Easy Stretch by Buns of Steel

Greg Smithey
Year Released: 1995

Categories: Athletic Stretch

I picked up this video awhile back in the $3 bargain bin, and was pleasantly surprised to find this workout very good---if you know what to use it for. This is not a comprehensive stretch program. This is not an advanced stretching program (the box claims it is part of the "startin' simple series, and really, you sort of have to expect "simple" when you've got chopped off consonants AND cutesy alliteration in the same phrase). Furthermore, unless you have the fitness level of a sea slug, this will probably barely qualify as a workout at all. But.it's fun. And Greg Smithey has go to be the goofiest instructor ever to hit the video fitness market.

All right, quick breakdown. Once you get past the longish buns of steel infomercial at the beginning, this 30-minute workout has 3 approximately equal sections. The first is a standing section consisting of mostly variations on side oblique stretches and very, very gentle spinal twists. Then you go to the floor for the next part, some seated and lying down thigh stretches. You finish with a rather-long and not very helpful meditation.

The first section is surprisingly relaxing, and although I doubt it improved my flexibility, it did leave me warm and tingly. The floor section is decent. He holds the stretches for quite a long time in some cases. The upper body is barely touched in this tape, so it's nice to know that at least one body part (the thighs) get an adequate working. As for the meditation.well, he goes on at some length about telling your conscious mind to tell your subconscious mind to tell you body certain things. It's needlessly convoluted, and not very helpful. Then, he tells you to get down on the floor while he walks you through it. That last part was just the prologue, it seems. He begins the walk-through (of you telling your subconscious mind thing) with a conversational little play-acting that begins "Hey, subconscious mind." I turned it off at that point.

Personality-wise, Greg is like an odd cross between Denise Austin ("you are doing very well! I am so happy you are stretching and elongating with me!") and Moira Stott or Karen Voight---somber and schoolmarm lectury. Somehow, he manages to pull off both sides of this coin at once, and it is truly amusing. For example, he is the only instructor I have seen who competently explains why ballistic (bouncy) stretching is wrong, then exhorts you not to do it because it makes him "very sad." He finishes the little speech with a finger-wagging chastisement of "No. Don't do it." Too funny :-)

In summary: 1) His amusing personality will keep you watching. 2) This workout will not produce enough endorphins to keep you awake if you do it in the evening and 3) It may not improve flexibility except in the inner thigh, but it IS a soothing, relaxing little routine. Sometimes, that's all you need.