JODY WATLEY: DANCE TO FITNESS

This exercise vid is more like a choreography rehearsal than a simple aerobics workout: pop singer Jody Watley with pals "Boogie" and Tina kicking their sneakered heels to a groovy Watley sound track with Jody out front calling the moves.

It's fast-paced, but Watley says, "If you miss a step, don't worry; just have fun." You do the step and go, the stop and walk, the side to side—everything but the pause and snack. Anyway, this 45-minute tape is good training for your next shot on Nia Peeples's Party Machine. (Parade, $24.95; 800-548-8927)

It's hard to fathom how this patronizing 55-minute tape can call itself a fitness video. Host Beverly Gemigniani, herself a retiree, leads inane routines that encourage minimal movement and would be most apt for the over-80 crowd. One involves beach balls—with balls that match the pink leotards Gemigniani and her dancers are modeling. They all act like ex-beauty queens afraid to look their age, hardly like any grandmas any of us know and love. (Maier Group, $19.95; 800-383-8811)

Entertainment Tonight's perky Hart offers a basic 55-minute, nonaerobic workout. All body areas are covered, and Hart, not as saccharine here as she gets on TV, offers clear instructions. No razzle-dazzle, just leg lifts and stomach crunches for those who want to make a better showing in their bathing suits than they did last year. (Avon Home Video, $19.95; 800-858-8000)

SANDY DUNCAN: THE 5 MINUTE WORKOUT

What do you do if you have a five-minute exercise program but a 55-minute tape to fill? In this case you S-T-R-E-T-C-H it out to the point of insufferableness.

At 45, actress Duncan still looks great in all her midriff-exposing outfits, but it's a sin to drag out such a simple exercise regimen. And was it she or choreographer Kevin Carlisle who wrote the part where Kevin says they are going to do a routine in sequence and Sandy appears in sequins?

After they've tried every head-to-toe exercise variation, there's still time left. So they show how the five-minute exercise can be done everywhere from a bus stop to a bank. If you see someone doing shoulder lifts while in line to make a deposit, blame Sandy. (Wood Knapp, $19.95; 800-331-6839)

Although it's billed as a workout for overweight people, this routine is appropriate for almost anyone. Backed by country-tinged rock music with oomph, Powell—founder of the Women at Large exercise studio chain—works through her low-impact routines. While burning off much weight would require a few thousand reps of the tape, Powell's workout gets the heart pumping gently—and it's fun. (Babbo Productions, $24.95; 800-477-2348)

NIAWAVE JINGO

Though it isn't explained in this video, "Jingo" is a song playing in the background of this fitness tape, one of a series by Debbie and Carlos Rosas, authors of Non-Impact Aerobics. For starters, you dig your toes into the carpet and begin "awakening sensory awareness" and "trusting your body's internal wisdom."

The hour workout is billed as being for the core of your body—a vague area said to vary from person to person. Improvisation is encouraged, however, which is a welcome switch from the usual drill. One tip: It helps with this tape if you've had ballet training, know karate and grunt like a gorilla. (Niawave, $34; 800-762-5762)

  • Contributors:
  • Gavin Moses,
  • Mary Huzinec,
  • Toby Kahn.