These new DVDs offer the best fitness options-whether you're a newbie exerciser or a hard-core athlete.
Beginner The Best of Tamilee
From the woman who made “Buns of Steel” a catchphrase comes this update on that VHS classic. You’ll work your bum, core and upper body in the 51-minute workout, often a couple muscle groups at once (like when you engage your abs in balance-based, lower-body moves). The butt segment is the best (no surprise). But we couldn’t help wishing we had a step at home, like Tamilee uses, to make it even harder. $20 at collagevideo.com.
Advanced Jari Love’s Get Ripped & Chiseled
The fantastically toned Jari Love (pictured, page 37) leads this 60-minute DVD that’s not for the faint of heart. In 15 segments, you’ll use dumbbells in two to three exercises designed to fry a single muscle group (known as “super sets” in the body-training world, yo). Each move is pretty classic—think lunges, biceps curls and chest presses—but the varied tempos, number of reps and angles make them feel fresh. If you don’t have an hour to devote to full-body strength training (though you’ll never look like Jari with that attitude!), fast-forward to the segments targeting the body parts you care most about. $15 at collagevideo.com.
Beginner The Biggest Loser: Cardio Max
Within three minutes of loading this baby up, we’d broken a sweat and felt our heart rate soaring. We hustled through 20 intense minutes with trainer Bob (dumbbells optional), then 10 minutes with Jillian (who favors jumping jacks and faux jump roping—sorry, downstairs neighbors) and finished with Kim’s uninspiring 10-minute cardio bout. The DVD recommends building slowly, but experienced exercisers will want to do at least two of the segments from the get-go. And newbies might find it tough to follow along—the show’s contestants demonstrate the moves, and they often get out of sync. But we learned there’s a reason the players transform into skinny minnies by the end of each season (besides living on Subway sandwiches)—their trainers work them. Hard. $10 at amazon.com.
Advanced Super-Charged Kickbox Party
For a kickboxing workout, there’s a whole lot of rump-shaking, hip-grooving and pelvic-thrusting going on in this 44-minute class. That’s not to say that the adorable, MTV-energy Jeanette Jenkins doesn’t do a remarkably seamless job melding the traditional boxing moves like the hook and roundhouse with salsa- and hip-hop-style dance steps. If you have trouble picking up routines quickly, this DVD likely will leave you frustrated but fortunately shame-free in the privacy of your own home. $15 at anchorbayentertainment.com.
Beginner 10 Minute Solution Tone Trouble Zones
The obvious perk of the Ten Minute Solution series is the ultraconvenience factor of zeroing in on one body part—arms and shoulders, butt and thighs, abs (as well as total body tone or stretching) for a quickie tone-up. The use of a six-foot resistance band (included) spices up the easy-to-follow moves like crunches and curls. The only drawback: In keeping the exercise time to a minimum, the pace feels a bit frenetic, leaving little room to focus on breathing or balance. $17 at anchorbayentertainment.com.
Advanced Star Trainers: Abs
We want a flatter stomach, but we’re always blowing off crunches. This DVD makes them feel like less of a chore—just pop it in after a run or trip to the gym. Five celebrity trainers each lead a 10-minute ab session, with exercises ranging from bicycles and crunches to yoga- and Pilates-inspired poses. We like rotating different segments to keep things interesting, but our favorite session is Rob Glick’s, which targets the obliques (a.k.a.: love handles) with sideways planks. The same five fitness personalities have two other DVDs out now, too—cardio and strength. They’re equally awesome. $13 at amazon.com.
Beginner Fat Burning Fusion with Ellen Barrett
This workout snuck up on us. It wasn’t until a few hours after testing the DVD that we felt the burn in our thighs and hamstrings, which lasted a good 48 hours. Pilates neophytes will have no problem keeping up, thanks to a slow and steady pace, basic routine and healthy emphasis on proper breathing. Plus, an additional instructor behind Barrett offers modifications for every move should you need to keep it extra low-key. $15 at collagevideo.com.
Advanced Petra Kolber’s Elegant Strength
Instructor Kolber breaks this 60-minute routine into three segments, starting with ballet-like moves—lots of pliés, leg lifts and lunges—then moving onto arms and shoulder work, incorporating light dumbbells into moves like tree pose and warrior, before ending with core-focused floor work. While you don’t need an extensive yoga background—Kolber takes it at a simple, yet steady pace with ample instruction on body positioning and breathing. Strong endurance and a solid sense of balance will guide you gracefully to the end. $20 at collagevideo.com.