Well Being

Workout DVD Review: Kimberly Fowler’s Yoga + Weights Will Rock Your Abs

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Workout DVD Review  Kimberly Fowler s Yoga   Weights Will Rock Your Abs YAS jpgI’m not ashamed to admit it: I love workout DVDs. I love to try them out. I love getting sweaty, alone, in my apartment. But I really love them when they surprise me by being both challenging and relaxing, like Kimberly Fowler’s Yoga + Weights. Which is like regular yoga…but with weights!

Kimberly Fowler is triathlete, the founder of YAS Fitness, and a real-talking non-yogi, who has made her career out of taking the perceived weirdness out of yoga. Because, believe it or not, there are still plenty of people out there who think the oms and the prayer poses and the gentle-talk are just a little too New Age for yoga to ever be a real workout. But it can be–and that’s what Fowler’s work (like Yoga for Athletes and her book, The No Om Zone) have set out to prove.

Her newest is Yoga+Weights, which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. The 30-minute full-body workout combines basic yoga movements, all of which are called by name (which I like–sometimes combo-yoga workouts aren’t great at laying a foundation for those who may want to practice other forms), with flow technique (moving fluidly in and out of various positions, including a lot of time in warrior 1 and 2, as well as a plank) and arm, shoulder, and back exercises, using small dumbbells.

The DVD doesn’t come with dumbbells, but it’s not as if they’re difficult to order online or find in your local sport goods store. And, on days when you want to take it easy, you can just skip the weights and do the yoga–which I did, and it’s still pretty tough at times.

What surprised me most about this workout is that, even though it feel like most of the work is happening in the arms and shoulders (because of the weights, and because of the amount of time you spend in plank and up/downward-facing dog), I woke up with a rare and wonderful sensation: painful abs. Like, the kind of ab soreness I haven’t felt in a long time. The kind that makes it hard to put your jeans on. It was awesome.

Additionally, I liked that the video included both very clear, instructional guidance from Fowler, as well as footage from her teaching a class, which showed subtle corrections she was making to practitioners. It was basically like being in a yoga class and looking at the really ripped girl in front of you who can stay in eagle pose for what seems like an eternity, without the fear that she may catch you staring.

Very active people (like those who do Crossfit or similar, weight-based workouts) may not find aspects of this 30-minute DVD very challenging, but there are plenty of modifications offered to ramp up the difficulty–particularly when it comes to the ab-specific stuff. And you can always use heavier weights, depending on your level of strength and desired effect.

Interested? You can get Yoga + Weights from Kimberly Fowler’s website.

Image: YAS Fitness