Review: Rania’s Belly Abs

Belly Abs is a great little video if you know what you’re getting. If you have some bellydance experience (from class or videos), if you already know proper dance posture and how to protect your back and knees when exercising, and want a quick dance-based workout that will drill combinations and target your abs, then this video will be perfect for you. The moves really do work the abdominals — you will feel it! — and a few sets of crunches add a little more exertion. The combinations are fun, fast, reasonably complex, and quite “dancey.” I could imagine using any of them, as is, while dancing to music. That said, they become increasingly difficult as the video progresses, so there’s some room to grow into the program. And the entire workout clocks in at 33 minutes, which is great if you want a quick burn and sweat.

If you have no bellydance experience, this is not the video for you unless you are gifted at picking up dance moves. Rania does break things down quickly during the video, but it’s really more as a reminder. Although she provides a small bonus segment called “ABCs of Bellydance,” this is really just an overview of the dance in general. There is no posture instruction. During the actual workout, she assumes you know how to tuck your abs, do mayas and camels, shimmy, and even suggests optional layering of shimmies.

The set is pretty but not distracting, the production values are professional, and the music is a steady but unobtrusive Middle Eastern beat. Rania herself is not the perky cheerleader type of instructor. She’s calm, funny, and seems relaxed and natural in this video (much more so than in her Natural Journeys videos). One small fault is that she uses the words “left” and “right” to refer to her left and right, so you have to adjust if you like to mirror the instructor. In addition, it’s not clear from the DVD copy that it’s not at all for beginners. However, the program is good value for the money, and really is intensely targeted on the abdominals.