The Method: Dynamic CardioLisa Wheeler
Year Released: 1999
Categories: Floor Aerobics/Hi-Lo/Dance
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Please note that I wrote this review about 5 years ago; I've copied and pasted it as originally written. At the time of the review I had done the video several times but hadn't done it that recently. And, yes, it did indeed get traded (or sold? - as did the preferred Dance to Fitness, actually).
General workout breakdown: There’s a 6 minute warm up with dancy dynamic stretches. Then come about 45 minutes of jazz / modern dance routines. This cardio portion is broken down into 3 segments, or “intensities”: 1 of 10 minutes, 1 of 15 minutes, and 1 of 20 minutes. Each “intensity” is self-contained; you learn one big routine and repeat it from the top, but the routine does not reappear in the next segment. The cool down, with a combination of dynamic and static stretches after a quick cool down routine, lasts about 4 minutes. The entire workout clocks in around 55 minutes.
Level: I’d recommend this to experienced beginners through low intermediates. This is a hard workout to classify because anyone beyond a low intermediate level of cardiovascular fitness won’t see her/his heart rate go up much, yet the moves are complex enough that anyone new to exercise, unless s/he has dance experience, will have a lot of difficulty completing the routine. Lisa says in the introduction this workout is meant to increase aerobic capacity by adding on “intensities” as you feel ready. I was able to do the whole program my first time through, when I had been back to exercising for a few months but still considered myself at the beginner stage. It became too easy within a few months, however. Oh, I have to add that I had about 10-12 years of dance experience (ballet, tap, and jazz/modern) when I was younger, and this reminded me of watching the jazz routines at my dance recitals about 18-20 years ago.
This is a fairly low impact workout. There are some pivots (most partial) and chasses, but there aren’t really any jumps.
Class: 2 women and 2 men, 3 of whom are professional dancers, join Lisa.
Music / Set / Production Notes: The mostly instrumental music isn’t my cup of tea (a teensy bit dated?) but appropriate. The interior set is the same as The Method’s Dance to Fitness; it’s fairly dark room, with brightly-colored columns draped with swags around faux-finished columns. The picture and sound are OK.
Equipment: Lisa and crew wear sneakers. I’ve done this barefoot, though.
Comments: You’ll need space for this workout. You should be able to take at least 2 steps forward and back and two big steps to each side. If you can go one more step in each direction, you’ll be able to make the moves a little bigger and won’t feel so cramped.
DVD Notes: The DVD allows you to select the warm up, intensity 1, intensity 2, intensity 3, or cool down; these are also the chapters.
Conclusion: This has made its way to my trade pile. I like Lisa a lot, but I’d rather do her routine on Dance to Fitness, which is in the same style but shorter and more intense. (Breathru Cardio Dance / Work it Off is similar, but again shorter and more intense.) I did use it and like it when I first got it. (It lowered any dread factor because it was dancing, not “working” out.) And I used it for a while as my light day workout. But now I’m fully an intermediate+ with respect to cardio. There are a number of workouts I enjoy more that challenge my cardiovascular intensity, and my “light day” threshold is higher. I haven’t touched it in months, so I think it’s time to pass it on to someone else.
Lisa’s low key yet encouraging. She breaks down moves but adds them together fairly quickly to take it from the top of each routine. (You curse this when learning the routine, but you’ll appreciate it once you’ve gotten the routine down because it keeps the pace up.) She cues well and means for you to mirror her.
I was looking for a low impact floor aerobics tape with interesting choreography. I was also hoping to find one with an aerobic phase more than 35 minutes long. This one fit the bill nicely.
The music is "jazzy aerobic mix" (for lack of a better term). The set is not too busy, something I appreciate.
After a short warm up and dynamic stretch, you move on to three aerobic segments, each one longer than the previous segment. The total time for all three segments is 44 minutes. I think the warm up is 4 minutes and the cool down is about 6 or 7 minutes. The first segment was billed as the least intense, but I really did not detect this. In fact, I found the second section a little less intense.
The moves were more dance based than other videos I own (caveat: I have no dance background). There were releves, chasses, mambos, charlestons, and pivots galore. There were also more athletic moves sprinkled in such as lunges, hamstring curls and v-steps. I would call the choreography moderate complexity. Lisa did not spend too long teaching moves. I liked that.
This is not a tape for intensity junkies. I would rate it beginner/intermediate. It is all low impact. I would say this is a good tape for a beginner who is tired of basic choreography that makes up most beginner tapes. For others, it is a nice tape for a light day.
The first thought that crossed my mind was, "If you like `Step Up to Dance'... Many of the moves are the same as the ones on that tape, except this is just floor aerobics, no step, no ab work at the end. Even the background exercisers and the set are the same. (At least the women are: Lakey Evans and Mariamne, the one someone wrote so disparagingly about in Step Up to Dance. The guys are probably the same too, but I couldn't tell for sure.) There are three aerobic routines with a warm up at the beginning of the tape and a cool-down at the end. Warning: This needs a lot of room. My first time doing this, I had to stop and move furniture out of the way or I could have killed myself. One could probably make the moves smaller to fit, but it may take some of the grace out of the moves. I liked the tape very much. I am not the most graceful person in the world and it took some time for me to get Step Up to Dance. Perhaps because I have that tape, it was fairly easy for me to follow Dynamic Cardio the first time through. It will be challenging fine tuneing things as I am style-deficient. But I do enjoy this tape.
I like her. She is down to earth and very friendly. She cues very well. She doesn't seem as "New-Agey" as other Method instructors appear to be at times.
Words can't express how MUCH I like this video. I vote for it to go in the Hall of Fame (but I'm not counting on it because Method tapes don't seem to be favorites around here). Too bad because I really enjoyed it. It is just the kind of tape I have been searching for for months.
First of all, it's almost entirely low-impact, and the few moves can be modified. Now it is a Beginner/Intermediate workout, so it's good for those mentioned, or a "light day" for more advanced exercisers. I am Intermediate and had very little trouble with the tape (outside of catching a few of the dancier combinations.) This tape has convinced me to get Dance to Fitness. It's not a funky tape, the moves are very flowing and you get the feeling you're learning a dance that you will be performing. Reminds me of high school...
Both Collage and Peter Pan emailed me and said if I like Dynamic then I will love Dance to Fitness, so for those of you who have and like this tape, I recommend Dynamic Cardio as your next buy. If Method makes any more tapes like this, I am first in line!!!