This is my first 10-Minute Solution DVD. My fitness collection goes as far back as the late 1980s, and it is made up of about 70 DVDs featuring over 150 workouts, some of which I have obviously outgrown over time and no longer use. This is just to say that I have seen a wide variety of teaching styles and, although I'm no fitness expert, I recognise a good workout when I see one. And the 10-Minute Solution is definitely a good concept, as far as I'm concerned. The idea is that everybody has got 10 minutes to spare to take some exercise and, maybe, just maybe, once you've started, you will feel you want to do 20, no 30, no 40, oh-what-the-heck, the full 50-minute workout. And, if you're REALLY pressed for time, at least you will manage to keep the exercise habit alive and move a bit, or a lot, every day.
Now, on to the Kettlebell workout. I have just done it this morning, and have managed the 5 sections back to back (I do make time for exercise by getting up very early, as I have three young children and work full-time). I understand why some people feel misled by the title and the cover, as there is not a kettlebell in sight, but it must also be said that this is made very clear on the back cover ("no kettlebell required") and, in the introduction to the video, in which the instructor gives very clear indications as to what weight to use for both dumbbell and kettlebell. Throughout the workouts, she also explains very clearly how to hold the kettlebell if you're using one. Now - I'm using an ordinary 5kg dumbbell, so I can't say whether some of the moves are awkward when performed with a kettlebell. I can only san that a dumbbell leaves you feeling thoroughly worked out.
As for the individual workouts:
- MAXIMUM FAT BURNER: This is probably a bit of an overstatement. This workout introduces the most basic kettlebell moves and I find it useful as an extended warm-up for what lies ahead (each workout gets more and more intense).
- UPPER BODY POWER SCULPT: Again, the instructor uses the basic kettlebell swing as the basic, transition move, but she then goes on to emphasize the upper body. I've got strong arms, and I usually find workouts aimed at women too light for me. This is not the case here. The 5kg dumbbell has made me break into a sweat, without having me huffing and puffing the way Jillian Michaels does, for example, and I'm feeling quite sore afterwards. I can feel muscles on my back and my shoulders which, clearly, had been ignored for a long time without my being aware of it.
- THIGH AND BUNS BLASTER: The same I've said for the previous workout can be applied to this one, but focusing on the lower body, of course. Concentration and form are emphasized over speed and, in particular, my bum feels really sore at the moment. I have quite strong legs (or so I thought!), as I run 15-20 km a week, but this workout has hit all the right areas.
- TOTAL BODY SCULPT: Things get more intense in this workout, which is probably the most aerobic one in the series. But, as it is only 10 minutes, the pain is over before you know it. Lots of multi-tasking, combining leg and arm moves. However, as the instructor introduces a movement first and does not combine it with another one until you have had time to get the form right, there is no problem there, even for those who believe themselves to be very uncoordinated.
- ACCELERATED AB TONER: Once again, this IS intense. Concentration is favoured over speed, and your obliques, often neglected in ab workouts, work really hard here. After the Total Body Sculpt, this can be quite tiring so, as the workout sequence can be customised, next time I will probably start with the Fat Burner, continue with the Total Body Sculpt and finish it off with the less aerobic workouts (upper and lower body, and abs).
The instructor has a PhD in Exercise Physiology, shows expertise and is encouraging without being patronising. She comes across as a serious, pleasant person who knows when and how to encourage you through the pain. I've finished the entire workout with a pleasant soreness in my entire body, and I will certainly include this DVD in my rotation alongside The Firm, Jillian Michaels and Billy Blanks.