Chicometrics III

Chico Caldwell
Year Released: 1997

Categories: Total Body Workouts

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ChicoMetrics is an isometric/isotonic type workout, along the lines of Callanetics, Lotte Berk Method and Bar Method workouts. The dvd case claims the following: "Just one hour twice a week, 5-9 total inches off the hips and waistline in two weeks". The "metrics" part of the title comes from the fact that it used to be packaged with a gimmicky measuring tape, and frequent measurements are encouraged.

The dvd opens with a menu consisting of the following 5 chapters:

How to Measure

Warm-Up, Neck & Face, Chest Flexors, Lat Presses, Waistline

Abdominals, Lower Back, Long Body Stretch, Inner Thighs, Quad Scoops

Quad Plies, Lower Legs, Hip & Thigh Toners, Saddlebag Extended Leg, Panty-Jock Line, Bad-Dogs

Upper Body, Biceps, Triceps, Cool Down Stretches

This dvd looks like a self-produced labor of love. Apparently shot in an empty church or community center, the sound is almost non-existant and consists of a bass-and-drum background rhythm. The picture quality is fine. Chico Caldwell is instructing in a bright yellow tee shirt and lycra leggings (non-revealing, btw) and is accompanied by five attractive but ordinary-looking exercisers wearing hot pink tees and black shorts. Four of them are slender and toned; one - his wife Bertha - is a somewhat larger woman who is nonetheless solid. These women are introduced in the Measuring chapter and (online) all claim to be ChicoMetrics devotees who've lost lots of inches with this program; that's encouraging! Watching them exercise, they may not be "cut" but they certainly are strong!

The hour-long workout opens with a series of gentle warm-up stretches that Chico calls circulation boosters, after which he works the chest flexors and lats with some simple but effective moves (for example, he has you bring elbows to meet in front of you with forearms and hands close together and move up and down). Throughout the dvd, Chico demonstrates options and alternate moves for modifying up or down, or just to alleviate boredom.

The waist section has you down on the floor on your side with one bent leg on a chair for support. The floor arm is resting along your obliques and the upper arm is bent at the elbow with the fingertips lightly resting behind the ear, also for support. You then lift the elbow toward the supported leg 60x, then repeat on the other side. You feel these!

You then move onto ab exercises, with variations of crunches, first with leg supported on chair (80 reps), upper & lower crunches (40 reps), upper & lower crunches with one leg leg resting on the other knee (25 reps each side), and lower crunches with one leg on the other knee (30 reps each side). Your abs will fry!! Then you're on your front a Superman-type lower back exercise and then a full body stretch. You really need this after working those abs!

Then you're on your side again with one leg bent on a chair for inner thigh lifts (60 each side). Then it's upright and on to scoops which are familiar to all Callanetics users. Two types are presented here: the easier version is plies with legs apart (he calls them "bobbing scoops") and the more challenging ("cherry scoops") are 1st position heels together and lifted, moving knees into a deep plie. You begin descending one step at a time, burning all the way. Several variations of this. Very effective! Then some simple calf exercises (I usually skip because I have very developed calves). Deep stretches here.

Hips and thighs are next. First up is the Bar Method back-and-forth pretzel move but this time it's while seated on the edge of a chair (80 reps each side). Then the Callanetics move where the leg is extended to the side and raised (60 reps each side). The panty-jock exercise works the buns and consists of movements done standing with tightened gluteals; he refers to it as putting a quarter between the cheeks (aka the "Great Divide") and holding onto it (60 reps each side). Bad Cats and Dogs are variants of the hydrant exercise with 3 specific, limited range movements (25-25-25 each side). More stretching.

