Video Fitness

Aussie Fit: Beat Backache

Note: This is a PAL-format tape, and will not play in American NTSC VCRs.

Beat Backache is led by Melinda Klarenaar, a physiotherapist. It contains a 17-minute strengthening section, including core strengthening and stabilisation exercises, and a 25-minute stretch concentrating on the back and the major muscles which influence back pain (such as the hamstrings, or "hammies" as she calls them, and glutes).

The tape starts with a brief outline of spinal anatomy, followed by demonstration of good posture, lifting techniques and back-friendly habits when sitting at a desk.

The first part of the workout proper is "Strength and Control". The instructor is joined by an older woman and a young man (who is also a physiotherapist). They demonstrate different versions of several of the exercises, so you can choose what is best for you. There are standing, seated and floor exercises. The core strength/stabilisation exercises include standing while tightening the abs and lifting one leg up and back, then the other leg. There's also a similar exercise done sitting down, lifting one (bent) leg and your arm (then repeating on the other side, of course). In another exercise you support yourself on your elbows (sort of a plank move). Other back exercises performed are lat pulldowns; opposite arm and leg extensions; and one lying on your back with abs tight, lifting your legs one at a time, then lowering them back down one at a time. There's a variation on this done moving sideways. There are also squats and lunges, outer thigh work, more glute exercises, and traditional crunches. Weights are only used in the lat pulldowns, but you could add them to other exercises if you want. This is a well structured section, which should be beneficial to people who suffer back pain as a result of poor posture and weak muscles.

The second section is called "Flexibility and Joint Mobility". It covers stretching for the back and major muscles which can influence back pain: hamstrings, glutes, quads, shoulders, hip flexors, inner thighs and outer thighs. She finishes with stretches for the achilles tendon, neck and trapezius, and chest. Standing/seated and floor versions are demonstrated. The stretches are held nice and long and feel really good. It's quite thorough, and can be done immediately after the "Strength and Control" section or after any workout.

This tape is intended for all levels, whether you already exercise or not, as it contains modifications for easier/harder moves. I think they've done a good job of making it accessible to a beginner while not being too easy for a regular exerciser.

Instructor Comments: Melinda Klarenaar is a Sports Physiotherapist who has worked with Olympic and international athletes. She comes across as friendly and cheerful. She is encouraging, and has a good rapport with her fellow exercisers.

Glynis van Uden
gvanuden@home.nl
8 November 2000



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