Difficulty level: Rating: Intermediate
Sweat-o-meter: Rating: You will sweat!
Overall rating: Rating: Highly recommend
Length of workout: Approx. 45 minutes
Equipment needed: 3-5 lb. hand weights; mat if desired
This is probably one of the most underrated workouts I’ve seen. I hadn’t even heard of Erin O’Brien until I came across this DVD at Half Price Books. She is actually a highly qualified fitness trainer. And, not that this matters, but she’s married to James Denton – the plumber from Desperate Housewives. (I just found that tidbit interesting!)
This is a good beginner-intermediate level workout. She doesn’t push you too hard, but she does challenge you with some of the variations she offers in many of the moves. I’ve included links to several YouTube videos in this post so you can get some previews of her workout.
You start with a brief 5-minute warm-up just to get your arms and legs moving. Then the real work begins.
Arm raises & squats
Holding your weights, you will perform several sets of arm raises; then alternate with squats holding on the the weights vertically. During each set Erin gives you a more difficult variation in the top right corner as an option. I like a challenge, so I always do the harder variations.
Biceps & squats
On to the bicep curls. You will do a few sets, alternating with squats while holding on to the weights. Again, you will get a tougher variation video in the top right corner. For example, alternately lifting your knees is one of the squat variations.
Triceps & lunges
For the next set, you will put the weights together and raise them behind your head. This move alternates with the reverse lunge, where you hold one weight in each hand while performing the lunge. Are you up for a challenge? Try the variation by lifting your knee when you come out of the lunge. Erin makes this look easier than it really is.
Lat rows & externally rotated squats
You’re bending at the waist while rowing your arms holding your weights. The only difference in these squats is that your feet are pointed outward. This is fairly easy. Until you see the variations show up on your screen…then you feel like a slug if you can’t do it.
Now that you’ve completed the upper/lower body workout, it’s time to concentrate on the abs. This is my favorite part of the workout. Erin begins by showing you how to hold your balance with your opposite arm and leg extended. This is harder than it looks. Adding movement doesn’t help. But she always shows you modifications and tips to make the workout easier for beginners.
Next is a set of pec flys on the floor, followed by a series of bridges, with a variation of leg movements. Erin then challenges you to do the pec flys one arm at a time – which is a great core workout. She follows this with a series of leg movements, including leg lifts, that are supposed to help your connective tissue.
Staying on the floor, you’ll do reverse curls and regular curls. Erin also incorporates leg movements into these curls. Of all the ab workouts I’ve done, these are the most challenging. If you can stick around long enough to do the “Angel in the Snow,” you are truly a workout ninja.
The workout is over, time to stretch it out. Don’t blow this off. You need to stretch the muscles you just worked. Erin’s stretching segment is a perfect ending to what I consider one of the best workouts around.
If you’ve done this workout already, I would love to hear your thoughts and comments about it below. Erin has another workout that’s just as good, and I will review that one at some point in the future.