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The 10 Hottest Workout DVDs of 2013

  • Peter Ardito

    Melt Your Muffin Top

    Denise Austin: Shrink Belly Fat ($9, deniseaustin.com)

    Intermediate

    What you'll need: A 3- to 8-pound dumbbell, a yoga mat

    Calories burned: 198 per 45-minute workout

    The skinny: Whether you string together all three 15-minute core workouts — classic ab exercises, a more advanced routine that includes moving planks and Turkish get-ups, and a cardio calorie blaster — or do them separately, expect to "feel the burn" and to be "eager to repeat [them] over and over." The "very encouraging" Austin points out modifications being done by the exercisers behind her. Testers said they could easily figure out what level they were on as well as see what goals they could advance toward.

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  • Peter Ardito

    Cinch Your Waist and Shape Your Booty

    Pure Barre Mile High: 2 ($20, purebarre.com)

    Intermediate

    What you'll need: A 5-inch playground ball or a rolled-up towel, a yoga mat, a chair

    Calories burned: 153 per 33-minute workout

    The skinny: This ballet-inspired workout, led by Carrie Dorr, the founder of Pure Barre, is broken up by body part — legs, butt, and core — and each section alternates sculpting sets with stretches. Testers appreciated that their abs "burned by the end" and that their thighs were "shaky all the way through" the tiny pulsing exercises like inner-thigh ball squeezes in plank and while standing. "It felt as if my buns were lifted as soon as I finished!" one reader raved.

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  • Peter Ardito

    Trim Your Thighs

    Ellen Barrett Live: Grace + Gusto ($15, ellenbarrett.com)

    Beginner

    What you'll need: A yoga mat

    The skinny: This Pilates-based routine was taped during an actual class, so the "high energy" and "fun, approachable" on-screen exercisers may make you feel you've hit a studio. Expect to crank out more than 100 reps of a move before the session ends. But, instructor Barrett promises, "we mix it up, so you don't notice it." Testers deemed the disc "good for someone who is just getting into Pilates" and the leg work "just what I needed."

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  • Peter Ardito

    Shape Up with Yoga

    Kristin McGee's S3: Strong, Sexy, Svelte ($17, kristinmcgee.com)

    Intermediate

    What you'll need: A pair of 3- to 8-pound dumbbells, a yoga mat

    Calories burned: 310 per 80-minute workout

    The skinny: Testers liked the sculpting twist on poses, such as warrior II with a weighted biceps curl, in McGee's three 25-minute "interesting, fast-paced" yoga hybrid workouts. Do them back-to-back for a "killer sweat session" that left reviewers "feeling challenged, balanced, and focused." Tack on the bonus five-minute cardio segment included on the disc to bump up your total calorie-burn. "Perfect for those who can't or don't want to go to a studio regularly."

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  • Peter Ardito

    Get Fit with Dumbbells

    SparkPeople Total Body Sculpting with Coach Nicole ($17, amazon.com)

    Beginner

    What you'll need: A pair of 3- to 8-pound dumbbells, a yoga mat, a chair

    Calories burned: 379 per 69-minute workout

    The skinny: Not only is instructor Nicole Nichols like "the girl from work who you hit the gym with," but also her backup demonstrators are "refreshingly normal-size." Nichols leads you through three short, effective routines — strength, barre, and a fat-burning circuit — totaling about an hour at a pace at which "everyone should be able to keep up." Multitasking moves, like the pli? squat with a heel lift, make it feel as if you aren't wasting a second.

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  • Peter Ardito

    Take It Up a Notch with Kettlebells

    Amy Bento Ross: Kettlebell Power ($20, amazon.com)

    Advanced

    What you'll need: A pair of 20- to 31-pound (9- to 14-kilogram) kettlebells, a yoga mat

    Calories burned: 484 per 66-minute workout, 145 per 17-minute circuit

    The skinny: Grab a kettlebell for this "intense" sculpting routine that left testers "sweating and tired" but never bored. Instructor Ross takes a "realistic approach to kettlebells," moving through three 17-minute workouts full of power moves like lateral swings and jump squats, with one-minute cardio bursts interspersed. But don't let the short duration fool you: One reviewer claimed that the workout was "one of the hardest I've ever experienced in my living room," while another said it's "great for advanced fitness enthusiasts who need an at-home option."

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  • Peter Ardito

    Get Sweaty with Kickboxing

    Jeanette Jenkins: Cardio Kickboxing ($20, thehollywoodtrainer.com)

    Intermediate

    What you'll need: A pair of 3- to 5-pound dumbbells, a yoga mat

    Calories burned: 656 per 89-minute workout

    The skinny: The spunky celeb trainer, who has whipped Alicia Keys and Pink into shape postbaby, has a new burn-and-firm DVD that lets you choose from five quickie cardio routines and two 15-minute sculpting sessions (total body and abs). It's "simple to mix and match for a different workout every day of the week," a tester said. Each boxing session starts with basic moves like jabs and upper cuts, then adds the more complex moves gradually, so it's "easy to follow for even the most uncoordinated user." The verdict? It "really kicked butt."

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  • Peter Ardito

    Dance Off the Calories

    Dance Off the Inches Latin Cardio Party ($15, amazon.com)

    Intermediate

    What you'll need: Nada

    Calories burned: 261 per 44-minute workout, 67 during the 21-minute step guide

    The skinny: "It was so fun!" deemed testers of dance pro Emily Naim's "great alternative to Zumba class," which can be done inside your own home. Check out the bonus step guide first to master the hip-shaking samba, cumbia, and reggaeton moves in three "challenging, but not impossible" routines that get more intense and complicated as you progress.

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  • Peter Ardito

    Melt the Most Calories with Cardio

    Amy Dixon's Breathless Body, Volume 2: The Edge ($20, amazon.com)

    Advanced

    What you'll need: Nada

    Calories burned: 409 per 55-minute workout

    The skinny: This "no-excuses" high-intensity interval routine had testers pushing to the edge. Sweat-in-place exercises like plank jacks and tuck jumps are highlighted on-screen at the start of the workout, so you know what's coming up. Whether you choose the beginner, intermediate, or advanced level, "it's definitely a challenge, no matter where you are," especially the last six minutes of nonstop 30-second drills.

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  • Peter Ardito

    Grab Weights and Slim Down

    Jillian Michaels: Body Revolution ($99, amazon.com)

    Beginner to advanced

    What you'll need: A resistance tube, a pair each of 3-, 5-, and 10-pound dumbbells, a yoga mat (all optional)

    Calories burned: 232 per 30-minute workout

    The skinny: "Anyone without a gym membership should own this" 15-disc set, one reviewer said. The "passionate" Biggest Loser pro leads you through a 90-day program designed to burn fat and build muscle in 30 minutes. Expect circuit training that progresses in intensity (a basic squat on disc one turns into a single-leg squat with a reverse fly on a later disc). "No wonder people get results," said one satisfied tester midway through this plan.

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