Core Fusion Review Round Up

by Rachel on May 10, 2010

Heyohhh! Good afternoon!

So, I have been getting a lot of e-mails and Tweets lately from people asking me which Core Fusion DVD to buy. Since it’s nearly impossible for me to not write a novel on a subject (140 characters?! No way…), I thought I’d go through each DVD and note what I think about them. I don’t think there’s one “right” DVD for everyone, so hopefully this will help you choose which one to get!

Body Sculpt. This is my favorite “classic” Core Fusion DVD. It has four segments, plus a fifth for stretching. The arms segment uses light weights, as opposed to body weight, which I prefer. The standing glutes segment is absolutely brutal, but it does work. I really, really like this DVD and if you’re just going to get one to start with, this is probably a good one! Equipment/space needed: a chair or a counter, light weights, and a small open wall space. (Big enough so that you can sit against the wall.)

Pilates Plus. This DVD is similar to Body Sculpt, but I just like Body Sculpt much better. The arms segment in this section is mostly planks and push-ups, and while those are great, they are just not my preference. There’s also a “flat back/round back” segment in this DVD, which is hard to explain, but suffice to say, it’s nearly impossible. Not hard…impossible. I had to modify it a lot to do it; after talking to Dori she said that it’s just a series of exercises that works in the studio but that might just be hard to do at home. However, the abs segment on this DVD is good and I LOVE the thighs and glutes segment — one of my favorite Core Fusion segments ever! Equipment/space needed: a small open wall space.

I alternated between Body Sculpt and Pilates Plus for my first month-long Core Fusion Challenge.

Pure Abs & Arms. I love this DVD! Hands down, this is my favorite Core Fusion DVD. I love the use of the band (which comes with the DVD, and is the only equipment you need, along with a rolled-up towel) and the moves are signature Core Fusion while still feeling unique and different from the previous DVDs. I love all the segments and I often feel like my body is just craving it. I did this DVD for my second month of the Core Fusion Challenge; I did the full DVD three times a week and got great results. My arms are something I always want to change and this really did it.

This isn’t a great “before” and “after” shot but there’s definitely been a big difference!

Pure Arms & Abs isn’t easy — I still swear and whimper a lot while I’m doing it — but it’s worth it. I find myself wanting to do at least a segment or two it every day. The downside is that it doesn’t work your lower body, so you’ll need to supplement it with other strength training or another DVD, like…

Thighs & Glutes. I just got this DVD and I really like it! It just really expands on all the best moves that I’ve seen throughout all the DVDs, but the Core Fusion peops know a good lower-body workout. It’s hard but it’s good (although I haven’t done it enough to speak about “results”). Equipment/space needed: a sturdy chair or a counter and a rolled-up towel.

What I like about all of these DVDs is that because they are in segments, you can do them throughout the day…a few minutes here, a few minutes there…and suddenly, you’re done! Also, because they are chill (hard, but chill) you can do them later in the day or even right before bed. I love doing the abs segments after a long day at my desk…it makes my back feel so good and it’s just a nice way to decompress and just move my bod.

Well, I had heard that the actual classes were way harder than the DVDs, so I was dying to try those too. Here’s a round up of the actual classes from (in case you missed it, I’ve already written all about how YogaVibes works), along with the newest DVD, Lean & Toned, which is more like a class than the previous DVDs.

Core Fusion Sport. OK this is killer. I call it “barefoot bootcamp.” It’s classic Core Fusion moves but just like…on crack. I dripped, I cried, I limped the next day. But it’s good if you like a mix of cardio and strength. I think committing to doing this a couple days a week is an awesome idea. (And if you get a YogaVibes subscription you’ll have access to other Core Fusion classes.) Equipment/space needed: small ball (mine was $9) and band.

Core Fusion Yoga. Well, I’m pathetically inflexible, that much I know. I don’t love yoga but I didn’t mind this class. I definitely got out of breath and challenged my body (the balance moves are killer) but it was definitely still yoga. Still, there are planks and push-ups and a core segment. If you like yoga — or, like me, know you need to relax and get more flexible — I definitely recommend it. Afterward, I felt amazing. My body felt great and I was so blissed out, I just sat in bed with my mind feeling clear…I honestly felt like I had just smoked a joint. It was great, and I’m definitely going to continue to do this one right before bed. Equipment/space needed: I did this in my very small bedroom (with the lights off and a candle burning to feel totally crunchy) and had enough room. You need yoga blocks and a strap. (I got a kit with both for $10.)

