It's spandex and leg warmers for Judge Bryan Pope as he tackles this rigorous strength-training DVD.
"I've now got the body of a fit 25-year-old, with energy to spare!"
That's one heckuva testimonial to come from a 50-year-old, and it might be enough to make even the most fitness-phobic person want to give Get Ripped a go. It's probably asking a lot for any DVD workout to wipe two-and-a-half decades' worth of French fries and Krispy Kremes off the hips and thighs, but instructor Jari Love and her merry band of gym rats will work you over and have you sucking wind by the time this program's generic thump-thump, th-thump beat fades out.
Love, a certified personal fitness trainer, author, fitness club owner, mother and, according to the packaging, actress—Holy Jack LaLanne, is there anything this woman can't do?—has put together a 55-minute workout based on the "Ripped" program she developed with help from exercise physiologists and other fitness professionals. The result is Get Ripped, an intense but highly doable exercise program that's well suited even to those intimidated by the breakneck pace of most group exercise classes.
What makes Love's approach to group exercise so appealing—especially to men, I'd wager—is her aversion to anything remotely resembling bad line dancing. You'll find no grapevines, "A steps" or hop turns here. No, her session eschews high-impact aerobics in favor of slow, controlled, no- or low-impact weight training. All you need is a set of dumbbells, a barbell with various weighted plates or, for some exercises, simply your own body weight. A step and an exercise mat are recommended, but not essential.
Love's strength-training class covers all the major muscle groups. After a six-minute warm-up, she leads the class through weighted squats, pushups, bench press, back work, triceps, abductors/adductors, dead lift, rows, lunges, shoulders and my weakest area, abs. Throw in a quick cool down, and it sounds like an awful lot to squeeze into an hour. It is, but Love is remarkably efficient and her class well-paced. She doesn't waste a minute, which means you can forget about taking a break between sets. Actually, she does encourage the occasional break if need be, but she's also quick to remind you that the secret to developing muscle tone and mass is in driving the muscles to fatigue by not allowing them time to recuperate between sets. Boy howdy.
Get Ripped won't be new to anyone who's visited a commercial gym lately (Golds' "Body Pump" class is virtually identical), but it's nice to be able to bring such a comprehensive program into the privacy of your living room or garage. Get Ripped is plain vanilla as far as production design goes. It lacks the natural outdoor backdrops of, say, a Denise Austin video, but Love is a commanding trainer with a voice that's more confident and authoritative than that of the soft-spoken Austin. Besides, who can look at palm trees and poolsides when they're pumping iron and sweating bullets?
Get Ripped is given a full screen presentation with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio. In addition to a series of taped testimonials and a conversation with exercise physiologist Cory Fagan, the disc includes a helpful, easy-to-follow, 18-minute feature titled "Techniques and Modifications." Here, one of Love's associates demonstrates how to modify each exercise on the disc to reduce the risk of injury; a nifty inclusion to a quality package.
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