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Kathy Smith: Total Body Lift

Whether modern day or from the 80s, one thing can be said for Kathy Smith’s workouts: They’re tough. She always seems to know when you’ll hit that point of fatigue, and then she pushes you about five reps past it. Her new Total Body Lift workout is no different.

With no cardio involved in the DVD, you can mix and match all of the strength portions to work out what you’re in the mood for, allowing you to give some muscles a break if you’re sore from the day before.

Kathy doesn’t leave a good warm-up out of the mix, and I highly recommend you do it any time you pop the DVD in. It’s a short 5 minutes and gets your blood pumping. As always, Kathy gives phenomenal alignment tips, and I especially like how she incorporates a couple of minutes of stretching into each of the segments, which are all 12 to 15 minutes.

You start in plank pose to warm up the shoulders before you move to five sets of five push-ups. Then you pick up light weights to start the arm portion. I didn’t have the recommended two-pounders, so I thought I could get away with threes. I was dying. The second time I did it, I went the other direction and subbed the dumbbells for one-pound ankle weights (you work with what you have) but still got a good workout with the lower weight. With no breaks between moves, you work the shoulders, biceps, triceps and chest, using a high amount of reps and pulses. It’s tough, and if you need to modify it, you’ll just have to rest when needed. I could tell by the look in her fellow exerciser’s eyes that she wanted to rest, too.

The DVD is very dance inspired, so you do plenty of squats and leg-lift type moves with a chair for balance. You use a towel for resistance while squeezing the inner thighs and to assist with working the hamstrings.You really top the hamstrings off while lying on your back, propping your heels on the chair and lifting your rear.

This one starts out with a bang with one-legged squats followed by leg lifts while bent over using a chair for support. She really gets you here using subtle variationsto get your glutes firing. Because these are dance-type moves, some of them feel awkward, but they arefun and definitely target body parts I usually don’t hit. After pelvic tilts, you do a seated side leg lift. I tried the advanced version and couldn’t even begin to do more than half a rep.

Six-pack abs, here I come. Between Core Fusion and this one, I’m well on my way. I wasn’t having as much of a Zen moment while I did this version of abs, so I had to give myself a break a time or two (okay, more like eight). Starting in a “scooped out” half-up crunch, you hold, pulse and do various arm movements to work deep into your core. Bicycles and Pilates hundreds seemed like a breeze once that was over with.

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

Fit Bottom line: Never one to disappoint, Kathy brings new moves along with Pilates and dance-inspired goodies to really make you feel the burn. A healthy number of modifications are shown for beginners or the tired (and trust me, you will be). —Erin


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  1. Erica says:

    Sounds like a great video! I love videos with small segments so you can mix and match as you choose without having to search. Hope you have a great day 😉

  2. DomestiGals says:

    I love the mix and match aspect of this! Very cool!

    FBGs, you will be receiving some love on DomestiGals.com today… keep your eyes peeled!

    xoxo, DomestiGal Jen

  3. tfh says:

    This one sounds great to me– I’m always looking for good pure strength DVDs, and any core workout that can make the pilates hundred feel easy must be tough!

  4. Sagan says:

    Sounds like good stuff! Thanks for an awesome review.

  5. JavaChick says:

    Thanks for the review. My current (and long-time) favorite strength training DVD is a Kathy Smith one. She knows how to get results.

  6. Stephanie says:

    Thanks for the great review! I’m a big fan of fitness DVDs- right now I’m doing ChaLEAN Extreme, and it is intense. It’s based on the idea of lifting HEAVY weights in SLOW reps to gain muscle mass and endurance, therefore speeding up your metabolism… So you can eat more calories :o)

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