30 Minutes to Fitness: Weights

weightsWeights is just another reason why I am so thankful I discovered Kelly Coffey-Meyer. Weights alone is an awesome and versatile little collection of workouts! It is really pretty impressive. I’ve gone through most of my other new-to-me 30 Minutes to Fitness workouts (not all, but most) and I have recently been trying her pure strength workouts. And that’s what I thought Weights was… and it is–and isn’t! I did not prepare for this workout at all before I did it! I popped it in the DVD player and was overwhelmed with all of the options before me!

To start with, this is primarily two split session strength workouts designed for relatively heavy lifting. She gives guidelines on the DVD case for the dumbbells you should use: Beginners 7 and 5 pound dumbbells, Intermediate 10 and 7 pound dumbbells and Advanced 15 and 10 pound dumbbells. The way they are listed is respective to how they will be used. For Workout 1 (Back, Legs and Chest) you use the heavier weight and for Workout 2 (Biceps, Triceps and Shoulders) you use primarily the lighter weight but also the heavier weight for the last triset. I am advanced and for the first workout I used 25 and 15 pound dumbbells; specifically, 15 pounds for the first triset and 25 for the last two trisets. For Workout #2, I used 10, 12 and 17.5–not necessarily in that order. And for some of the exercises I could probably go a bit heavier in the future. It was my first time and a learning experience. But for the most part, the dumbbells I used were appropriate and I got an excellent workout. (**The next day my tricep, back and chest were sore).

My initial plan on how to approach this workout was to do Workout #1 and #2 back to back to get a total body workout, then explore the premixes. My cursory viewing of the premixes seemed to indicate there wasn’t a total body premix that included every set and rep of every exercise (but I was wrong–the Mixed Body Premix is both workouts put together with no active recoveries; it is 41 minutes long and sounds exhausting!) But once I started browsing through I saw that there were many ways to approach these workouts and I had a hard time deciding how to go about it.

So first let me break down the basic structure of these workouts. They are done in trisets–one exercise for 3 different body parts. So for Workout #1, one triset includes a back exercise, a leg exercise and a chest exercise. Then you repeat the triset. Each workout contains 3 trisets and each triset is repeated once. Now, here is where it gets interesting. Between each triset there is some type of active recovery. And there are THREE different workouts with THREE different active recoveries!!! So there are 3 versions of Workout #1 and 3 versions of Workout #2! Each version contains all the same strength exercises, the only thing different is the active recovery between trisets. And personally–I find that awesome!! And, BTW, all versions are 30 minutes, so I can combine any version of 1 & 2 and still get an hour long total body workout.

What are the 3 different active recoveries? In the main workouts it is standing abdominal work. In the two premixes, one is cardio and the other is floor abdominal work. In addition, you can do the floor abdominal work separately as a 12 minute bonus ab workout (more on that below). So here is the way I am reviewing this. I am going to give the list of exercises in each workout and where an active recovery falls, that’s all I will write: “Active Recovery.” Then you know, depending on whichever version you doing, that’s where the recovery falls. You’ll either do standing abs, get on the floor for floor abs, or do some cardio.

A note on the cardio premix. I did like it, but…. it wasn’t very intense. I am a big fan of cardio + strength workouts, but I expect my cardio to be somewhat intense. It doesn’t have to be HIIT intense (though I like that, too), but I should be breathing hard. I would say the cardio in Workout #1 definitely didn’t get me breathless, but Workout #2’s cardio was more intense. Again, not super intense, but better than Workout #1. And it is all very basic cardio moves–knee lifts, V-Steps, 3 point toe taps–which is why it never got my heart really pumping. In fact, the segments that got my heart pumping more in Workout #2 were actually due to my own modifications. She does a kind of quick lunge back, which I just turned into power/jump lunges. She also does some fast squats which I just turned into squat jumps. So I guess I need to clarify–Workout #2’s cardio was more intense because it was easier for me to modify into more intense moves.

