Best Exercise DVDs

Tamsen Butler
Woman Exercising

The right exercise DVD can help you get a great workout in the comfort of your own home. It's important to find a DVD that challenges you while also keeping your interest. As editor for LoveToKnow Exercise and a fitness professional, I was given the opportunity to try several exercise DVDs that were sent to me by various companies for my review. Below are the exercise DVDs that I determined to be among the very best available; the opinions within this article are mine based on trying out the DVDs myself.

Two Intense Workouts

As a big fan of high intensity workouts that can be done quickly, I often look for exercise DVDs that will challenge me without taking up too much of my time. Below are two DVDs that met my criteria while also holding my interest throughout the workout.

1. 4X4 Workout

JJ Virgin is a well-known authority when it comes to exercise and appeared on TLC's Freaky Eaters as a diet authority. Her 4X4 workouts are designed to be full body workouts that only take 15 minutes at a time to do, which is perfect for a busy person who wants to stay in shape without taking hours at the gym.

Overview

I enjoyed her DVD first and foremost because the workout was challenging, yet not impossible. As host, JJ presents a friendly, informal demeanor that makes it seem almost as if you're simply working out with a friend in your living room. This DVD is appropriate for active people; someone new to exercise may have a tough time getting through the workouts, although modifications can be made when necessary.

Equipment

Be prepared to use an exercise ball, hand weights and a step bench with this DVD. There is no music accompanying the workout, but JJ talks throughout the entire workout, offering guidance and additional suggestions. This is a good workout for people who just want to get to the exercise and don't need a catchy beat to compel them forward.

Reviews and Purchase

The 4x4 Workout itself is newly released as of this writing, so online reviewers have not yet chimed in. However, JJ's other products on Amazon receive largely positive feedback from customers who say they like her teaching style.

Purchase the 4X4 workout for around $30 or request a free sample workout before buying.

2. 10 Minute Solution High Intensity Interval Training

High Intensity Interval Training

Interval training can be an incredibly effective method for getting fit, and this tabata-style interval training DVD is perfect for someone who wants to get in a quick workout while still feeling challenged.

Overview

Instructor Lisa Kinder doesn't waste any time in this DVD, alternating between intense bursts of exercise with brief resting periods.

I found this workout to be quite challenging, which I enjoyed immensely. As a fitness instructor, it takes quite a bit of exercise to get me out of breath, but with this DVD I found myself breathing hard early on in the workout. I highly recommend this DVD for people who want a serious workout at home.

Equipment

The workout required no additional equipment and is customizable to where I could choose what order I wanted to do the workouts in.

Reviews and Purchase

This DVD is available on Amazon for around $10, where reviewers praise it for being easy to follow, yet challenging. Health Magazine lists this DVD as one of the "8 Great Workout DVDs to Try Now," citing it as one of the best options for a time-saving workout.

Two Effective Resistance Workouts

Strength work is an important aspect to a well-rounded workout routine, but that doesn't necessarily have to include heavy weights all the time. The following DVDs provide excellent resistance work to help you build lean muscle while strengthening your core.

1. Element Barre Conditioning

Barre Conditioning

This was my first time trying barre conditioning, although I'd heard of it as one of the latest fitness crazes. The workout is led by wellness expert Sadie Lincoln, who is the founder of barre3 fitness.

Overview

Instructor Sadie Lincoln goes right into the workout, giving clear direction to the viewer while offering encouragement along the way. I was happily surprised by how quickly this DVD got challenging. Two workouts are included on this DVD, both of which are low impact yet provide a challenging workout. I could feel this workout in my muscles the next day.

Equipment

Although this workout can be done without any props at all, I found that using a chair helped me to hold my balance.

Reviews and Purchase

A reviewer on BeautyAllThat.com praises this workout for being both fun and challenging.

Purchase this DVD on Amazon for under $15. Amazon reviewers say this is a full body workout and may help improve posture with repeated use.

