Balance Ball Fitness for Weight LossSuzanne Deason
Year Released: 2004
Categories: Balance/Medicine/Mini/Stability Ball
Video Fitness reviews may not be copied, quoted, or posted elsewhere without the permission of the reviewer
With strength work, I am an intermediate exerciser, who doesn’t really want to move up to advanced work. I have really enjoyed getting into workouts on the ball and Pilates as an alternative to traditional strength training. My favorite ball workouts are Pilates to Go on the Ball and Pilates on the Ball.
When I read about this workout, it sounded great. The descriptions said it is a solid ball workout and that it is customizable and you can set it up any way you want. I don’t think the reality lived up to the marketing, although I guess everything they said is true.
I got the DVD for the customization options. The main menu has three options: Intro, Play Program, and Customize Workout. When you choose the option to customize, it gives you four options: Fundamentals, Section 1, Section 2, and Section 3. You can choose them in any order you want – any number up to all four – and play the workout. I was annoyed because I could not understand why they didn’t label the sections and make the menu something like this: Fundamentals, Core, Lower Body, Upper body. That is exactly what those sections are and what she announces at the beginning of each section.
Overall, I would say the workout falls in the beginning to intermediate range. Each section has moves that, to me, seemed to start with beginning moves and moved to more intermediate moves. There is an upper body section, but I would classify this as mostly a core and lower body workout.
Some details: Suzanne is by herself in an open workout space with windows all around. The workout is done in voice over and her explanations generally match up with what is happening on the screen. She announces the name of each move and then explains how to do the move. She is very precise in telling when to inhale and exhale and embeds stretches throughout the workout. The music is there, but pretty non-descript instrumental music. As with every ball workout I’ve seen, this workout takes more space than you would think as there are moves where you have to roll over the ball, and that requires some room. She does include moves that I have not seen in other ball workouts.
Specifically, here is some info on the sections:
FUNDAMENTALS – Includes info on breathing, alignment, keeping your shoulders down, etc. Good for first timers. Kind of boring and would skip it after the first time.
SECTION 1 – Includes move for the core and stretches in seated position and draped over the ball.
SECTION 2 – Comprised of leg work. Beginning to intermediate moves except for the last move, the Teaser. She vaguely describes how to modify, but doesn’t demonstrate.
SECTION 3 – Upper body moves, several of which are supported on the hands. Several of the moves in this section are more for the lower body.
I’m probably not going to keep this workout. It’s just not what I’m looking for and doesn’t add much to my choices. I think there are those that will really enjoy this workout though, so it’s worth consideration.
She is very precise and explanatory in this workout.
The DVD consists of four chapters plus an option to program your own workout by mixing up the order of segments you choose.
There is a brief Fundamentals stressing breath and form, followed by three 15 minute progressively harder segments. Section 1 is mostly seated on the ball with hamstring stretches and spine limbering moves such as Spine Twist and Saw. Section 2 gets you down onto the mat for the traditional “Series of Five” utilizing the ball, and legwork that simulates the reformer but instead of moving your body back and forth with leg power you roll the ball in and out with your feet and legs in varying positions. Just when I started to feel it was a little too easy Suzanne moves into bridging and Teasers. She "gets ya" in Section 3 with face down exercises including Swan Dive, long spine moves, and shoulder stabilizations that act as a platform for gluteal work - heel beats, hip extensions, and a brief side leg series. Finishes with a delicious cooldown draped on the ball during which I felt blissful and completely devoid of stress.
All in all, another wonderful production by Suzanne Deason. I understand "for weight loss" videos are not everyone's cup of tea, but I'm a big fan of hers and I take these workouts for what I get from them. When I previewed it I got annoyed with the prompts to inhale and exhale a little too often, but while doing the workout it didn’t bother me. Neither advanced nor very challenging, but provides a good set of add-ons or a solid 45 minute workout for a day when you need a recharge instead of a wringing out.
Typical Gaiam music; Suzanne Deason outfit; a new background (Japanese indoor setting with a beautiful view of mountains through windows and a small altar area that reminds me of my Nam Myoho Renge Kyo days) - a keeper in my “less is more” library.
Suzanne Deason to me is the epitome of "aging with grace," not to mention agility, and if workouts like this have helped her retain a body like that - I'm on board.