Pure and Simple Stretch

Karen Voight
Year Released: 1991

Categories: Athletic Stretch

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INSTRUCTOR: Karen Voight
DURATION: 40 Minutes
EQUIPMENT: Optional towel or yoga strap to use with some of the leg stretches
LEVEL: Basic
TYPE: Stretch
MUSIC: Pleasant, jazzy type

This is a total body stretch routine by fitness veteran Karen Voight. She is like a chiseled statue; so in shape! Inspiring :) Accompanying her are two woman and one guy. The DVD is broken up into two practices - sitting poses and standing poses. You can also do the whole routine for a lovely 40 minute stretch.

What I like about this DVD is that the stretches FEEL like stretches - no yoga or pilates stuff thrown in, although you can tell many stretches get their influence from yoga and pilates. Karen carefully cues each stretch and offers different modifications for those that are less limber. Each body part is hit thoroughly. Karen's teaching method is low key, and I like that she doesn't include any unnecessary banter while one is trying to stretch. Each stretch is held about 20-30 seconds to increase flexibility.

Some of the stretches: runners lunges, hands up the back, sitting cross legged on the floor and stretching out to either leg, laying down on the back with leg in the air and pulling leg toward you with a strap, neck stretches, and various others. Some moves were quite unique, others more traditional. All very relaxing. I did this stretch routine after Cathe's Muscle Endurance, and I felt more loosened up afterwards.

PROS: Karen is calm, soothing, and serious. However, her demeanor matched the workout perfectly! I love the jazzy, new-agey music. Each stretch really helped me relax after a tough strength training session.

CONS: Not really cons, but just things I noticed - No warm up, so if you're doing this DVD by itself you will need to add your own. However, it is suggested in the beginning of the DVD that you this program should be followed after walking, strength training, or cycling workout. Also, the set is dated. Production quality IS top notch, but it's obvious that this DVD was made sometime in the 90's. The leotards with the belts are a dead giveaway LOL! However, I thought it added to the workout's charm. A couple of times the camera would shake when transitioning from one flow to the next. Last con: some people thought that Karen was too serious or monotone with this workout. I avoided this workout for a long time because of this. However, upon viewing, I strongly disagreed. I thought Karen was just fine for the type of workout that it was. But if you like cheerleader types this workout may not be for you.

All in all, I think the cons were very minor, and the pros far outweighed anything bad that could be said about this DVD as a whole.

Instructor Comments:
Karen is serious, but I don't find it dead or monotone. I think it's perfect for this workout.



This DVD is chaptered with three options:


I have had this DVD for quite a long time. I find it is a very effective stretching workout. The set is bright the music is jazz by Narada. It is very relaxing. Karen has 3 other exercisers. Two woman one man. None are annoying. Everyone is focused on the stretches. I find that in this particular stretch workout Karen holds each stretch for a long time. That is what makes this workout so effective. There is no rushing through the stretches. This workout stretches your whole body. There is nothing left out. And every stretch is held for a long time. At the end of this workout I always feel very relaxed and elongated. I have no tense spots anywhere.


Probably the reason why I've kept it for so long and keep doing it. Is none other than this is truly and effective stretching routine. Also I can choose to do the 40 min. or just the 30 min. Depending on how much time I have. I don't feel that you would get much of a stretch just using the 10 min. option. Specifically because the stretches are held for a long time. This gives your body enough time to settle into the stretch and for you to breath a few times into the stretches to further your flexibility. I sometimes close my eyes during this workout as well. Karen's soothing voice is easy to follow. I find my flexibility has been improved by this workout. I will continue to use this workout in all of my rotations. This is definitely a keeper for me.

Instructor Comments:
Karen is an excellent instructor on form. She is soft spoken in this DVD. She is also very serious in this DVD but never annoying.



I liked the music and I liked that it wasn't "yogi" centered.

Instructor Comments:
I did not like this video at all.
The instructor is expressionless and has an annoyingly monotone voice.

