Callanetics Evolution

Sandra Hanna
Year Released: 2007

Categories: Abs/Core , Ballet/Barre, Lower Body Strength

I had this workout over 5 years ago and didn't wind up keeping it. I liked it at first, but it developed a higher dread factor after awhile, as it felt so long and boring. Below are comments from my original review on Amazon back in February 2013.

Callanetics Evolution, an updated version of Callanetics featuring instructor Sandra Hanna, has been around for some time now. However, given my prior experiences with Callanetics, I had been reluctant to give a try earlier. I am so glad I did, as I found the moves MUCH easier to execute in this workout, and I like it SO much better than the original! Hanna teaches live to three background exercisers who each show a slightly different level of modifications. Other than during the warm-up, Hanna does not perform the exercises herself; she is mainly walking around the other woman, reminding them to contract their pelvic floor muscles and to take "breathers" when needed.

The Main Menu of the DVD offers options for Introduction (1.5 minutes), Play All (63 minutes), Body-by-Design Programs (chapter menus), Callanetics Concepts, Callanetics to Go, and Bonus. The Callanetics Concepts (13 minutes) serves as a sort of tutorial and covers the following key ideas behind the program: no pain, the pelvic floor, alignment, spinal stabilization, changing muscle memory, pulsing, and working relaxing. "Callanetics to Go" shows some Callanetics moves from the full program that one might incorporate when short on time. Finally, the "By Design" offers the option to selection individual chapters of the workout, which I have described below. (NOTE: During the "Play All" option; there are no breaks between segments as there were in the original Callanetics; the workout flows seamlessly.)

WARM-UP & UPPER BODY (11.5 minutes)
The brief warm-up consists of arm swings, adding a knee lift, and steps into wide plie. Next comes upper body work, starting with triceps pulses to the rear. Moving to a plie position, waist work follows, again performing little pulses, repeating on each side. Stretches for shoulders, neck, and hamstrings finish this segment.

LEGS (13 minutes)
The first move is standing in a wide plie and performing a pelvic tilt then sinking lower an repeating, for a total of five times. This is followed by a series of leg lifts with tiny pulses--to the front, then side, then back, then repeated with the second leg. The final leg is a deep plie, starting at knee level and slowing rising up, again repeating five times. A twisting stretch for the inner thigh and then the hamstrings completes the leg section.

HIPS & BEHIND (15.5 minutes)
Hanna starts this section with another stretch for the hamstring and the waist: seated with one leg into the body, you'll turn towards the bent leg but twist towards the opposite leg. For the first glutes move, you are leaning on your forearm in a pretzel-like position with your bent knee behind you and perform small pulses; after repeating with a straight leg, you repeat on the second side. Coming to your back, you perform a Figure 4 hip stretch on both sides and then a pelvic tilt with pulse. Returning to side-lying on the forearm, this time you are in a L-shape, again pulsing first with the leg bent, then straight, then repeating on the other side. This section concludes with a stretch, a seated cross leg forward bend, pulsing to either side.

PELVIS & THIGHS (4.5 minutes)
This section starts in a kneeling position for a kneel, curl, and (pelvic) scoop move, ending with pulses. This is followed by a brief stretch in downward facing dog, from here moving into pulsing triceps push-ups (option of being on the knees). Next comes additional thigh work in a kneeling position, with the heels together, toes up, thighs pulsing. Finally, the thighs are stretched from a lunge position to finish.

ABS (14 minutes)
This is another segment that begins with a stretch: this time, a butterfly stretch, adding in a neck stretch as well. This is followed by c-curve abs work that is somewhat similar to the work in Barre3 in that you will do a "wave" with your arms and then reach from side-to-side to work the obliques. However, unlike in Barre3, you are not using any support, which I found too rough on my lower back, so I used my small squishy ball (one of the background exercisers actually does use a rolled up towel). Following the c-curve work, you'll come down to your back for pulses with one leg in the air (option of lifting the other leg) and the pulses with the legs in straddle position to work the inner thighs. You'll finish with several face-down moves, including a pulsing triceps press and then a brief hold of both the arms and legs raised.

The first move here is a great lying twist to stretch the back; unfortunately, Hanna only has you hold for 20 seconds per side, and there are no pulses (this is one thing that I DO miss from the original Callanetics). This is followed by some stretches for the next and then a final relaxation of about 2 minutes.

Again, I really enjoy this workout. As noted above, the moves are easy to execute, but I find that I REALLY feel them after! I do find the set and the music a bit on the bland side, and the camera angles are a bit odd at times (i.e., the camera sometimes focuses in on the preternaturally smiling face of the participants rather than showing what they are doing). However, these things don't matter to me very much, especially given that I can use the "Body-by-Design" feature to do short segments of the workout.

Instructor Comments:
Sandra was okay, but I found her to be overly formal. In general this DVD felt over-produced to me with bland set, matchy-matchy outfits, and plastic-y smiles of the participants. I liked the workout initially, but these factors prevented me from keeping it.

Beth C (aka toaster)