: ★★1/2

Fit Bottom line: Amusing to watch and full of effective moves, this workout would have been rock solid with longer warm-ups and cool downs and less background chatter. —Erin

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38 Comments
  1. MizFit says:

    once upon a time. during the FIRST GO ROUND of the gladiators (1994?) I had a friend who competed on the show.

    Id LOVE the chance to compete on the show.

    what’s that?
    this isnt about me?

    oh. ok.

    Carry on 🙂

  2. Erica says:

    You guys have lots of free goodies! How fun 😉 I loved the old version of the show and the new version is pretty good too! They make the gladiators act really cheesy now though!

  3. choosinglosing says:

    Oh oh oh!!! Me please!

  4. Brooke says:

    Wow, I think I would be totally distracted by all the muscles on display. Yummy!!

  5. imadedinner says:

    The new version cracks me up… especially that Viking type chick!

  6. pseudostoops says:

    I get distracted by all the shiny shiny latex. But yeah, this would be a fun one to try!

  7. Sagan says:

    Lifting weights overhead while in the plank position? I’m intrigued as to how one coordinates that move!

    Have never seen the show but it sounds interesting.

  8. tfh says:

    If only my own flashy silver Gladiator outfit came with the DVD…

    And yes, re: Titan, one of the things that irritates me most about workout DVDs is when they are clearly using low weights and modified exercises and they’re all “oooh! I’m really feelin’ it NOW.”

  9. Caitlin says:

    If I do this video at home, do I have to wear the shiny outfits to make it work?;)

  10. Aberiah says:

    Haha! I loved the American Gladiators back in the 90’s. My brother and I would attempt to recreate the challenges outside. I would love this video!

  11. Maren says:

    Thanks for the chance to win.

  12. Laura says:

    My kids love to watch the show. They told me I needed to compete. Yeah, right, I can’t even run longer than 5 minutes at a time.

  13. Marcy says:

    OK why does the cover of that DVD make me literally LOL!! Seriously I’m still laughing HAHAHAHAAA

  14. Every Gym's Nightmare says:

    ahaha i used to watch america gladiators. wolf is my favorite- his teeth are a little too white though

    Kelly Turner
    http://www.everygymsnightmare.com

  15. kamewh says:

    I would love to be entered!

  16. HangryPants says:

    I am not shy. Pick me!

  17. Chic Runner says:

    I ALWAYS wanted to be in one of those hamster ball things. ALWAYS. 🙂 Pick me pick me! I will become like HELGA ha ha ha

  18. Toystory says:

    I’d actually like to give this a try….!!

  19. Erin says:

    I wish all of you could win because you’re seriously cracking me up! Who knew there was so much Gladiator enthusiasm?

  20. Patricia Lupien says:

    ME me me!! I’d love a copy of this DVD. (That is if there aren’t any rules about winning twice.)

  21. Dara Chadwick says:

    Mountain climbers…shudder.

    I’ve got a 10-year-old son who loves the show so, sadly, I’m way too familiar with the Gladiators.

    Crush is my favorite :-).

  22. Marsha says:

    Just one thought — LOL!!

  23. Kaci says:

    Wow…well I could always try! 🙂

  24. samsam26 says:

    Thank you for the contest. The dvd sounds very interesting and motivating.

  25. eatingbender says:

    I honestly have never watched American Gladiators! I know, it’s horrible – and every time someone talks about it and finds out I’ve never seen it they make fun of me! I suppose this is my chance to see a little bit of what it’s about ;o) Thanks for the awesome giveaway!

  26. Juliet says:

    Ah yes, American gladiator!

    So, first of all, you are hilarious.. I love them comment about them being gladiators not trainers.

    As for the show, it is almost the same, just in 2008 rather than the 80’s cough cough or whenever that was… 🙂 The challenges are all the same. I highly recommend Tivoing it for nostaliga!

  27. Seriously. says:

    Hey there! I love your blog, and appreciate the reviews you have done on various DVDs – I did the Biggest Loser Yoga DVD this morning and it was a great way to start the day.

    Oh… and pick me pick me!!

  28. Merry says:

    I have to echo Sagan — I love your DVD reviews.

    One way to tell I’m tired: I read the description of ‘boot camp’ moves, looked at the DVD cover, and thought: “That’s the campiest lookin’ booty I’ve seen in a long time.”

    Which is not only a sleazy attempt at a pun, but a disservice to the great review that you wrote.

  29. Merry says:

    I meant to write ‘echo Seriously’ — I’d just read a comment Sagan left on a later post.
    Sigh.
    Time to go to sleep now. Seriously.

  30. Shannon says:

    I love this show, Wolf is my favorite!

  31. diana says:

    I loved the old gladiators for entertainment valve. I admit I have not catch a glimpse of the new show. To me the gladiators look like their supped up on steriods. They do not portray realistic porportions. I couldnt take them to seriously if they dont even know how a certian technique is preformed

  32. Laura says:

    The gladiators are so ridiculously fit that even if this DVD isn’t that great, hopefully it’d get me even the slightest bit like them!

  33. melania says:

    Looks like a great workout! Hope I win (fingers crossed) 🙂

  34. Alina says:

    Personally, I am really excited to watch the new show. I didn’t know about it until I read this post, but I was thinking recently about how much fun it would be if it was still on. All the fitness shows out there are just not enough for the addicted.

  35. angelacisco says:

    Where have I been I didn’t even realize they brought back this show.
    angelacisco at rocketmail.com

  36. taterbug says:

    I’d love to have this DVD. I love the American Gladiators. Maybe it would inspire me to actually exercise. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity.

  37. Renee G says:

    Please throw my name in the hat.

    rsgrandinetti@yahoo.com

  38. guru says:

    I’m too old to even think about being on the show. Back in the day I wanted to roller derby…
    Thanks for the giveaway!