Video Fitness

Classical Stretch Cardio Stretch

Miranda Esmonde-White & Shelly McDonald

This video is part of Miranda Esmonde-White's Cardio Stretch series. Unlike the other videos in this series, however, this one features two separate workouts, a cardio component led by Shelly McDonald of "Caribbean Workout" fame, plus the stretch workout in Miranda's usual style. The main menu of the DVD offers four options: Basics of Classical Stretch (an 8.5 minute instructional overview by Miranda), Cardio Workout, Stretch Workout, and Special Thanks.

The cardio workout is about 28 minutes long. Shelly and Miranda are poolside, with Shelly lead the workout and Miranda modifying. I believe that the overall format is fairly similar to Shelly's Caribbean Workout series. It begins with a 6-minute warm-up consisting of basic moves such as marches, side-steps, and grapevine; Shelly mixes things up a little with directional changes at times. Next comes a fairly traditional 6-minute segment of hi-low aerobics. Moves here include chasse, mambo, v-steps, and forward hops (Miranda keeps these low), which Shelly puts together to form a short combination. Another 6-minute segment follows, this time involving kickboxing. Again, Shelly puts together simple combinations of moves such as side jab, hooks, uppercuts, and knee raises; she also includes a series of front/back kicks as well as side blocks/strikes. The final cardio segments is 5 minutes of intervals work. The "intervals" are not very intense; basically, Shelly moves from a low-impact move like marching to a higher-impact one like jogging, staying there for about 10 seconds and doing a total of three cycles. (Miranda keeps her moves low-impact but quickens her pace.) Other moves in this segment include side hops, cross-country skiers, and football drills. The cardio portion ends with a 5-minute cool-down which includes a few stretches. Overall, the cardio portion was fairly light but enough to keep me in my target HR zone for about 20 minutes.

Miranda leads the stretch portion alone; it's about 24 minutes, and I believe it is taken from one of her TV episodes. The location is a golf course, and she frequently makes references to how the various moves might help your golf game. The first half of the workout is standing and includes Miranda's standard tough arm work, hip loosening moves, plie work, full-body push/pull movements, windmill, side stretches, and swan/reverse swan. The second half of the workout consists of floor work. Miranda begins with PNF stretches for the hips, hamstrings, and glutes. Next comes a brief but challenging series of abs moves, such as toe dips and leg lifts. Finally, Miranda spends the last few minutes stretching the abs and back in a seated position.

Overall, I liked this workout. I enjoyed the cardio portion more than I thought I would, and I like that the stretching was a bit shorter (although also somewhat less intense) than the workouts on her Express DVD, which are 30 minutes each. I can see using either portion when I want to squeeze in quick cardio/quick stretch or the entire workout on a light day.

Instructor comments: I think Miranda might be an acquired taste, but I like her! She is definitely a talker--in fact, during the cardio portion, she sometimes prevents Shelly from transition to the next move because she is talking through it--but I find her to be sweet, especially given that she is always smiling and seems to get so much joy from what she is doing. She can be a little hard to follow, as she doesn't always cue upcoming move changes, so you have to watch her carefully rather than just listen. Shelly is more serious and matter-of-fact; she does a good job cueing the cardio portion, including making up for Miranda's extensive talking.

Beth C (aka toaster)

July 27, 2007

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