Working out with weights is an important but often neglected component of fitness, especially for women. The neglect aspect I speak to with personal experience: my own upper body strength is well, er, pretty much nonexistent. So I've been trying out several DVDs lately that focus on upper body strength training with handheld weights. One that I've found I like is Jari Love's Get Ripped & Chiseled.
Yes, I agree, it's a silly-sounding DVD name. Neither "ripped" nor "chiseled" am I; nor do I aspire to be. But I would like to be stronger and healthier, and this DVD seems to be helping.
If you do the whole DVD, it's an hour, which is longer than my schedule permits for a workout. But I can fit the upper-body exercises (ten of the DVD's fifteen tracks) into an approximately 40-minute slot. Each of the tracks focuses on a particular muscle, and each muscle is worked thoroughly. There are a high number of repetitions during each track, with variations to change the way you're working the muscle. You may need to use a lighter weight than you've used for other upper body workout videos, and then work your way up. For a few of the tracks, I can use an 8# pair, but most I have to stick with the 5#s; and a few of them (like the Skull Crushers and the Overhead Press tracks), I have to cry uncle and go even lighter. But the instructor encouragingly states that after four to six weeks of training, you can up your weights. So we'll see if I can eventually find my way out of the Upper Body Wimp Zone.
The instructor, Jari Love, has a steady, calm demeanor and an engaging smile. She's a little more laid-back and a little less prone to Stuart Smalleyesque affirmations than in this DVD than in Slim & Lean, which is also an effective workout DVD of hers.
Other reviews here and here.