Raising the Bar

Margaret Richard
Year Released: 2000

Categories: Total Body Workouts

Margaret's Raising The Bar was produced by Greg Twombly so it is a typical CIA production. I ended up buying the Upper Body Sculpture too and the production of RTB is a lot better than that one. It also seems more modern (or newer). There's no background exercisers in UBS either.

But RTB has Clare Dunphy and Tonya (who's a background exerciser for lots of the bodybar tapes & Plyo videos) as background exercisers. The plyo videos are also executive produced by Sherry Catlin just like the bodybar videos. The background is the same as the one used in Christi Taylor's Happy Hour Hi/Lo and Stepping Zone. So it's not the dreaded red backgrounds.

The last cool-down song in RTB is an instrumental version of a love song in Phantom Of The Opera. It sounds so pretty. The other songs are also instrumental type music. I recall hearing Evita.

Here's the order of the program in RTB: warm-up, pectorals, triceps, biceps, deltoids, back, calves, outer thighs, inner thighs, hamstrings/quads, quads, gluteals, abs, and cool-down.

I remember most of the exercises but not all of them. This video is like a body pump video because you do lots of reps of each exercise but there's not lots of variety. Like other bodypump type videos, I end up using a barbell and two sizes of bodybars. I feel that I get a tougher workout than just using one size bodybar. I do this with Keli's bodybar videos too. Margaret has some unique exercises in this video. Here's the ones I remember:

Chest - bodybar presses (similar to barbell presses) in different counts so that it makes it more interesting than doing lots of reps. I used a barbell and next time, I'm going to use a step underneath so that my elbows don't hit the floor. All other exercises also use different rep counts. There's also some pulsing in some of them.

Triceps - lying bodybar tricep extensions, then you do the same movement but only lifting one arm at a time

Biceps - two-arm bicep curls but you hold the bar vertically (I think this mimics hammer curls), one-arm bicep curl still holding the bar vertically. Holding the bar vertically is sure tougher than doing the move horizontally.

Shoulders - shoulder presses, she also does this where you lift one arm up at a time so that your bar is diagonal and it ends up being alternating presses, front bodybar raises with one grip overhand and the other grip as underhand, front raises with both palms facing down

Back - bent-over rows with overhand grip then underhand grip

Calves - calf raises

Outer Thighs - standing outer thigh raises with bodybar on leg for extra resistance. This exercise is killer. My supporting leg worked just as hard as my working leg. Even Clare Dunphy needed to rest during this exercise. Margaret said you can do the lifts on the floor. So I did that the next time and it worked a lot better.

Inner Thighs - Moving plie squats. The first time I did this video, I thought she was going to do standing inner thigh lifts. For sure, I was going to go on the floor if she did that. But she did moving plie squats for inner thighs instead. This is similar to what Cathe does in Pure Strength Legs where she warms us up with plie squats using the bodybar. Remember she did moving plie squats with the bodybar instead of stationary plies.

Hamstrings/Quads - one-legged squats, regular squats. Margaret doesn't use the bodybar for squats & one-legged squats. She holds it for balance. I put the barbell over my shoulders to work my legs more.

Quads - You're on your knees and you lean back keeping your back straight (yoga position). I didn't really feel the work on my quads. I think I was doing the exercise wrong. So another time, I did lunges instead of the exercise she does for quads. But then I didn't know when to change legs and I didn't want to count reps. Next time, I'll just do deadlifts since I need more work on my hamstrings than quads. The squats work the quads anyway.

Butt - lying bridge work with one foot over other leg and body bar on foot while other end of bodybar near shoulder

Abs - For the abs, you also use the bodybar. It's almost vertical with one end touching the ground and your arms are holding the other end. You do crunches.

I give this video a thumbs up as a substitute for bodypump type videos.

Instructor Comments:
Margaret is either in her 40's or 50's. I'm not sure. But she's in great shape. She gives plenty of form pointers. She usually does videos that has lots of reps. She also has a dry sense of humor. I would buy more of her videos if they weren't so expensive.

Helen Stephens