Precision Toning

precisiontoningI decided to try one more of Tracy Anderson’s offerings (for now). I have zero interest in her cardio workouts, but the reviews for this collection stated it is the most focused of all of her workouts. She actually keeps track of how many reps you do and you do the same amount of reps on each side of the body. Having done the workout I can verify that is all true. Plus, unlike her other workouts, she describes and demonstrates the majority of the exercises! I was very impressed. She even says at one point that this workout prepares you for her Metamorphosis series (which I will never buy).

Precision Toning contains 4 approx. 15 minute workouts. You can play them one at a time or all 4 for an hour long workout. They work different muscle groups: Arms, Abs, Thighs and Butt. This is a challenging workout. Tracy burned out every muscle group she worked. The actual exercises weren’t difficult to perform but it is a high rep workout–so my muscles were on fire.

I liked this workout a lot and ordered it right after doing it. However, this is Tracy Anderson, therefore I must share the wisdom she imparts on her viewers. The first section is Arms and it contains a 2 minute intro. In the intro Tracy talks about the “science” behind her method. This is a science that she talks about in incomprehensible terms in most of her other workouts that I’ve done (usually in some bonus interview included on her workout DVD, but also sometimes in voice over). I do a lot of reading about fitness and I have never read any actual science that supports her specific method. That is not to say her method and workouts don’t work–she is just too free applying the word “science” to her method.

Some Tracy quotes from her intro: “For years and years we have seen people compartmentalize muscle groups and strength and isolate and all of that.” … “we want our muscles to be balanced and strong. With my method, we are able to fire more muscles and fire them in a way that makes all of them, the large ones and the small ones, work together instead of just isolating the large ones.” … “When we do that [isolate the larger ones] the smaller ones go to sleep because they don’t have a reason to become employed.” … “we are not doing strength training in the traditional sense; we are doing strength training that’s actually going to make you your strongest, most proportioned self.”

Regardless, I do think there is something behind her method and barre-type work in general. I will never stop lifting heavy, but I love the idea of also working the small muscle groups. I do believe it makes for a more well proportioned body. So I will definitely be incorporating more of these types of workouts into my normal strength work.

Arms is 16 minutes long. For this section you need a mat, 3 pound and 5 pound dumbbells. The first two minutes are of Tracy talking about the “science” behind her method (see above). She states that she is moving the arms in a fast paced way to get the “brain to participate.” She tells you to play this section over and over again to get it right because “the results are in the details.” Because of the nature of Tracy’s arm work I will not break down the exercises. However–this workout hurt! The unweighted arm work burned my shoulders out big time–so it was doing something. And she hits the arms and shoulders through all ranges of motion. The first 7 minutes are unweighted arm work. Then you grab 3 pound dumbbells for the next 4 minutes and for the final 3 minutes you use 5 pound dumbbells.

Legs is 14 minutes long. She states this is to warm up your thighs for the next section–Butt. But man–this didn’t feel like a warm up! It really worked my legs! You need a mat and a chair. You will do 25 reps of each exercise. You start with the chair at the end of the mat and you stand beside it, hand on back of chair. Exercises: 1. squat down so deep your bottom hits your heels, stand and side kick; 2. take hand that was on the back of chair and place it on chair seat, raise leg to hip height and kick leg fast while keeping leg raised; 3. hand in same position on chair, bend outside leg in “attitude”; raise and kick to side; 4. turn to face your chair with both hands on chair back; twist and do deep squat (just like in #1, except you are twisting to side), stand so you are facing chair back again and lift leg in attitude up and behind you; 5. turn chair so you are beside it, kneel down and place forearm/elbow on chair seat; side kick outside leg to hip height then tap foot in front of you; 6. take outside leg out to side in deep lunge; tap outside hand to floor while bringing torso forward in a deep stretch then extend leg behind you at hip height. Repeat on other leg.

