Weider P.I.N.K.

weiderpinkI came across this program completely by accident. While perusing a fitness forum I saw a post about Kelly Coffey-Meyer‘s LIFT workout. LIFT is a powerlifting workout that I love. It is one of a kind. As far as I knew at that time, it was the only powerlifting DVD workout out there. Well, it turns out there is another–actually a whole program by Weider titled P.I.N.K. And it’s been around for a while–it was created in 2008. I loved Weider Ruthless so much that I decided I must have this one as well. At the time it was over $100 on Amazon and about $40 on Walmart.com. So my husband ordered it for me for Christmas from Walmart. It is currently $88 at Walmart.com. However, at the time of this writing Groupon is also offering it for $19.99.

P.I.N.K. stands for Power, Image, Nutrition and Knowledge. The program comes with 12 workouts, a very cool barbell w/ 4 triangular plates that weight 2.5 pounds each. The bar weighs 5 pounds so the heaviest you can lift with this barbell is 15 pounds. I use a 35 pound barbell when I do LIFT. Unfortunately, Weider no longer makes or features P.I.N.K on their website so there is no way to purchase additional plates. So if you want to lift heavier you will need to use a different barbell. Due to the triangular plates, regular barbell plates will not fit on the bar. It also comes with an exercise and nutrition guide.

The program is led by Debbie Millet. She is a world champion in Olympic-style weight lifting.

The workouts in Weider P.I.N.K. are very short high intensity full body Olympic lifts. It is a progressive program so the early workouts are easy, laying the foundation. You build on what you learn in each workout. It is a 12 week program if done as laid out–you do one workout for a week before moving on to the next workout. It doesn’t tell you how many days a week to do the workouts but I am assuming 3-4 days a week and not on consecutive days. **After doing all the workouts, Debbie does not expect you to workout every day. She frequently makes comments that the next day is a rest day, so you are apparently expected to do these workouts every other day.

The nutrition plan is called 6 for 6 + Shock day. You eat 6 meals a day for 6 days and each meal is balanced by macronutrients. On day 7 you shock your system by eating more or less than you have for the past 6 days. By shocking your body it will continue to respond to the 6 and 6 nutrition plan. She tells you how many grams of protein, carbs and fat to eat at each meal, so this will automatically control calories. She also gives meal ideas. The guide also gives some basic info about the science behind power training and a glossary of power training terms.

Summary: This program both was, and wasn’t what I expected and hoped for. As mentioned above, this is a progressive program. Workouts 1-6 are very easy. Workouts 7-12 are much more challenging. If you are new to power lifting, or new to exercise in general, then workouts 1-6 will be of use to you. But for me? My warm ups were more intense than the workouts. Debbie and most of her crew never lift anything heavier than the 5 pound bar. Debbie is oddly breathing very hard and sweating during every workout–including the early ones. Even tho she is using nothing more than a 5 pound bar and doesn’t even perform all of the reps. Kind of a head scratcher. I have to note that she frequently had another powerlifter named Sarah as a crew member. Sara used 2 plates (10 pounds total when you include the barbell) and she did every single rep. She never got out of breath or broke a sweat. So it wasn’t something I was doing wrong. The early workouts didn’t challenge a very fit woman. BTW–the later workouts didn’t appear to challenge Sarah either, tho they did challenge me.

I ended up using a 25 pound barbell until the last 3 workouts when I had to drop to 15 pounds. Now, the reason I didn’t go heavier than 25 pounds was twofold. First, Debbie does the reps very fast. So anything super-heavy is an injury waiting to happen. And also, the point of the early workouts is to learn proper powerlifting form. If I am straining due my barbell being heavy, I am not learning proper form. But with some weight (but not too much) the workouts do deliver a metabolic cardio effect. So 25 pounds worked for me. In the last 3 workouts she introduces a new lift using the overhead squat. This was actually very hard for me and I felt it in my back, which is the reason I had to use less weight.

I wanted to like this program more than I did. The workouts are all very short–most ranging from 10-15 minutes. There is one 25 minute workout and it is tough. If I return to any workout in this program, that would be the one I return to (Workout #9). None of the workouts have warm ups or cool downs. I used Cathe‘s warm ups and stretches for that. However, bottom line is that I just didn’t find these workouts fun like I do Kelly Coffey-Meyer‘s LIFT. Since I received this program, there is another new powerlifting workout on the market, though you have to buy the whole program to get your hands on it: Hammer Power in Hammer & Chisel. It is powerlifting using dumbbells and I love it, too. So, since I love LIFT and Hammer Power, I’m not sure why I would return to this program. I wasn’t crazy about Debbie and these workouts didn’t give me what I was looking for in this type of workout, whereas LIFT and Hammer Power do. I will say it did give me a lot of good form instruction and practice, and helped me squat deeper than I ever have before. I really wanted to love this program, but unfortunately I just didn’t.

