Total Body Strength Training

Total Body Strength Training is part of Jessica Smith‘s new Strong + Centered Series, which is made up of 6 DVDs/19 workouts total. Jessica has also created an 8 week rotation calendar using the Strong + Centered workouts. All of the workouts are available both on DVD and as a downloads. I have now done all of the workouts in the Strong + Centered Series. Here are the reviews for the other 5 DVDs in this series: Walk a 5K (The Fun Way)Stretch + RelaxFusion Flow & Glow, Split Session Strength, and Total Body Circuit: Work it!.

Total Body Strength Training contains 3 workouts and they are all total body strength training workouts. Two of them have the exact same title: Total Body. One is a 30 minute workout and the other is longer (49 minutes). The third is a total body workout using resistance bands that is perfect for traveling. These were all excellent workouts. I discuss each individual workout below, but the two shorter ones (30 minute Total Body with dumbbells and 28 minute Total Body Band) were excellent workouts. Two of the best strength workouts in this entire Strong + Centered Series.

Total Body is 49:20 minutes; 4:30 minute warm up and 4:30 minute stretch. Equipment: one set of heavy dumbbells and one set of light dumbbells (Jessica recommends 2-25 pounds), a fitness mat, a step with 2-4 risers and a chair. Jessica does not reveal the weights of her dumbbells. The weights listed below are what I used. She is using a square step with 3 risers (10 inches) and this what I used as well. At the end of this workout Jessica has a message about how much she loves and misses Peanut (her late French bull dog who appeared in most of her YouTube workouts). We all miss Peanut.😢💔 This was a thorough total body strength workout but it suffered from the same problem that most of Jessica’s other strength workouts in this series suffers from–no time to change weights. It really makes no sense to me. A great example is exercises #1-4 below. Jessica uses the same dumbbells for those 4 exercises. Your lower body and back and can handle much more resistance than your biceps and shoulders, so why short change the back and the lower body? I want to get the best workout possible so in order to do that, I know I need to use the appropriate weight for the muscle group I am working. So I missed a few reps while swapping out weights. I left them close by so that when the circuit is repeated I could swap them out faster. In spite of this, this still an excellent and thorough total body strength workout. Jessica doesn’t miss any muscle group. But I will admit, I did not find it a very enjoyable workout.

  1. 1.5 rep squats (stand w/ chair behind you and legs wider than chair width, hold DBs in front of you, lower into squat so bottom taps chair, raise halfway, lower again until bottom taps chair then stand all the way) (25# DBs)
  2. Same starting position as #1, squat and when you stand, do a hammer curl bringing DBs to shoulder then do an overhead press; remain standing with arms extended overhead, lower them halfway then push them to top of overhead press (16.5# DBs)
  3. Stand in split stance w/ back foot in kickstand holding one DB in each hand, hinge forward into single leg deadlift and do a double arm row then straighten (25# DBs)
  4. Repeat #3 on other side of body
  5. Hold one DB in both hands, stand beside step with one foot on step and one foot on floor, lower into squat and when you stand, lift up onto step, tapping step with floor foot (one 25# DB)
  6. Stand on top of the step holding one DB in one hand, step one foot off of step into a narrow rear lunge then step back onto step (one 25# DB)
  7. Repeat #1-4
  8. Repeat #5 & 6 on other side of body
  9. Lay on mat with step between feet and a DB in each hand, do chest press while squeezing step between legs (25# DBs)
  10. Still laying on mat, place feet on top of step with insoles together and knees open, place one DB on hips, raise and lower hips in bridge; keep hips raised at top of bridge and pulse them upward (one 35# DB)
  11. Same position as #9 but holding one DB in one hand, do a single arm narrow chest press (arm remains close to side) (one 20# DB)
  12. Repeat #11 on other arm
  13. Lay on stomach with arms extended in front of you superman style, raise chest/arms while pulling one elbow to side then return to start, alternate arms
  14. Repeat #9-13
  15. Stand in split stance with a DB in each hand, back toe is tapped on the floor and torso is hinged forward, do one single arm rear delt raise while lifting back leg straight behind you (8# DBs)
  16. Stand with one foot on step and a DB in each hand, raise one knee so you are balanced on one leg while also doing a double arm hammer curl, when you lower arms, also lower leg behind you to tap the floor (you are lowering both the arms and the leg slowly) (15# DBs)
  17. Balance on one leg on step, raise DBs into bicep curl but only lower arms halfway (half reps) (15# DBs)
  18. Overhead tricep extensions (French press); partial tricep extensions, lower halfway then raise back to top (one 25# DB)
  19. Repeat #15-17 on other side of body
  20. Repeat #18
  21. Push ups on knees
  22. Lay on one hip and same side forearm, back knee is bent with foot on mat, other leg is also bent with heel in front of other toe, open and close bent front leg clamshell style (Jessica demonstrates placing a DB against inner thigh for additional resistance) (one 8# DB)
  23. Repeat #22 on other leg
  24. Lay on back with knees bent and feet on mat, hands are behind head, bring one knee into chest while also crunching upper body and bringing opposite elbow to knee, alternate sides; keep one knee raised, crunch upper body bringing opposite elbow to knee 10x then repeat on other side of body
  25. Lay on back with knees raised and bent at 90 degrees, hands are on mat beside hips, lift hips into reverse crunches; straighten legs and continue reverse crunches pushing feet up to ceiling
  26. Repeat #21-25
  27. Hollow hold (pull knees into chest then extend arms overhead and legs out straight but elevated off floor and hold this position)

