Abs-targeted routines are the most commonly seen version of workouts dedicated to just one body area. It is important when looking for a DVD that concentrates on abs to look for one that provides ample instruction and safety tips. When done inappropriately, experts warn, abdominal exercises can put strain on your neck or back. Plus, performing the exercises incorrectly can render them ineffective.
Jillian Michaels is a top pick for these strength-training videos. We found positive reviews for her 6 Week Six-Pack (*Est. $9). After 45 days of doing the two 30-minute routines -- the second of which is geared toward more advanced fitness enthusiasts -- Michaels promises that you'll see your tummy get tighter and flatter. Reviewers say that both routines are challenging, provide a great abdominal workout and help deliver on that promise or that at least you'll see some results. However, there are some complaints. Some reviewers would prefer that Michaels provide more guidance on form and safety during some of the more difficult moves. In addition, they say Michaels' frequent commentary can become tiresome if you work out with the DVD for multiple days in a row. Overall, it is a tough, high-energy, high-intensity core workout that is effective, which is why it earns our Best Reviewed pick.
If you're looking to strengthen your abdominal muscles and core in a more gentle way, consider a Pilates-inspired workout DVD or video. Pilates is based on activating and contracting your abdominal muscles in more controlled movements. Studies have linked Pilates to a stronger overall core, which refers to the muscles of the torso and pelvic floor. We found that several publications and users recommend Pilates-based core routines. The most popular of these is Exhale: Core Fusion - Pilates Plus (*Est. $15). The DVD is broken up into five 10-minute workouts that work different parts of the body while always working the core. Reviewers looking for more a challenging abdominal workout rave about this DVD, saying that they like that the routine has a lower impact and intensity than a traditional workout video.