So it’s not a healthy thing to be sitting on your ass all day playing games, watching TV, typing on the computer, listening to lectures, etc. One has to do some physical activities to stay healthy. When I do workouts, it’s more to stay healthy than it is to get into shape. Because I’m not consistent. What I mean by that is, I can’t stand to do the same workout routine for too long. I hate monotony. So because I change up the routine off and on, I’m not developing the same muscles on a frequent basis, thus my infrequency prevents me from getting like those macho men in 80s action films. That, and I lose most of my muscle mass whenever I get hit with a sickness that leaves me out of commission for a week or two, making me even more pissed about all that hard work gone to waste. And every now and then something disrupts my workout plans, and I end up not doing it for the day I was planning. And I procrastinate. And I’m lazy.
So bottom line, it’s more for my health than for my strength that I do workout videos. Why not go to a gym? Because that costs money. And I would prefer having routines that I can do at home. And the only kind of workouts I’m interested in are those that either use no weights, or use some dumbells, and that’s it. I don’t use any of those fancy-ass medicine balls, balance balls, rollers, stretch straps, etc. I like to keep things simple, and accessible. Though I do make an exception for my favorite workout (more on that later). So for those interested in workouts that will make you firm, muscular, and get you an ass so nice people won’t just want to kiss it, they’ll want to eat out of it, here’s my top favorites. Primarily just from 2 different gurus.
First, the more introductory workouts, none of which require any weights, or anything other than yourself.
Gilad: Bodies in Motion
A 30 minute episode workout program that used to air regularly during the 80s and 90s, with a brief resurgence in the 2010s (I don’t recommend the later episodes; he tries to replicate Tae-Bo too much and it’s dull). Simple aerobic workouts that are good for getting started for fitness training, that also act as a good light-workout on the recovery days between the heavier workouts. There aren’t exactly DVDs of this, so it’s just something to look for on the television, if you can find it (the JLTV channel has it Mondays-Fridays).
Gilad: 30 & 60 Minute Low Impact Workouts
A next decent step. If you can do a Bodies in Motion episode, you can skip the 30 minute workout and go straight to the 60. The 30 minute one is purely introductory, and not the most satisfying workout out there. As for the 60 minute one, it’s decent enough. If you’re in any decent amount of shape, it won’t be all that difficult (though he will keep your arms in the air, and you’ll eventually start to feel their weight). However, once the workout goes to the ground and you start working on your abs, then it becomes killer. One of the most intense core workout bits I’ve been through. It’s worth the DVD just for that portion alone.
Gilad: Getting Fit in Jerusalem
This is basically a compilation of 3-4 different episodes of Bodies in Motion, from their Jerusalem episodes. It combines 3-4 episodes worth of stretch and leg/shoulder workout segments, cardio segments (so you’ll definitely get a good cardio workout), and ab segments. If you can do this workout, you’re ready to move on from regular Bodies in Motion aerobics (well, not move on so much as use them as in-between workouts when recovering; it’s good to get the blood flowing to the muscles that ache, helps deliver protein to them).
Alright, if you want the ultimate in aerobic cardio workouts, this is the one. You’ll want to start with the Instructional and the Basics just to get familiar with the routine. But try any of the 2 Advanced workouts, and you’ll be gasping for breathe. The Advanced workouts are easily the most difficult cardio workouts I’ve ever done, by a mile. So difficult, that I haven’t ever completed them once. At best, I’ve only gotten halfway through one of them. The amount of energy these advanced workouts demand is insane. If you want to push yourself cardio-wise, look no further than these.
Gilad: 45/45 Split Routine
Ok, so this video comes with 2 workouts, each 45 minutes in length. The first one is a cardio exercise. Skip it. Forget that one exists. It’s fucking monotonous and it gets boring real fast. You’re better off doing either the cardio segments from Getting Fit in Jerusalem, or doing any of the Tae-Bo workouts, than doing the first 45 minute cardio routine. The second 45 minute workout, however, that’s more like it. Aside from a decent shoulder workout, it will hit your legs hard (honestly, this is more of a leg workout than anything else, with some shoulder and ab segments thrown in for good measure). And have a decent ab workout at the end of it. Plus, you know it’s going to be good when after doing one leg routine, he says this to you:
Gilad: Power & Grace
If you thought the last workout was about as tough as leg workouts would get, this one will show you a real leg workout routine. Because, aside from these awkward core/arm/shoulder bits done during the last 10 minutes, this workout will be pounding your legs so hard you’ll come out of this feeling like a cripple. That being said, if you’re brave enough to do this workout 3 times (by that I mean once every 2-3 days, give yourself time to recover after each one), you may notice as I did that your leg strength begins to improve dramatically. This workout enhances the strength of your legs faster than anything else I’ve seen. On top of that, it will get you breathing heavily too, and make you break out a sweat. It’s a combination of cardio and leg flexing/squatting. And he’ll make you do lunges and squats in ways that are different, awkward, but very effective.
