Man-oh-man we’ve reviewed some good strength workout DVDs lately! A few weeks ago it was Jillian Michaels’ new workout DVD, and today it’s Jackie Warner! We’ve long been Jackie Warner fans (heck, we’ve talked to her not once, not twice, but three times!) for her no-nonsense approach to fitness and working out. And her latest DVD, Personal Training With Jackie: 30 Day Fast Start? Well, it’s like her other DVDs—plus.
As Jackie told us yesterday, this new strength DVD uses the concept of pyramid training, where you do combo-move super-sets (working a couple of muscle groups) and gradually increase your rep counts for each super-set from one to two to three…all the way up to 10 reps. Pyramid training is actually the kind of workout Jackie does when she needs to bust through a plateau—and by the looks of her and her ridic abs—it works.
The DVD has two 25-minute workouts on it. Each features a different two-minute warm-up and three-minute cool down and about 25 minutes of pyramid training moves. The Upper-Body Workout targets pretty much only the upper body, while the Lower-Body Workout brings the burn to your upper body, lower body and core (a little more bang for your buck there for sure). Using the recommended 5- to 8-pound weights, the combo moves Jackie has you do are not for the faint of heart. In the Upper-Body section, she has you do push-ups on your knees (hands on dumbbells) to hammer bicep curls, chest press to seated bicep curls, upright row to standing headbangers (also called overhead tricep presses), and wide row to tricep kickback. In the Lower-Body section, Jackie busts out the squats with front shoulder raises, deadlifts with lateral raises, sumo squats to military overhead presses, crunches to reverse crunches, a double-modification of the crab crunch, and lastly, more ab torture where you reach up to your toes and then open and close your legs like scissors. While not impossible, it’s pretty brutal.
Because you’re always counting reps for the pyramid training, I can see how the continual counting could get repetitive. On the other hand, counting each rep and then each set does help you to stay focused, which is a good thing when you’re doing these more advanced moves. All in all, with pyramid training, you’re always making progress, so most of the exercises go by pretty quickly.
Which leads me to my next point: pacing. I understand the need to move quickly in order to fatigue the muscle and get your heart rate up, but the pace of most of these combo exercises is too fast for my taste. If they were slowed down just a touch, they’d be much easier to do with proper form. Especially because Jackie doesn’t give that many tips on alignment. Sure, she’s enthusiastic and encouraging (without being overly “hard” or perky, which is hard to do), but I really, really wish she gave more form cues, such as keeping the abs in, the lower back flat and the shoulders pulled back and together when doing the Upper Body segment. I can definitely see inexperienced exercisers getting tired and having their form shot to hell after just a few reps. And nobody likes an injury, especially a back one.
Despite all that, I still really like the DVD and would do it again. Jackie is great about telling people that they should expect to be sore after the workouts and she gives lots of prompts to go up in weights if you’re not feeling it. The music in the DVD is techno-y—nothing to write home about but nothing terrible either. So while I wish the pace was slowed down, more cues were given and that the lower-body actually had more lower-body moves, overall this DVD is simple and no nonsense. As long as you’ve lifted weights before and are comfortable with combo moves at a quick pace, it’s one to add to your strength workout DVD rotation!
FBG Rating (Out of 5):
Long-Term Likeability: ★★★★
Fun Factor: ★★★
Meets Expectations: ★★★★
Fit Bottomed Line: Personal Training With Jackie: 30 Day Fast Start is a no-nonsense strength DVD for the intermediate or advanced exerciser who is looking to build muscle, get her heart rate up and bust through a plateau or a workout rut!
Have you guys ever tried pyramid training? Jackie’s workout DVDs? Discuss! —Jenn