Fit for Two: Step Aerobic Workout for PregnancyLisa Stone
Year Released: 1994
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Okay, I have actually been pregnant, though it's been awhile (my youngest is 4 now).
Warning: A lot of the commments about moves are purely anecdotal, I am reviewing how this video would have felt during my pregnancy, and every pregnancy is different. I do consider myself knowledgeable about good form, and when I was pregnant I read any and all info on exercise and health during pregnancy, so I think I'm more informed than most, but of course I'm not a doctor, so if in doubt, ask your doctor or midwife.
This video is exactly what the instructor states it is at the beginning, a workout for pregnant women who are already fit and healthy. It is not for the beginning exerciser, or even for the beginning stepper who is otherwise fit. I suspect that some of the moves and directional changes would be a little difficult or possibly dangerous if you are not accustomed to stepping.
I suggest that you listen to the ACOG guidelines at the beginning of the video, they are important. I emphasize this mostly because I tend to think "I already know this stuff" and skip it, and this time, it's really important, especially the contraindications noted.
I liked the instructor, she was cheerful (but not annoyingly so) and pleasant. The music is energetic, and Cathe Friedrich fans will recognize a lot of it.
I did the aerobic segment, I found that I actually was able to reach my target zone, and I'm not pregnant! The instructor builds short combos with basic moves, but keeps moving around the step, so I think this will keep your interest for awhile. without getting too dull. I think the directional changes might be a little tough during the last trimester, but still probably safe for the advanced exerciser. The reason the directional changes might be a little tough is because your center of gravity is off as your tummy gets larger. Something to keep in mind that she doesn't mention is that when you're pregnant, all your joints (tendons, ligaments? I get them confused) get looser to allow your pelvis to open up for childbirth). This makes you more vulnerable to joint injuries, which is the main reason why doctor's that allow any other type of exercise, don't like you to ski, it's to easy to dislocate joints. This is something to keep in mind when exercising, don't let it stop you, but be careful when changing directions. (I swear my hip joints are still a little loose since MY last pregnancy)
I think the 20 minute length for the aerobics is about right. It would be too easy for early pregnancy, but later in pregnancy as you become more awkward and exhausted, it's long enough to make you feel like you've accomplished something but not so long that you over do it, which is not a good idea when you're pregnant, you really do need to take it a little easy, and since most of us these days are working during our pregnancies these days, it's best to save up a little energy.
Some other things I would have liked to have seen in this video: more suggestions for modifications during the step segment, especially during the workout (ie. lower the step, work on the floor, don't squat so deeply if it's uncomfortable...). I would have liked to have heard more form tips through out the video "Keep your pelvis neutral, body aligned, etc" I had to constantly remind myself of this when I was pregnant, even standing still, you tend to stick your tummy out, when exercising it's even harder.
Speaking of squats, she does a lot of them and I know they would have been uncomfortable for me in my pregnancy, I would have had a hard time doing them correctly, mostly because my lower abs and hip flexors were very sore for some reason. Of course this is my personal experience and maybe doing the squats would have helped me with this problem, just something I thought I should mention. I sort of pictured myself falling on my butt if I had tried all these when I was pregnant.
The "conditiioning" segments (lower body, abs and upper body) seem quite appropriate. I must admit I'm a bit snobbish in this area, I think these segments would have been way too easy for me during my whole pregnancy, I would have liked to see her use rubber bands or something for lower body, and though she uses bands for the upper body, it would have been nice to see someone in the class doing the same workout with light weights.
The question and answer section at the end is a good starting point for questions for your own health professional, be sure and ask your doctor/midwife, so you can get answers for your specific situation.
My overall assessment is: This is a great pregnancy video (surprise, I sounded pretty critical huh?). When I was pregnant, I bought the Kathy Smith Pregnancy video, and it was way too easy, tnough I did it on days when I was just exhausted (which was pretty often) to begin with. My suggestion for advanced exercisers would be: keep doing what you regularly do until it's just too much, then try this video. I ran during the first 4 or 5 months of my pregnancy, then I bought the Kathy Smith Video, still too easy so I started doing low impact step videos that I recorded from television shows. This video would be a good starting point for an intermediate exerciser though.
for Two: Step Aerobic Workout for Pregnancy, Lisa Stone for Two: Step Aerobic Workout for Pregnancy
OK Mom, now don't get too excited--this review should not be taken as an indication of your first grandchild's impending arrival! Actually, Lisa Stone was kind enough to send me a demo copy of her video so that I could include a review. A few personal disclaimers:
- I am not and have never been pregnant, so bear that in mind
- I am not intimately familiar with what moves/choreography is considered safe for pregnant women, though I am familiar with the most recent ACOG (American College of Obstetrics & Gynecology) guidelines for exercise in pregnancy.
Lisa Stone, an ACE-certified pre- & post-natal fitness specialist, has designed this video for active women who wish to continue stepping through their pregnancies. Unlike most pregnancy videos, which seem to be geared toward the beginner level, "Fit for 2" is best suited to experienced steppers. I would call it an intermediate-level video.
All of Lisa's class members are pregnant, and one woman does the entire workout without a step. The tape begins by going through the new ACOG guidelines for exercise and pregnancy, including conditions for which exercise is contraindicated. The workout includes a strength training segment-- a short abdominal workout (done on hands and knees), kegel exercises, upper back and pectoral work using rubber tubing, and some lower body work. The tape ends with a question and answer session with a doctor.
Lisa is a pleasant and energetic instructor with a soft Southern accent. She has chosen her music well-it's very upbeat, and I recognized a few of the songs from Cathe Friedrich's "Mega Step Blast." Lisa's choreography isn't too complex, yet it takes you all around the step in a number of different directions, which helps keep the low-impact moves from getting too boring. This will be especially important for those women who (pre-pregnancy) used to do complex step routines with a gazillion power moves. I consider the multi-directional movement a big plus, and had no trouble with all the directional changes, but women who have little experience with step aerobics should be advised to be careful until they've gotten the hang of the combos.
Lisa's choreography is more athletic than dancy. Although some of her transitions may not be quite as polished as Karen Voight's or Kathy Smith's, the steps are easy to follow. There was one step that I think some shorter pregnant women may find difficult--a low-impact step, tap, "over the top" move across the length of the step. Women who have trouble with this one could always do it on the floor behind the step, though.
I'm glad that someone finally made a pregnancy step video for those who would be bored with Kathy Smith's or the ever-annoying Denise Austin's tapes. I personally wished the aerobic section was a bit longer--I think it's in the 20-25 min. range--but pregnancy videos typically have short aerobic segments. Then again, I suppose 20-25 min. is a lot when you're exercising for two!
I know that when I'm pregnant (one of these years), I'll miss the excitement of power-packed step routines like Cathe Friedrich's, but this video gives me hope that the fitness video industry is starting to respond to the needs of fit pregnant women. "Fit for 2"'s strength section in particular is helpful to learn ways to modify your normal strength routine and how to target muscles that bear increased stress due to the physiological changes of pregnancy. I think it would be a good choice for an active women who doesn't want to be bored to tears by lots of "basic step, facing the TV".