Ok, so up until now I’ve shown workouts that can be done without weights. But if there’s anything I’ve learned, you should mix-and-match weight-lifting workouts with non-weight lifting workouts. In this case, the only weights you’ll be needing are dumbbells. Starting with the routine that doesn’t use them as heavily as the others:
Gilad: Interval Training (For Men)
So there’s a typical warmup segment, and a somewhat decent cardio segment. The cardio bit gets monotonous with the constant “jump rope” action you’ll be doing (and no, you won’t be using an actual jump rope), but I found that it serves to strengthen your ankles. That’s the primary benefit from the cardio segment. After that, you finally get to use some weights. According to the back of the DVD, the weight rankings go like so:
- 2-5 lbs – Beginner
- 5-10 lbs – Intermediate
- 10+ lbs – Advanced
Currently, I’m intermediate. It’s standard weight routines, but they’re effective. But here’s where the workout can become a nightmare for some. After doing the weight segment, you are then treated to a segment where you’ll be doing push-ups. 60 push-ups. Well, it’s not 60 consecutive push-ups, you’ll do a set of 10, and then a set of 10 back exercises (they’re easy), and a set of 10 ab moves (also easy; in fact, too easy; this is the only Gilad workout I’ve seen where the ab routine isn’t satisfying at all, especially compared to virtually all of his other workouts, including a basic Bodies in Motion episode). You get 3 different circuits, each circuit composed of 2 sets of 10 repetitions of push-ups, back reps, and ab reps. And each circuit gets a little more difficult. Primarily focusing on the push-ups, the first circuit does 2 sets of 10 standard push-ups. The 2nd circuit has you widen your arms beyond shoulder-width so you focus more on the biceps and the chest. The 3rd and final circuit has you doing diamond push-ups, targeting your triceps. You’ll most likely be forced to do these push-ups on your knees if you’re not used to this.
And if you thought the dumbbell portion of that workout was tough, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
Tae-Bo Body Shape #1
Unlike the others, this one can be found online, for free. And not only is it free, it’s also one of the most intense dumbbell workouts I’ve ever seen. You have to reconsider the limits of your strength when doing this routine. Let me put it this way, whatever weight you use for the Gilad Interval Training (assuming you’ve done that, or any standard dumbbell exercise with standards sets/reps), you’ll likely want to cut it in half for this workout. Or better yet, start with 2 pound dumbbells (or 3 pounds if you’re up for it). The instructor himself uses 4 pound dumbbells, just to give you an idea of what the limits should be. It starts out normal, doing sets of regular bicep curls. But then you know what you’re in for when he double-times it, making you do bicep curls twice as fast. If you’re struggling to keep up at that speed, that’s a very good sign you’ll want to go down a pound or two. You’ll not only be using weights, you’ll be using them at a fast speed. And your muscular cardio will be tested as well, and your breathing may increase heavily after doing the squat segment (you’ll know it after you’ve been through it). And that last circuit he does, fuck my life are those hard.
It’s only 25 minutes, but it will be a very tough 25 minutes to get through. I consider this the ultimate dumbbell workout routine.
Alright, so those are my personal favorite workout routines that may or may not utilize weights. However, I do have to mention what I consider to be my all-time favorite workout. It’s my favorite because I currently consider it to be the definite total body workout package. As in it really does give you a total body workout. Biceps, triceps, back, shoulders, quads, calves, buns, abs, cardio. It’s got the whole package, and hits all the areas in a satisfying manner. But I saved it for last not just because it’s my favorite, but also because it requires something else besides dumbbells. It requires steps.
“Step up! Tap down! Step up! Tap down!”
The step itself acts as the device to make your cardio work harder, and increasing the height of the step will increase the intensity of the cardio (let alone leg strength required). As for the dumbbells themselves, you’ll have to find your comfort zone with those. There are 4 circuits, plus a 5th circuit that combines them all into 1. Your strength may vary on each circuit, so you may have to change out the weights each time if your strength isn’t consistent all around with your upper body. In any case, for the 5th circuit, you’ll want to use the lightest dumbbell you’ve picked up during any of the previous circuits. Afterwards, the weights are put away, he makes sure your legs got a good enough workout (in case stepping up and down wasn’t tough enough), and then does a solid ab routine.
And, well, there it is.