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The Best Muscle Workout Videos

author image Michele Turcotte, MS, RD
Michele Turcotte is a registered, licensed dietitian, and a certified personal trainer with the National Academy of Sports Medicine. She has more than 12 years of experience in clinical and corporate settings, and has extensive experience in one-on-one diet counseling and meal planning. She has written freelance food and nutrition articles for Trouve Publishing Inc. since 2004.

If building muscle is your goal, the best way to get there is to lift weights, heavy enough to surpass shaping, defining and toning and pack on some lean muscle mass. With the right equipment, a complete set of dumbbells, perhaps a barbell, and a step or weight bench, you can work out in the privacy of your own home. Take your pick of any of these top muscle-building workout DVDs.

Total Body--Beginner to Intermediate

Why not work the whole body at once for maximum effectiveness in a minimum amount of time? The "10 Minute Solution Target Toning" workout includes five 10-minute muscle-blasting segments: legs, arms, buns and abs followed by an athletic-style stretch. The exercises are varied and interesting, maximizing motivation by working specific muscle groups in unique ways. This workout uses lighter dumbbells, which is great for beginners. "Crunch Total Resculpt" offers a varied series of body-sculpting classics, led by a boot camp-style instructor, featuring separate upper and lower body programs to target specific muscle groups together for a total body workout.

Total Body--Intermediate to Advanced

"The Firm: Maximum Muscle Shaping" is a 46-minute total body workout that includes classic dumbbell toning exercises and intense plyometrics to accelerate muscle fatigue. Another good choice is "The Firm: Total Body Toner." This 40-minute workout offers a diverse sequence of sculpting exercises for the whole body using only dumbbells. Kathy Smith leads "Lift Weights to Lose Weight Double." This DVD models seven 26-minute workouts targeting every muscle using a variety of equipment, including a Swiss ball and medium to heavy dumbbells. Amy Bento leads "Slo-Mo Strength Challenge." This workout features features powerful routines that challenge your muscles through both concentric and eccentric motions (controlled, slow "up" and "down" motions) for maximum tough. It's an effective technique. The workout uses varied equipment, such as several sets of dumbbells, a stability ball, barbell and weight bench.

Divide & Conquer: Separate Upper and Lower Body

You might be looking to work just your upper body and abdominal muscles or your lower body, or you might want to mix and match. Karen Voight's "Firm Arms and Abs" 40-minute workout can be paired with her other 40-minute shaper, "Lean Legs and Buns." You'll define and shape your entire body, build lean body mass and work every muscle (separately or on alternate days) in less than 1.5 hours. Kelly Coffey's "30 Minutes to Fitness" workout DVD offers two 30-minute sculpting, weight room-style workouts with dumbbells. Coffee also provides a lower body workout DVD titled "30 Minutes to Fitness: Body Training" that effectively works all of the muscles of the lower body using no equipment! Cathe Friedrich is known for her challenging workouts using an ultra-high step and very heavy weights. Her "Pyramid Upper and Lower Body" DVD includes two "hard core" weight training workouts using gym-proven techniques, supersets and pyramid training. Each muscle group is targeted with at least two different exercises.

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