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NOTE: I received a free copy of this DVD to review for the web site Metapsychology Online Reviews; please see that site for a more detailed version of my review.

This is one of two new releases by Weight Watchers featuring self-proclaimed "expert" fitness instructor Jennifer Cohen (the other is Weight Watchers: 15-Minute Boot Camp Series). As Cohen explains in her introduction, the Ultimate Belly Series DVD has the advantage of offering three different workout options: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. Cohen herself displays the intermediate version of the moves, while her two background exercisers model the beginner and advanced.

Cohen teaches live in a large, bright studio. A mat is required for the floorwork featured on this video, and hand weights are optional for those following the intermediate or advanced options. This DVD offers a total of three workouts. Here is how they are listed on the Main Menu: 10-Minute AB Toner -- 20-Minute AB Express -- 30 Minute Standing AB Toner -- Play All. I have provided more detailed information on each routine below.

This segment takes place entirely on the floor. Cohen starts seated with some side stretches and seated forward bends to warm up. Each exercise is performed for about one minute (I've listed the intermediate version which Cohen demonstrates): 1) c-curve with alternating sweep, 2) c-curve with rotation, 3) demi-crunch with legs in the air, and 4) side plank (both sides). The brief (1.5 minute) cool-down includes a lying twist and additional seated side stretches.

This workout also consists entirely of floorwork. Cohen again begins seated, rounding the back to warm up out, and then continuing the warm-ups lying by circling the knees. Some of the moves repeat in this segment, with the entire sequence as follows: 1) demi-crunch with legs in the air, 2) variation of Pilates 100 (2x), 3) variation of Pilates single leg stretch, 4) demi-crunch with leg crossed (both sides), 5) c-curve with partial roll-back, 6) c-curve with rotation, 7) c-curve with v-rotation, 8) c-curve with knee raise, and 9) alternating knees in (2x). Again, there is a very brief (1 minute) stretch which includes a lying twist and a seated forward fold.

As the title suggests, this routine starts standing. Cohen moves through a quick warm-up consisting of breathing and side stretches. Two standing exercises follow (option of using a 3- or 5-pound weight if following the intermediate or advanced versions): 1) a side bend reaching the weight towards the floor in a manner very similar to the kettlebell windmill exercise, and 2) a side bend holding the weight overhead with the bicep by the ear. Oddly, although this was the "standing" workout, Cohen then moves to the mat for the entire balance of the routine! The remainder of the exercises include the following: 1) c-curve with row, 2) c-curve with hold (2x), 3) c-curve with knee dips (2x), 4) demi-crunch with twist, 5) knee ins, 6) double leg circles, 7) demi-crunch with legs in the air, and 8) elbow plank/full plank. This workout concludes with a bit longer stretch (2.5 minutes) that includes a seated cat/cow, seated forward fold, seated side bend, and seated twist.

There were several things that I found disappointing about this DVD. First, I'm not sure that the video is appropriate for "all fitness levels" as marketed, particularly for beginners. Although the background model who performs the beginner modifications does a fine job, she is a very fit-looking young woman--probably NOT the typical Weight Watchers consumer who is just starting out with a fitness program. Furthermore, c-curve abs work is used throughout these workouts, even at the beginners level. Holding the body in a c-curve position is extremely challenging for someone who has not already built up requisite core strength, and thus I do not believe this type of work is appropriate for beginners. Finally, I was disappointed with various other snafus on this DVD, from Cohen's poor cuing (e.g., when she says to hold the legs in a "chair" position, she fails to keep hers at a 90-degree angle) to her tendency to call the advanced modifier a "show-off" to the dearth of standing exercises in the "standing" routine.

This DVD might appeal to more experienced exercisers who enjoy core work on the floor and who don't mind modifying moves to suit their own needs. Personally, however, this video would not be something I would recommend.
22 comments| 23 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 15, 2013
I purchased this workout because I wanted an ab workout that didn't include tons of crunches. So when I saw that there was a 30 minutes standing ab toner I was really excited. However, that is very misleading. Only about the 1st 5 or so minutes of this workout is done standing. The rest of it is done on a mat, with lots of crunch type exercises. I'm very disappointed in the mis-information on the cover of this workout.
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on December 4, 2013
When doing the exercises, I could feel my stomach muscles trying to get into shape. The 10 minute Ab Toner wasn't so bad and I thought... I can do this! No problem. But just wait, it gets harder and that is great for those of you that are more into shape than I am. Me... I am going to just stay at the sissy stage for awhile then work my way up to the 20 and 30 minute workout.

I know I will work my way up to the advanced but right now I am doing the beginner and a little of the intermediate.

Thats what is nice about this DVD. You can work your way up, you can do the Beginner, Intermediate or the Advanced.
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on April 26, 2014
I know i worked my muscles today, but i don't feel like this kicked my butt. i did intermediate on most exercises during the last 30 minute segment. few parts i had to do beginner just told me i that i needed to work those areas more. Also instructor is quiet easy going. i like her methods.
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on December 29, 2013
My wife (strongly) encourages me to work out with her at home. We really enjoyed this DVD - I am an intermediate user, but Jennifer offers helpful modifications for the exercises that allowed us to work out at our own levels and increase the intensity as we get stronger. We really enjoy Jennifer's different programs - we have been following her for a couple of years now, since the Shedding for the Wedding TV show. She has a nice way about her that doesn't grate on our nerves, while still pushing us to be better versions of ourselves. We recommend her videos.
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on June 13, 2014
Workout is not for beginners. is a little hard for individuals who suffer from lower back pain. I would not recommend this for back pain suffer.
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on February 25, 2014
I'm doing Weight Watchers, and this is a nice low impact workout you can use and adjust it to fit you!
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on March 10, 2016
I love the workout video. I am able to workout due to my age and my unbalance . I give it a 5 stars
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on February 20, 2016
I use this with another fitness dvd to try and get rid of the excess and it seems to be working
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on February 1, 2015
Just as described. Thanks.
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