Workout 1 is 18 minutes long; actual training time is 14 minutes. You will do 6 exercises, 10 reps of each exercise and you will repeat the circuit of 6 exercises 3 times. The first time you go through the circuit it takes a while because Debbie has to demonstrate and talk about each exercise but the second two rounds go faster. Now, I know this is a progressive program and Debbie even says she wants you to do the exercises with bar only (no plates) to learn the moves. I get that. But this was super easy. At one point she said she was out of breath… uhm… I wasn’t. To stay with the spirit of the first workout, I did it with all of the plates I received on mine, so 15 pounds. And it still didn’t challenge me. Not even a little. Fingers crossed these workouts progress faster.

Exercises (10 reps of each exercise; repeat 3 times total):

  1. Chair Squat (there is literally a chair behind you)
  2. Bar Squat (hold bar vertically, one end on floor)
  3. Toe Raises (bar over shoulders)
  4. Clean Grip Upright Row
  5. Clean Grip Overhead Press
  6. Lower Back Stretch (this is like a shallow squat with the bar sliding down the thighs to the knees)

Workout 2 is 17:30 minutes long; actual training time is 13 minutes because Debbie has to introduce everyone before the workout starts (1:30 minutes) then she feels the need to give an anatomy lesson in case you don’t know the name of the muscle groups you’re working (another 30 seconds) and at the end of the workout she has 2:30 minutes of encouragement. This workout is similar to the first workout but she introduces some new moves. Some of these new moves are just modifications to the exercises in Workout 1–making them more difficult and/or explosive, and some are just new. Debbie and exercisers are still using an unweighted bar (so 5 pounds total) but I decided this time to make it worth my while and used a 35 pound bar. But I actually found that too heavy for how rapidly you do two of these moves (Clean Grip Upright Row and Snatch Grip Press), so after the first round I dropped it to 25 pounds. For the next workout I will have more than one barbell nearby so I don’t have to stick with the same weight for every exercise. I did feel like I got a better workout this time, but still not an awesome workout. However, I am keeping in mind that this is a progressive program and each workout builds on the last. This one did do that, so I am not displeased.

Exercises (10 reps of each exercise; repeat 3 times total):

  1. Chair Squat (there is literally a chair behind you)
  2. Bar Squat (hold bar vertically, one end on floor)
  3. Toe Raises (bar over shoulders)
  4. Clean Grip Upright Row
  5. Curls (bicep curls)
  6. Snatch Grip Overhead Press (a variation of the overhead press; you start with the bar on your shoulders behind head, hands gripping bar wide and you lock your elbows at top of press)
  7. Good Mornings (hinging forward at hips w/ bar behind neck/on shoulders)

Workout #3 is 14:30 minutes long; actual workout time is 8:30 minutes. Again, Debbie has to introduce everyone (2 minutes) and then this time she actually demonstrates the new moves that appear in this workout (Olympic Back Squat, Jumps, Snatch Grip Upright Rows) and you do them with her a few times after she demonstrates (this is another 2 minutes). At the end she talks some more and has the weightlifting coach that helped her develop this program talk to you about goal setting (another 2 minutes)–so that is almost half of the “workout” time spent not working out.

This time I had 3 barbells ready–the one that came with the program (15#), a 25# barbell and a 35# barbell. Tho the 35# barbell was appropriate for some of the exercises, the circuits moved too fast and after the first time through, I just stuck with the 25# barbell for the other two circuits. I did get a decent workout and I particularly like the Olympic Back Squat. I am not sure I have ever squatted that deep–which is another reason I decided to stick with the 25# barbell. Tho the first time through I did it with the 35# barbell without any problem, I am not accustomed to squatting that deep so I decided to use this workout as it was intended in the program–to acclimate myself with the moves.

