Ageless MobilityScott Sonnon
Year Released: 2007
Categories: Athletic Stretch
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Ageless Mobility (DVD)
Instructor: Scott Sonnon
Reviewer: Beth T. Cholette, Ph.D.
Upon first look, one might guess that Ageless Mobility is designed for seniors—or so it might seem based on generally older crowd pictured on the cover. In contrast to this, however, “Coach” Scott Sonnon explains during his introduction that athletes of all ages, even teenagers, often find premature aging of their joints due to exercise. Given this, the Ageless Mobility program is designed to restore fluid to the joints as a means both to maintain full range of motion and to foster pain-free performance. Sonnon further states that it is important to follow the specific sequence and breathing patterns presented in his 80-minute program, which he recommends that you do at least once per week (or preferably daily). For this workout, Sonnon is alone in a large, empty studio room with no music, and he does not mirror-cue.
The Ageless Mobility program begins with a 3 ½ minute warm-up for the neck and upper body. As he does many times throughout the workout, Sonnon has you breath in, completely filling out the lungs and then continuing to take in more air as it escapes. The exhale is performed in the same manner, breathing out fully and then continuing to expel the breath until the lungs and diaphragm area are completely empty. Sonnon continues the neck work with some basic stretches that you’ve probably seen elsewhere, including neck rolls, but he focuses in particular on lateral flexion of the neck. Continuing with the upper body work, Sonnon performs some unique shoulder rolls and stretches the lats and torso as well; the complete upper body portion comes in at a total of 20 minutes. The next 8 minutes focus on the hips: again, Sonnon performs lateral as well as front/back flexion and circles. He finishes the hip work by stretching the buttocks towards the back of the room at a 45۫ angle. The final standing segment consists of what Sonnon calls “big bends,” or standing stretches to the front, back, and sides; the backbends in particular are quite challenging. Sonnon ends this work with full spinal rolls.
At this point (40 minutes into the workout), Sonnon moves to the floor, and the stretches begin to take on a more yoga-ish feel. Sonnon begins this floorwork in child’s pose, moving into a child-cat-cobra flow to stretch the spine. Lying in a prone position, he then performs a very nice spinal twist before moving into a short corpse (relaxation) pose which includes counted breaths. The following segment consists of about 7 minutes of reclined hip-opening work, ending with a seated twist. At 65 minutes into the workout, Sonnon slowly transitions back to standing for 5 minutes of one-legged balance work. After spending 2 minutes shaking out the body—Sonnon calls this “vibrations”—the practice ends with a nice long (8 minutes) final corpse pose, during which Sonnon again instructs you to focus on the breath as well as cues you to relax your body from head to toe.
This DVD also contains two bonus programs, a Tennis Warm-up and a Golf Warm-Up. The Tennis practice is 10 minutes long, and Sonnon states that it is designed to compensate for shoulder, elbow, wrist, and finger tightness; he also stresses the importance of performing the exercises in the sequence presented, moving from shoulders to fingers. In the 8-minute Golf Warm-Up, there is a similar focus on moving from the shoulders down to the fingers, but the movements are bigger here, and there is a greater emphasis on the wrists. In each of these practices, Sonnon encourages you to work on both arms, but he demonstrates the work using one-arm only (holding your racket or club is optional).
The main drawback to this workout is the length. Few people are likely to be willing to dedicate 80 minutes per day to stretching (80 minutes per week might be more reasonable). However, despite Sonnon’s insistence that you must do the exercises in the sequence presented, I do think that it is possible to break this workout into shorter segments. For example, the first 40 minutes of all-standing work would make an excellent, non-traditional stretching program. This segment was actually my favorite part of the workout; I found the stretches somewhat similar to the PNF stretching style presented in the Classical Stretch series, although the exercises here were certainly distinctive. The second half of Ageless Mobility could also serve as a stand-alone floorwork practice if you are willing to use your remote to fast-forward (there are no chapter breakdowns for this workout).
Overall, I found this to be a unique, worthwhile stretching program. I would recommend this DVD mainly to those who already engage in an ongoing fitness program, as the workout is designed chiefly to restore mobility that can become restricted through regular exercise.
Scott is pretty dry and no-nonsense; I didn't mind this. I do wish he had provided mirror-cueing, however, as this would've made the unique exercises much easier to follow.