AM/PM StretchMadeleine Lewis
Year Released: 2002
Categories: Athletic Stretch
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(This review refers to the DVD version)
This is a great DVD. A GAIAIM DVD that actually has chapter selections and options such as music only option and bonus workout. GAIAM is usually not known for chaptering. This DVD consists of two workouts of 25 minutes each plus a bonus workout. Each workout startes with a 5 minute warmup. The scenery is on the deck in the mountains. A very pretty landscape. The AM stretch consists of a more full body workout. The instruction is very detailed with lots of tips on proper form and breathing. With the DVD you can turn this off (it gets to be a little chatty after awhile). AM Stretch consists of more floor exercises while PM stretch seems to deal with more lower body stretches. I really like the fact that AM stretch starts with the model on the floor and gradually goes to standing exercises, while PM stretch starts with the standing stretches and gradually goes to floor. A very thourough stretch DVD
This video is instructed by voice-over so there is no one to comment on. The model does the exercise and someone else tells what they are doing. There is a music only option on the DVD.
This is a really nice 30 minute stretch routine. However, if you are looking for something like Karen Voight's Pure and Simple Stretch, this isn't it. AM Stretch is more like a yoga video, with voiceover cueing and a natural outdoor setting. There is a tiny bit of yoga and core strength mixed in and an emphasis on correct posture.
Instead of doing a single stretch on one side and then repeating it on the other, Madeline works through a series of 5-6 stretches before repeating it on the other side. The transitions between moves are smooth and gentle. Her cueing is excellent throughout Ė it would definitely be possible to do this workout without looking at the screen at all. She also has a lot of tips for beginners and those who are less flexible.
The workout begins with some gentle seated and supine stretches to get the body moving. She then transitions into some interesting core work and more supine stretches for the legs and back. Next is another supine series for the lower body before moving into a quadriceps stretch and seated spinal twist. The stretches are held for a good length of time Ė much longer than you would find in a typical cool-down. Using a quadriceps stretch as a transition, Madeline then moves into a seated sequence for the upper body. The next section begins lying on your stomach for some back work, transitioning into a plank move for core strength, some back stretches, and an interesting downward-facing-dog combination. This brings you to a standing position, where the workout is concluded with some upper body stretches and a short posture exercise.
Overall this is a really good stretching routine that works all parts of the body. If youíre looking for something dynamic or athletic, this isnít it. However, if youíre looking for something that gives you the physical benefits of yoga without the spiritual aspect, this might be for you.
The DVD also includes PM Stretch, a short power stretch routine and an interview with Madeline. A great addition to any video collection.
Madeleine is very calm and straighforward in this video. She seems to focus on good instruction rather than creating any sort of mood. Gentle is a word that comes to mind.
I recently got this DVD. My preference is for athletic stretch videos and very straight-forward yoga stretches. My capacity for the ďwoo wooĒ factor is quite low.
First I did AM Stretch and was ready to toss the DVD on my trade pile. There was really nothing WRONG with the workout, it just didnít keep my attention and didnít seem as good as the other stretch tapes I have (Yoga Stretch, Slim & Limber, Tamileeís stretch workouts, etc.). Then, I did PM Stretch and really liked it, so I am keeping the DVD for the second workout.
Keep in mind WHY I so like the PM Stretch workout because it might not apply to you. I have arthritis and the worst joints in my body are (in order) my hands/wrists and my ankles/feet. In this stretch workout, she has stretches for both those areas of the body and they feel sooooooo good to me. I donít have them in any other stretch tape or DVD, so that is why I am keeping this DVD. On the other hand, she seemed to give less than optimal attention to the neck area, another problem area for me.
The production values are quite good in both the workouts. The scenery is gorgeous. Madeline does the workouts by herself, with no background exercisers. She gives precise instruction with frequent form pointers. Her manner (all in voice over) is matter of fact and descriptive. Personally, I didnít really like her manner a lot, but I didnít dislike it either. I canít even begin to tell you anything about the music Ė or, even if there was music. I don't think there was.
Her manner is calm and straight forward. She is a good cuer. It's done in voice over, but I also sensed less connection with her than a lot of other workouts, even ones done as a voice over.
General workout breakdown: This DVD has two 30 minute routines and one 20 minute routine. The A.M. includes some core (abdominal and lower back) work and posture awareness in addition to the stretches, meaning itís more energizing than relaxing. The P.M. stretch is good for relaxing at any time. It includes a quick foot and lower leg massage (lovely!) and a brief relaxation segment in addition to stretches. The Power Stretch has some yoga-inspired moves but isnít yoga, so if you want the benefits of yoga but arenít into yoga, this might be the thing for you.
Hereís the lists of exercises:
AM Stretch: warm up (shoulder shrugs, deep breathing, spine stretch), alternating knee to chest, ankle circles, back, hip, arm circles, pelvic tilts, core strengthening, torso twist, hamstring, buttocks, quadriceps, right hip rotator, butterfly, neck, left hip rotator, abdominal, (elbow) plank, shoulder, back, [transition from floor to standing] hamstring stretch, triceps, side, deltoid, chest, wrist extension, and standing postural awareness.
PM Stretch: standing warm up (arm raises, chest, shoulder circles, lower back), knee lifts, ankle rotation, hip flexor, runnerís lunge, wrist stretch, quadriceps, back extension, side, hip & back, seated spinal twist, angle stretch & foot massage, prone back stretch, inner thigh, prone spinal twist, hamstring, cool down (relaxation, mermaid, shoulder circles, triceps & deltoid, and neck).
Level: Iíd recommend this to an experienced beginner through an intermediate exerciser. Iím solidly intermediate but still have limited flexibility. Iíve found these workouts appropriate.
Class: Madeleine only with instruction via voiceover.
Music / Set / Production Notes: The instrumental music is pleasant. All workouts are filmed outdoors in the Canadian Rocky Mountains; one is on a patio overlooking the mountains and the other two are by mountain streams.
Equipment: mat (or equivalent). Madeleine is barefoot for all routines.
Comments: You do not need a lot of space to do this workout. You should be able to lie down with your arms and legs extended and be able to move your limbs around freely.
DVD Notes: The DVD allows you to choose your workout, pick a chapter (intro, warm up, workout, or cooldown), or turn off the music. It also has an interview with Madeleine about her background. The short booklet included breaks down of the AM and PM workouts and has a few helpful suggestions about how to use the routines.
Conclusion: I donít do this often, since I regularly do yoga instead of athletic stretching, but Iím holding on to this DVD. The PM is definitely my favorite and is relaxing. This is similar to but slightly more intense than Tamilee Webbís Stretch for Flexibility (which also starts standing and moves to the floor, pausing for a brief relaxation segment, too).
Madeleineís voice is clear and pleasant. She cues well, and the cues are well coordinated with the movement compared to most voiceovers. However, she is not always very precise with her description of movements or naming of muscles, and she doesnít always mirror cue. She does work each side evenly.