Build Balance + Inner Strength

Build Balance + Inner Strength is part of Jessica Smith‘s Walk Strong 2 series. The other 2 DVDs that are part of this series are Burn Fat & Have Fun and Boost Metabolism + Muscle. There is a 1:30 minute intro in which Jessica explains that the 3 workouts on this DVD are “fusion” type workouts. They are all low impact metabolic strength workouts that fuse barre and pilates type moves. They are all high rep and work your body through different modalities. One is a body weight standing strength workout, one uses light dumbbells and one uses a resistance band. These are all deceptive workouts. I previewed all of them and expected them to be much easier than they were. But every one of them sneaks up on you. I was working hard during all of them. If you are familiar with Jessica’s other Walk Strong programs, these are similar to Barefoot Fusion Sculpt in Walk Strong 1 and Tone & Flow in Walk Strong 3.

Debbie, Jessica’s mom, is present during all of the workouts just like she is in all of Jessica’s Walk Strong workouts doing beginner modifications if these are too advanced for you. I was very impressed with all of these workouts. And during the intro we get Peanut! But she is passed out and does not wake up.

Core Control is 32 minutes; I couldn’t tell when the warm up ended and the workout began so I am starting the break down about 1 minute into the workout–but the warm up is longer than 1 minute; there is a 30 second stretch at the end. I really enjoyed this workout, a lot more than I expected to. I also felt like it worked me nicely. I broke a sweat and got some nice body weight cardio + toning. Not an intense or difficult workout but it will still work you well even when used as a recovery level workout.

  1. Wide plie squats; add bringing elbow to thigh when squatting and reach arm overhead, alternate arms
  2. Pulse squat w/ torso hinged forward while opening and closing arms to side
  3. Legs/feet together, raise and lower heels, opening and closing arms to side
  4. Alternating knee lifts w/ opposite arm reach overhead
  5. Side to side steps; at each side, tap one toe to side, across other foot, then to side again while pressing straight arms back
  6. While standing on one leg, raise other knee then lift it behind you, while swing straight arms forward and back (she calls it a pendulum)
  7. Arms crossed over chest w/ hands on opposite shoulders, do a shallow squat and when you stand, lift one leg straight in front of you while twisting torso/elbows toward same side, alternate sides (she calls it standing cross-over crunch)
  8. Repeat #6 on other leg
  9. Repeat #7
  10. Step side to side in plie squat, lifting and lowering arms while twisting torso to side
  11. Wide plie squats while doing woodchops with arms (reaching overhead to side then bringing arms down to opposite hip); add stepping foot out into wide plie squat and bringing feet together when standing
  12. Repeat #10
  13. Repeat #11 on other side of body
  14. Two steps to each side while circling both arms overhead
  15. Step tap while circling one arm at a time
  16. Ball change chasse side to side
  17. With legs wide alternate lifting legs to side while sweeping arms side to side
  18. Side to side arabesque lifting leg out behind you and opposite arm overhead
  19. Step side to side while swinging arms side to side in figure 8
  20. Doing a wide partial squat, circle one straight arm; after doing each arm start alternating arm circles
  21. Repeat #2; add stepping side to side steps while still pulse squatting
  22. Repeat #19
  23. In split stance, do a lunge and when you stand lift back leg behind you while swinging straight arms in opposition
  24. With all your weight one one leg, do a cross crunch, raising other knee and while bringing opposite elbow to knee
  25. Wide plie squats while doing woodchop arms (like in #11) but this time you circle them at the top so you are chopping side to side when you plie squat
  26. Wide pulse squats, torso hinged forward, raise and lower arms from chest level to overhead
  27. Repeat #23 & 24 on other side of body
  28. Repeat #25 & 26
  29. Thread the needle (split stance one arm raised overhead, lift the other out to side then “thread” across toward other side of body)
  30. Stand on one leg, other leg raised w/ toe pointed in front of you and lift and lower slowly to the count of 4 while pulsing straight arms behind you
  31. Repeat #29 & 30 on other side of body
  32. Slow step side to side, when you step, raise one knee and balance for a few seconds on one foot; balance on one leg while doing alternating circles with arms

Poise & Grace is 35 minutes; 5 minute warm up and 2:30 minute stretch. Equipment: light hand weights (I used 4-8 pound dumbbells). Wow! This was a sneaky workout! I was working very hard by the end of it. It is high rep so you cannot use heavy dumbbells. As noted above and in the break down below, I used a range of dumbbells from 4 to 8 pounds and that was plenty! I was sweating and working hard. Excellent low impact workout that works your entire body very well.

