Abs & Push Ups Plus

absandpushupsAbs & Push Ups Plus is another body-weight only workout by Ilaria Montagnani. As I mentioned in the Atletica 4 review, I purchased these two body-weight only workouts for my daughter who is leaving for college and moving into the dorms. She works out like I do–using my 100s of workout DVDs. However, even if I get her DVDs, she won’t have all of the equipment available to her like she does at home. So I got her these two workouts. Ilaria always kicks butt, so I knew these workouts wouldn’t disappoint–plus no equipment necessary other than your body.

Abs & Push Ups Plus is very different from Atletica 4. In fact, other than the fact they both use push ups and ab/core work almost exclusively, they are very different. For one, Atletica 4 also gives you a good cardio workout and works your lower body as well as your low back (in addition to core and upper body that is). Abs & Push Ups Plus is focused on upper body and core. No cardio, no lower body work. But that is okay. Also, the sets are different. Abs & Push Ups Plus was filmed in 2008 and uses the same set as all of Ilaria’s older workouts. It is also filmed better, the sound is better and is just overall higher quality. Not the workout–Atletica 4 is just as excellent of a workout. I’m referring to production quality.

And Ilaria! She is always amazing to behold but in this workout she looks astounding. This woman is ripped. This is not an exaggeration. And yet she is not a bulky body builder type. She is amazing. And her form! Every rep of every exercise is done with exact form. In addition, she gives so much quality instruction on how to execute every move with good form. I am just astounded by this workout. I can’t believe I waited so long to get it. Of course, next week both this workout and Atletica 4 go out the door with my daughter, but they are both back on my Amazon wishlist–I’m getting my own copies!

Let’s move on to the workout. The total time for this DVD is 30 minutes; however 2 minutes of that is an intro by Ilaria. So the workout time is 28 minutes, with the last minute of that being a stretch. For this workout she alternates between push ups and core work. The push ups will always be done in 3 sets of 10 reps. I like the way it was structured because some of the push ups were very challenging and 10 reps was pushing me close to failure! She burns your upper body out before moving to your core and completely burning it out. The core is structured differently. You just do a lot of reps. In the descriptions, if an exercise focuses on one side of the body, you will do equal amounts of the exercise on the other side of the body.

The workout does start with a sort of warm up. You do up/down planks. These are where you start in high plank (on palms) and lower to your forearms (low plank), then back into high plank. You do 10 then change lead arms and do another 10. Then you do 10 regular push ups.

Start with regular crunches, then raise one leg and do crunches with leg raised. Then do more crunches raising and lowering one leg.

10 tricep push ups, 10 push ups with one leg raised, 10 push ups with other leg raised.

A long series of crunches with the legs in the air, heels toward ceiling and knees slightly bent. You will angle your knees at times and lower your legs at the end.

Cobra push ups–10 regular and 10 reverse. I’ve seen these referred to as dive bomber push ups, too. Very difficult. 10 spider push ups–bring your knee to your elbow as you lower your body.

Oblique crunches with leg crossed over knee. First you do a lot of standard ones, then you raise your legs with each crunch.

Next is a sort of walking push up. Every time you lower your body you move one arm out to the side for a wide push up. Optional–when you come back in touch opposite shoulder. Do 10 each side, then 10 alternating sides.

Start with regular crunches, then full sit ups with arms reaching in front of you first, then to the sides.

The workout ends with planks. This is challenging. You hold high plank, then every so often Ilaria has you move your hands out further in front of you. She does this 5 times so use judgement or you’ll fall on your belly!

The workout ends with a much needed stretch.


9 thoughts on “Abs & Push Ups Plus

  1. Yikes, I like planks & crunches but this workout might be too advanced for me — I might not have the upper body or core strength to keep at it for the whole 30 minutes. I’d be up for the challenge but I fear the DOMs, I’ll have to think about this one….. (Plus this DVD actually has push-ups rather than planks)

    I saw a review on Total Fitness DVD site where a reviewer said that Athletica 4 (I’m pretty sure that was the name of Ilaria’s DVD she was referring too since that too also focuses on arms and core) was even harder.


    1. This is actually a great workout to build up your push up game. After my most recent major surgery, once my doctor released me to do whatever I want exercise-wise, I used Mark Lauren‘s 90 Day Challenge to rebuild my strength. But I knew that about 4 weeks into the program you start doing push ups and I hadn’t lifted any weights or even done a plank in 12 weeks! So I used this workout to rebuild my push up game. I started doing the push ups on my knees. By the end of the 90 days I was doing over 100 push ups on my toes during a single workout–not this workout, but Mark’s 90 Day Challenge workouts. But this little workout helped me get there. Atletica 4 is different. It is much more metabolic since you are also doing a total of 5 minutes worth of burpees in the course of a 30 minute workout. But it is alternated with push ups and core work.


      1. I definitely would like to build up my push-up game so I will add this DVD to my wishlist (and perhaps Atletica 4 as well, I do love a good plank and plank variations, and I do like burpees.)

        I’m new to Ilaria, it seems she has two bodies of work, Atletica and Powerstrike. One of those workout programs (perhaps it was Powerstrike) looked absolutely wonderful until I started watching preview clips 😦 I wasn’t crazy about the drum music — I think it would drive me nuts and make the work-out not fun and a chore to get through. I applaud her for choosing perhaps non-traditional background music to set the exercises too and to change things up a bit, but the drums, not for me. Alas. I do think the drums are a deal breaker.

        I started reading your ML 90DC post (I will have to finish it later) but I continue to be amazed at your passion and determination for fitness and for taking care of yourself during and after your cancer treatment. You’re a warrior for sure. (I hope it’s okay to say that, I have no idea if you get weary of people saying that.)


      2. Thank you! I am just glad it is behind me now. Though now I am dealing with possible shoulder complications. I hope I don’t have to modify my exercising again.

        I actually really like the drums Ilaria uses in her earlier workouts. In her later workouts the volume of the music becomes a problem, sometimes drowning her instructions out.


      3. I can only imagine how relieved you are that that journey is all behind you now. I wish you much good health and happiness. I’m sorry to hear that you are having shoulder complications — I hope it can be resolved with physical therapy rather than surgery and that your workout schedule/rotation won’t have to be modified.

        I did see some comments on the TFD site where folks did mention music volume issues. Out of all her newer workouts I’m only interested in Atletica 4 so hopefully, if/when I acquire this DVD, it won’t be a major issue.


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