Split Sessions is the second pure strength workout by Kelly Coffey-Meyer that I’ve tried and I am impressed. I loved Body Shop for what it was: total body workouts. But this is what the title says it is: split series and it does it very well. In fact, I was able to go pretty heavy with the upper body split and got a great burn. She hits every muscle group in the upper body and she hits them hard. For the upper body workouts you superset opposing muscle groups for the most part (except for shoulders; it is paired with core). You do 3 exercises for each each muscle group, 2 sets of each exercise and 12 reps in each set. She does everything at a controlled pace, so you can really heavy up! Kelly uses 15, 12 and 10 pound dumbbells. My first time through I used 20, 17.5, 15, 12 and 10 pound dumbbells, but I think the next time through I can probably go up to 25 pound dumbbells on two of the back exercises and heavier on a few of the others as well. As for the lower body exercises, I stuck with 15 pound dumbbells for the entire thing and that worked for me, at least the first time through. After going through it a few times, I may increase my weights, but the lower body workout isn’t a heavy weight workout. It is tough tho! I was groaning during it and am still feeling it in my glutes and thighs afterward. To be clear, the first time I did the lower body workout, I also did the lower body floor bonus right after. The two together totally burned my lower body out. And between the two of them there were several unique and effective exercises that I really felt. This is an excellent DVD with a lot of great premix options. I especially like the idea of the Full Body Mix-in that alternates upper and lower body exercises–except it is only 50 minutes which means something is missing somewhere. You cannot get both full workouts mixed together plus warm up and stretch in only 50 minutes. And I want it all (plus the bonus floor work). But I’ll probably try it so I can see what is missing.
The main menu has the intro, the warm up, workout #1 (upper body), workout #2 (lower body), bonus floor work (more lower body) and premixes. You have to select the 3:30 minute warm up before each of the main workouts, but it is included in the premixes. ***This was updated to note the weights I used when I repeated the workout; they are listed beside each exercise.
Workout #1 (Upper Body) is 33:30 minutes long (37 if you add the warm up); training time is 32 minutes and stretch is 1:30. You’ll need a step on an incline and a variety of dumbbells.
Chest and Back: Circuit 1: rows (25# DBs) and lying chest press (20# DBs), repeat. Circuit 2: seated reverse flys (12# DBs) and lying chest flys (20# DBs), repeat. Circuit 3: good mornings (25# DBs) and decline push ups, repeat.
Biceps and Triceps: Circuit 1: hammer curls (20# DBs) and tricep kickbacks (15# DBs), repeat. Circuit 2: traditional bicep curls (17.5# DBs) and overhead tricep extensions )25# DB), repeat. Circuit 3: seated side bicep curls (15# DB) and tricep dips (dumbbells on lap), repeat.
Shoulders and Core (you use dumbbells for the core workout, too): Circuit 1: lateral side raises (10# DBs) and standing side crunches, repeat. Circuit 2: overhead shoulder presses (20# DBs) and alternating standing crunches, repeat. Circuit 3: upright rows (12# DBs) and knee lift crunches, repeat.
Workout # 2 (Lower Body) is 24 minutes (27:30 with the warm up); training time is 22:30 minutes and 1:30 minute stretch. For this workout you need a firewalker (or a band tied into a firewalker) and dumbbells.
The workout opens with the bands already around their ankles. You will start with side to side steps, side leg lifts, lift legs to the back and end with knee raises. Next is one of her unique exercises she calls a knee press: put the dumbbells on the floor and one foot between them, bring other leg back into a lunge, grab the dumbbells so your chest is resting on your bent front leg and raise and lower, using your legs and placing the dumbbells back on the floor at the bottom of the move (I used 20# DBs). Next is another unique and tough exercise: squats with knee inversions: holding dumbbells at shoulders, squat then lower knee inward toward floor (I used 15# DBs). Next is side lunges, but you place both of your dumbbells at your right foot and as you lunge you move them both over the your left foot, then back (I used 20# DBs). The circuit ends with a deadlift; at the bottom of the deadlift you push the dumbbells out and away from you twice, rocking back into your heels (and feeling it more in your hamstrings and lower back!) (I used 20# DBs). Repeat the entire circuit starting with the firewalker exercises. Next you will move into unweighted squats and lunges. Grab your dumbbells. You will do close stance squats, deadlift and reverse lunges. Plie squats. (I used 20# DBs for ll of these exercises) The workout ends with some knee raises and standing back kicks. Then stretch.
Bonus Floor work: is 16 minutes long; training time is 14:30 minutes and 1:30 minute stretch. You need a firewalker for this bonus. Get on all 4s with band around your ankles. First, you will do hydrants, then push the foot up toward the ceiling. The next exercise was very unusual and painful–and probably very effective! Lay on stomach with band still around ankles; you will raise your upper body and legs as if you were doing a superman (but your hands will stay on the ground, staggered) then rotate onto one hip, still keeping legs elevated and band pulled taut, then back down on stomach. I felt this one! Severely! Next is an inner thigh exercise: one leg is out straight with the band around the foot, the other leg is bent under the straight leg with the band around that foot, too (you will have your hand over the bent leg band to hold it in place), then you will move straight leg in and out and the band gives resistance. For the final move lay on your back, one leg bent and one leg straight, band is around the foot of the straight leg and you’re holding the other end of the band with the same side hand, your opposite hand is behind your head; do an oblique crunch bending straight leg and touching elbow to knee–so you are getting core work and leg work (pushing back out on the band). Stretch.
Push (Triceps & Chest) Time 10 minutes
Pull (Biceps & Back) Time 12 minutes
Shoulders/Legs Time 16 minutes
Upper Blitz (one set of all upper body) Time 22 minutes
Lower Blast (one set of all lower body & floor bonus) Time 29 minutes
Full Body Mix-In (alternating upper & lower body exercises) Time 50 minutes
Full Body Time Saver (one set of alternating upper & lower body exercises) Time 35 minutes