Power Half Hour: StretchTony Horton
Year Released: 2004
Categories: Athletic Stretch
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In 2004, I got into stretching workouts as a way of relaxing myself and dealing with really tight muscles, especially in the neck and shoulders. Since starting this, I have seen some real flexibility gains and have loosened up my neck and shoulder area. In putting together a combination of tapes, I have several athletic stretch tapes/DVDs and several yoga workouts that are mostly stretch oriented. The workouts I reach for most often are Tamilee’s 10-minute stretches and Slim & Limber (just under 15 minutes) as add-ons after my regular workouts. I recently acquired this VHS tape through a trade. I had wanted to try it for awhile.
The workout has Tony leading it in front with two background exercisers. The woman shows the more advanced options and is very flexible, something Tony points out frequently and often. The man shows the more basic options and Tony takes time with him to explain the options and how to start and advance in various stretches. For someone who hasn’t used many stretch videos, it could be a good introduction. And, more experienced stretchers can pick up tips as well. Tony usually starts the stretch and then goes to check on “the kids” (his term for them) and explain what they are doing and correct their form at times. I vary between being glad he does so because it helps me with my form and thinking he does it a bit too often and wishing he would remain where he leads the workout from.
The music is fairly typical, bland stretching music. I find myself wondering periodically, “Isn’t that music from Slim & Limber?” The workout has the usual Beachbody countdown timers in the lower right-hand corner, one for the amount of time left in that segment and the second with the total time left until the end of the routine. I’ve learned to like, and use, those timers. Tony does NOT mirror cue, so you have to account for that.
The tape begins with a shorter 10-minute stretch that Tony recommends you do more often, maybe as a warm up for another workout. It has some moves that puts a strain on my hands/wrists and feet/ankles. Those are the areas affected most by my arthritis, so I probably won’t do that part much. The 10-minute stretch is followed by a 20-minute “power stretch”. Tony holds the moves for more protracted periods. I have a low threshold for boredom in stretch routines, so I am not someone who looks for long stretches. At times, I wish we would move on. Most of the time, however, it feels really good and I find myself using the time to move deeper into the stretch.
My bottom line with this workout is somewhat conflicted. During it, I think maybe I’ll trade it. At the end of it, I decide I feel really good, so I’ll keep it. I will probably keep it and do the 20-minute stretch when I want to do a stretch routine that holds the stretches for awhile, but I don’t feel the need for much ambiance.
He is personable and explanatory about the stretches. I find him motivating and engaging. He does overdo some "quirks" like calling the background exercisers "the kids" and popping up to check on their form.
This workout is part of the Power Half Hour series, which consists of thighs, arms, buns, abs and stretch. I have the dvd version which includes all of these routines plus an outttakes bonus.
The workout features the typical beachbody countdown clocks for the section and the workout as a whole, and bar graph to indicate elapsed chapters. Tony is very personable and entertaining and works out on a bare, drab blue and grey set with a male and female background exerciser.
The workout begins with a fairly self-contained 10-minute section that Tony recommends you do on its own more often, or combined with the second bit when you have time. It features a variety of standing stretches held for decent intervals. It was a very easy section to follow and it felt great. It ends with a short plank/downward dog and a child’s pose. I loved this section. The time flew by and I can see myself doing this often as a workout add-on.
The last 20 minutes are a more advanced “power” stretch which is more yoga-like and features some tricky moves such as triangles and back bends, before ending with a very nice twist section on the floor. Tony is very good throughout at suggesting modifications and demonstrating them on background helper Tony 2.
Tony is one of those like him or hate him instructors, and his style might not be for everyone. But it works for me. I love the countdown clocks, I love friendly ol’ Tony, and this workout is a worthy addition to my collection.