Body Bar: RippleClare Dunphy
Year Released: 2001
Categories: Pilates/Core Strength
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It is rated as intermediate (my level) by Collage. I don't
know how I would rate it. Some of the moves were easy
for me and some I ended up just watching. I wasn't
coordinated enough to do the hand swtching with the bar
move. Nor the bent over lat row on one leg exercise.
I liked the Tai Chi feel and the music. It made the workout seem different and fun. Yet, the workout does seem to go on and on and on.
When it got to the last ten minutes with the plank/side plank/ teaser move, I knew I was out of my league. Too hard but lovely to watch.
This is a good video to test your balance, coordination and patience. I probably will not do it again.
Clare is clearly enjoying herself here. She gives some form pointers here and there. I think I could have used more!
I tried Ripple today for the first time Ė my impressions.
I assumed that this would be most akin to a stretch tape so I started with it before breakfast, dressed in warm tights and bare feet. I did take off my sweatshirt after the warm-up. You can do this workout in bare feet no problem, actually I felt like I was strengthening my ankles during the lunge segment. The only modification I made was instead of lunging forward, I lunged backward Ė itís not pleasant catching my body weight with my heel in a forward lunge.
It started off with very slow arm movements, circling from one side to the other. Then she added torso twists, then foot pivots. I liked it, I enjoyed twisting slowly all the way round, it felt good. Because it was so slow, I decided to concentrate on breathing deeply, and that made it worthwhile.
This tape might appeal to yoga and dance enthusiasts. There were some core moves that concerned me a bit because she doesnít give enough form pointers Ė it helps to have yoga experience to be sure you engage your glutes when youíre coming up from a standing forward bend. I mean, sheís coming up while pushing a 10-lb bar away from her.
I used 5 lb. dumbbells, which was my max for my shoulders because for almost every exercise you are moving the bar up and out away from your body Ė the front of my shoulders are stinging a bit right now. I didnít like the repetitive workload on the front of my shoulders.
Dumbbells work fine for all exercises but you might feel left out when they are twirling the bar in front of them. With dumbbells, all you do is imitate windshield wipers and it doesnít seem nearly as cool.
This tape moved too slowly for me. I canít really perform strength-building exercises without a decent cardio burst firing up my blood. Itís too uncomfortable and thereís no workout momentum to help fuel my determination.
She held a one-legged squat and did lat rows, and I didnít have enough blood pumping through me to even attempt it. I could do this move immediately following a decent cardio burst, but not at practically resting heart rate.
The deep breathing that I started off with didnít last after the warm-up. I was looking at the clock at 23 minutes hoping it was near the end- getting bored with it. I Iooked at the clock again at 30 minutes, and then at 40 minutes when she went into planks I stopped the tape and had a bowl of cereal.
The music was at best, say contemplative. I didnít like it Ė was a long whining horn playing in a minor key. If I had to compare the music to an emotion, it would be remorse.
I doubt I will do this tape again. Iíd rather do Method Dance to Fitness to loosen up my torso. Itís much more lively and fun.
I am pretty much a sucker for anything with the words "functional" and "intergrated" in the title so this tape was been on my wish list for while. And after trying Clare's Balance, Line and Strength, I wanted Ripple even more.
Clare leads a cast of 4 other members in a red, Asian inspired set. One uses a 2 foot body bar while the others use 4 foot ones.
The workout begins with a stretch that frankly seems to go on forever and seemed exceedingly slow and uninteresting. Slow movements that spiral across the body, moves that open the chest and back between the shoulder blade, the usual spine arches and scoops. I had a hard time getting excited about these, however once the workout began their design and importance became apparent.
Then the workout with the bar begins. This is when I realized how different this workout was. All the moves with the bar seem to describe circles, ovals, or spirals in space. You start by thinking you will be doing maybe a deadlift or barbell row - but then as soon as the bar descends, you push it away from you and up above the head as if in a military press. Then draw the circle again. As Clare points out, most of the moves require careful core stabilization to perform them safely and she cues and reminds you of this whenever it becomes important. Balance becomes critical in moves where you perform what looks like a barbell row while balancing on the front leg and holding the back leg in the air. Or triceps extensions with the bar behind you, while extending one leg out in front. Some moves are reminiscent of those on Christi's SBF, or even some on Cathe's Circuit Max, but the bar gives the movements a different "shape" I honestly don't think these are moves that would adapt well to use with dumbbells or other types of weights.