I am still finding some things odd about these workouts. I understand it is progressive and I am fine with that. I am modifying (lifting heavier) to get more out of it. But they are only lifting a 5 pound barbell and Debbie acts like that alone is so hard, she is out of breath and even says that the newbie to powerlifting (who is a personal trainer in her normal life, but has never powerlifted before) will be sore tomorrow. Uhm… no she won’t. None of these have made me sore so far. I am not saying that the later workouts won’t work me hard, but these first 3 have made me barely break a sweat–and I am using more weight than they are. I will note that each one works me harder, but none of them have challenged me. Again, it’s not a big deal, it’s just strange that Debbie is acting like these first 3 are so challenging.

Exercises (10 reps of each exercise; repeat 3 times total):

  1. Lower Back Stretch
  2. Olympic Back Squat (very deep squat w/ barbell on shoulders)
  3. Jumps (Low Back Stretch with a jump when you straighten)
  4. Snatch Grip Upright Row (hands wide on bar and you pull up explosively)
  5. Snatch Grip Overhead Press
  6. Good Mornings

Workout #4 is 16 minutes; actual workout time is 12 minutes. Debbie does the intros which last a minute then she explains and demonstrates the new move for this workout: the Olympic Front Squat (another minute). And at the end of the workout she has her words of encouragement for another two minutes.

For this workout I just went with the progressive idea and used my 25 pound barbell for everything. It was a short but decent workout. I was feeling it in my shoulders by the end since you will do 60 reps of 2 different exercises, one right after the other, using the underhand grip. During the demo, she explains that it is difficult at first; you are holding the barbell under the chin, palms facing ceiling, elbows out in front of you–so you definitely feel things differently when initiating from this hold. In each workout she adds exercises to build you up to the full power lifting moves, which at this point I can only assume will appear in the later workouts. So I used a fairly light barbell so I can learn and become accustomed to these moves before I use heavy weight and possibly injure myself. I have chronic wrist problems and I don’t want to cause a flare up.

Exercises (10 reps of each exercise; repeat 3 times total):

  1. Bar Squat
  2. Lower Back Stretch
  3. Shrug Jumps (same as Jumps just add a shrug when jumping)
  4. Clean Grip Upright Row
  5. Bicep Curls
  6. Clean Grip Overhead Press
  7. Olympic Front Squat

Workout #5 is 15:30 minutes; actual workout time is 11:30 minutes. This workout actually gets started pretty quickly. Debbie only has one new person to introduce (the other two exercisers have already appeared in earlier workouts); that takes about 30 seconds, and she has no new exercises to review. You are just doing exercises you have already learned in earlier workouts. She spends the final 3 minutes talking about using log books to keep track of your goals. A log book is basically the same thing as the workout sheets I use to keep track of the weights I lift in each strength workout that I do. This is so I am always challenging myself. I come to a workout knowing what I lifted the last time I did it, so I can always try to lift heavier when I do the workout again. And that is a purpose of a log book–to make sure you are always progressing.

Exercises (10 reps of each exercise; repeat 3 times total):

  1. Bar Squat
  2. Olympic Back Squat
  3. Toe Raises
  4. Snatch Grip Upright Row
  5. Bicep Curls
  6. Snatch Grip Overhead Press
  7. Good Mornings

Workout #6 is 15:30 minutes long; actual workout time is 13 minutes. This workout starts quickly. Again, she only has one new person to introduce. There is a new move in this workout but she doesn’t introduce/demonstrate it until you actually do it in the workout–the Hang Power Clean. Everything else is all moves you have encountered before. She spends the last 2 minutes talking about someone who is doing the P.I.N.K. program and it makes her feel strong.

Exercises (10 reps of each exercise; repeat 3 times total):

  1. Bar Squat
  2. Lower Back Stretch
  3. Shrug Jumps
  4. Hang Power Clean (lower back stretch, but you jump and rack the bar under chin)
  5. Clean Grip Overhead Press
  6. Olympic Front Squat
  7. Good Mornings

Workout #7 is 18:30 minutes long; actual workout time is 14:30 minutes. Debbie has some new people to introduce, so it takes longer for the workout to get off the ground again (2 minutes). She introduces Sarah Davis who has been power lifting for 8 years. She talks for 2 more minutes at the end. This workout is actually more of what I was expecting from a “power lifting” program. Tho it was short, like all the others, this was much more intense. In this workout Debbie is finally putting together moves we have been learning in the last 6 workouts into one complete power lift: Power Jerk. Debbie and one of the other exercises are still using only the bar, and Sarah and the 4th exerciser both have one plate on each end, raising the weight of theirs to a whopping 10 pounds. I continued to use my 25 pound barbell and for once, it didn’t feel too light. Hopefully it is preparing me for power lifting heavier in later workouts but this workout got my heart pumping and I was sweating! BTW–during the intro you learn that Sarah actually lifts 215 pounds when power lifting. That is more what I was expecting from power lifting, not a 5 pound bar. Not that I think people need to start power lifting over 100 pounds in their home w/out a trainer present. I don’t. This program functions well to teach you the moves, and conditions you to do them using light weight and lots of reps. But when you are already fit and lifting weights (as I am/do) you need more than a 5-15 pound bar to challenge you. And today, it was nice to feel challenged.

