Review: Physique 57

Yes, I’ve been talking about this forever and now it’s finally been long enough that I feel I can fairly review the Physique 57 DVD.  They currently offer 3 DVDs.  The one I have is the “Classic 57 Minute Full Body Workout”.

First let me share what I like about this workout.

  • It accomplishes a lot in 57 minutes: an efficient use of time including warm-up and cool-down with stretching here and there throughout.
  • It uses muscles you might not hit with traditional strength training: a big part of why this DVD held my interest for as long as it has.  The first time I tried to do “The Pretzel” I realized a definite imbalance between the strength on my left side vs. right side. This move looks so simple and yet I found it to be incredibly difficult.  Here’s a quick video of Tanya instructing this move.

  • It’s well-organized into segments: You get a fast upper body workout right at the start, move on to thighs, then glutes, then core.  So if you feel one day like you want to give your upper body a rest, you can skip over that and go right into thighs.  Personally, I find that I don’t like to work core every day or every other day, so I would often do the upper and lower portion and then add the core segment once or twice during the week.

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Next I’ll share the few things I didn’t like as much:

  • Typical cheesy ‘fitness DVD’ moments: they actually use the line “you got a license for those guns?” in the video.  That alone was enough to make me want to hit mute.  Also a lot of “uh-huhs” and sing-songy “Cell-u-lite, Bye-Bye”.  Yowza.
  • Form: as a personal trainer we get it beaten into our brains that knees should never go beyond the toes (if you were to draw a line straight up from the toes).  There are a lot of ballet-style squatting movements that have your heels together and your knees way past your toes.  I’m fine with this if you’ve never had knee problems but would be a little worried otherwise.  You also heard me complain a few times in January about my toes hurting from being ON them so much in this workout.
  • Big promises: The instructor says during the DVD that this workout WILL change your body, and quickly.  I have to be honest and say I don’t SEE a difference.  While I know I’ve strengthened some core and stabilizer muscles, this workout alone won’t change your shape so don’t order it for that reason.  I know Kelly Ripa credits this program to her fit figure, but you know she is also eating right and she runs.  If you’ve never lifted a weight or performed a squat in your life, yes you may see a difference.  But first and foremost if you want to change your physique, you have to eat well to do it AND exercise.

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Conclusion:  I would definitely recommend incorporating Physique 57 into your routine.  I think it is a quality workout with a strong focus on muscular endurance and some focus on muscular strength (like pushups and dips).  I’d still recommend some heavier strength days and cardio to supplement this program.  The upper body portion of the DVD uses dumbbells which allows progression to harder (heavier) movements, but you don’t get that option for the legs.

Whenever I’d take a few days away from the DVD to do something else, I always looked forward to the next workout (the sign of a good video to me!)  It’s definitely fun and challenging.  If it’s a program you’ve been thinking about trying, go for it! It’s worth $24.95.

– Shari B. =)

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