Total Body is 31:59 minutes; 4:19 minute warm up and 1:20 minute stretch. Equipment: one set of heavy dumbbells and one set of light dumbbells (Jessica recommends 2-25 pounds) and a fitness mat. She does not reveal the weight of her dumbbells. The weights listed below are what I used. This is an excellent total body strength workout. Possibly the very best one in the Strong + Centered series. Though this is definitely a total body workout, Jessica gives a lot of love to your posterior chain. I love how she always hits your back so well. My back still feels the residuals from this workout (and Total Body Band (below)–I did them both, back to back this morning). I also like that I was able to stick with the same weights for a lot of the exercises so I didn’t have the problem (at least at the beginning) of having to quickly swap out dumbbells and miss reps. I did have to swap out dumbbells in the second half but I had them close in front of me so it didn’t cause any issues.

  1. Stand in split stance with torso hinged forward do a double arm back row, arms are close to sides but hands are turned away from you slightly w/ palms partially facing in front of you (20# DBs)
  2. Still in split stance, still holding a DB in each hand, do a single leg deadlift; add lifting back leg when your torso is hinged forward (20# DBs)
  3. Stand with legs wide and a DB held in each hand in front of you, do squats in this position, reaching DBs toward floor (20# DBs)
  4. Repeat #1 & 2 on other side of body
  5. Repeat #3
  6. In modified side elbow plank (on elbow/forearm and knee, top leg is extended with insole on floor) top arm is bent at 90 degrees, lift and lower hip then rotate torso and top arm forward toward floor
  7. Repeat #6 on other side of body
  8. 1.5 rep chest press (lay on back w/ a DB in each hand, arms are extended to ceiling, lower DBs, push up halfway, lower DBs then push DBs back to ceiling) (20# DBs)
  9. Full range chest press (20# DBs)
  10. Repeat #1-9
  11. Forward leaning stationary lunge (hold a DB in each hand, hinge torso forward over front leg, lower to bottom of lunge but only raise halfway); continue this move but raise all the way out of lunge stepping back foot forward (16.5# DBs)
  12. In same starting position as #11 (lowered into lunge w/ torso hinged forward), hold lunge while reaching arms/DBs in front of you with palms facing floor then pull elbows back behind you–elbows raise to shoulder level, palms still face the floor; add a small lunge w/ each row; hold at bottom of lunge and continue the arm movement but alternate arms (8# DBs)
  13. Stand w/ DBs at shoulders, do one overhead shoulder press, when DBs are back at shoulders do a heel raise (16.5# DBs)
  14. Repeat #12 on other side of body
  15. Repeat #13
  16. Cross body curl w/ side leg lift (stand with weight on one leg, other leg is extended to side w/ toe on ground, you are holding one DB in each hand, do a single arm bicep curl in front of body, curling DB toward opposite shoulder while also raising leg to side, other DB is resting against thigh to add resistance when it lifts (15# DBs)
  17. Repeat #16 on other side of body
  18. Hinge forward with weight in one leg, other leg is extended behind you with toe on floor, do tricep kickbacks, rotating hands/DBs so palms face the ceiling at top of kickback; add lifting leg behind you when doing kickback (8# DBs)
  19. Continue #18 but lift other leg behind you
  20. Stand holding one DB in both hands, draw a figure 8 with DB in front of body (one 8# DB)

Total Body Band is 27:52 minutes; 2 minute warm up and 1:15 minute stretch. Equipment: resistance band and a fitness mat. Jessica is using a resistance band with handles on either end. Jessica has the band folded in half and held in both hands when the warm up starts. I used my medium strength resistance band for all of the exercises. This is an excellent total body strength workout. I only needed one band for the entire workout and I feel well worked. This is the perfect travel workout. Very little equipment is needed; again, I only needed one band for everything, so it will not take up much room in your luggage. Frequently when I do band workouts I have to swap out bands, but just using techniques of chocking up on the band or doubling it up, gave me the appropriate resistance for whatever muscle group we were working.

