Don't be scared off by the cover of The Trainer's Edge: Killer Abs
and Back with Michael Olajide. Olajide's photo takes center
stage, and he looks creepy. Very creepy. You might ask yourself
whether you really want to do an exercise program hosted by a man
with a reflective metal eye patch and a rather ominous glower. But I
can assure you that once the actual program starts, Olajide turns out
to be a friendly and personable athletic trainer. I'm still not sure
what's the deal with the silver eye patch,
but hey, we can grant him his eccentricities, given that he seems to
have fun in the workout.
Killer Abs and Back is a 43-minute workout program that's
intended (as the title says) to focus on the "core" muscle
groups: the abdominal and back muscles. That's a very useful focus
that makes the DVD stand out in a sea of generic fitness and
weight-loss workouts. As it turns out, the actual program doesn't
quite live up to its promise, but it does still have a reasonable
abdominal workout to offer viewers.
The first half of the workout is predominantly cardiovascular;
Olajide leads participants through a variety of jumping and punching
exercises that seem to make a lot more use of the leg and arm muscles
than the "core" muscles. It's not a bad set of exercises,
but certainly not what I'd hope for in a targeted "abs and back"
program. Olajide does claim, throughout the exercises, that you will
be working your abs and back muscles while you're doing them... but
in that case, the exercises are very poorly explained, because I
really didn't feel like those muscle groups were doing much of
The cardiovascular exercises presented here also make use of a lot of
"exercise props": a stability bar, hand weights, ankle
weights, and a jumprope. It does make the exercises more varied, but
with the equivalent problem of requiring more investment in equipment
as well as more space available to perform the workout.
When Olajide moves into the second half of the workout, that's when
the abdominals really start working. Here, we get a number of
variations on crunches and leg lifts that target the core muscles
very effectively. The difficulty level is very high, in that it's
very challenging to do as many repetitions as Olajide suggests, or as
quickly, but the actual movements themselves are straightforward and
easy to learn. The result is that this half of the workout lends
itself to repetition, as participants gradually get better at the
exercises and can keep up with the video's pace.
The exercise program appears in an attractive 1.33:1 transfer that
will give viewers no cause to complain. The image is clean and
reasonably sharp, with bright colors and good contrast.
The audio is only so-so, unlike the video. It's an odd Dolby 2.2
soundtrack, and it just never sounds quite right: Olajide's voice is
flat and slightly drowned out by the background music, and overall
there's a slightly tinny quality to the sound.
Viewers will be pleased to discover a useful 10-minute bonus workout
here: "Killer Butt" led by Dolores Munoz. It's a highly
targeted workout that is very effective at working out the gluteus
muscles, and the brisk pace packs a challenging workout into those 10
minutes without feeling too rushed.
Trainer's Edge: Killer Abs and Back with Michael Olajide offers a
useful targeted workout with some challenging exercises. It's not as
tightly focused as I would have liked, as the first half is mainly
cardiovascular exercise, but overall it's a good program.