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The Best Workout DVDs of 2009

  • Best Boredom-Busting Routine

    Shiva Rea Daily Energy Vinyasa Flow Yoga

    Calories burned*: 112 per 20-minute workout

    What you'll need: A mat

    Why we love it: You can mix and match segments to create a perfect at-home workout. Choose between doing one or more of seven 20-minute athletic yoga sequences and combining them with bonus routines, including meditation, a core-toning session, and a gentle stretch.

    Tester says: "There are tons of different combos, so it never gets old, and you can make the workouts more challenging as you progress." (168 minutes, $14.99, acacialifestyle.com)

    *Calories burned are estimates based on a 140-pound woman.

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  • Best Dance Workout

    So You Think You Can Dance Get Fit: Cardio Funk

    Calories burned: 105 per 14-minute session

    Why we love it: Former finalists on the TV show guide you through disco, contemporary, and hip-hop moves before each 14- to 30-minute routine begins, preparing you to dive right in. With the option of three speeds at which to learn the footwork, you can really catch on and break a sweat without feeling silly.

    Tester says: "I had a blast learning each of the dances, and I was motivated to keep practicing so I could master every single move." (116 minutes, $16.99, amazon.com)

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  • Best Yoga for All Levels

    Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders Power Squad Bod! Body Slimming Yoga

    Calories burned: 140 per 25-minute class

    What you'll need: A mat

    Why we love it: No pom-pom kitsch here: Kurt Johnsen, founder of the athletic-style American Power Yoga, leads a 25-minute and a 45-minute class full of flowing poses, like warrior I, II, and III, and offers modifications so you can follow along with the cheerleaders as a beginner or more advanced yogi.

    Tester says: "The workouts were effective and fun without being overly complicated." (70 minutes, $16.99, amazon.com)

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  • Best All-Over Toning Workout

    Gilad Total Body Sculpt Plus: Peak Performance

    Calories burned: 384 per 45-minute routine

    What you'll need: A mat, a pair of 3- to 5-pound dumbbells (optional), a resistance band (optional)

    Why we love it: You can choose between two 45-minute workouts focused either on arms and legs or on shoulders, abs, butt, and thighs. Also, the combo of calorie-torching plyometrics, like jump lunges, and strength moves, like shoulder presses, effectively burns and firms.

    Tester says: "Gilad has a ton of personality! He enthusiastically talks you through each move, so the DVD feels like a real class and you stay motivated." (90 minutes, $19.95, amazon.com)

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  • Best Time-Saving Routine

    Personal Training with Jackie: Power Circuit Training

    Calories burned: 128 per 15-minute circuit

    What you'll need: A mat, a pair of 5- to 8-pound dumbbells

    Why we love it: This workout feels like a one-on-one training session with reality-TV trainer Jackie Warner, and it delivers fast results. With one 40-minute total-body workout and four 15-minute circuits, each of which targets individual trouble zones, the DVD keeps you moving quickly and sculpts every major muscle group.

    Tester says: "I was impressed with how soon I started sweating. Jackie makes every minute count, so I was finished with my workout before I could get bored." (57 minutes, $14.98, amazon.com)

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  • Best Pilates Workout

    10 Minute Solution: Quick Sculpt Pilates

    Calories burned: 37 per 10-minute session

    What you'll need: A mat (comes with a rubber toning ball)

    Why we love it: Instructor Andrea Leigh Rogers offers five challenging routines (ab shapers, butt and thigh shapers, total-body strength, flexibility, and standing Pilates), so you can squeeze in one fast ab-flattening workout or do them all. Plus, the ball adds resistance to your usual Pilates exercises, increasing the sculpting power of every move.

    Tester says: "I definitely felt the burn, and using the toning ball made my entire body feel that much firmer the next day too." (56 minutes, $24.97, amazon.com)

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  • Best Boot Camp Workout

    Weight Loss Cardio Kick

    Calories burned: 171 per 20-minute routine

    What you'll need: A pair of 1- to 2-pound and a pair of 3- to 5-pound dumbbells (optional)

    Why we love it: The mixture of high-energy cardio (think punch-kick combos) and strength circuits in both 20-minute workouts keeps your heart thumping, and instructor Violet Zaki's proper-form pointers ensure that you see results from all that hustling.

    Tester says: "I love kickboxing, aerobics, and martial arts. Plus, Violet's encouraging style — and her fun Aussie accent — really get you into the workout." (50 minutes, $14.99, acacialifestyle.com)

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  • Best Belly-Blasting Ab Workout

    Exhale Core Fusion Pure Abs & Arms

    Calories burned: 61 per 10-minute session

    What you'll need: A mat, a pair of 3- to 5-pound dumbbells (comes with a resistance band)

    Why we love it: The DVD is divided into five 10-minute routines (two tone-ups each for arms and abs, plus a stretch session), allowing you to select which trouble zone to target. The bonus band doubles the resistance you'd get from dumbbells alone.

    Tester says: "Each workout was long enough so that my arms and abs were fatigued by the end, but quick enough so that I could still enjoy the session. Six-pack, here I come!" (50 minutes, $17.99, acacialifestyle.com)

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  • Best Butt and Thighs Makeover

    Physique 57 Express 30 Minute Full Body Workout

    Calories burned: 205 per 30-minute class

    What you'll need: A mat, a thick towel or cushion, a sturdy chair, a playground ball (optional)

    Why we love it: From New York City's buzzed-about leaner-leg specialists, this workout tones all over, but you really notice the honing in your lower half. Pulsing up and down while squeezing a ball between your legs firms your butt, thighs, and calves like nothing else.

    Tester says: "I loved the 'Team, let's go tackle that cellulite!' spirit of the workout. I've never done moves like this before, and my legs definitely feel it." (30 minutes, $24.95, physique57.com)

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  • Best Calorie-Burning Session

    Jari Love's Get Extremely Ripped! 1000

    Calories burned: About 500 per 30-minute session

    What you'll need: A mat, a pair of 3- to 8-pound dumbbells, a step (optional)

    Why we love it: Two 30-minute sculpting workouts designed to keep your heart rate elevated plus a "push-up party" and a quickie abs segment help you burn the big calories. FITNESS advisory board member Jari Love gives move modifications continuously so you can adjust the intensity of your routine.

    Tester says: "This workout kicked my butt — in a good way. The exercises were intense, but not so tough that you couldn't get through them." (60 minutes, $14.99, razorfitness.com)

    Originally published in FITNESS magazine, February 2010.

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