Mini-Muscles

Cindy Crawford
Year Released: 2000

Categories: Children and Teens



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This is a short animated children's video designed for kids 5-10 yrs old that is supposed to teach children about the importance of fitness and join in doing calisthenics throughout the show. It's not a continuous exercise workout like Tae Bo Junior. It's more like bits of school-like calisthenics interspersed throughout a cartoon show.

My 8yr-old daughter liked it, even though the theme was kind of corny and obvious. She actually stood right next to the TV waiting for the intervals where they actually did exercises and participated enthusiastically. I think she liked being a part of the cartoon "gang". But I think the novelty will wear off after several times and I don't see her doing this workout regularly, just from time to time. I think it's more appropriate for 5 to 7yr-olds. I think 9-10 yr-olds would really scoff at this attempt to get them off the couch.

I think the concept is novel - teach kids that they don't have to sit on the couch watching TV, they can jump around and do exercises throughout. Maybe as parents we should be setting that example, get on the floor during LA Law and do some crunches. Even better, maybe kids will actually absorb the very obvious message - don't be a couch potato and watch TV, get outside and get some exercise and maybe be a hero.

The show stars the vocal talents of Cindy Crawford, her fitness trainer Radu, LA Laker's Kobe Bryant and a group of animated children called the FitWits. The plot involves a "villainous couch potato" who is robbing children throughout the world of their energy, so Cindy & gang race to 8 international locations (including outer space) to bring back the "keys to fitness" so the President of the US can restore health and fitness. Something like that.

The show (can't really call it a workout, can I?) begins with a 5-min cartoon intro to the plot, then as the animated team arrives at each of the locations, the cartoon coach (Radu, with full accent) instructs them on two different exercises, two sets each of 6 reps.

Basically this involves jogging in place and lateral sprints (for ENERGY), kickbox-style kicks and punches (for AGILITY), and other old-school type calisthenics. Nothing too challenging and short enough to not get breathless. Push-ups are done from the chest up - in other words, kind of a push-up stretch for the back instead of a full-body press.

Exercises are not really chosen to balance out a full-body workout, they're just to get the kids jumping and moving. For example, after jumping around they drop to the floor to crawl forward and back like critters. The show reminded me of those high-school calisthenics we used to do, jumping jacks, push-ups, side-to-side sprints touching the cones, and so on.

The entire cartoon workout portion lasts only 20 minutes. Short enough to keep their interest but they do get to do 16 different exercises throughout.

All in all, a short entertaining cartoon with exercises but not a "serious" workout, a good message but corny, better suited to 5-7 yr-old children. A think the retail price ($14.95) is a little high for the value, but hopefully savvy shoppers will find this video is offered at discounts at some online movie retailers ($12.99 at www.moviesunlimited.com).

(P.S. I actually got this video for $3.95, the price of shipping & handling, through a special offer from a nutritional supplement vendor that advertised in a fitness magazine - it was worth THAT price!)

Dawn P

09/17/2001