10 Steps To Choosing The Best Exercise DVDs

10 Steps To Choosing The Best Exercise DVDs

Choosing the right exercise DVD is not easy.There are thousands out there to choose from, but not every one is good quality. Before you start buying new workout tapes, use the following as a guide.

To answer some of this information, you might need to do some research. Trust me, taking the time to look into the DVD will save you lots of money in the long run.

Good value for money

If a DVD is quite expensive, e.g. more than £10/$20, don’t write it off straight away. Turn the DVD over and look at the duration of time it lasts for- remember that the instructor’s introduction will be included. My personal rule is that I will not buy a workout that lasts for 30 mins or less if it is expensive. I will gladly part with £15/$30 if the workout is closer to an hour. I feel that a 10-30 min workout for too much money is a complete rip off!

When you go shopping, do not pack your trolley with cheap DVDs. You get what you pay for. Yes, some of them are cheap because they were produced a decade ago, and are so popular that they are still in demand. However, some are cheap because they failed to sell and the store needs to shift them ASAP. Research will identify which DVD is which.

Charity shops

If money is tight, get your workout tapes from charity shops. This is great for three reasons: the money helps the less unfortunate, you keep within your budget, and if you get a dud workout then you haven’t wasted a lot of money. I have bought workouts on VHS that only cost around $1, and they all last beyond an hour.

Try before you buy

Legally. Online you should find snippets/samplers of the workout. This will give you a general idea of the music, exercises, set, instructor and anything else that interests you. A great website for seeing short samples is Collage Video, another is Youtube., and try Amazon for reviews. If the DVD is not there, hop over to Google and find other retailers.

The following is what you should consider when trying before you buy.

Exercise sections

The best workouts are divided into different sections e.g. warm up, cool down, cardio, strength training, etc. The best DVDs will allow you to skip sections whenever you like, and some let you pick the order each section will be played.

Having separated sections makes the DVD much more cost effective. Not only can you do one long workout, but also mini workouts when you need to. For example, one DVD could be a one hour, thirty minute, and ten minute workout, depending on which section(s) you choose.

Warm up and cool down

Unless you already have a warm up and cool down routine, you will need a workout that includes one. Collage Video displays the time spent warming up and cooling down. At least 2mins is ideal, and you should feel warm by the time it ends. The cool down should be gradual as well or you risk damaging your heart.


Do the exercises look safe? If you feel uncomfortable watching, then the answer is probably no. The instructor should not rush through exercises or push her body in ways it was never meant to go. If you unsure, read reviews to see what others say or pass on the DVD.

Beginner, intermediate or advanced?

The DVD should indicate what level it is aimed at. If you are advanced (you have been exercising for many months or years, lift ‘heavy’ weights, etc) then you will be completely wasting your time by doing easy routines. The same goes for the other levels. A beginner will be completely disheartened by advanced workouts. An intermediate will be pushing themselves too far too soon by doing harder exercises, and regressing by doing easier ones.

If the DVD is not aimed at your fitness level, but you do like it, keep a note of its details. In the future when you move up a level, you can always buy it then. If the fitness level is lower, look for more advanced DVDs produced by the same company/instructor.


What is the music like? Many workouts have monotonous music you would NEVER hear on the charts. The music fades into the background and you forget it’s even there, unless it’s the irritating kind. Those are the DVDs you should avoid! Don’t write off all music produced specifically for workouts, but expect them to be lacklustre. Workouts like Turbo Jam and old Tae Bo DVDs have great music that helps pass the time. Click here to read what I have said about workout music and dance as exercise.

The setting

Would you rather stare at a blank canvas or a beautiful painting? I thought so. If the set is bland and unimaginative, this will not motivate you to play that DVD on a regular basis. Bright colours, good lighting, pretty workout gear and smiles will motivate you. If you don’t like the glamorous look, search for DVDs that go for the homely feel- fitness equipment, a yoga mat, and other features you would find in your own home/gym.


If the DVD bores you watching it, do not buy it! You will not maintain your exercise plan if you are uninterested. Only get ones that keep you smiling, encourage you along the way, and leave you feeling high. You can work hard and have fun at the same time, but fun should not mean ‘easy’.

It will not take long to find the best DVDs for you. Take time choosing them, because they are an investment in your health. You will have them for a lifetime.