The floor abs are pretty intense. I didn’t do the premix that used them as the active recovery; I did the 12 minute ab bonus as an add on to another workout, but it was intense and I can tell that when it’s used, it will not feel like much of a “recovery”! You do each abdominal exercise for 2 minutes each–nonstop–and it will burn your abs out! The ab exercises are: row arms side to side while in V-sit (with feet on ground), reverse crunches, full sit ups with an arm reaching movement, frog crunchs and oblique crunches. One of the two minute ab exercises is inserted between each triset for active recovery

The second time I did this workout, I did the two main workouts in which the active recovery is standing abs. I really liked this version. The intensity of the standing abs recoveries varies, but they all got your heart rate up. Some worked the abs better than others. BTW–in case I wasn’t clear before, regardless of whichever active recovery you choose–the strength work is intense if you are using challenging weights.

Finally, the warm up is 3 minutes long. If you are doing the main workout, you do the warm up then choose your workout. However, if you are doing a premix the warm ups are already added in. Kelly has also created a kind of chapter section–not “real” chapters, but close enough. It’s called “Workout Sections” and you select it on the main menu. You could do them all for an 80 minute total body workout with lots of abs and some cardio. Just FYI, all the active cardio rests aren’t included in theses snippets.

Warm up (3 minutes)
Active Warm up (7:30 minutes of the cardio active rests)
Workout 1 (29:30 minutes)
Workout 2 (27 Minutes)
Abs (12 minutes of the floor abdominals active rests)
Stretch (1 minute)

Workout #1 Back, Legs & Chest is 29:30 (stretch is 1:30); if you do the 3 minute warm up, total time is 32:30.

Triset 1: reverse flys, lunge hesitations, push ups with one arm planks; repeat triset

Active recovery

Triset 2: bent over rows, full squats and one leg squats, push ups; repeat triset.

Active recovery

Triset 3: one arm lawnmower row, single leg deadlift, divebomber push ups; repeat triset.

Active recovery.

Workout #2 Biceps, Triceps and Shoulders is 27:00 (stretch is 1:30); if you do the 3 minute warm up, total time is 30 minutes.

Triset 1: hammer hesitation curls with hesitation squats (12#DBs), angled tricep kickbacks (10# DBs), front and side shoulder raises (10# DBs); repeat triset

Active recovery.

Triset 2: half side bicep curls then lift away from body (12#DBs), overhead tricep extensions–behind head and in front of head (12# DBs), bent over lat raises (12# DBs); repeat triset

Active recovery

Triset 3: bicep curls, tricep kickbacks, overhead press; repeat triset (17.5# DBs for all 3 exercises).

Active recovery.


Workout 1 with floor abdominal active rests (30 minutes)
Workout 1 with cardio active rests (30 minutes)
Workout 2 with floor abdominal active rests (29 minutes)
Workout 2 with cardio active rests (29 minutes)
Full Body (1 rotation of each exercise; includes standing abdominal active rests) (38 minutes)
Mixed Full Body Blast (no active rests) (41 minutes)
Time-Saver Full Body (2 exercises, each body part with no rest) (31 minutes)


20 thoughts on “30 Minutes to Fitness: Weights

  1. It doesn’t appear that there is a premix without legs? I do my legs with Linda Wooldridge.
    Could you reccomend a 30 minute workout by kelly or anyone else without legs? I know Cathe has a lot but her workouts are longer than 30. I just wanted to change it up by doing kelly.

    Thank you


      1. OMG!! I think you gave me every weight workout in the world! I am in awe of your thoroughness! You went over and above to help me find strength workouts!! I don’t know which one to do first!! I am going to have to print this and do some crossing out as I go LOL Again you are amazing! thank you so very much for taking the time to get me this info for me!! You are so very kind!

        Take good care!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Just ordered the DVDs Coffey- weights can you one 30 every day, say back/leg/chest Monday and do bi/tri/shoulder Tuesday then back to the first for wen?


