Ballet Boot Camp StretchJessica Sherwood
Year Released: 2007
Categories: Athletic Stretch , Ballet/Barre
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Stretching and relaxation are important aspects of my workout regime. I say “stretching and relaxation” because, to me, they are inter-related; I can’t feel that I have had a good stretching session unless I also feel relaxed and refreshed.
This is why I listed Ballet Boot Camp Stretch for sale on eBay minutes after completing the DVD; it is the least relaxing stretching DVD I have ever tried. DeniseR has already provided a breakdown of the DVD, so I will just add a few impressions.
The first segment begins to the strains of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite which seems like an odd choice of music. I suppose it suits the “ballet” theme, but it’s hardly a soothing or relaxing piece. Instructor Jessica Sherwood begins the first section, a series of moves to warm up the neck, by snapping her fingers to an inaudible beat. Between the finger snapping and Tchaikovsky, I felt as though I had suddenly been transported to a rehearsal session for my Broadway debut — but not in a good way.
Thankfully, Jessica eased up on the finger-snapping, but I was already irritated by the time we moved to the next section. The workout continues with various yoga- and Pilates-inspired stretch and strengthening exercises, but then Jessica threw in some crunches. There are many yoga and Pilates exercises which stretch the body while strengthening the core, so crunches are an uninspired choice here.
Jessica concludes the workout with a full split and pigeon pose without mentioning any modifications or safety precautions for people who lack the flexibility to perform these exercises. After these intense stretches, I was expecting a gentle full-body stretch to conclude the workout, but it ended abruptly.
Another less-than-soothing aspect of this DVD is Jessica Sherwood’s raspy voice. She sounded as though she had a very sore throat, which progressively worsened as the workout continued. By the end, I wanted to put her to bed with a hot toddy.
In conclusion, while this DVD does provide a thorough stretch, it left me feeling more irritated than relaxed. I would only recommend it to hard-core Jessica Sherwood fans.
Ratings out of five:
Production values ***
Workout design ***
Relaxation factor *
Meets expectations **
As indicated in my review, Jessica doesn't provide any modifications or suggestions for the more intense stretches, and given her sore-sounding throat, I think she should have postponed filming the workout,
The setting is in what appears to be a dance studio. The music is all classical ballet. The dvd is chaptered so you can go to any of the sections at any time, based on your needs or time constraints. Here are the chapters:
Isolations: Beginning with exercises to warm up the neck, you'll start to prepare for deeper stretches. Jessica moves progressively through the body (neck, shoulders, ribs, hips, etc) to actively warm up the participant.
Standing Stretch: The stretches are very active in this section. (you'll keep moving which will continue to warm you up and burn calories) Jessica includes some great lower body stretches that will actually help develop tone in the muscles while increasing mobility/flexibility.
Seated Stretch: Starting with butterfly, you'll stretch the inner thigh. Deep forward bends and twists are included. Lots of poses to release the hips, hamstrings, quads and inner thigh areas.
Abdominal Exercises: This segment utilizes pilates and traditional strength training exercises to tone the core.
Cat Stretch: This chapter is very brief. Here, Jessica performs a cat stretch to release the back area before moving into the 2nd abdominal set.
Abdominals Continued: Again, combining the two disciplines, you'll begin with crunch variations. This segment gets progressively harder as you go along.
Reclining Stretch A & B: (you can actually go to either A or B chapters) All done supine on your back, you'll work deeply into your hips, back, inner thighs--all the areas are worked including down to the ankles and feet. These 2 sections are a great way to end the practice.
Split Preparation: This section helps to open & lengthen the hips to prepare for a full split. (pigeon pose & hip flexor exercises are included) This session is the hardest but overtime will allow you to go deeper into your split.
With a definite ballet flavor, you'll experience a fusion of multiple disciplines in Ballet Boot Camp Stretch. (pilates, contemporary dance, traditional strength training, etc) The practice is enjoyable for all participants and no prior ballet dance experience is required. (anyone can follow along and attain the benefits) You'll tone and lengthen your muscles (no bulk, just a dancers lean look), become more limber and increase joint mobility.
Jessica provides great instruction and form cues. Check out her website at www.balletbootcamp.com