Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Similarly Requested DVDs
Two excellent, unique targeted toning programs
Beth Cholette | Upstate NY USA | 08/05/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Classical Stretch is a unique exercise program by from Miranda Esmonde-White, creator of the Classical Stretch technique. Miranda's method (also called The Esmonde Technique) incorporates various forms of stretching, including isometric and PNF work, which, when performed regularly, will provide both both flexibility and toning benefits. This DVD offers two workouts, each just under 30 minutes. In Arms & Abs, Miranda focuses on unweighted work to strengthen and tone the upper body combined with some challenging abs work. As the title suggests, the second workout focuses on the Legs & Butt, especially the outer hip/thigh ("saddlebag") area, the outer glutes, and the hamstrings.
Arms & Abs really doesn't have a warm-up; rather, Miranda jumps right in with 13.5 minutes of standing arms work. The moves look deceptively easy--eg, arm circles, pushing your arms out, back, and down, etc.--but when performed all in a row with no rest, they are quite challenging and exhausting. After an initial tough arms segment, Miranda continues with some PNF stretches for the upper body, then continues with more arms work, this time focusing mainly on the hands. She also does some more traditional upper body stretches to finish the standing work. Next comes a 9-minute floor abdominals segment. Miranda incorporates mainly variations on traditional crunches, although she is constantly reminding you to keep your back pulled toward the floor and to shorten your abs muscles as you lift. She begins at a slow measured pace but then repeats the exercises using a faster count; this was a little hard to follow, as it was fast-paced and Miranda's cueing is sometimes poor. Finally, Miranda concludes the workout with a brief (2.5 minutes) series of seated stretches focused largely on the abdominals. The entire workout came in right around 25 minutes.
The most challenging part of the second program is the first 10 minutes. Miranda has you start lying on your side for a series of exercises (leg lifts, leg circles, etc.) to work the outer hip/thigh. After completing this series on both legs, she continues the side-lying work, but this time with one leg out in front, perpendicular to your body, to focus the work more in the glutes. Following these challenging sequences, she nicely stretches out the hips with about 3 minutes of seated forward bends, performing these in both cross-legged and cobbler's positions. Continuing in a seated position but with your legs stretched out straight in front of you, Miranda performs just a few additional leg lifts, circles, and stretches (4 minutes). Next Miranda moves to a standing position and instructs you to get a barre, although she herself uses a chair. The support is actually not really needed at all for the first 4-minute segment, which consists of leg lifts to the side, front, and back. Following these, there is a 3-minute plie series that is mainly focused on stretching (ie, it's not nearly as challenging as the plie work in some of Miranda's other workouts). The final 4 minutes of the workout consists of additional stretches, this time with one foot at a time placed on a bar; Miranda further stretches out the hips as well as nicely stretches out the hamstrings here, and she finishes with a final quad stretch. The entire workout time came in right around 27.5 minutes.
Classical Stretch definitely isn't for everyone--Miranda's peppy personality can be an acquired taste--but I enjoy it as an occasional alternative to yoga; I actually find that when done regularly, it improves my flexibility and enhances my yoga practice. This program in particular was a very nice balanced blend of strength work and stretching, and I would recommended it to anyone who is interested in non-traditional toning focused on both the upper and the lower body."