The workout lasts 20 minutes. The first 8 minutes are spent stretching the waist, arms/shoulders and neck in preparation for the ab work. There are four ab exercises. In the first you lie on your back, knees bent; you come up to what I would call a ďmini-situpĒ position (lift your shoulders off the floor, but not too high) and then pulse Ė very small and subtle movements. The second exercise is similar, but you extend one leg straight up, pulse, then extend the other leg and pulse; in the third exercise you extend both legs up and pulse. In these three exercises the aim is to work up to 100 reps. In the final exercise you sit against a chair, hands raised to hold on to the side of the chair (she uses a barre), and sweep your legs open and closed. At first you keep your legs on the floor and, as you get stronger, the idea is to lift them off the floor. This she does in a couple of sets of 5. I find this exercise awkward using a chair, as Iím always worried Iím going to pull the chair over; a barre would definitely be better.
I was interested in trying this tape because Callan Pinckney has had back trouble and I thought her ab exercises would probably be suitable for troublesome backs (I find the stretches in her book, "Callanetics for Your Back", to be very effective). Itís certainly different to other ab workouts Iíve done as it is so slow and controlled. Iím fairly convinced that these exercises are effective (I do feel my abs working), but I must admit that I find this tape rather boring Ė itís not really my taste. When I include it in a rotation I only use it once a week, adding the exercises (without the warming-up, because then it seems to drag on) after a cardio or weight tape.
Instructor comments: Callan Pinckney's instruction is clear. She explains what you might feel and gives alternatives for beginners (although she gives these rather late on into an exercise). She also shows you what not to do.
Glynis van Uden
22 February 2000