When I previewed this stretch workout I wasn't all that impressed. I did not like the instructor's voice and she really does not cue well. However, I have done this when my back is bothering me and it really did feel like it helped. I did not keep this workout because I feel like I know what stretches I need to do now when my back is bothering me, and reaching for this is something I probably won't do anymore, just because I didn't really warm up to the instructor.
There is a bonus stress relief program on the dvd. My feelings on that workout are pretty much the same as the back pain workout. A good stretching routine that felt good, but I didn't care for the instructor. She isn't bad, just a little different.
I don't have back pain, but I like instructor Miranda Esmonde-White's other Classical Stretch programs and thought I might like the two programs on this DVD for a bit of variety. Also, my upper back and shoulders tend to get tight, so I was hoping that these two workouts would be helpful to me.
The first program, Back Pain Relief, is 25 minutes long. Miranda begins the workout on the floor with some gentle stretches which are designed to provide immediate relief for those suffering from back pain. The floorwork includes moves such as cat/cow stretch (arching the back), butterfly pose, and both seated and reclined twists. After 15 minutes on the floor, Miranda has you get a sturdy chair and do some additional twisted seated in the chair as well as some leg extensions to release the back. The remainder of the back workout uses the chair as a barre for standing hip stretches to loosen the hips and hamstrings and further release the back.
The Stress Release program is just a bit longer at about 26 minutes, although Miranda suggests that you can break this workout down into 5-minute chunks (ie, individual songs) if you are short on time). The first 15 minutes of this program are also performed on the floor and incorporate many of the same stretches as in Back Pain Relief. However, the focus here is more on the mid and upper back and gently stretching and lengthening this area. The final 11 minutes of this program is performed in a standing position. Here Miranda states that she is doing more PNF work, or contracting and then releasing the muscles in order to relax them. I found this segment of the workout to be more similar to the other Classical Stretch DVDs that I have tried.
In general, I found both of these workouts to be more gentle than most of the other Classical Stretch DVDs that I've tried, including the Full Body Workout and the 30 Minute Express Workouts. In fact, Miranda states here that the Back Pain program is designed for those in pain, but once the pain has passed, she recommends that you move on to use her 1-hour workout. Therefore, if you are NOT in pain, you may find these workouts too gentle or too easy, but if you are, they may be ideal for treating your condition. One final note: if you have never tried any of Miranda's workouts before, you should be aware that she has a unique personality which rubs some people the wrong way, as she is extremely chatty. I like her, but not everyone does.
As I said above, I like Miranda, but not everyone does. I find her kind of cute and endearing, whereas others find her annoying, especially her frequent comments about her makeup artist, Schmink. She does mirror-cue, which is nice, but on the other hand, she sometimes talks rather than cues new moves, so you just have to try and follow along with what she's doing.
Beth C (aka toaster)
September 7, 2008