Raising the Bar

Margaret Richard
Year Released: 2000

Categories: Total Body Workouts

This is a very good workout using the body bar. The setting is taken from the Body Bar videos and one of the background exercisers is Clare Dunphy. I enjoyed the video a great deal, probably because I like Margaret so much. She looks great and seems like a fun person. Her personality is natural and somewhat chatty, but not to the same degree as Charlene Prickett.

The workout was quite challenging for the most part. My arms got a great workout, especially while lying on the step and performing chest work and triceps work with the bar. She has a signature counting method of 2 down, 1 up (or visa versa) - which is off of the traditional 32-count mode of most sculpting/aerobic workouts. For some reason, it works and does not bother me. Margaret's cuing is much better in this video, but she still occasionally begins a new exercise without advance notice so you wind up missing one rep.

I did not like two of her exercises. She uses a chair for support and rests the bar on the outer side of the foot while you perform abductor/thigh lifts. This felt awkward and uncomfortable and I would prefer doing them on the floor (she does make this suggestion). She also performs a series of exercises while on her knees where she takes the body back in a slant and upright again. I remember this being a contraindicated move when I was first learning how to teach body sculpting and aerobics. This was a move you were never to do because of the pressure on your back and the force it puts on varicose veins. Since the inception of the Pilates and Yoga movements though, I find myself doing many exercises that used to be termed inappropriate (straight legs, full circle neck rolls, full sit-ups - or rollups in Pilates etc.)

Another Vfer and I discussed this and she said she would do lunges during this portion of the workout and I concurred (thanks Helen!).

I would recommend this as an excellent addition to the Body Bar series of workouts, as it covers the whole body and ends with a pleasant stretch. If you have not discovered Margaret Richard yet, this is a good video to begin with.

Janet O'Neil