  1. In split stance with band under front foot and one handle in each hand, bring handles to shoulders (under armpits), hinge torso forward, and bend knees so you are in lunge, lower to bottom of lunge but only raise halfway; lower to bottom of lunge and pulse 3x
  2. Stand on one end of the band and hold one handle in one hand, do single arm overhead shoulder presses; keep arm raised at top of move and pulse band upwards
  3. Hold band in both hands (band not handles) with about 12-18 inches between hands, extend arms in front of you at shoulder level, lower into a squat and as you stand pull elbows behind you (keeping arms raised to shoulder level) while opening band wider
  4. Repeat #1 & 2 on other side of body
  5. Repeat #3; remain standing and pulse band open wider
  6. Stand holding band in both hands (band not handles) with about 18-20 inches between hands, arms are raised to shoulder level and there is tension on the band, press the band out further to the side, bending at the elbows to engage triceps
  7. Stand on band holding one handle in each hand, do alternating bicep curls
  8. Hold the band in both hands, arms extended overhead, pull one arm down, bringing elbow into side, alternate arms (how much band is between hands determines resistance)
  9. Stand in split stance with front foot on band and one hand holding one end of band, lower into lunge and when you raise out of lunge do a single arm row; remain at bottom of lunge, pull band back into row and pulse/pull band (I looped my band under my foot for double resistance and choked up on band for more resistance)
  10. Stand on band with a handle in each hand, hold handles at waist, lateral walk the length of your mat and back
  11. Repeat #9 on other side of body
  12. Repeat #6-11
  13. Wrap band around back and under arm pits, holding one end of the band in each hand, do partial knee push ups, only lowering partway
  14. Lay on stomach with arms extended in front of you, hold band in both hands (band not handles) with about 12 inches between hands, raise arms and legs in superman, hold and pull elbows behind back bringing band to chest and opening band wider, push arms in front of you again then lower hands/legs; hold at top of lift and pulse band into chest
  15. Lay on back with knees bent and feet on mat, band is folded in half with one end in each hand, arms are extended overhead, crunch upward while rotating shoulders/arms to one side, alternate sides
  16. In modified side elbow plank (one one elbow and one knee, top leg is extended straight), hold band in both hands, bottom hand is just an anchor securing one end of band to floor, extend top arm straight in front of you, raise and lower hips, when you raise hip also raise top arm overhead, pulling band open wider
  17. Lay on side, raise top leg and rotate it in a circle (no band is used); keep leg raised and pulse it upward; angle leg behind you and continue pulsing it upward
  18. Repeat #16 & 17 on other side of body
  19. Repeat #13

4 thoughts on “Total Body Strength Training

  1. Happy Saturday!!

    Today I did an hour-long Early Caroline strength workout upper body and upper abs ( Nothing fancy. There is a group of exercise starting with abs that you run through 3 times. She mostly hits every major muscle group but I’d say the back lacked and the shoulders got the most. That said, it was a typical hard Caroline strength workout and I’m glad I did it!

    Can’t wait to start the Iron rotation Monday!!! 😁😁😁

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know I am definitely looking forward to returning to Caroline’s workouts, especially Iron Series. Though I have enjoyed doing a lot of Heather and Jessica Smith workouts, I start itching for Caroline’s workouts when I am away too long. It reminds me of how I used to be with Cathe’s workouts. When I strayed for too long from her workouts, I started jonesing for them. Now it’s Caroline’s strength and Naomi’s rebounding that I hate straying too long from.

      BTW–do you know where Caroline is? She hasn’t posted a workout since July 9! And she didn’t say anything about taking a break in her Q&A. Though I do not frequent FB, I did go to her FB page and no posts from her since Fuel ended.


      1. No, I haven’t heard anything either! I can’t believe it’s been that long. I guess I was preoccupied with finishing Fuel … I’m sure she’s working on the next GREAT thing, though! ☺️


      2. I’m also wondering when Cathe is going to publish her STS2. That’s been delayed many months now. 🤨


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