I wasn't too thrilled with Tracy Anderson's cardio dance workout. It seemed more personal performance than cardio, but I was still interested in trying her Mat Workout DVD ($29.95).
Tracy's approach to body sculpting is to tone without bulking, so she avoids working the large muscle groups as well as heavy weights. Muscles are worked from a variety of angles, which makes sense since muscle fibers rarely run in a straight line. Many of the motions are small and isolated targeting the smaller, underworked, supporting muscles. She calls this "strategic muscle exhaustion," and you will feel the burn. Much of the workout reminded me of the Bar Method with a dash of sexy jazz dance thrown.
As with her cardio dance workout, this DVD is shot in a very lovely studio, with just Tracy leading the workout and soft music with a beat playing the background. The workout is divided into sections: standing legs, arm work without weights, arm work with weights, standing ab work, floor work for the legs, and a variety of crunches. All in all, I felt pleasantly worked following the workout, and my heart rate stayed slightly elevated in a fat burning zone for the majority of the workout. The entire workout takes just under an hour.
I do have some problems with the workout. To hear my pros and cons, just read more.
The warmup is incredibly short and involves some intense stretching, which if you have tight hamstrings could be dangerous. I prefer, and think it is safer, to get my body warm and blood flowing with a little light cardio before I stretch. Now, I know many women worry about bulking up and fear lifting heavy weights for that reason, but I am just not one of them. I feel this arm workout might tone the arms and give them endurance, but I am not so sure it will make my arms stronger. So in the future I will probably skip those sections. I liked the standing abs and the wide variety of crunches included in the workout. Similar to the dance cardio workout, I feel like Tracy is not leading me, the DVD viewer, through a workout, but trying somehow to make pendulum standing leg swings look sexy. She gives so little verbal cuing that you have to watch the TV constantly or you will miss something, and the worst of this is the ab routine on the floor. I would be crunching with my head positioned correctly when I would glance at the screen and see Tracy had moved onto another variation and not uttered a word. Unlike the overly chipper demeanor of Denise Austin or the infectious enthusiasm of Billy Blanks, Anderson often looks either bored or shy throughout the video, which I just find odd and uninviting.
Since I am always looking for ways to tone my booty, running and lunges do wonders, but so do back attitudes on acute angles, so I will definitely do the legs and abs part of the workout again. The only problem is the workout portion of the DVD isn't formatted in chapters for ease of locating the section you would like to follow. For arm work I will stick to my push-ups, and higher weights for strength training. Have you tried this DVD? Let me know what you think in the comments section below.
You can buy the DVD directly from the Tracy Anderson Method website.