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Review: 10 Minute Trainer

Posted by wmagnus On April - 28 - 2009

31jlob7pll_sl500_aa183_Tony Horton’s 10 Minute Trainer

There has been a lot of medical and exercise research recently that reveals the benefits of interval training. Interval training is quite simply engaging in short periods of highly intense exercise broken up with less intense exercise. It turns out that interval exercise is much more efficient than traditional exercise by several times.

10 Minute Trainer leverages this principle to create a series of 5 compact workouts spread across 2 DVDs. The kit from BeachBody comes with the DVDs, a set of reference cards detailing the individual exercise moves in the routines, a short “kick start” type eating plan, and a single resistance band with door attachment loop. In short, the kit is complete with everything needed to get started exercising.

Editors note: At the time this was originally posted, neither of use were Beachbody coaches and we had no ties to the company. Bridget became a coach in September of 2009. Dr. Magnus retains his independent status.

The individual routines in 10 Minute Trainer vary from strictly cardio to targeted muscle routines and a yoga based stretching routine.  All the routines are approximately 10 minutes long. A careful eye will notice that some run a couple of minutes long. The DVDs also include warm up and cool down routines that link through to each routine and add just a few more minutes in total. So yes, things are bit longer than 10 minutes but not misleadingly so.

The calendar that comes with the program schedules in a day of rest with a six day per week workout routine. The exercises can be done as one routine per day but the calender includes schedules for 2 or 3 per day for 20 or 30 minute workout sessions. To truly leverage interval training the routines need to be stacked 2 or 3 deep. The routines themselves require very little space and can be done by one in a small living room just by moving the coffee table. Two people can readily workout together with a little more floor space.

Tony Horton’s presentation style may not be for everyone as he leans a little to the silly. He comes across as friendly and approachable which is hard to do via DVD and leaves just enough in the way of fun catch phrases laying about the routine that a couple exercising together can keep each other smiling through the day referencing them.

There are two audio tracks available on each workout. One is for use while working out, and the other is the “trainer track” which consists of just Tony Horton commenting on the workouts. It’s worth listening to this second track at least once just for the tips on what to aim for and what to avoid.

The routines:

Cardio: This routine is challenging without being overly so. In 10 minutes the moves change from running in place to more dynamic football style drills and even some kick boxing. Horton even manages to wedge a cardio version of yoga warrior lunges into the routine. The exercises can be done with or without a band. A band can add extra resistance to all of the exercises in the routine but requires that the trainee be tethered to a door jamb the entire 10 minutes. We initially experimented with the door tether but found it cumbersome and not overly beneficial.

Lower Body: The lower body routine consists of combinations of lunges, squats and kenpo style kicks. The mix is challenging and never boring. Some of the lunges use the resistance band to increase the challenge. The routine wraps up with a floor based move that uses the bands and closely targets the glutes.

Total Body: This routine requires a band but taller people might consider using dumbbells since some of the moves involve overhead reaching which can maximally stretch the band creating some crazy resistance. Otherwise, the routine involves combination moves that include some old school weight lifting moves such as lawnmowers and tricep kickbacks mixed with lunges. The routine wraps up with might be the most challenging move of the routine, what Horton calls “Carlito Pushups” are effectively burpees.

Abs: The 10 minute ab routine is a mix of modern thinking regarding abs training. There are no plain crunches but there are several variants that recruit more muscles into the crunch. There are crunches and kicks from a side plank to bring the obliques into the routine as well as plank based exercises to evenly work out the whole core. The workout includes modifications for the more difficult moves; for best results try to work your way to not needing the modifications.  The routine is entirely floor based so all 10 minutes will be spent working from an exercise mat.

Yoga/Flex: Everyone we know who has tried 10 Minute Trainer has been initially apprehensive about “yoga” but found that this basic routine is the one they look forward to most of all five. The moves are all basic yoga stretches but are well organized and easy to follow unlike so many yoga videos. Even graduates of 10 Minute Trainer may find themselves returning to this routine as a cool down or additional strech added to more advanced exercise programs.

Deluxe Expansion: Recently the folks at BeachBody have put together an improved version of their 10 Minute Trainer Deluxe set that includes 9 new workouts. The old edition contained only 3, though those still appear in the current set. Those 3 workouts Total Body 2, Core Cardio and Upper Body all require bands be anchored to a door making them impossible to do with someone else. Also, the moves are both more synergistic and complicated. Even coming from lengthy experience with the original 10 Minute Trainer set it is easy to be overwhelmed by the moves in the new series the first few times. Overall, the 3 deluxe workouts we have feel less polished than the main series.

Her Take: Prior to 10 Minute Trainer, I was doing stationary bike cardio, a military style strength training regimen, and some light flexibility work 3 times per week (total of almost an hour). I found 10 Minute Trainer to be a highly efficient workout that brought clear improvement. The brevity of individual workouts means that “I don’t have the time” is never a valid excuse. Since the only equipment required is a resistance band which fits nicely in a suitcase (and that only for 2 of the 5 segments), it’s relatively simple to workout while traveling — a hotel towel will substitute for a mat nicely. It’s a good, slimming workout that can give ladies a little muscle definition without bulking up.

His Take:
I came to 10 Minute Trainer from a 60 minute 3 times per week routine of stationary bike for cardio and 30 minutes of light weight training. The cardio routine was challenging but not so challenging that I didn’t add a second routine right away. Within a couple of weeks it was clear that instead of 3 hours per week, I was spending less time overall working out and doing as well if not better than I had been doing on my own. I have recommended 10 Minute Trainer to patients and friends and no one who has tried it has been disappointed. I do think that any exercise routine is challenging for the truly unfit but 10 Minute Trainer offers a good entry point for someone looking to make the life changes necessary for fitness. More advanced exercisers will find 10 Minute Trainer a welcome change from routine and can maintain a challenge by stacking workouts together.

9 Responses to “Review: 10 Minute Trainer”

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