Most moves are unique, challenging, and FUN. There's one where you hold the bar vertically in front with hands stacked on top of one another a foot or so apart, then you sort of flip the bar from right to left, switching hand positions and catching the bar. The spiralling movements feel VERY cool - holding the bar at shoulder level, with one knee raised, you twist to one side, then to the other as you drop into a lunge. The music is PERFECT for this - Asian inspired drumming - you almost feel like you're in a martial arts movie.
There is a brief segment on the floor where you do some planks, side planks, and mermaid-like moves.
I really enjoy this tape and look forward to doing it again. I think it will improve balance, hand-eye coordination to a certain degree, and core stability in general. I also really think rotating movements around the spine don't appear often enough in other types of exercise, yet they are important in everyday life and many sports. I think this video increases understanding of how to perform these movements safely with a strong core.
I don't really see this as a muscle building workout, but I think it does indeed address important aspects of fitness that is rightfully gaining increased attention.
As a last comment: I used a 5 foot, 15 lb unloaded barbell for this video. For me, this was both too heavy and too long because of the nature of the movements. Especially when rotating around the spine, I see the weight as forcing you to use control - but too much weight causes momentum to come into play during the rotation and would be potentially be unsafe. I think form and light weight is especially critical to the safety and effectiveness of this tape.
Clare is low-key, no-nonsense, and direct, and exudes a serene confidence. She seems to have a dry sense of humour that kind of slips out almost by accident, then it's back to business again. She has very little rapport with her cast though and I kind of miss that when it's not on a tape.
Ripple is a well instructed, difficult, and enjoyable "functional fitness" core training tape that emphasizes grace and balance. Clare Dunphy draws on her pilates training, but has taken this program in a different direction than traditional pilates matwork.
The routine is slightly under an hour. A light fitness bar, such as a bodybar, is required. There is a six or seven minute warmup followed by a long standing work segment, maybe 45 minutes. The standing work has a beautiful flowing quality and is quite different, for instance you do lat rows while balancing on one leg, which, trust me, is a whole different exercise.
My heart rate was elevated by the end of standing segment, and although it doesn't bill itself as such, Ripple could legitimately be described as "fat burning" - which is more than I can say of certain other yoga/pilates type tapes that assume that title. The end of the tape is a series of planks that are extremely challenging. Perhaps because I've been pre-exhausted by the standing series, I found I had to modify to complete the planks, which include "push up" style variations, several side planks and some "teasers".
The bodybar is used to change your center of gravity and engage core muscles that are not typically worked - especially in a traditional strength training class. You really need a light bodybar to do Ripple. I used a 10 lb Reebok knock off padded bar and was quite challenged. Dunphy uses a 9 lb and one of the background exercisers had the 2 ft 4 lb bar, which seemed to work fine.
Dunphy has several other bodybar tapes. If memory serves this is the most difficult. It is not for beginners who would be better served by her Elements of Form tape.
I completed this tape maybe an hour ago, and I can already feel heretofore unnoticed terrain in my lower transverse abdominis - how about that?
Clare Dunphy is an experienced instructor who clearly knows what she's talking about. She provides perfect cueing for her creative core work.
This video is about 60 minutes long, consisting of 47 minutes of standing work and the remainder in floor work. The standing work includes several variations of lunging & squatting exercises with the body bar used for changing upper body work throughout. The floor work includes plank/push-up work and a challenging ab segment. As in her other videos, Clare emphasizes quality over quantity and changes exercises frequently.
Many of the exercises have what I would consider a Tai chi feel to them, shifting your weight from side to side or front to back in a lunge position while doing flowing arm movements and trunk twisting movements. The body bar is often used to push into to extend the upper body as well as for balance. There are a couple of challenging balance segments. Different modifications are shown for most exercises. One background exerciser uses a mini body bar, while the rest use the full size bar. You need only 1 bar for this workout.
For people with wrist concerns, there is only 4 minutes of plank/push-up type work, you could easily skip it or substitute planks on your elbows. There is one segment in the standing section that may or may not be difficult for your wrists, it involves rhythmically passing the bar back & forth between your hands while moving side to side. I found it quite fun, but I also don't have any wrist concerns.
I would rate this video as moderate in intensity, although the lunge segments can be quite intense if you use a heavy body bar and really give it your all. I used a 9 pound body bar and it was a fairly light workout. It's definitely a functional strength type video, with a good emphasis on core strength and trunk twisting.
The set is the CIA 2001 red set. The music is flowing new age style.
Clare is an excellent instructor and is clear and concise in this video. She gives great form cues and has a calm, soothing teaching style.