Tag Archives: cardio

ABS OF STEEL: SCULPTING AND TONING

2008, $2.99, at Goodwill on San Fernando in Glendale

First Impression: “These are clearly abs of flesh, I’m going to have to speak to the manager now.”

Second Impression: …and other things you never want to hear in a restaurant.

Children, a “restaurant” was a precursor to the delivery app, however, you would go to a special building to eat your meal. It was brought out a dish at a time, and nary a paper bag was to be seen. There were unspoken rules about who should pay for another’s meal and what that meant. There were many curious things of this nature in the Before Times.

I will admit that I procrastinated on trying this workout, because working out my core is my Least Favorite Thing Ever. It’s embarrassingly difficult, it hurts, and I never seem to see any improvement. Meh. Meanwhile, the back cover of the DVD boasts of “6 Complete Routines” and I feared this might be the end of me.

I should not have worried. Leisa Hart is a capable, upbeat instructor who resembles a grown-up Izzy from Grey’s Anatomy.

Also, each routine is between five and ten minutes long, so it’s over before you know it.

The first segment is Ab Conditioning, which begins with flinging our torso up and down with a motion that resembles the frenetic dancing from the climactic scene in Suspiria.

Then we do some kind of pushup thingy, then jump up for more fast twisty moves. It seems completely random and impossible to follow, but then the pattern repeats. Even in an infinitely chaotic universe, a small bit of order can be found if you look for it.

Next up is the Ab Isolating Seated Chair Routine. Missing your workout while on a plane/stuck in jury duty/waiting for the world to end? Try this chair routine for maximum results. 

It has the added bonus of making you an unpopular seat neighbor, so everyone gives you a wide berth.

I move on to the Ab Toning Floor Mat Work. It’s a seated series meant to mimic the motion of a Pilates reformer machine. There’s lots of curving your back while twisting to the side. Thanks, I hate it! Mercifully, this routine is only five minutes long.

Leisa Hart keeps it moving with Ab Flowing Floor Mat Work. This is another very brief segment, featuring side planks with moving arms. 

With a workout this short and sweet, you really could squeeze in some exercise while waiting for your morning kettle to boil. Am I going to do that? No. Am I going to challenge all of you to do so? Also no. Why is everything a “challenge” now? Just living is challenging enough, why do strangers on the internet want me to eat cinnamon or whatever?

The penultimate segment is Ab Pilates Floor Mat Work, featuring the ubiquitous Rolling Like A Ball. I’ve done this in so many exercise classes and it’s really fun, but I’m not convinced it actually tones your abs. We’ll have to agree to disagree, Leisa Hart.

Finally, we make it to Ab Yoga Floor Mat Work, a standard yoga sequence but with a sneaky little move I like to call Trip Your Neighbor: