Egoscue Pain-Free Workout Series, Volume 2

Liba Placek, Brian Bradley
Year Released: 2007

Categories: Total Body Workouts, Yoga

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I rented this workout from Netflix, which means I received no written materials that might have come with this DVD (one of the cons of renting!). Therefore, the background information I’m giving here is mostly taken from a description at Amazon. The Egoscue Pain-Free Workout Series consists of two volumes. Volume 1 is for those who do not exercise on a regular basis. Volume 2 is for anyone in good physical condition or currently in an exercise program. Both focus on proper alignment, posture, and active muscle engagement. This review is for Vol. 2. There are three versions of the same 42-minute workout on the DVD. Liba Placek, the Egoscue Director of Athletics, demonstrates and instructs in the first version. The second version is just a music-only option, so you’ll see her lips moving as she instructed in the first version. In the third version, Brian Bradley, the Egoscue VP of Therapy Protocol, explains in technical terms (via voiceover) how every exercise affects your body and the reason for its use.

Setting: Liba is in a large, rather plain-looking room. The music is a soft and pleasant acoustic guitar soundtrack. She uses no props, that I recall, except for maybe a mat. She is wearing athletic clothes–-what appears to be bike or running (knee-length) shorts, a close-fitting knit top, and sneakers.

Workout Description: The workout is quite basic in nature, but the exercises seemed to me to be quite effective for the goals of this workout–-to be, or to remain, pain-free. Liba Placek is the only demonstrator. You begin with a few exercises for the upper back (for example, standing arm circles, with thumbs facing forward for 30 reps, and then thumbs facing back for 30 reps). Then you move to the floor for what she calls ‘cats and dogs’ (yoga stretch on all fours), and a hip stretch lying on your back. This is followed by ab strengthening exercises, and a series of ‘cobras’ and other similar back strengtheners and stabilizers. Next comes one minute in downward facing dog, followed by spinal twists and stretches for the hip and IT band. Pelvic tilts are next, followed by alternating back and abs exercises (bridges and situps, repeated once each). Supermans, with various arm positions, are next, followed by wide-legged forward bends (ahhh!). There’s another yoga pose here, also, but I don’t know that name of it (sorry!), then you move back down to the floor for wide-legged pushups (she does boy pushups!), another one-minute down dog, more pushups, more ‘cats and dogs,’ alternating down dogs with up dogs, another forward bend, chair pose, and standing stretch.

Reps are done in 10s, so you might do 10 reps of certain exercises, up to no more than 30 reps for each exercise. Most of the stretches are held for one minute, and for no fewer than 30 seconds. The workout moves along fairly briskly, as she does not take much time to set up each exercise. There are no modifications shown, but she does occasionally say to skip reps or to stop and rest as needed.

General Comments: Despite the “Pain-Free” title, this is not a beginner’s workout, by any means. Beginners might want to check out Volume 1 instead. I would recommend this workout to active people (and experienced exercisers) who need extra stabilization, strength, and flexibility in the core muscles supporting the back and spine.

Evaluation: It works for me! I’d give it a B+/A-, just because it’s a bit on the dull side. However, I think it has great value to people like me who need extra help with their backs.

Instructor Comments:
Liba speaks with an Eastern European accent, but I had no difficulty understanding her. She does not give a whole lot of instructions or form pointers, but I assume that many of the basic elements of this workout must have been covered in Volume 1. She is what I would call a serious instructor, but with a pleasant way of speaking. She did tend to count a lot, or to be repetitive with her instructions (for example, up and down, up and down, etc.), but once you’ve learned the workout, you can switch to the music-only version (how nice!).