Voight offers alternative moves for people who find her moves comfortable and need more of a challenge, but for less flexible people who find her moves difficult she offers no alternative moves.



I like doing this when I'm warmed up. she gives 2 options for using the vidoe..as a stretch to wake up, etc or to improve flexibility. For the flexibility goal she recommends you do some aerobic activity before doing the stretches.

She leads you through a lot of stretches in the 30 minutes, including lunges. It's not yoga, but she does hold the stetches and says to use a towel to help stretch the legs, etc. I love how long she holds the stretches...most stretch tapes don't hold them long enough for me. I usually do yoga, but for days when I want a 30 minute stretch I usually pop this video in. It's a little boring on the set, but I don't stare at the screen unless I need to see the stretch. I focus on what I'm doing instead of the boring set. Also, she puts some neck stretches at the end. They annoyed me at first because it's hard to bend the head down and see the tv screen at the same time, but once I had them sorta down they felt nice afterwards. Overall a good stretch tape and worth getting IMO!

I wish she'd smile every once in a while though!

Instructor Comments:
Super serious...dont' think she smiles at all in this one!

Susanna (smith938)


This is a thorough, adequate athletic-style stretch tape that covers all the bases in a solid, not very exciting way. It felt nicer than most tapes in some places, thanks to Karen's very professional and precise instructional style, but that same style left other parts of the tape feeling awkward and tedious. That's a shame, because this really is a high-quality routine.

The tape begins, minus warm-up, which Karen suggests you do on your own, with some standing dynamic stretches that felt very nice. They gently move the arms, legs and torso for a nice stretch that would be a good add-on even if you skip the rest of the tape. This section takes about ten minutes.

We then move to the floor for a long series of stretches that work the lower body. I really enjoyed this part. Karen is a bit dour and unenthusiastic, so it was a bit amusing to see her try to get all yogi on us, offering such advice as "relax between your eyebrows" and the like. Um, whatever. Some of the stretches in this section are held for a really long time, and Karen will offer instruction half-way through on how to increase the stretch you're doing. The problem is that although she says you can stay where you are if you want to, she uses the new advanced position to transition to the next exercise. It's usually not that big a problem, but there were a few that were kind of pretzely and it would have been nice if it had occurred to her that some of us might have taken her up on her suggestion to stay where we were if it was comfortable.

Karen isn't really the most exciting instructor, and this tape is hardly her most motivating. But the stretches are thorough, and every body part is covered with admirable attention to detail. It might have been nice if she had broken the tape into self-contained sections though. The lack of warm-up seems to indicate that she intends this tape to be an add-on, but at close to 45 minutes, this feels a little long for that. I'm also not sure why she's wearing shoes here. Still, she does make some allowances for the less flexible by offering variations, and she uses a strap for some of the stretches. This is definitely do-able for all levels, and is certainly a quality, keeper tape. If she ever does redo this tape though, it wouldn't kill her to smile now and then.



I really enjoy this video. It's short so I'm more likely to do it than Angles, Lines and Curves. It's tough to find a good stretch video that's not yoga, and this one fits the bill. I've been sick for the past several days and already I've done this one twice. It requires very little energy, but the rewards are great. On occasion it has even made me so relaxed that I go to sleep immediately after completing it. This is a good total body stretch tape, good quality production, nice jazzy music and a great instructor. I think if she had been perky it would've taken away from the relaxing atmosphere.

Instructor Comments:
She's calm and soothing. Contrary to what others have written, I don't find her demeanor to detract from the workout in any way. It's a stretch video, not an aerobic one. She doesn't have to smile for me to feel the stretch. After I learn the routine, I don't really look at her any more, just close my eyes and enjoy the relaxation. I probably would've never noticed her demeanor if so many people hadn't commented on it. I like to watch the girl in the cool blue unitard. She looks like a dancer. I don't mean to be mean, but the guy with the glasses reminds me of Milhouse from the Simpsons!!!



