Amy Dixon’s Breathless Body is an amazing and incredibly intense interval/HIIT workout. It is set up in the tabata format, which is unique to exercise DVDs. There is a great selection of interval/HIIT workout DVDs out there, but a tabata workout on DVD is not easy to find. Tabatas are very intense HIITs—20 seconds of all-out intense cardio followed by 10 seconds of recovery. One tabata circuit consists of 8 of these 20/10 intervals. Breathless Body has 8 tabata circuits. After doing a circuit you get approx. a minute or so of recovery before the next tabata circuit begins. During that minute, Amy gives you a recovery move so you’re at least still moving. During the recovery move Amy and the exercisers give you previews of each level of the move for the upcoming tabata circuit.
There are 3 exercisers in this workout. One exerciser shows a lower intensity/lower impact move, one exerciser shows the highest intensity/highest impact moves and Amy shows a move somewhere in the middle. For all of the moves levels 2 and 3 are very intense and for a good portion of the moves even level one is intense! So the beauty of this workout (one of the beauties of this workout actually, we’ll get to the others later) is that you can alternate levels throughout a tabata circuit to keep the workout interesting (rather than repetitive) and still get a very intense workout. For instance, during the 8 intervals within a circuit you could do level 1 for one interval, level 2 for the second, level three for the third, then repeat until you go through the 8 intervals within the circuit.
Circuit #1: Jack series; level one is jumping jacks, level two is power jacks and level three is air jacks.
Circuit #2: Speed Skater series; level one is alternating curtsey lunges, level two is speed skater touching the floor with hand and level three is speed skater where you balance on one leg for a second.
Circuit #3: burpee series; level one is squat then stand with overhead “throw” arms, level two is burpees and level three is burpees with pushups and jumping at the top.
Circuit #4: Hot Feet series; level one is fast feet, level two is high knees and level three is high knees with knees/hips angled to side.
Circuit #5: Planks series; level one is mountain climbers, level two butt kicks and level three donkey kicks.
Circuit #6: Lunge series; level one is alternating reverse lunges, level two is quick-quick-slow jump lunges and level three is jump lunges.
Circuit #7: Boxing series; level one is 4 high/low punches to each side with fast squats, level two is 2 high/low punches to each side with fast squats and level three is low punch with 180 jump squats.
Circuit #8: Pogo jumps: level one is rear leg extension with hands to floor alternating to knee lift to leg extension with overheard arm lift (balance move), level two is rear lunge and hand touches the floor then jump to power knee and level three is the same as level two but with more power and arm reaches overhead.
This is an incredibly intense workout, especially if done in its entirety, which is how I usually do it. However, it is chaptered so that you can do whichever and however many circuits you want. I have used it as an “add on” workout and just done 4 of the tabata circuits for a shorter, just as intense workout. When I do this workout by itself or as an add on (meaning I’ve already done a strength workout and am finishing it off with some cardio) I am exhausted by the end of it—totally spent and drenched in sweat.
I adore this workout—one of the best intense pure cardio workouts I own. Amy’s cuing is flawless and she is very encouraging and likeable. And I just discovered that she’s come out with a Breathless Body 2: The Edge! I, of course, ordered it immediately! Review will follow soon.