2. Mari Winsor's Pink Ribbon Pilates

Winsor Pilates

This DVD comes with a pink resistance band; it's pink because a portion of the proceeds from its sale are donated to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Overview

Instructor and Pilates expert Mari Winsor offers a workout that is both challenging and effective. As someone who enjoys Pilates and using a reformer, I was excited to try a resistance workout at home. I am also consistently impressed with products from Gaiam, and this DVD was no different.

This DVD is suitable for both beginners and more advanced exercisers, especially since you can change the resistance of the band simply by moving your hand positioning.

Equipment

The resistance band is used throughout the five Pilates practices featured on this DVD, all of which are designed to help strengthen your core and build lean muscle.

Reviews and Purchase

The website HelloBeautiful says that this particular workout is not only good for anyone wanting a challenging workout, but is also suitable for people recovering from serious illnesses.

Purchase this DVD from Amazon for around $15.

Three Good DVDs for Beginners

Working out at home is a great start for someone who hasn't exercised for a long time, and choosing the right DVD is important. The following DVDs are good choices for people who are looking for a workout that is relatively easy to follow, fun, and can be modified to suit their fitness levels.

1. Slim Sexy Strong

Slim Sexy Strong

Promax Fitness Ambassador Holly Perkins offers four strength-building workouts in this DVD.

Overview

The exercises are easy to follow. This DVD is a great option for someone who wants to start incorporating weights into their workout but isn't sure how to go about doing so. Note that the workout does not include a warm-up, so before starting this workout it's important to do a short warm-up routine.

I recommend this DVD to anyone who is ready to take their workouts beyond only doing cardio. Perkins is careful to stress proper form, which is incredibly important for newcomers to strength training.

Equipment

Hand weights are used, but each user can use whatever weight feels challenging. This makes the workout customizable and suitable for all fitness levels. An exercise mat is helpful, but not required.

Reviews and Purchase

A reviewer on TotalFitnessDVDs.com gives this DVD a positive review, stating that Holly's instruction is very motivating. This DVD is available for under $20 from TotalFitnessDVDs.com.

2. YogaFit's Full Body Blast

Yoga can be an excellent addition to an effective exercise regiment. This DVD by yoga expert Beth Shaw manages to provide a challenging workout while also providing tips of some of the mindfulness aspects of practicing yoga.

Overview

Both Shaw and Master Trainer Lara Anderson make the workout easy to follow. The four workouts featured on the DVD can be played one right after another for a longer yoga session, but I enjoyed being able to fit the 17 minute full body segment into my busy day.

I recommend this DVD to everyone, whether they are trying yoga for the first time or want a yoga DVD at home for those times when they can't make it to their favorite yoga studio.

Equipment

A yoga mat can be used, but is not required for this workout.

Reviews and Purchase

Amazon reviewers say this DVD is particularly helpful for targeting different parts of the body. Purchase the Full Body Blast on the YogaFit website for around $16.

3. Dance Off the Inches Cardio Hip Hop Party

Cardio Hip Hop

If you're looking for an exercise DVD that will get your heart rate up while also providing you with some fun, this dance exercise DVD is a good option.

Overview

This DVD is full of sassy hip-hop dance moves ranging from old school to more recent hip hop. While the moves are initially a little tricky to learn, instructor Jennifer Galardi does an excellent job of breaking down the moves. The DVD also features an introductory section to further explain the steps; watch this section before starting the actual workout.

The music is catchy and the workout is fun; this is a great option for someone who wants to burn calories and have fun while doing so.

Equipment

No equipment is needed for this workout.

Reviews and Purchase

Amazon reviewers say this workout is a lot of fun and very high-energy. Purchase Cardio Hip Hop Party from Barnes & Noble for around $15.

Find Your Workout

Try a variety of exercise DVDs until you have a few that you really enjoy while also feeling challenged. Exercise DVDs are also a great way to try new workouts frequently without paying a gym membership or setting a specific time aside on your schedule to attend a class.

Make sure you speak to your physician before starting any new exercise regimen.

Best Exercise DVDs