I'm so glad I got this. It's not one I normally would have purchased, but someone offered it to me through the exchange, and I love it! I since
have acquired two more through the exchange. I'm ranking this tape an A-, but only because the other two look even better!
This is one of those workouts where you really have to concentrate on the muscles. And with many of the moves, you cannot see what she is contracting/stretching/etc., so you have to listen to her words very closely. If you don't, you won't get much, if anything, out of it.
This tape has some of the most wonderful ab and back work I've ever done. If you like Keli Roberts' tape, you'll like the ab/back work in this. There is a really cool sequence, where you start in "stick" position, which she explains, and then you stand up. It looks like nothing, if you're just watching. But you'll feel it through your entire abdominal area. Absolutely great! But again, I hate to sound like a broken record here but I think it needs to be emphasized with this tape, you have to use her form and listen to what she's telling you.
At the end, she tells you to look in the mirror and see that you now have better posture and look taller. I don't have a mirror in my workout room, but I *do* feel taller!
When I read on the cover box that the secret of the bst looking bodies is out, I bought the tape (both toning and sculpting). It's a dancer's workout. That means no fast-paced aerobics, heavy weights and whooping (now, I like that too) but this is a pinch of salt needed for my fitness recipe; strength, cardio, and stretch/balance. First of all, Jennifer tells you that you'll "use your body as an integrated whole. Imagine standing tall like a dancer or an athlete." She starts by talking about breathing and stance. She gives good form pointers throughout the tape, and lots of encouragement. The weighted segment tones and stretches the body at the same time, breathing and posture are the main focus. The focus is so much on body alignment that I was glad that electronic keyboard stopped early in the tape. There is an interesting push-up segment (I hate push-ups). You start with bent knee push-ups but soon are reminded to anchor the stomach. Then turns into a front support, then a one-legged front support to rolling up to a standing positions. Raises the heart rate a little if you do it carefully. I do this tape twice a week, along with a heavy weight training tape such as the FIRM Tortoise or Rachel McLish and intense aerobics. I also find that when I do a Kari Anderson or Karen Voight tape I understand their form because they both have classical ballet training. One comment about the cueing--the cues are not mirrored, when Jennifer says right, it is not "camera right", it's left. This is a production problem. Parade video puts out this series. They also produce the Denise Austin videos so they should know better.
Instructor comments: Serious, no nonsense but also very encouraging and engaging, she has the attractive strong body of a ballerina. We all know dancers have the best bodies.
JEAN L. WAKEFIELD
I have to say that as a Firm believer this workout did nothing for me. It is a video that using very light 1-3lb dumbells. Jennifer Kries is the only person in this video and she is barefoot and the setting is a nice mansion( similiar to the Firm). There is no music and the toning for the lower body uses no weights. She says using gravity is what they like to do but I don't think you will see fast results by using this tape. Plus the video is EP and has horrible tracking and buzzing sound.
Instructor comments: Jennifer Kries does a good job at cueing and form. She has a calm and pleasant way of teaching. She is VERY flexible.
As has been mentioned, this video uses light weights (no more than 5 lbs.) for upper body sculpting, and no weights for the lower body. It is a 45-minute routine. According to the video cover, using this video will give you long, lean muscles without adding bulk. I definitely agree with Annie S. in that you have to really listen to Jennifer instruct and follow her form exactly. Otherwise, the exercises won't be effective. I had a difficult time remembering to squeeze my inner thighs and glutes for the entire workout. I prefer to use heavier weights for faster, more visible results, and I prefer to isolate the muscle that I am working. But if it is the lean look you are seeking, you may want to give this one a try.
The set is mansion-like with plants and white columns. There is quiet instrumental music in the beginning of the tape, but when the instruction begins the music stops. The tape is recorded in EP.
Instructor comments: Jennifer is very precise with her cuing. She wants to make sure you understand the proper form for the exercises. She does not mirror you with her cuing, though, which is prevalent in the Method series. She has a very business-like demeanor.
I want to begin by noting that this workout is very different than how it's described on the box. First of all, the box states that the workout is made up of two segments, 15 minutes of "upper body sculpting" and 15 minutes of "total body sculpting." In reality, the routine does NOT consist of two distinct segments, and the upper body portion is much longer than the lower body segment. In addition, the box states that you will shape your muscles "without push-ups" when in fact several sets of push-ups are included in the workout. Finally, the box makes no mention of the ballet segment which is included towards the end of the routine.
Despite these discrepancies, I found this to be a nice full body, light toning routine. The workout is based on Pilates principles, and thus it would be helpful to have some prior familiarity with Pilates. The first 6 minutes consists of a slow warmup to stretch your muscles, introduce breathing techniques, and familiarize yourself with the movements. Standing arms toning using light weights comes next; this segment is approximately 12 minutes. The movements are small and the repetitions low, so precise attention to form is very important.
The routine then moves to the floor for another 12 or so minutes of upper body work. You will begin in a seated position for additional arms moves using the weights and then move on to the push-ups, which include a set of push-ups on your knees plus several different sets of plank variations. Finally, the workout moves on to the lower body. This last section (about 10 minutes) includes a bridge series and a ballet segment. The latter requires balance and control, although a chair can be used if needed. The workout ends with just a few minutes of additional standing stretches for a total of 43 minutes.
Overall, this routine is most ideally suited to beginners in strength training who have some background in Pilates or intermediates who wish to alternate a light routine with their heavier weight work.
I was familiar with the instructor, Jennifer Kries, from other workouts in The Method series. I tend not to like her style--which I find a bit condescending and show-offy--but she generally instructs well and provides adequate non-mirrored cueing. In this video, she spends quite a bit of time on form details, which would be helpful for beginners but which makes the routine move a bit slowly for more intermediate exercisers like myself. She works out alone with no music in this video.
Beth C (aka toaster)
July 22, 2004
No background exercisers, set is indoor and kind of dark. Lots more talking than actually working out. Not any music to speak of.
Box says two workouts but there is no way to tell when one "workout" ends and the "other" begins. I don't know if I'll keep but I personally need to hear the pointers a few more times so I can do her other video correctly.
Total time: 43 min
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
First let me say that I like Jennifer Kries based on the other tape I have of hers called The Method Target Specifics. However, she is sooo serious in this tape. I felt like I was back in biology class waiting on my teacher tell me how to dissect a frog.
Her form and pointers are, of course, perfect. The toughest segment was a series of pilates pushups. She repeats the title of this video so much I think she's trying to keep it straight for herself. She also has this slight sneer when she speaks and takes a deep breath in all her videos which might turn some people off, but I can tell it is just a facial habit and not a general air of disdain toward the viewer.
Linda (aka fanofladyvols)