Exercises (10 reps of each exercise; repeat 3 times total):

  1. Lower Back Stretch
  2. Lower Back Stretch to Below Knees
  3. Lower Back Stretch to Shins
  4. Shrug Jumps
  5. Shrug Jumps to Below Knees
  6. Shrug Jumps to Ankles
  7. Clean Grip Overhead Press
  8. Clean Grip Dip + Lockout (same as #7, but you dip slightly and press forcefully overhead, locking elbows)
  9. Power Jerk (Clean Grip Dip, Jump + Lockout) (same as # 8 but when you dip, you then jump while forcefully pressing overhead and you land in a semi-squat, arms locked overhead)

Workout #8 is 15:30 minutes long; actual workout time is 13:30 minutes. Debbie gets right to the point this time. There are no introductions. She only has two exercisers with her and they have appeared in earlier workouts. We are in a different location now–her home gym–and she informs you of that, but otherwise you get to the workout pretty quickly; she only spends about 30 seconds talking. The setting for the first 7 workouts was a bright room with wooden floors and windows and sunshine. This is a dark room with red walls and black floors, no windows. A basement gym? Nice tho. At the end she spends another minute or so talking about saying nice things to people.

As far as the level of this workout–things have definitely changed at the halfway mark of this program. Starting w/ Workout #7, these have been much more intense. #7 and this one challenged me and made me sweat! Debbie and crew are still using a bar w/ no plates (5 pounds) and I am still using a barbell with 25 pounds on it. The weight itself didn’t challenge me, what did was the fast pace and attention to form. The weight I used was enough to get my heart going–so it made it metabolic. All in all, I really feel like I am getting something out of the workouts now.

Exercises (10 reps of each exercise; repeat 3 times total):

  1. Lower Back Stretch
  2. Shrug Jumps
  3. Hang Power Clean (Lower Back Stretch to knees then jump to rack bar/Clean Grip)
  4. Power Clean (same as #3 but start at shins)
  5. Power Jerk
  6. Power Clean + Power Jerk
  7. Olympic Back Squat

Workout #9 is 30 minutes; actual workout time is 25:30 minutes. This is the longest workout in the entire series and it is tough! It felt like everything we have been doing up until now is preparing you for this workout–and technically it was, but there are still 3 more workouts left in the program. However, the last 3 workouts are short like all of the others in this program. Debbie does spend the first 2 minutes talking with one of the exercisers and she spends another 2:30 at the end talking. Though this workout is longer and tougher than any of the others, she does give you short breaks to catch your breath, get a drink or just wipe the sweat away. The middle of my barbell was actually wet from the sweat dripping onto it. In this workout she puts together two moves and creates a new one: Full Clean, and introduces you to a new move: Split Jerk. I am using a weighted barbell, but I can see why Debbie wants you to start using an unweighted barbell. These are difficult exercises, and form is imperative to master before adding weight to it. I have done powerlifting before, so none of this is new to me, but I still used a relatively light barbell–25 pounds. It will take time and practice to start doing these moves with a heavy barbell.

Of note, everyone was sweating profusely in this workout using only a 5 pound bar… except Sarah the powerlifter from Workout #7–I don’t think she even broke a sweat. Of course, she is used to lifting over 200 pounds when she powerlifts. But probably not 210 reps total in 25 minutes.