Lean & Toned. This is the newest DVD and I have mixed feelings about it. I did it start to finish instead of just doing a couple short segments, which is what they recommend. Some parts I loved and some I didn’t. I liked the arms (and the dips with a leg lift rocked my world) but I like Pure Arms & Abs better. I liked the leg work with the chair a lot, but there are similar moves in Thighs & Glutes. The problem was that there’s a “flat back” segment like the one in Pilates Plus, and again, this is just nearly impossible. Also, doing it on carpet was really hard because of how you have to slide your feet back and forth. I liked some parts of the abs segment, but I still like Pure Arms & Abs better. And the ab “pretzel” moves were just nearly impossible for me. I did like that it moved fast and felt like a little more of a cardio workout than Body Sculpt or Pilates Plus. Equipment/space needed: One thing I wasn’t crazy about is the leg work where you use a wall instead of a chair. This required a lot of finagling around in my room, and I’ll have to do it in my actual home gym next time (not a huge deal, but something to consider). Besides that, you just need a chair and light weights.

Beyond these descriptions, I think choosing a DVD depends on how often you plan to work out and what your goals are.

If you want to do 40 minutes of total body strength training twice a week (or 20 minutes four times a week), which is the really the minimum amount of strength training you should be doing in general, get Body Sculpt. This is also a great DVD if you want to break up your workout throughout the day because you won’t get super sweaty. (Leah even did a couple segments at work!) You could also give Lean & Toned a try; it will get your heart rate up a bit more and it goes by fast. With either of these DVDs, you can absolutely do the entire DVD three or four times a week to see even better results. (That’s what I did for the initial CF Challenge and got awesome results — a full inch off my upper arms in one month!)

If you’re willing to commit a bit more in terms of both time and money, I’d recommend Pure Arms & Abs and Thighs & Glutes. You can mix it up a bit when it comes to making a schedule, but if you want major results, I’d say do both DVDs all the way through twice a week. It’s a bigger time commitment (40 minutes four times a week) but it’s worth it. After the second CF Challenge, my arms and abs have never looked so good…I wish I had gotten started on Thighs & Glutes sooner!

If you’re training for a race, get Pure Arms & Abs. I can’t do any lower body Core Fusion on days I have to spin — even doing it on days before I spin is tough. It makes your legs really tired and often sore and if you have to run four days a week, you’re going to have a problem. Arms & Abs is a perfect complement to a running or spinning schedule though! And you’ll definitely feel the difference the ab works makes in your runs.

If you’re a masochist and/or really enthusiastic about Core Fusion or just working out in general, do! Core Fusion Sport is awesome (and counts as cardio!), plus you can do classic Core Fusion (similar to the Body Sculpt/Pilates Plus/Lean & Toned DVDs), Core Fusion yoga, and other yoga and pilates classes. Sport is going to make you sweat, and since these classes aren’t in segments, it wouldn’t really be convenient to do them throughout the day. But if you are the kind of person who likes taking classes at the gym a few days a week or you want to break out of your cardio rut, go this route for sure.

Something else cool — all the DVDs from Amazon come with instant video on demand, so if you order them, you can do them immediately and don’t have to wait for them to arrive! I know you can also rent some of them for $2.99 and watch them instantly, so if you want to try a couple before you buy (or just watch them in bed like I like to do), you could go that route as well! And offers previews so you’ll be able to get an idea of what you’re getting yourself into with each.

I hope that helps answer some questions but if you still aren’t sure which one to get or how many days a week you should do it, feel free to comment or e-mail me! And for those of you who already own the DVDs, definitely share your thoughts on which ones you like and why! The more opinions, the better for everyone who is interested!

Really though, the important thing once you get a DVD or choose a class is to commit. I had the Body Scuplt and Pilates Plus DVDs for two years but was too half-assed about it to see any results. Suck it up and commit for a month — even if it means skipping your precious cardio! — and you will definitely see results! I know it seems like I have a huge boner for Core Fusion but committing to it is what finally got me to stop hating strength training and really change my body. So yes…that does indeed get me off and I hope it’ll work for you too!

