Last night I popped in Jackie Warner’s “Personal Training with Jackie: Power Training Circuit” DVD* and got ready for a serious strength training workout in my living room. And I wasn’t disappointed.

The 40-minute total body circuit is broken down into 10 circuits. Each circuit takes four minutes. There are three moves, and you do each move for one minute, and for the fourth, do you each of the three. This is the order of the 10 circuits:

  • Quads
  • Hamstrings
  • Glutes
  • Chest
  • Back
  • Biceps, triceps, shoulders
  • Upper abs
  • Lower abs
  • Obliques
  • Stretch/cooldown

All you need for this DVD is dumb bells — a light set and a heavy set (I used 8-pounders the entire workout) — and a mat (I use the zebra-print runner in my living room).

When I first read that each circuit was only four minutes, I didn’t think it would be challenging enough. But by the end of some of the circuits (the biceps/triceps/shoulders circuit particularly), my muscles were screaming. She kept it quick, but still fatigued the muscles. My glutes were shaking when I had to squat to do some to some of the upper body exercises.

You don’t have to do the entire 40-minute workout, either. The DVD has options to do a 15-minute abs circuit, 15-minute upper body or 15-minute lower body circuits, too. On Monday morning, I did the 15-minute abs circuit before work. It is the same upper abs, lower abs and obliques moves from the total body workout, but it’s perfect if you’re in a pinch. I was also quite sore afterward!

On the trainer: Whether it’s a DVD or a group fitness class, the instructor’s personality has a lot to do with how much I like it and how hard I work.

I liked Warner’s attitude and encouragement during the workout. She tells you to breathe and push through it, but she’s not overly mean and — a big plus — doesn’t talk too much. The camera cuts to several close-up shots of Warner’s abs throughout the workout, and that was very inspirational.

My only complaint: I strained my neck during the upper abs exercises on Monday. I paid attention to isolating the upper abs last night, and once I concentrated on feeling that muscle, I was able to do the exercises without straining my neck.

To sum it up: This DVD was perfect for someone like me who resists resistance training (heh heh). To me, a good workout is one that leaves me  completely exhausted, almost but not quite to the point of throwing up. I haven’t been able to achieve that level of exhaustion in a long time — I’m one of those unlucky fat-but-fit folks. Warner’s total body training circuit got my heart rate up and pushed me to a level of exertion I didn’t think was possible without doing cardio.

* I won this DVD from a giveaway on I did not pay for the DVD and was not paid to review it.