UnderReview: Core Fusion DVDs


Best known in these parts as the brand of workout DVDs with booties that make you go…DANG!, today we’re reviewing two of Core Fusion‘s latest workout DVD titles: Lean & Toned and Energy Flow Yoga. Which one is best for you? Read our head-to-head review and comment to try one!

core fusionLean & Toned

It’s amazing how each Core Fusion DVD I’ve tried has me going “oooh,” “ahhh,” and “Holy ish balls, that hurts!” And Lean & Toned was no different. Broken up into five 10-minute segments, a few of the workouts really weren’t as difficult as I anticipated, while one memorable segment was pretty impossible and seemed to last forever (despite the fact that they were all 10 minutes).

Upper Body Tone & Stretch was a nice mix of push-ups, planks and a little dumbbell work for the upper body. Thighs Tone & Stretch was very much like a Barre-type workout with lots of pliés, deep squats (always a burn-like-hell move) and leg lifts while you lightly hold on to a chair for support. Gluteal Tone & Stretch was a mix of ballet moves and split-leg yoga poses that seriously had inflexible me grunting. (A modification tip for those like me: Use a chair or a wall for support when the instructor Elisabeth Halfpapp goes all bendy on you.) The Pretzel Core & Toner was a unique ab segment that had good ideas but fell a little flat. The twisting moves were pretty complicated and didn’t translate as well to a DVD as they would in a live class.

Then there’s Flat/Round Back Tone & Stretch, the mother of all segments. For this one, you sit up against a flat wall or door (small apartment residents beware), then you’re “supposed” to lift your feet off the floor. Sounds easy enough, but seriously, go try it. Like now. It’s HARD. Once—or if—you get your feet up off the floor, Fred DeVito instructs you to cross your ankles, bicycle your feet in and out, and all other kinds of craziness. I’m sure with practice I’d improve, but the movement doesn’t feel natural in the least, and I’m afraid that for newbies with very little core strength, it could really jack up their backs. And nobody likes a jacked-up back.

What I really loved about the segments though is that they all had an element of grace to them. Even someone like me who isn’t the most stretchy or graceful felt a touch elegant with all the chair-holding and toe-pointing. I also really liked that each segment had a short stretch component at the end. The stretches were long enough to feel a difference, but not so long that you got bored.

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

Overall: ★★★1/2

Best for: Intermediate or advanced exercisers looking to add grace, increase flexibility and impress their friends with wall-sitting leg lifts.

Energy Flow Yoga

ACore Fusion Yoga: Energy Flows I’m just getting back into exercise at three months postpartum, I was a little nervous about trying Core Fusion Yoga: Energy Flow. Core Fusion has nearly killed me in the past with its difficulty, so I was more than prepared to take breaks and even sit out if needed. But I was pleasantly surprised; it was more flowy than some of their other challenging workouts, and even though my body was shaking after I did it, I never thought I was going to die.

The DVD is broken up into five segments of about 10 minutes each. I planned to do them as I had time, but because the baby took a rare nap of more than five minutes in a row, I just kept going (hence the shakiness).

As is always the case in the Core Fusion series, the instruction is great. Fred DeVito and Elisabeth Halfpapp alternate instructing the segments, and their direction is spot-on. They give great modifications for the less bendy (or out of shape) of us, so even those new to yoga can enjoy the DVD. Newbies to yoga may have to watch and learn first, though, as the segments assume you already know basic yoga poses.

A quick breakdown of the elements: The Energy Flow segment is the most basic, with twists, cat/cow, down dog, lunges and planks. It’ll get you warm—perfect for a pre-workout warm-up or a morning session. Both of the Sun Salutations segments got me toasty. With push-ups, chairs with pulses and pulsing lunges, you’ll feel the burn but also get some practice with balance. Chi Gong & Hip Opener Stretches will have your thighs on fire with some serious pulsing pliés and standing splits, but it also has some nice seated twists and leg stretches. The Core & Gluteal segment has you lift your entire body off the ground with the assistance of blocks. Or not. It was the more “You’ve got to be kidding me” segment of the DVD. It wasn’t all impossible though: Leg lifts that work the butt were challenging for the core, butt and balance, and the core segment was reminiscent of their typical ab work, just not as long.

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

Overall: ★★★★

Best for: Intermediate yogis who likes a well-instructed challenge.

Core Fusion impresses us yet again! —Jenn & Erin

FTC disclosure: We often receive products from companies to review. All thoughts and opinions are always entirely our own. Unless otherwise stated, we have received no compensation for our review and the content is purely editorial. Affiliate links may be included. If you purchase something through one of those links we may receive a small commission. Thanks for your support!