Classical Stretch Age-Reversing Workouts for Beginners: Mobility & Bone Stre

Miranda Esmonde-White
Year Released: 2015

Categories: Athletic Stretch

I have been a long-time fan of Classical Stretch/Essentrics workouts. I am a daily exerciser as well as a yoga instructor, and I use these stretching routines to provide an alternate type of movement from what I get in my other workouts, including yoga. Although I don't consider myself to be a "beginner" in this area, my library had this "for Beginners" DVD set available, so I thought I would give them a try to see what they are like.

This DVD is instructed by the founder of Classical Stretch, Miranda Esmonde-White. It provides two approximately 30-minute workouts, both filmed indoors (at Montreal's Science Center, a frequent setting for these routines), and both instructed live by Miranda. A chair is needed for the "barre" work and a mat is recommended as well. One thing that is different about this DVD is that it also offers a separate "Instructions/How To's" section. This is about 10 minutes long and includes the following: How to get the most out of your workout, How to stand correctly on your feet, How to stand with proper posture, How to do the exercises when in pain, and Neutral C.

I have provided an overview of each of the two main routines below.

MOBILITY (28.5m)
This workout starts with a very gentle, slow, flowing warm-up. Miranda then moves into a relaxed version of "the clock," or lateral stretching. A gentle full-body flow follows, ending with the "Caribbean spine," an exercise which involves spinal extension and flexion. Miranda moves into some balance work and stretches for the feet, and she continues on the lower body with Tai Chi plies, adding hip swings. Another gentle series of spine stretches is next, this time involving twists/windmills. After 18 minutes, Miranda goes down to the floor for a series of seated stretches. She explains how you can use additional props such as risers and a Theraband if desired. The work here includes contract/release stretches, or PNF, and the routine concludes with a nice flowing seated stretch.

Here Miranda talks about how placing gentle stress on the muscles will help to strengthen the 220 bones of the body. Again, there is a slow, flowing warm-up lasting just over 5 minutes. Next, Miranda works on stretching the fingers/wrists. This flows into some light work for the arms, and then Miranda returns to some additional moves specifically for the fingers. At 9 minutes, she grabs a sturdy chair for the remainder of the workout, although many of the exercises performed are done without support in her other routines. Miranda performs a series of heel lifts, first with both feet, then one at a time. She continues with calf stretches and then moves into additional heel lifts from a plie stance. Continuing to work the lower body, she performs point/flex stretches for the feet. She then targets the hips with leg swings forward and back and "hip cleaners" (sort of a Figure 8 move). A series of "squash lunges" follows (focusing on gentle placement of the foot) and then leg lifts to the front, back, and side. Miranda briefly comes to seated on the chair for modified triceps work (pushing on the arms and lifting the hips), and then she returns to standing for a series of back stretches to finish.

Even though these routines were relatively easy for me, I enjoyed them, as I found the slower pace to be an opportunity for me to have greater mindfulness in my movements. I think that those new to this method would definitely do well to start with this and the other "for Beginners" DVD, which contains two more routines.

Instructor Comments:
If you are not familiar with Miranda, she talks A LOT. She sort of pontificates on the human body, exercise, health, and more. I find her quirky and likable, but not everyone agrees. She also has a tendency to miscount/do uneven reps on each side, but I didn't notice that in these particular routines.

Beth C (aka toaster)