Upper body is next with what Chico calls the "20 Series". Seated in a chair, you bend arms and bring them out to your side and manipulate them in various ways, kind of like you're using weight machines but without the weights, obviously. I can't remember how many variations of shoulder and upper back exercises, but quite a few at 20 reps each. Slow, self-resisting bicep curls and one-armed tricep chair dips are next. Hard to say how effective these ultimately are and certainly none of them appear to have ripped arms, but the moves do create a burning sensation and at least the upper body does receive attention here, unlike other similar-styled workouts. Final cooldown stretches and it's over, with an admonition from Chico to do this 2x a week and add cardio on your own.

What I appreciate is Chico's sensibility and accessibility to include all sorts and ages of people. Maybe I'm putting it badly, but though this workout challenges me, by using a chair I could see it being adapted to much older, less flexible people. The fact that it is requires virtually no equipment is also a plus, especially for exercise novices. There's no doubt in my mind that this workout will build a lot of strength and drop some inches. Unfortunately it seems to be only available at the website:

Instructor Comments:
According to the accompanying pamphlet, "Dr Chico Caldwell is a former Athletic Director, Head Basketball Coach, and teacher with a Master's Degree in Health, Physical Ed and Recreation." He comes across as amiable and gentle with a warm, genuine affection for his groups of exercisers. He demonstrates a slightly silly but low-key sense of humor. No whooping and hollering here!

Lucky Star


The tri-fold brochure that's included in the videa sleeve describes the program as "deep muscle toning" based on "isotonic and isometric principles." The only "equipment" you need is a chair and a towel (for wiping the sweat). I'm 51, have been interested in home exercise since a teenager, and still have some of my Jane Fonda original videos from the 80's! along with the original Callanetics. I'm heavier than is good for me, am working on that, but I am pretty fit and have good endurance. Recently I'm making a real effort the eat healthier and exercise regularly and have started using Joyce Vedral dvds which actually have me working out with weights and enjoying it. However, I have to watch what I do, what poundage I use, problems with joints. This video matches me perfectly. Dr. Caldwell says you can take breaks every 5 reps or so, but everything's deceptively "easy" and the instructions so clear, you can keep up, so I did for most of the 25-80 reps you do of each exercise. I completed the video 2 1/2 hours ago, and I barely could do my bike ride I do every day for my cardio (which some form of cardio is emphasized to do in conjunction with this program)My legs are still wobbly and my shoulders and armed still "fatigued".
The workout starts with a very brief into by Dr. Caldwell who tells you to watch him or one of the 5 varying shaped, healthy looking women and pick the option that fits you best. Then it tells you stop if you haven't yet measured yourself and shows briefly where to measure. A tape measure is attached to the top of the video box. The above mentioned flier includes on back a place to record you starting measurements, plus space for 8 more measurements, with a notation to measure every two weeks, or after every 4 classes. The workout is then broken down into 17 sections. Each section starts with a colored screen that lists the exercise you'll be doing and the muscle/groups being worked.
#1. Skyline Stretch
#2. Neck & Face
#3. Chest Flexcers/option
#4. Lat Presses/option
#5. Waistline(obliques)/2 options
#6. Ab Toners 4 different exercises/ 3 options
#7. Lower Back
#8. Long Body Stretch
#9. Inner Thighs (uses chair unique)
#10. Scoops 3 variations
#11. Plies/variations
#12. Lower Legs (calves)& stretches
#13. Hip & Thigh Very much like Callanetics, but uses a chair that I found much more comfortable but just as effective, but there is floor options shown. Stretches.
#14. Panty Jock/2 options. (Under "cheek" area)
#15. Bad Cats & Dogs glute work
stretches. Very hard to describe. Very effective!
#16. Then a surprising killer and unique to this workout. Chicometrics is in many ways i like Callenetics, Lotte Berke, The Bar Method. (I have all those and have done them)But there's little upper body work in the others. Here, there's a wonderful upper body section that's called "The 20 Series" and lists working the biceps, triceps, delts and traps. There's around 7 exercises here, including a one-armed seated tricep dip. Thankfully there was an option for that one!!!
#17. Very nice seated Cool Down Stretch. About 8 different stretches, here again using a chair in unique way. Got a good stretch and didn't stress my knees.
I would really recommend this video to people who especially enjoy a non-impact, very little stress to the joints workout. Was impressed with the instructions and visualization cues that made this video very doable, yet I can see it growing with a person.

