Cool It Off

Debbie Siebers
Year Released: 2003

Categories: Athletic Stretch

This hour-long tape is part of the Slim Series collection. It is a stretch tape meant to be done on your rest days. Like the other tapes in the series, it is taught by Debbie Siebers, who works with a class of two background exercisers, one of whom occasionally shows modifications for the less flexible. Like all productions, it also features a message bar along the bottom of the screen that occasionally shows form pointers or motivation notes, and an on-screen clock that counts down the time left in each section, and in the workout as a whole. There is also some sort of dot graph up the side of the screen but it is not clear just what time increment these dots represent.

Debbie leads the class through a quite thorough stretch that works the entire body. The stretches are all static stretches---you get into position, then hold the stretch without moving for about 30 seconds per stretch (some are a bit longer and some a bit briefer). A chime sounds at the end of stretch. There are no flow sequences except for one exercise that is roughly equivalent to a yoga child’s pose/cobra sequence. If you like flowing yoga, this tape will not be for you. On the other hand these are solid athletic stretches held for a long time, and regular use of this tape would definitely increase flexibility. Debbie moves from standing work, to a short sequence on a chair, then floor work lying on the stomach and floor work lying on the back. It ends with some seated work and a final side stretch. A few of the stretches get repeated more than once, including a long section for the neck.

I did not bond with Debbie the way I did with the other main instructor, Tony. I think that people who found the Firm series a little “Stepford” might feel the same way about Debbie. Although she smiles throughout the workout, she was a bit stiff and serious. She makes a few small cueing mistakes (suggesting a cobra modification for a bow pose, then not actually showing a cobra until a few minutes later, and more amusingly, instructing you to turn your head so you are looking into your armpit, and then “inhale deeply.” Ewwwww). More problematic to me were the fact that she does not mirror cue (i.e. when she says left she means her own left, not yours) and she will occasionally say “release” when she means “exhale” which is a bit confusing because the rest of the time release means stop doing the stretch.

The dvd has a music off feature which I think I will use next time as the music was this kind of annoying faux-country instrumental. Otherwise, I had no issues with the production or presentation. I think the main strength of this workout would be its thoroughness, and the fact that every stretch is held for a really long time. Debbie is not a fabulous instructor in my opinion, but she is not a terrible one either, and the routine is certainly well-constructed. I would do this workout again. But at an hour long just for stretching, I am not sure how often.