  3. Exercising did NOT cause my aneurysm. An aneurysm is a weakness in an artery and could have been genetic and/or exacerbated by years of smoking. (YES. I used to smoke and work out every day. I don’t understand it, either). An aneurysm itself is not a problem. It’s when it ruptures that it becomes a slight problem. Ha. So maybe doing leg presses with a 30# barbell on a 14″ step was the straw that broke the camel’s back. But I never thought for one minute that I wouldn’t go back. They fixed the aneurysm with a coil (AMAZING) and at my final checkup they said I wasn’t at any more risk for an aneurysm than anyone else. It HAS made me more cautious and I really focus on breathing and listening to my body. Before, I would go b&@lls to the wall no matter how I felt and thought I could do any move and lift the same weights as Cathe. (With the exception of Cathe’s absurdly complex step choreography. I suppose it’s fun if you get into that kind of thing but IMHO it’s a waste of time). Now I know my limitations and I know how to modify just about anything. For example, Cathe jumps up and down on a very tall step in a couple videos and a little voice inside tells me not to do it so I don’t. I lower the step to an embarrassingly low level. And let’s face it. Age is a factor. But I am around Cathe’s age so NO EXCUSES.


  4. WHOA. How amazing that you pushed through THAT. At least my aneurysm wasn’t anyone’s fault so I didn’t have the anger you probably had. But who knows? Maybe the anger helped. I remember the first thing I asked during recovery was when I could start lifting weights. Ha. That is just TOO funny that you did Leslie Sansone! I save easy workouts like that too because, like you said, you never know. But good God the woman got on my nerves. She does seem really passionate about what she does, though. I’m too scared to try Insanity or P90X but I DID do all of Cathe’s Tabatacise the first time, so maybe I could do it. I think the people in Insanity and P90X intimidate me. Which is so ridiculous.


    1. The anger did help! I refused to be kept down. Do you know why you had aneurysms? I honestly don’t know how I would feel about exercising if something like that happened to me WHILE I was exercising! Did the exercising cause it? That is scary!

      And yes–don’t let any of the people in those Beachbody programs intimidate you! Beachbody does put out advanced programs–but so does Cathe! If you can do Cathe, you can do Beachbody workouts. And Insanity is insane–but the “crew” and Shawn T are clearly very in-shape atheletes–and yet they are all constantly falling out! So you really don’t feel bad you when you fall out! Even they can’t hack a full Insanity workout w/out a personal break!


  5. Oh NO! An injury? That’s my biggest fear as I approach old ladydom. I did have a brain aneurysm seven years ago while I was doing a Firm video. Ha. I don’t remember the name, but it was from the series with Nancy, Lisa, and Libby. (What were they thinking with Libby?) Good thing I wasn’t doing leg presses with a barbell! Anyway, I got lucky and fully recovered. I did some pretty sissy workouts for awhile, though. I actually did LESLIE SANSONE videos. Don’t judge. LOL!!!! I lost so much strength that I could barely do THREE push-ups. 😢 That wasn’t so smart to continue after you injured your wrist, but I totally understand. I’m now going to go read your reviews of the workouts I’m considering today. Are you going to review Cindy Whitmarsh’s UFIT or Fe Fitness?


    1. I’m not judging–I’ve been there. In 2009 I was hit head on by a drunk driver and both of my heels were shattered, dozens of bones broken and I had brain hematomas. I didn’t walk for 3 months and when I did, it was very painful. I never thought I would do plyometrics again. But even when I was wheelchair bound I did pilates and rode a recumbent stationary bike, then when I could walk, I too started back up with Leslie Sansone! In fact, I will never get rid of those workouts for that reason. You never know when fate will strike you down like that. I may need Leslie again one day! And after Leslie I graduated back up to modified Firms! Then I was able to stop modifying–and I took the plunge. I ordered TurboFire. I thought I would have to modify the plyo in TurboFire–but a year had passed since the accident, so I tried to jump, and sure enough I could. And I haven’t stopped since then.

      I followed it up with Insanity and didn’t have to modify a single exercise. I do think that is the key–to keep trying and working out. I’m not saying it was a linear recovery–it wasn’t. I often took one step forward and fell two steps backward. But I would just take those steps back and stop pushing myself so hard for a few weeks, then try again. When I came back to it, most of the time I could do it. No one, including my orthopedic surgeon, thought I would ever do high impact exercise again. But I worked my way up to where I am now in better shape than I was pre-accident. And I exercised every day before the accident, was in fact in the middle of P90X when that drunken driver decided to drive on the wrong side of the highway.

