Review: Biggest Loser At-Home Challenge Workout DVD
Posted Jan 19 2012 6:00am
Doing a Biggest Loser DVD is pretty much an easy choice. Who wouldn’t want to exercise like they were at The Biggest Loser ranch? Or spend some quality time with Bob Harper ? Or look at Dolvett Quince in red? (Because good God he looks drool-worthy in that color.) Or work out with former at-home winners of the show? We knew we would.
The latest in The Biggest Loser DVD line is The Biggest Loser At-Home Challenge, which is pretty much like the rest of The Biggest Loser DVDs on the market. You get a customizable mix-and-match menu with a variety of segments with pretty good instruction, fun music and a “real-person” quality to it since there are no fitness models used. In this one, the trainers are Bob, Dolvett and Anna Kournikova , and the contestants are Heba Salama, Jim Germanakos, Rebecca Meyer and Bernie Salazar. (Poor Jim didn’t make the cover.)
Now, let’s break it down piece by piece. First, you have the Warm-Up. Anna leads this 5-minute section, and it’s pretty basic. There are your basic stretches, pliés and other moves to warm the body up, plus modifications for the more challenging stretches like the runner’s lunge. Next, Anna leads Phase 1 Cardio, which is 10 minutes of sports drills with options to make the movements more (read: hard). From skaters to running man (a really low lunge with a tap back, then a knee and then a hop) to curtesy lunges with kicks, it may be “phase 1,” but it’s no beginner’s picnic. Phase 1 Strength is another 10 minutes of fun, with strength moves that use just your body weight. There are squats to side lunges, planks where you bring your knees to each elbow, balance work and more planks that make you row, twist and side plank. Again, no picnic. But at least Dolvett leads it and has a tight shirt on.
Then you move on to Phase 2 Cardio. This 15-minute workout is more challenging—and Bob is leading it (nothing is easy when Bob is in charge). It’s pretty much a Bob-rific segment that uses dumbbells for kettlebell-inspired moves. There are swings, static squats holding weights, moves where you’re swinging the dumbbell like a bat, squat jumps, jacks with weight—plenty of semi-complicated stuff to get your heart rate up fast and keep it up. Phase 2 Strength with Bob is a touch easier than Phase 2 Cardio because your heart rate doesn’t get as high, but oh-my-goodness do you feel the burn. Using up to 8-pound dumbbells, you do side lunges with a static front raise, knee-ups with a hold and upper-body work, and then there’s the fun combo move of a squat while reaching the dumbbells back behind you and then up and overhead for a tricep press and then back down to a squat again. Oh, and there’s plenty of pulsing and holding, too. There’s not much to write home about in the Cool Down, which is four minutes of your basic stretching and yoga with Anna again.
Although the moves aren’t timed to the music (and, for me, that always makes for a more jazzed workout), the music in this workout DVD is fun. Be warned though that although the sections are labeled as “cardio” and “strength,” all of them have moves that are both cardio and strength. Particularly, your legs and core never get a break in this DVD.
Which leads me to my next point. If you were to do any of the sections on their own, I’d say that each of these are pretty darn good. They’re full-body, burn calories and aren’t the same moves you’re used to seeing time and time again. However, if you were to do all or even some of the segments back to back—week after week—you’d be doing A LOT of squats, lunges and planks. So much so that I think you could mentally get pretty sick of them and that you could put your body at an increased risk of repetitive injury. Use a segment here or there during your week though, and I think you’re golden.
While I really liked that you could always look to Heba for lower-impact and beginner modifications, some of the instruction was hit or miss. The trainers are, on the whole, good with giving form cues and are motivating without being overly up in your grill, but it’s clear that Bob has the most experience with instructing a workout for a DVD (and rightly so !). Dolvett isn’t bad by any means, but it feels like with more practice you’d get to see more of his personality and spunk. ‘Cause I know it’s in there. And then there’s Anna. Honest to goodness, she couldn’t be much cuter in her Lululemon top—she’s almost like a little Russian bunny hopping about. But it’s obvious that it’s her first workout DVD, and she just comes off flat in her sections, almost like she’s reading a teleprompter.
Want to try this Biggest Loser At-Home Challenge DVD yourself? Leave a comment telling us who your favorite Biggest Loser trainer is, and we’ll select one lucky U.S. reader to win in about a week! —Jenn