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 MelissaNibbles May 10, 2010 at 2:21 pm

I have all of these dvds and agree with your review. The Body Sculpt is my personal favorite because it has everything in one dvd. Pure Abs and Arms is my second fave. Fab upper body workout. I don’t like Lean N Toned or Thighs And Glutes because the wall moves are hard to do at home (it’s hard to find a wall and still be able to see the tv) and I just feel like I’m not doing them right everytime. If I were in a class, they would be able to correct my form, but I’m not so I just kind of sit against the wall the entire time. I wish I could sell those two dvds because I’ll never do them again.
I like to do Pure Arms And Abs on Days that I’m also doing cardio (running, biking, etc…) and I do Body Sculpt on days when I don’t have other workouts planned because it’s a total body workout.

Great review Rachel!


2 Kendra May 10, 2010 at 3:05 pm

Question: For the ones that involve abs work, is is stuff that you can do with excess weight in the way? There are certain exercises that I just can’t do because I have too much stuff in an area of my body. Like sit-ups, I can’t do those for the time being.
.-= Kendra´s last blog ..Hollaback =-.


3 Rachel May 10, 2010 at 3:08 pm

You know, Kendra, I’m not entirely sure. Some of the moves you would probably be fine because you just hold a position. (Imagine holding one crunch up.) But you do also do some thing like crunches (really small ones). This is a YouTube clip of the abs segment on Body Sculpt…you could try it to get an idea!


4 katie May 10, 2010 at 5:28 pm

love your review of all the core fusion dvds – it’s definitely quite helpful! the biggest issue i have with them is that a piece of empty wall is just about impossible to find in my apartment, so i often end up skipping the ab sections [just doing the arms/lower body], which is quite a shame.
.-= katie´s last blog ..summer style. =-.


5 Jenn May 10, 2010 at 6:10 pm

Yes! Great write-up! I agree Body Sculpt is my favorite, as it has a bit of everything, and the pilates one is weird. I skipped the flat back round back thing for a bit, and went back to it and found it finally doable! I’m guessing the strength I picked up from their other segments made it possible? Still, I like Body Sculpt more–although both the legs and butt sections kill me!

I’ve done the Thighs and Glutes, and thought it was good, but there’s so much to do to work out the legs, I don’t often go for something so specialized. Arms and Abs is on my shopping list for when I go home, but I’ll have to check out Amazon’s deal…maybe I won’t have to wait!

I haven’t done the videos as much as you, I usually get in 2 workouts a week, but not always, so I haven’t seen the dramatic physical results, but I love the new strength I’ve developed in my abs, and think it has done a lot to improve my posture!


6 Rachel May 10, 2010 at 8:20 pm

Jenn it’s good to know that you can get results doing it less…two workouts a week ain’t too shabby! When I first got it I did like one ten minute segment every two weeks.

And I was hoping you’d be excited about the “Watch Now!” thing on Amazon!! It worked great for me!


7 Dori May 10, 2010 at 9:25 pm

Great reviews! I actually love the planks in Pilates Plus, and I wish there was a DVD with a long arm weights section AND an intense plank section in one. That’s because that is what class is like! I’m curious to hear what you think of regular Core Fusion on YogaVibes because that is what we do!
.-= Dori´s last blog ..The Bar Method NYC Review =-.


8 Allison May 10, 2010 at 11:58 pm

I found a 3-pack of Core Fusion DVDs on Amazon:

Comes with Body Sculpt, Pilates Plus, and Thighs & Glutes for only $20 if you buy it from one of the other dealers ($25 directly through Amazon). It’s a fantastic deal considering most of the other DVDs are around $13-15.


9 Audra May 12, 2010 at 4:27 pm

I just ordered the 3-pack as well! I can’t wait for them to get here so I can get started. I’m moving overseas next month and I am looking forward to having something I can do while I’m traveling. Just wanted you to know that I just started reading your blog a few weeks ago and I love it! I’ve been trying to start “eating clean” over the past month and have also been looking for ways to add in more exercise rather than running only. Thanks for all the great tips!


10 Rachel May 12, 2010 at 4:59 pm

That three pack is a great deal…I can’t wait to hear how it goes for you!! Keep me posted! :)


11 Melissa January 20, 2011 at 12:08 pm

They are available on Hulu right now too. I don’t know how long they’ll be up, but it is a great place to try them.


12 Christina February 7, 2011 at 4:18 am

So I bought Pure Abs and Arms a few months ago based on your reviews and I wanted to comment that you actually do need small arm weights for the first or second 10 min segment (I can’t remember which it is right now because I don’t always do them in order). . . you didn’t say there here and I don’t have small hand weights so I was a bit disappointed to discover this- luckily I figured out that I could use my scuba diving weight-belt bean bag weights for this. Just FYI maybe you should add this to your review.


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