Instructor Comments:
From his brochure included in video, Dr. Caldwell was a former Athletic Director,coach and teacher. Master's Degree in Health, Physical Education. Developed these exercises testing how the body responds to exercise without the use of equipment. Very pleasant, clear instructions.

Debbie Yearwood


This DVD has 1997 as the production date. Chico is wearing a yellow 'chicometrics' t-shirt with black spandex pants and the 6(ish) ladies with him are in hot pink chico t-shirts and black spandex shorts. The ladies' success stories are in the leaflet with the dvd and they all appear to be just regular people - no fake boobs, no tight shirts, no self-adoration. Just regular people. They all wear runners. I did not wear runners since I'm soooo enjoying workouts in bare feet. Chico has a hammy personality but certainly not over the top. He smiles alot and seems very infectious. A chair is used alot. eg. to work each inner thigh you put non-working leg up on the chair. 1/2 bun work is done sitting 1/2 on chair. He explains things just enough but not too much so the workout moves along at a good pace.
Chico's funny because he says what exercise we're doing and then will say "And, we're only gonna do 80 repetitions" with a big smile...and I'm thinking 80!!! ONLY!!! Then he says "Ready, and exercise!" and then he starts the movement.
He counts every rep. EVERY rep. And, in the first 1/2 hr the CD player seems to be on repeat and repeats the same 1 song over and over. Then after that 1/2 hr there are a few other songs on. I found the talking and counting a bit much after awhile so I turned the sound down a bit. So, the workout was lacking the auditory aspect (eg. WHFN) for me but oh well.

The ab section is long. Around 14 minutes or so I think. Too much for me at this point. It's great because he shows lots of options in the little corner square of the screen while you're already doing the main exercise so he doesn't waste time explaining while you sit and wait. The options are great and I may try some of them next time. Some are just for variety and some are for if your neck hurts etc. The abs are mostly crunches - upper and then upper and lower together and oblique crunches.

He is an official DR. so I must admit I trusted the suggestions he made. The form he explained seemed good to me and nothing hurt during the workout. My knees were fine during the leg/quad section. (which was also pretty killer and I had to modify a bit and take breaks)

The arm section was different. I was sceptical doing it without weights so I grabbed my girls little 1 lb pink weights and I felt it. You could do it with 3 lbs if you wanted and I think the arms would be sufficiently cooked.

There was also a killer (for me) calf workout which I couldn't complete either.
There is a one-armed tricep dip too - holy cow!! I did it 2-armed and that was enough for me!

All in all, I'm happy with it. It doesn't have the 'fun' factor so much and it is an hr long which is a challenge for me since I do tend to top off at 45 minutes max. But, it's not annoying and the exercises are very thorough for each body part with lots of reps.

This style of exercise is similar to Callanetics, Lotte Berk or Bar Method. Although there are some more traditional moves too.

The DVD can only be ordered new thru his website (as far as I know) and is pretty pricey (29.95 cdn). Is it worth the money? Yes and no. His website has claims from people saying his system is the best etc but then so does Callanetics and the others. I think this would be good to add variety and also as a longer workout, since the Lotte's are only 1/2 hr. I think I may use segments of this workout and add to other segments from other workouts to make a complete workout and then I won't get bored or dread using this workout - I do get bored pretty easily and enjoy frequent changes of 'scenery'.
The DVD is chaptered so you do have the option of just choosing abs, lower body or upper - very nice.

Instructor Comments:
I normally don't gravitate to male instructors since I'm just more comfortable sharing my Video workout experience with a woman on the TV. Chico was fine though - nothing he did made me cringe or feel uncomfortable. He has a very friendly, happy personality on the DVD without being over the top.