When you can't get to the gym — and that's most of us right now — workout videos can help you get moving at home. And it's not just a matter of motivation: Plenty of the best workout videos or DVDs can also deliver real results, whether you want to sculpt a stronger upper body, slim your thighs or firm your glutes.
As for what to look for in a top workout video, what's most important is that you feel inspired and energized by the instruction.
If you're an at-home exercise newbie and need help getting started, we polled professionals and exercise enthusiasts alike to find out their favorite workout DVDs when they can't make it to the gym. Here are their top picks, a list of the best workout videos today that'll also stand the test of time.
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1. Billy Blanks: Tae Bo
"The best fitness DVD of all time was Billy Blanks: Tae Bo. It not only presented a new, full-body workout that stimulated the muscular and cardiovascular systems of the body, but also it was the first instructional DVD hosted by someone who communicated directly to his audience from his heart," says Eric Fleishman, also known as Eric the Trainer, a Hollywood physique expert whose clients include Def Leppard and actor Chris Noth.
"Having that high level of knowledge and humanity, Billy Blanks was able to transcend the normal fitness instructor route and instead rose to the top spot as a worldwide icon of health."
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $14.49
2. Brazil Butt Lift
Rumor has it that supermodels use Leandro Carvalho's Brazil Butt Lift from Beachbody in order to avoid having surgery to lift their derrieres. While fans call it "intense but fun," they also swear it'll help you "shrink your waist, thighs, hips" and give you toned arms in addition to tightening and lifting your bottom area. Sounds like the perfect antidote to all that sitting you've been doing, right?
Buy it: Beachbody.com; Price: $38.87 per quarter, after a free 30-day trial
3. Denise Austin: Boot Camp Total Body Blast
Perfect for anyone short on time, this workout video provides three workouts in 30 minutes or less, including cardio, strength and stretching.
"When I think of Denise Austin, her kind and un-intimidating way of teaching fitness is what stands out to me," says Michelle Miller, a certified personal trainer and founder of My First Workout. "She also seems to have such a genuine love for a lifestyle of fitness and helping people learn how to exercise properly. In my opinion, she presents the idea that exercise is for everyone."
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $6.99
4. Insanity Sweat Fest
Beloved trainer Shaun T is known for his Insanity workout, an advanced exercise program for people seeking a challenge. But when you don't have a lot of time to exercise, Beachbody Shaun T's Insanity Sweat Fest is perhaps the most intense body-fat-blasting workout you can do in the privacy of your home — and in under 30 minutes.
The DVD provides drills, intervals and strength training in an encouraging format; fans call it "a favorite workout for getting back into shape quickly whenever I'm unable to commit to a regular workout schedule."
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $22.90
5. Jane Fonda's Original Workout
Admire 1980s aerobics fashion while you burn calories and boost your heart health. Called "the program that started it all," Jane Fonda's Original Workout combines low-impact and high-intensity movements for an upbeat, appealing exercise routine that anyone can follow.
"It was the first and by far the best," fans attest — and since it's still popular 38 years after it was first released, we think they're onto something.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $12.41
6. Jillian Michaels: 30-Day Shred
"I love Jillian Michaels' workouts," says Brocha Soloff, RD, CDN, a registered dietitian and the creator of iHeartHealth. "She promotes high-intensity, quick workouts three times a week, where you get the most results for the minimum time."
Michaels is known for her intense, tough-love attitude toward clients and her in-your-face instruction that'll keep you on your toes as you fire up your metabolism and burn fat fast. "You must be ready to work hard, to your all-out maximum in order to get the benefits," Soloff says.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $9.03
7. Richard Simmons: Sweatin' to the Oldies
If you love listening to rock classics while you crank up your heart rate, Richard Simmons' video Sweatin' to the Oldies is as good as it gets. There are plenty of reasons this 1980s sensation is still beloved by fans of all ages, including Simmons' kindhearted personality, motivating spirit and fun dance moves. The video features classic music you know and love and is perfect for beginners. "I wanted to work out [where] no one is yelling at me," one devotee admits.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $23.99
8. Tony Horton's P90X
P90X is one of the best workout videos of all time for building muscle mass at home. The revolutionary 90-day extreme challenge is from personal trainer, author and actor Tony Horton, who generated a cult-like following by touting "muscle confusion" to explain the effectiveness of his technique.
"Not for the faint of heart!" at least one fan attests — but don't let that stop you from taking on this sweaty, high-intensity challenge.
Buy it: Beachbody.com; Price: $99 per year
9. Turbo Jam
Fitness should be fun, and that's why Turbo Jam has remained a crowd favorite for decades. The DVD delivers five workouts — with names like "Learn and Burn" and "Cardio Party" — and all blend calisthenics, kickboxing, body sculpting and dance so that you're never bored and constantly switching gears. It's "everything you need to get in shape," one fan promises.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $8.36
10. Extreme Kettlebell Cardio
"I love Extreme Kettlebell Cardio by Keith Weber," says Meghan Kennihan, a certified personal trainer and running coach. "It's a full-body workout with just one kettlebell in 45 minutes. You only need about the space of a mat and it's intense, but goes fast!" The workout video is doable for beginners, but even seasoned athletes will take their conditioning game to the next level.
Buy it: KeithWeber.ca; Price: $25.99
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