Exercises (10 reps of each exercise; repeat 3 times total):

  1. Lower Back Stretch
  2. Power Clean
  3. Power Clean + Front Squat
  4. Full Clean (this is the Power Clean in which you land in a deep front squat)
  5. Split Jerk (start w/ barbell in rack position; baby dip then punch the barbell overhead while jumping feet out into split/shallow lunge)
  6. Power Clean + Split Jerk
  7. Clean & Jerk (Full Clean + Split Jerk)

Workout #10 is 19 minutes long; actual workout time is 15:30 minutes. In the review for Workout #9 I stated that I felt everything we had been building towards in the previous workouts culminated in workout #9–so what was left? Well, Workout #10 solved that mystery. The hardest of all of the powerlifts. So challenging for me that I had to return to the 15 pound barbell that came with this program. The Full Snatch. You do not do the Full Snatch in Workout #10, but the ground work is being laid starting here and it is hard. I am afraid of the Full Snatch (which you do not perform until the final workout, Workout #12). Debbie spends the first 2:30 minutes talking about the Full Snatch and introducing the two exercisers with her (we are back in her dark gym). One thing I really liked about this is, while she was talking about the Full Snatch, they showed her actually doing it with a very heavy barbell. It was impressive. Finally, she spends the final 1:30 minute with her motivational words.

The new moves that you will do in this workout to prepare you is the deep squat while holding the barbell overhead in snatch grip with elbows locked and Snatch Grip Drops, which is starting w/ the barbell behind shoulders and doing an explosive deep squat while pushing the barbell overhead. She explains it as “dropping under the bar.” What this means is you are squatting so low that the barbell will stay at starting shoulder level even tho your arms will be straight overhead and locked at the end of the move. One thing that I have to note, is that this program has helped me to squat deeper than I ever have before and I like that, but I cannot do it with my arms locked overhead. I can squat, but not deep the way I can with the barbell on my shoulders or in front of me. And when I tried, I felt it in my lower back. However Debbie is very impressive. She squats incredibly deep with her arms straight and wide overhead.

BTW–every single move in this workout is done snatch grip: hands gripping the barbell wide–all the way to where the plates are.

Exercises (10 reps of each exercise; repeat 3 times total):

  1. Snatch Grip Press (wide overhead press)
  2. Snatch Grip Lower Back Stretch
  3. Snatch Grip Upright Rows
  4. Snatch Grip Hang Pulls (Lower Back Stretch + Upright Row)
  5. Snatch Grip Full Pull (same as #4, except you start w/ barbell at shins)
  6. Overhead Squat (deep squat while holding the barbell overhead in snatch grip with elbows locked)
  7. Snatch Grip Drops (starting w/ the barbell behind shoulders and doing an explosive deep squat while pushing the barbell overhead w/ elbows locked)

Workout #11 is 15:30 minutes long; actual workout time is 13 minutes. Debbie talks for about a minute at the beginning and at the end she gives you more of her motivational “homework”–she wants you to apologize to someone; this lasts 1:30 minutes. In this workout, you are just practicing the moves you learned in Workout #10 with some slight variations. And more of those Overhead Squats, which are so hard for me that I had to stick with the 15 pound barbell.

Like in Workout #10, every exercise is done with Snatch Grip

Exercises (10 reps of each exercise; repeat 3 times total):

  1. Snatch Grip Low Back Stretch
  2. Snatch Grip Hang Pull
  3. Snatch Grip Jump Shrugs
  4. Snatch Grip Jump Full Pull
  5. Hang Power Snatch (Lower Back Stretch + into a Clean Jerk overhead w/ locked elbows)
  6. Power Snatch (same as #5, but you start w/ the bar at your shins)
  7. Overhead Squats

Workout #12 is 16 minutes long; actual workout time is 12:30 minutes. This is the final workout in this program and the pinnacle, I suppose, since you are finally doing the Full Olympic Snatch, Debbie’s favorite move and according to her, one of the two hardest moves out there. And with a heavy barbell, I believe it. The Full Olympic Snatch is a full body move. Debbie spends the first 1:30 minutes preparing you for the Full Olympic Snatch by reviewing the different moves you have been doing that have been building toward this one exercise. The last 2 minutes of the workout she talks about how we have now learned the two most advanced and difficult exercises “known to man”–the Full Olympic Snatch and the Clean & Jerk (Workout #9) and you can finally start adding weight to your barbell when you perform them. I agree, but I have to point out that, at the speed Debbie does the reps, you cannot add a lot of weight if you do them as part of these workouts. To do these lifts with a heavy barbell you will need more time between each lift. It would still be a metabolic strength workout–just a safe one.

Like in Workout #10 & #11, every exercise is done with Snatch Grip

Exercises (10 reps of each exercise; repeat 3 times total):

  1. Snatch Grip Lower Back Stretch
  2. Hang Power Snatch
  3. Overhead Squats
  4. Snatch Grip Drops
  5. Full Olympic Snatch (this is the same as a Power Snatch (#6 in Workout #10) except you start with barbell at shins)

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