This is one of the programs offered by instructor Miranda Esmonde-White, founder of Classical Stretch. The Classical Stretch system is a blend of traditional stretching and PNF techniques. In her introduction, Esmonde-White explains that she designed this workout in particular to help athletes improve performance and remain free from injuries. Although she states repeatedly throughout the program that it is targeted to "high-performance athletes," I think the routine would be doable to anyone who exercises regularly like myself.
The Classical Stretch web site lists this as a 35-minute video. In actuality, it contains a main 27-minute workout portion and then what Esmonde-White describes as an "Extra 15 Minutes" which is actually about 17 minutes, bringing the total workout time in at 44 minutes. The workout is filmed poolside in what appears to be Esmonde-White's actual backyard. The main part of the routine begins with 10 minutes of standing work, the first 5 minutes of which focus on fairly grueling arms work and then the remaining 5 minutes on more gentle full- and lower-body stretching. Next comes 9 minutes of floorwork focused mainly on stretching the hips from both a seated and a lying position. Finally, the main workout concludes with 8 minutes of "barre" work (Esmonde-White uses a rail) to stretch the hips and glutes. The extra 15-minute segment is designed to provide particularly deep stretching for the hip, hamstring, and glutes; there is no music during this segment. These stretches are performed entirely in a seated position. Esmonde-White repeats some of the same exercises from the main workout, but she goes into the moves more deeply here.
Some people might not like Esmonde-White's unique style; she is quite chatty throughout the entire workout. Still, I find Classical Stretch to be a good way for me to keep active on my lighter workout days as well as to provide much-needed flexibility training in a way that is fun and enjoyable. Therefore, if you are open to trying something new and/or have tried Esmonde-White's other videos, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this workout.
As mentioned above, Miranda is definitely not for everyone! I find her kind of sweet and endearing, but I know others find her to be annoying--you may want to check for clips before buying.
Beth C (aka toaster)
November 1, 2008