Power Half Hour: Stretch

Tony Horton
Year Released: 2004

Categories: Athletic Stretch

In 2004, I got into stretching workouts as a way of relaxing myself and dealing with really tight muscles, especially in the neck and shoulders. Since starting this, I have seen some real flexibility gains and have loosened up my neck and shoulder area. In putting together a combination of tapes, I have several athletic stretch tapes/DVDs and several yoga workouts that are mostly stretch oriented. The workouts I reach for most often are Tamilee’s 10-minute stretches and Slim & Limber (just under 15 minutes) as add-ons after my regular workouts. I recently acquired this VHS tape through a trade. I had wanted to try it for awhile.

The workout has Tony leading it in front with two background exercisers. The woman shows the more advanced options and is very flexible, something Tony points out frequently and often. The man shows the more basic options and Tony takes time with him to explain the options and how to start and advance in various stretches. For someone who hasn’t used many stretch videos, it could be a good introduction. And, more experienced stretchers can pick up tips as well. Tony usually starts the stretch and then goes to check on “the kids” (his term for them) and explain what they are doing and correct their form at times. I vary between being glad he does so because it helps me with my form and thinking he does it a bit too often and wishing he would remain where he leads the workout from.

The music is fairly typical, bland stretching music. I find myself wondering periodically, “Isn’t that music from Slim & Limber?” The workout has the usual Beachbody countdown timers in the lower right-hand corner, one for the amount of time left in that segment and the second with the total time left until the end of the routine. I’ve learned to like, and use, those timers. Tony does NOT mirror cue, so you have to account for that.

The tape begins with a shorter 10-minute stretch that Tony recommends you do more often, maybe as a warm up for another workout. It has some moves that puts a strain on my hands/wrists and feet/ankles. Those are the areas affected most by my arthritis, so I probably won’t do that part much. The 10-minute stretch is followed by a 20-minute “power stretch”. Tony holds the moves for more protracted periods. I have a low threshold for boredom in stretch routines, so I am not someone who looks for long stretches. At times, I wish we would move on. Most of the time, however, it feels really good and I find myself using the time to move deeper into the stretch.

My bottom line with this workout is somewhat conflicted. During it, I think maybe I’ll trade it. At the end of it, I decide I feel really good, so I’ll keep it. I will probably keep it and do the 20-minute stretch when I want to do a stretch routine that holds the stretches for awhile, but I don’t feel the need for much ambiance.

Instructor Comments:
He is personable and explanatory about the stretches. I find him motivating and engaging. He does overdo some "quirks" like calling the background exercisers "the kids" and popping up to check on their form.

Laura S.