Butt is 15 minutes long and it is very painful. I did do it as a finisher after completing STS Plyo Legs–so my legs were already spent! Still, if you like mat work because of the way it works the glutes then you will love this workout. (And I love to hate mat work!) She fries your glutes. Lots of reps–5 different exercises, 40 reps each exercise. My glutes were on fire. Tracy wears 1.5 pound ankle weights for this workout. I only own 2.5 pound ankle weights and I ended up removing them after the first exercise. She fried my glutes without any weight applied and (for me at least) the weights made the exercises too challenging. Like all of Tracy’s workouts she has specific ways she wants you to angle your foot and leg while doing the moves. Sometimes it is kind of weird and if you keep watching Tracy, she doesn’t even maintain the form she specifies as some of the exercises progress. Nevertheless, I felt it, even if my form wasn’t always perfect. According to Tracy, there are 6 deep muscles underneath the glute that these exercises are supposed to work to “pull in” your glute muscles. Exercises: 1. get on all 4s, twist your knee in to meet your other knee while the foot points outward; from this position, push leg/foot up to ceiling; 2. still on all 4s, straighten on leg on a diagonal to side of body; bend leg to kick it up straight toward ceiling and bend it as you return it to the straight position; 3. start in the same position you started in for #2; this time you will sweep your straight leg behind you, bending it and raising it in an attitude behind you; 4. On all 4s (actually you are on your elbows now), raise leg in attitude position behind you; from this position, kick leg/foot straight up to ceiling; 5. bring knee in close to other knee with foot pointed outward (same as it was at the beginning of #1); pulse leg/foot up to ceiling. Repeat everything on other leg.

Abs is 13 minutes long. This one starts out seeming pretty easy but escalates by the end. The first part (the easier part–for me at least) is on you back; the second part is done in plank and that is when this workout gets really challenging. It was tough! For each exercise you do 20 reps, except for the final one–running knees in elbow plank, you do 40 reps of that one. She talks about moving quickly with her moves and suggests watching the workout a few times before doing it, but unlike her other workouts I’ve done, that is not the case. She cues well and moves fairly smoothly between exercises. It is quick, but I was able to keep up and follow her just fine the first time through with no prior viewings. Exercises: 1. lay on back, hands behind head, legs straight with one ankle crossed over the other; raise top knee as you crunch up; 2. bend legs slightly, placing heels onto mat; crunch head shoulders up while raising one leg in attitude (inside of foot toward ceiling); 3. raise leg in attitude and hold stationary, reaching opposite hand toward foot and tapping it; 4. lower foot and place both hands behind head again, shoulders raised off floor; pulse that same leg out to side in a diagonal; 5. lay flat, but legs straight and do basic crunches in this position; 6. keep torso in this position and move straight legs to side of mat; while holding shoulders up isometrically, bring feet to other side of mat (keeping legs straight) then return; 7. remain in this position with torso straight and shoulders raised, legs straight and in a diagonal; open and close inside leg like a windshield wiper; 8. still on back with arms behind head, open legs in a wide V; alternate raising legs, inside of foot to ceiling, while crunching shoulders/head; 9. same position and basic movement as #8 except now you will alternate bending legs and kicking them to ceiling; 10. get into straight arm plank; twist body, placing outside of thigh on the ground (bending knee while doing this) then straightening and kicking same leg diagonally out to side; 11. still in straight arm plank, bring knee to ground underneath body then kick is out behind you; 12. drop into elbow plank and (similar to #10), twist body, dropping outside of thigh to ground then returning to elbow plank; 13. while in elbow plank, run knees, tapping ground with knees (this is the only exercise you do 40 reps of). End with child’s pose.


7 thoughts on “Precision Toning

  1. Can this workout be done everyday? Typically Tracy says that her exercises can be done daily but I didn’t hear that on this dvd. Interesting, I don’t find her butt workout or leg workout very challenging. I think I will increase my ankle weights. Like you I would never do her cardio and I will continue to lift heavy. Another thing don’t you find her arm workouts that are done without weights hard to follow? I do.


    1. I always find high rep barre workouts challenging–they always burn my muscles out (which is why I do them; I find them great finishers for weighted strength work). Yes, I think barre and mat work can be done every day if you want to. And yes, some of Tracy’s arm segments are ridiculous and impossible to follow. Plus, she usually doesn’t cue well (or at all).


  2. I want to say that I am amazed by your page, but the amount of self-discipline it takes not only to do every one of these workouts but to document and review them in such detail. I am very impressed!
    In regards to “science” that you mentioned in this workout, perhaps she means two muscle groups – type 2 fast twitch muscles that are normally used for movement, they are usually these “big” muscles like our glutes (gluteus maximus and medius), and type 1 slow twitch muscles that usually maintain posture and perform work of long duration. And they are usually smaller and are under big muscles, like gluteus minimus, quadratus femoris, gemellus or piriformis under gluteus maximus.
    So maybe the idea is to bring to balance these two groups of muscles, and you exercise the latter by doing balance work or holding a pose for a long time (like in static yoga).


    1. That is entirely possible. The way she explains it on her DVDs kind of sounds like word salad but she definitely creates effective workouts, so maybe she does know what she is talking about!


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