  1. Rear lunge w/ rotating overhead press (pulse 3x when lunging, DBs at shoulders w/ palms facing shoulders, twist DBs when pressing overhead) (8# DBs)
  2. Wide plie squat pulse w/ alternating bicep curls (8# DBs)
  3. Repeat 1 & 2
  4. In split stance, hinge forward and do a wide back row (optional–lift leg behind you for balance challenge) (8# DBs)
  5. Side to side step passe while doing standing chest fly (4# DBs)
  6. Repeat 4 & 5
  7. Side to side step w/ knee lifts and cross alternating bicep curls (rotate torso toward knee) (7# DBs)
  8. Side to side step w/ diagonal back leg lift/kick back while doing two arm tricep kickbacks (7# DBs)
  9. Repeat 7 & 8
  10. Narrow pulse squats, torso hinged forward, do a bent arm rear delt fly (5# DBs)
  11. Knee raise march while scooping/presenting DBs in front of you (push DBs from ribs to in front of your chest palms facing ceiling) (5# DBs)
  12. Plie pulse squats w/ heels together, elbows kept pressed into waist, arms lifted halfway doing pulsing half bicep curls (6# DBs)
  13. Plie squats while doing overhead tricep extensions (option of raising onto toes at top of plie) (6# DBs)
  14. Repeat 12 & 13
  15. Single leg squat w/ front raise (6# DBs)
  16. Raise and lower one leg behind you while doing side lateral straight arm raises (6# DBs)
  17. Repeat 15 & 16
  18. Chair pose squat and when you stand do a rotating overhead press (7# DBs)
  19. Wide overheard press while alternating lifting straight legs in front of you (arms are in goal post) (7# DBs)
  20. Balancing cross chop (step forward and back, when you step forward lift leg up behind you while pushing DB from chest overhead); changes to standing on one leg while pulling other knee in and bringing DB down across thigh of raised knee (cross chop) (one 6# DB)
  21. Hinge forward in split stance, raise and lower DB from knee level to overhead (one 6# DB)
  22. Holding DB at chest, raise knee to DB while crunching torso then tapping leg behind you (one 6# DB)
  23. Repeat 20-22

Balance & Agility is 30 minutes; 3 minute warm up (I think) and 1 minute stretch. Equipment: a pilates band (6 foot flat resistance band). The workout starts with the band laid out vertically on floor. During the warm up you will be straddling the band, doing your warm up movements over the band. I am not sure when exactly the warm up ended, so I am starting the breakdown when you pick the band up off the floor. This workout was a lot tougher than I expected it to be. Just like the other two in this collection, it is sneaky. The band was actually making whatever muscle it was working burn. I did use a thick resistance band and I was working hard.

  1. Fold band in half and hold an end in each hand; wide plie squat while raising and lowering band from chest level to overhead; changes to scooping the band lower and raising overhead; changes to scooping to side and overhead, alternate sides
  2. Single leg deadlift w/ upper back row (band held the same as in #1)
  3. Lunge pulse holding folded band overhead and raising front heel
  4. Repeat the side to side scoops from #1
  5. Repeat #2 and 3 on other side of body
  6. Open band and put behind upper back w/ an end in each hand–do chest fly hugs w/ alternating front leg raises
  7. Hold band in front of you, an end in each hand and alternate raising leg behind you while pulling the band open in front of you
  8. Still holding an end of the band in each hand, get into split stance and raise back arm overhead, do tricep kickbacks w/ lower arm while coming down into lunge and when you raise from lunge, lift back leg
  9. Repeat #6-8
  10. Stand on band w/ and end in each hand, squat and when you stand do a W bicep curl
  11. Pulsing chair squats while also doing pulsing tricep kickbacks
  12. Still standing on band and holding an end of band in each leg, alternate side leg raises
  13. Still standing on band, cross the band now (still holding an end in each hand), hinge forward and do rows
  14. Put band behind upper back w/ an end in each hand and do chest fly hugs again, while side stepping and tapping toes across/in front of other foot; changes to stepping side to side while pushing band overhead/in front of you
  15. Fold band in half again, holding an end in each hand, lower into plie squat and raise band overhead, when you stand, lift one knee and bring band down to knee while also twisting torso, alternate legs
  16. Plie squats w/ heels together and wood chop band (still folded in half) bringing from overhead to one side and down past opposite side knee
  17. Repeat #15
  18. W/ legs hip width apart, lean torso forward while pushing hips back and raising band in front of you (band still doubled), when you straighten, chop band down toward hip, rotating torso, alternate sides
  19. Set band aside and do slow alternating knee lifts, hands are behind head and twist opposite elbow toward knee when it is lifted
  20. Hinge forward in split stance, front leg bent, back leg straight–raise and lower back leg with arms extended straight overhead
  21. Raise leg in front of you and balance on one leg–Jessica slowly transitions you into eagle pose while balancing on one leg
  22. Repeat 20 & 21 on other leg

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