Of all the pregnancy workout DVDs out there, this may be the very best. And of all the instructors I came across, I think Suzanne Bowen is my favorite. She’s warm and happy without being obnoxious in the slightest. And more than that, something about her voice and presence makes me feel totally capable of pushing and challenging myself. Even though the moves she takes you through are crazy-hard, I felt motivated the entire time.
Suzanne Bowen currently has three prenatal DVDs out there. This one (Slim & Toned), Long & Lean, and BarreAmped Prenatal, are all great. However, I found Slim & Toned to be the toughest of the three. The best price I found for Slim &Toned is $16.99.
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With that, let’s roll into the specifics of what you’ll find on this awesome DVD.
Lean Lower Body (runtime 20:05 and 43 calories burned)
At 21 weeks pregnant, I’m still pretty happy with how my legs look, and I think I can credit this particular segment of Slim & Toned for that. This is tough, tough stuff! You’ll need the chair Suzanne recommends since many of the moves would otherwise require too much balance work for pregnancy, so grab your chair and hold on tight. The first time I did this workout I was terrified by four minutes in because my legs were on FIRE!
I will say that the intensity calms down as the segment moves on, but it’s still a challenge to the very end. You are going to feel your entire lower body working hard, but if you’re like me you’ll feel (and then later see nice definition in) your quads and inner thighs especially. Thankfully, Suzanne includes quite a few little stretches throughout the workout, giving those legs of yours enough time to just barely recover before rolling into the next tough move. Five stars to this segment: it’s everything a prenatal workout can and should be.
Slim Upper Body and Core (runtime 18:40 and 62 calories burned)
The upper body-focused section of this DVD also delivers. Suzanne recommends light weights. You may begin thinking it feels too easy with 1–3lb dumbbells, wait until a few minutes in! You’ll be shocked at how challenging even those tiny weights feel thanks to the high reps. The first 10 minutes consist of standing work with free weights. This part targets the middle back, shoulders, and triceps especially. I appreciated all her cueing about form and posture. I think doing these moves well is helping keep my back strong and pain-free this pregnancy.
Minutes 10–12 take you down to the mat for modified pushups. Those “pilates pushups” were new to me and WOW did I feel them! Then, the remaining 6ish minutes has you on your mat. Here you’ll do moves targeting the core as well as upper body. Gotta love planks!
I was proud of myself by the end of this one. It wasn’t easy but it was surprisingly fun. Like the lower-body segment before it, it’s one of my all-time favorite pregnancy workout routines.
Cardio Sculpt (runtime 22:02 and 92 calories burned)
This is one of the better prenatal cardio segments I’ve found. She takes you through spurts of light, low-impact cardio that get your heart pumping. She then alternates with sections that feel a lot like the exercises in the Lean Lower Body segment. This way, you’re getting in both cardio and toning for a really efficient workout.
I also ought to add here (simply because I haven’t anywhere else) that while Suzanne isn’t pregnant in this one, her modifier, Leigh-ann, is. She looks to be in her third trimester. She does a great job showing modifications that will feel better if you’re farther along in your pregnancy, not just in this segment but throughout the entire workout. I felt good sticking with her for most of it at 21 weeks along.
Aligned Stretch (runtime 9:17 and 9 calories burned)
Of all the pregnancy workout DVDs I’ve tried, this one has the best stretch segment. It’s just shy of 10 minutes long, and I feel like all 10 minutes are full of fantastic stretches that feel amazing. The series at the beginning where you are on your mat but still using a chair felt amazing on my legs. These stretches hit muscles that I find hard to stretch not that my baby bump is pretty pronounced. Suzanne also gives you a few stellar neck and shoulder stretches. I appreciate this since I tend to carry a lot of tension through there. Suzanne is 4/4 on this DVD: every part of it is absolutely phenomenal.