I LOVE this workout! This is the third workout I have done by Kelly Coffey-Meyer and yet another winner! I don’t even know where to begin with all I love about her workouts and Shape Up is a perfect example of all of those reasons. First, I adore the 30 minute format. Shape Up is part of her 30 Minutes to Fitness series. From what I can gather (from the many DVDs in her series I have already purchased) each DVD in the series contains two 30 minute workouts. These are perfect for me to do as my doubles workouts (“doubles” are just my second workout of the day and I like it to be about 30 minutes). Second, the intensity is variable. I have found (so far) that the main workouts are generally intermediate level with options to increase (or decrease) intensity. However, she includes premixes that can take the workouts up to advanced level while still keeping the workouts approx 30 minutes! And third, if you love these workouts so much you want to include them as a main workout (as in my morning workout, which is approx an hour)? She has premixes that add both workouts together giving you a workout that is approx an hour long! And fourth, I really like Kelly! She is a great and motivating trainer. Her workouts are fun and challenging. I just can’t stop buying them. She is becoming an addiction like Cathe (whom I hoarded until I now own everything Cathe has created on DVD); I must own them all!
Shape Up workouts are tabata workouts. However, they are no Tabatacise or Breathless Body #1 (both of which are advanced tabata workouts). They are still intense with options to become even more intense/advanced. But we will get to that. Tabata is a form of HIIT. You do 20 seconds of all out intensity and 10 seconds of recovery. You do this 20/10 interval 8 times for one tabata circuit. Kelly does things a little differently in this workout. She does use the 20/10 interval 8 times, but she alternates cardio tabatas with strength tabatas. So you do one full cardio tabata, then you use the 20/10 format for a strength training move. Since I am currently in the middle of STS, I am using Shape Up as cardio doubles, so my plan was to go lighter on the weights and make this metabolic weight training. However, if you go heavy enough, this does have the potential to be a genuine upper body strength workout. I actually upped my weights and really felt the burn. I am actually pretty excited to do the hour long premix. I love strength training that alternates cardio and strength circuits, and this format can get pretty intense–especially if it is an hour long!
My first thought was, if these were straight cardio tabatas, there might be a bit of a problem because Kelly gives you almost no recovery between tabatas. But because you are alternating cardio and strength, the strength tabatas actually serve as an active recovery from the cardio. So I tried the cardio only premix, assuming that it would be really killer with no real recoveries between tabatas, but I was surprised to find that it wasn’t killer. Tabatacise and Breathless Body #1 still have it beat by far. Nevertheless, the cardio only premix is an intense little cardio workout and I loved it. The reason the cardio only premix (and the workouts themselves actually) aren’t as intense as you would expect, is because there is a safety net built into the workouts. In fact, lets talk a little more about the cardio tabatas. Overall I really liked the cardio tabata drills. In the majority of the drills, both cardio and strength, she varied the exercise. This had two results. One, it keeps the 8 HIITs in each tabata from getting boring. But it also varied the intensity. So sometimes the drill was very intense, other times not so much. If you are not an advanced exerciser (or you are just needing something intense but not kill you intense) this might be good since those less intense drills will give you little bit of recovery. However, the idea of a HIIT is that you go all out during the interval. So, taking it easy kind of defeats the purpose. But no one says you have to do exactly what Kelly does every time. You know what the most intense version of the exercise is as soon as she shows it–so do it every single time if you are looking for a true tabata workout.
For these workouts Kelly is by herself, no crew. The intro breaks down tabata structure. She says you can do the workouts two different ways: use lighter weights and get in as many reps as possible during the 20 second intervals or go heavier with less reps. She uses 10 and 8 pounds dumbbells and an 8 inch step. She also states that a step is not needed. Not using the step is another way to lower the intensity of these workouts if you find it too intense/advanced. There is no counter for these tabatas, but instead the music does the count down. It’s very cool and appears to have been created specifically for tabata workouts. It tells you what interval you’re on and when to rest. It also does a little count down at the end of the 10 second recovery, warning before you have to start the next interval. There is only one warm up that is used in both workouts, but they have different cool down/stretches.
***4/14/14 Update: I finally did the combined premix this morning using heavier dumbbells and got a great upper body strength workout (though she doesn’t really hit the biceps–but she hits the back, shoulders, triceps and chest very well). Two notes on this combo premix–first, she lists it as 54 minutes on the menu; it is actually 53 minutes. And second, it contains all of the strength tabatas, but one of the cardio tabatas is missing–the very first tabata in Workout #1 is absent. So the combined premix has 6 strength tabatas and 5 cardio tabatas. Go heavy and get an excellent upper body strength + cardio workout!
Workout 1 is 32 minutes long; warm up is 3:30 minutes, training time is 25 minutes and cool down is 3:30 minutes. 1. tap (or step) on top of step then one lateral skater; you do this four times then the last four intervals you just do lateral skaters. 2. grab heavy weights (Kelly grabs 10#, I used 12#); get in split stance–do a one arm row and double reverse fly; for each interval, change stance and arm that rows. 3. jump on and off step, varying between narrow and wide legs. 4. grab light weights (8#) and do overhead press, varying between double arm and alternating arms. 5. with one foot on the step, squat, lunge, squat, lunge, etc.; for each interval alternate sides. 6. grab heavy weights (Kelly grabs 10#, I used 12#); laying on step do chest flies and skull crushers; you alternate tempo for each interval.
Workout 2 is 32 minutes long; warm up is 3:30 minutes, training time is 25:30 minutes and cool down is 3 minutes. 1. mountain climbers. 2. grab heavy weights (Kelly grabs 10#, I used 15#); bent over rows; alternate between double arm row and alternating row. 3. straddle the step; reach overhead, squat down, touching the step with your fingertips then jump, lifting your heels high (she calls it a heel click). 4. grab light weights (Kelly grabbed 8#, I used 10#) and do lateral raises into tricep kickbacks. 5. put one foot on the step and do power knee runs. 6. grab heavy weights (Kelly grabs 10#, I used 15#) and lay on the step; do chest press (feet on ground or step) and alternate with alternating chest press/scissor legs.
Premixes: Weights only (both workouts) 31 minutes, Cardio only (both workouts) 32 minutes, Combined workouts 53 minutes, Mix it up #1 32 minutes, Mix it up #2 and 32 minutes. For the premixes she varies the sequence between the workouts. For instance, in the Cardio only premix, you do Workout 1 cardio tabata 1, then Workout 2 cardio tabata 1, then Workout 1 cardio tabata 2, then Workout 2 cardio tabata 2, and so on until you’ve done a total of 6 tabatas.