I own numerous yoga videos, and I got this one as a change of pace. Others have given a thorough overview of this video, so I'll add my comments. This is an excellent video to use as an add-on to a cardio or strength workout. You can also use it on its own. It stretches every major muscle group, and will certainly help you to maintain or increase your level of flexibility. For those who don't consider themselves flexible, it is definitely not an intimidating video (as some yoga videos can be). For those who are more flexible, while you might not greatly increase your flexibility using this tape, you will certainly maintain it; it's a good tape for "getting the kinks out." For the more limber it would probably function best as a tape to add on to another workout. That is how I use the tape. I find that it doesn't stretch me out as deeply as a yoga tape, but sometimes I want a more athletic approach to stretching. I don't get that "one with the world" feeling after finishing this video like I do with some of my yoga tapes, but that's not its purpose. For those looking for an athletic approach to stretching, this video is an excellent choice. I highly recommend it as a video for all fitness levels.

Instructor Comments:
Karen is a very serious instructor, and in this tape she is no different. She does seem a bit uncomfortable in front of the camera, but this is a 1991 tape so she has done many since then. I usually find her too monotone to be motivating, but in this tape her style is actually helpful. As usual, her form and instruction are extremely clear. She explains exactly where your body should be, and where you should feel the stretches. She is very encouraging, and she tells you to take the stretches only to the point of comfort. Some of the background exercisers show different flexibility variations.

Kristin Aziz


As an experienced fitness instructor, I have high expectations of fitness videos when it comes to safety, effectiveness and a well-organized program that can be done over and over without boring me to death. Pure & Simple Stretch was exactly the tape I was looking for when I decided I wanted an organized stretching program to follow up an intense cardio workout. I love the way Karen's stretch segues from one area of the body to the next in a seamless flow. I love following Kari Anderson's workout in Idea's Excellence in Instruction with Karen's Pure & Simple Stretch.

Instructor Comments:
Sheesh Karen, did someone just shoot your dog before you filmed this video? Karen's professional demeanor and matter-of-fact delivery are always my favorite things about her style, but in Pure & Simple Stretch, Karen *never* even cracks a smile - indeed, she manages to look quite dour whenever we see her face. Nonetheless, this tape remains in my top three - after all, it's not face we're looking for here but safe, effective stretching, and Karen, as usual, does not disappoint.



I find myself reaching for this video a lot when I need to stretch. This tape doesn't increase my flexibility as much as other tapes but then that's why it relaxes me so much. Sometimes the other ones I dread doing because sometimes when I want to stretch, I don't want any toning with it too. This happens if I do a power yoga tape. The music is so relaxing, it's new-agey. The best part is at the end. She does a series of head & shoulder stretches that make me melt. I work on the computer all day so I really need those types of stretches. This tape is highly recommended for people who want to add stretching to their daily routine because it's not too long. However, a person that is very flexible will not benefit from this tape.

Instructor Comments:
Karen is good for this tape. I don't like a lot of her other tapes because she is sort of dry. But her voice is perfect for this tape. It relaxes me.

Helen Stephens


I just traded this video away and thought I should put my two cents in. I liked the fact that Karen holds the stretches long enough to increase flexibility, but some of the stretches I couldn't even feel. The ones I do feel are ones I already incorporate after working out (hamstring, hip flexor, etc). I have several yoga videos, and they seem to give me a deeper stretch especially in the side stretches (like Karen does while standing). One of my favorite yoga stretches is a lying spinal twist. The way Karen does it bothers my lower back instead of stretching my outer hip as it's supposed to. I tried following her exact positioning, but to no avail. Alot of this video is good (music, instruction, long stretches), but I still find myself bored with most of the stretches, and wishing I was just doing my own stretch.

Instructor Comments:
I agree with others that Karen instructs well in this video. She has a soothing, calm manner that helps you relax during the stretches.

