Resist-A-Ball Dynamic StretchStephanie Morris
Year Released: 2004
Categories: Athletic Stretch , Balance/Medicine/Mini/Stability Ball
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I rarely (okay, never) write reviews, but I feel it's my duty in this case because: 1) I'm probably one of very few VFers who have this tape, and 2) it's good!
Some of you will remember another VFer, Germaine, extolling the virtues of the Resist-a-Ball "Going Ballistic" tape a few weeks ago. Well, this is basically a companion tape to that one, filmed at the same time and on the same set, also led by Stephanie Morris of Spri. She's a solid instructor -- serious but not overly so, cordial but not cutesy -- who clearly has a lot of experience.
The workout is 45 minutes and is all stretching on the ball, with some light strength work thrown in because sometimes you're holding up parts of your body to get into the stretch position for another part. For instance, you might have to work the quad a bit to get into a hamstring stretch.
Those of you who know me are aware that stretching is not my favorite activity, but there were so many times I said "Ahhhhhhhhh" during this tape that I just had to give it a little publicity. The ball definitely allows you to go into some of the stretches much deeper than if you weren't using it. My favorite part was four or five different versions of figure-4s for the hips. My hips are extremely tight and if I can manage to do this tape regularly, I'm pretty sure it'll help.
The only mistake I caught was near the beginning when she does a set of hamstring stretches on the right and doesn't repeat them on the left. I didn't notice any other "balancing" errors.
The set is very basic and dull-colored (mostly gray tones) and the production values are adequate at best...probably better than Sara's City, but not as good as CIAs, just to give a point of reference. There are also some minor sound problems here and there, and one choppy edit. The music is new-agey and there is actually a guy (the music's composer) off to the side of the set playing a keyboard. It's a little cheesy in an endearing kind of way. So, overall this is not a tape I'd recommend for anyone who can't deal with so-so production quality. I'm normally pretty picky about production, but when a tape is unique in what it offers (and I believe this one is), I'm willing to overlook a lot.
The tape is available from Spri for $24.95 and from MusicFlex for $19.95. Although "Going Ballistic" had been available at the Galyan's sporting goods chain for $9.95, it doesn't appear the same is true for "Dynamic Stretch," unfortunately.
In the past six months, I have started doing stretch videos. I really enjoy them as a way of releasing stress and improving my flexibility. I find my preferences run to more athletic stretching, although I do have about five yoga workouts, three that are purely for stretch and three that are general yoga workouts. And, I prefer shorter stretches. The ones I use the most are Tamileeís 10-minute stretches and Candace Copelandís 15-minute stretches and Slim & Limber.
Long ago, I had this tape and traded it off because I found it so frustrating. The pace was too fast. I couldnít stay on the ball (kept falling off). I couldnít figure out how she wanted me to move. In short, I HATED this workout. I recently reacquired it by SASE because I was curious whether my reaction would be any different. (In fact, I wondered if this was the same tape I had traded.) Anyway, I have definitely made great strides because I had no problem staying on the ball. I have done quite a few ball workouts since I last had this tape and I am much stronger apparently. Plus, I have done enough stretches that figuring out what she wanted me to do was simpler. It was a pleasant discovery.
Stephanie Morris presents the workout by herself in a studio with a live piano player with balls around the side as decoration. The music is pleasant, but nothing super special. She does a series of stretch moves, some designed to increase the strength in certain muscles. She gives form pointers, but sometimes I found myself looking at the screen trying to figure out what she had just said.
My main reactions were that my body felt good and pleasantly (not super) stretched when I finished and that the workout seems very lllllloooooooonnnnnnnnngggggggggg, sssssslllllllllooooooooowwwwwwwwww, and BORING. I was pleased I could do this workout. I donít see me doing it again (or trading back for it again). There was just more stretching done than I had an interest in, although it was not due to her holding the stretches for a super long time. She did multiple stretches for each body part, which is why I probably felt pleasantly stretched.
She gives good form pointers. Her delivery is rather sedate or dry or something. I was neither drawn to her as an instructor nor turned off by her.
I recently bought this video
based on raves in the forum and
based on the one review on this
site. I am not as enthusiastic
about it as the previous
reviewer. I am new to long
stretching videos--I've often
resisted doing them because I
often feel like I'm not
accomplishing anything and
wasting my time, but one of my
goals this year is to improve my
overall fitness so I'm forcing
myself to do them. I do sections
from Tamilee Webb's Total Body
Stretch for Beginners fairly
frequently and like it, and last
week I tried Yogazone's
Introduction to Yoga and loved it.
So I'm not a total novice at
stretching. I'm into the stability
ball concept and want to
maximize my use of it.
After trying the video for the first time this morning, I think I'll do it again, and I think my view of it may improve after repeated efforts, but I'm not sure that it's a keeper. For one, it was more rapidly paced than I expected. In some ways this is good--stability ball videos are notoriously slow, which means they can get boring fairly quickly. But the rapid pace was frustrating--I had to pause the tape a few times--and I'm not sure that my form was that great. I also on several occasions wasn't sure where I should be feeling the stretch or even in which leg and Stephanie's cueing wasn't that helpful. This might be a little easier to figure out after having done the workout a couple of times.
I also felt the stretches weren't held long enough to be that effective.
On the plus side, I really did feel
that some of the stretches
challenged my balance. Doing
them on the ball (and some of
these stretches were quite
unfamiliar to me) made them
feel very different than traditional
stretches. I even broke a teeny
sweat from the effort.
Finally, I was shocked by the poor production quality. The image was quite grainy. I'm glad I didn't spend more than $10 on this video (I got mine from an amazon.com partner).
Morris has a strong Southern accent. She cues a little late sometimes, and I wish she would have more frequent breathing reminders as well as tell us where we should be feeling the stretch more consistently.