      So that’s my little story and why I will never stop working out. I will never forget how incapacitated and weak I was and how strong I was able to become again. And since the accident I have been good about letting myself recover when I injure myself. I don’t know why I kept pushing myself this last time when I hurt my wrist. But I am doing it now. I am still lifting weights, but definitely not at STS level. I’ll go back to it one day, but for now I am actually enjoying doing KCM and Cathe’s more endurance/metabolic workouts. I always liked those kind of workouts best anyway.

      I have never even heard of Cindy Whitmarsh’s UFIT or Fe Fitness. I’ll have to check them out!


  6. The Firm got me into working out, too! Well, I dabbled in Denise Austin but I wouldn’t admit to it in a court of law. I have a total girl crush on Cathe. She is SO aspirational. And tough but in a good way. I feel like Cathe and the crew are old friends. Ha. I’ve been through STS once but I doubt I’ll ever do the whole thing again as a program. Cathe was just too serious and, quite frankly, the men kind of creeped me out. Have you ever been to a Road Trip? I haven’t, but I watched some of the live streaming from Glasboro last time. I love KCM, too. I’m definitely going to get Weights based on your review. I haven’t done heavy (for me) lifting in awhile and I miss it. It’s all about metabolic training now so I’ve backed off heavy weights. I realized while scanning your Cathe posts that I’ve never even done the upper body workouts in XTrain or the Low Impact Series. But after reading your reviews, I’m psyched to do them. 🙂


    1. No, I have never been on a Road Trip, but I would love to one day. I’ve transitioned to more metabolic weight training too recently but it is due to an injury. I was doing Cathe’s year-long bodybuilding rotation, got through the first 3 months of STS and was pyramiding back down but then I injured my wrist. I actually kept trying to continue with Meso 2 and made it worse. So I backed off and have been doing primarily metabolic workouts. Now, with KCM’s strength workouts, even when you go “heavy” it is nowhere near STS heavy–or even Xtrain Burn Sets heavy. The other strength workouts in Xtrain (not Burn Sets) are endurance strength training–same with Low Impact Series strength workouts. So I will be revisiting those, too. So sad about my wrist. It still hasn’t healed 100% yet, but I am still getting great strength work using KCM.


  7. Tell me about it. I’m thinking about getting all my old Firms on DVD for old times sake. But there are much more efficient workouts now. And I’m totally hooked on Cathe, anyway. BTW, you mention not having a step and using your Transfirmer. It really is worth the investment to get a step with risers. I got mine for around $100 at Collage. Collage is no longer (HEARTBREAK) but they sell them elsewhere.


    1. I have upgraded to a regular step–you must have been reading some of my older blog posts. I have the same step Cathe uses with lots of risers, pluse the square high step. Now my transfirmer is used to hold my towel and water while I work out! Ha! I’m a huge Cathe fan, too. I would have to say right now my favorites are Cathe and Kelly Coffey-Meyer. But I have a handful of others I love, too–but none of them have such a huge library as Cathe and KCM. And well, Cathe is just the best of the best. I am always returning to her workouts, even when I stray for a little while. I have nearly the entire Firm collection to (except recent stuff)–but I never pull it out anymore. I can’t seem to make myself part with them tho. Too many fond memories. It was the Firm after all that made me start working out every single day. So I owe them that!


  8. I recently discovered your blog and OMG I love it! I, too, have an obscene amount of exercise DVD’s. Thank you for sharing your extensive reviews! I would literally pay for this. Seriously.


    1. Thanks! And it’s like a disease. I can’t stop buying them. I honestly don’t know what’s wrong with me. I already own so many that I love that I can’t seem to create rotations that make me happy (by including them all as freqently as I want)–and I keep finding more! Kelly Coffey-Meyer was such an amazing discovery–but she has a lot of workouts! And I need them all! (o;


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