Chris T. Jackson


This programme starts with some standing stretches, and then moves to the floor. The instruction is to the point - you are not distracted from relaxing into a stretch by constant talking - and modifications are shown so that you can stretch and progress in the way that best suits you. This tape gives a really good all-over stretch, and it's pleasant to do. The background music is calm and unobtrusive.

This is an excellent programme, and it's long (35 minutes) which I like, as I enjoy stretching. I try to do at least one long stretch every week.

Instructor Comments:
Karen Voight's instruction is clear, and she emphasises that you should only stretch as far as is comfortable for you. During the first few minutes she does not seem to be at ease with the camera; then she becomes less self-conscious until right at the end when she closes the programme. Although I used to find this a bit bothersome, I'm getting used to it now. This doesn't mean that I don't like the programme (or the instructor) - on the contrary, I highly recommend this tape!

Glynis van Uden


I acquired this tape through the exchange. It's one of the best exchanges I've made. I cannot praise this tape enough!! Its length, around 35 minutes, perfectly suits my needs.

My flexibility has improved after just a few weeks. I only do the actual tape 1 to 2x a week, but, on the stretching part of all my other tapes, I pause the tape and do the hamstring, outer hip and inner thigh stretches learned from Pure and Simple Stretch. I now find the stretch sections on most other tapes to be inadequate. Thanks to this tape, I realize the importance of flexibility in a balanced fitness schedule.

One of the parts of the tape I really appreciate is the series of stretches she includes at the end of the routine. She thoroughly stretches the entire neck and shoulder area, which is where I tend to be tense during periods of stress. I feel very relaxed after the doing the tape.

I'm so glad to be able to include Karen in my rotation again! I had sort of phased her tapes out, yet she is the instructor that hooked me on fitness (Your Personal Best). She is one of the best fitness instructors on video. I highly recommend this tape.

Instructor Comments:
I have always liked Karen Voight's teaching style. She is informative and provides excellent form instruction. In this video she seems a bit uncomfortable in front of the camera during the introduction, but, once she starts into the routine, she is her usual most-excellent-teacher self. She has a very calm and gentle demeanor as she guides you through a series of very effective stretches.



This is an excellent and approachable stretching tape. It's stretches are held far longer than in typical stretch sections at the end of exercise videos. Supplementing your normal stretching routine with parts of Pure and Simple Stretch would be helpful, or you could use this video in its entirety a couple times per week for more thorough flexibility training and for relaxation.

This tape isn't as challenging as most of the yoga videos on the market, flexibility-wise, but for those who don't like yoga or who prefer more of an athletic approach to stretching, Pure and Simple Stretch is the perfect choice. As always, Karen tells you what you should be feeling and gives lots of pointers to keep the workout safe and effective. The music is soothing as well, and adds yet another relaxing dimension to the flexibility work.



This is an excellent tape for increasing flexibility as well as relaxing. As with her heavy-duty workouts, Karen Voight is also outstanding in this stretch workout. She always makes sure to let you know the safe way to do a stretch and also where you should be feeling it.

You start with some standing stretches and then move to the floor. The total tape is about 35 minutes, and about 25 minutes are on the floor. The music is extremely relaxing, which helps you relax into the stretches. Karen holds the stretches for several seconds, allowing you to improve on your flexibility and not just maintain it.

One of my favorite stretches on this tape is sitting cross-legged, and then you bend over your legs to stretch your glutes and outer thigh. A lot of instructors don't include this, and it feels so good!

I give this tape an "A".

Annie S.


This video is about 35 minutes long. It starts with some standing limbering moves and then goes to the floor. Karen's low-key approach is perfect for this type of work. Each stretch is shown with 2-3 levels; you start with the basic position, then "if you're comfortable with this" you can take it to the next.

I do this one at least once a week, and highly recommend it. As we all know, most videos are seriously lacking in flexibility work. This is an effective and enjoyable addition to my week!

Angela Pahlow