Having a Ball with ABC!

Patrick Goudeau
Year Released: 2006

Categories: Balance/Medicine/Mini/Stability Ball, Floor Aerobics/Hi-Lo/Dance

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I’m reviewing this workout after doing it once.

Just as an FYI, ABC = Amazing Ball Choreography.

General workout breakdown: This 57-min. DVD has a floor aerobics cardio workout using the stability ball and a short core / balance training segment.
In the warm-up (11 min.), after introducing the crew, Patrick teaches one basic combo, after which come some dynamic stretches and one more run through of the warm-up combo on both sides. He then teaches three combos (28.5 min.), building them up pretty much evenly on both sides and separately from each other. Sometimes you’re seated on the ball, sometimes you’re walking around it, and sometimes you’re moving over it; as you might expect from Patrick, there are some fun names, like “washing machine” and “hang them up to dry.” Patrick frequently teaches via the “watch me” method, having his crew stay with a holding move (such as bouncing on the ball) while he shows the next move or variation. That combined with the fact that the combos don’t flow together side to side means that there are a fair number of filler moves. Patrick then does two TIFTs (taking it from the top, or running through all combos in order; 6.5 min.), weaving or splicing and dicing them (that is, doing combo 1 on one side, combo 2 on the other, and combo 3 on the first before doing the opposite). I was a little unprepared the first time through to do all of the combos like this; I kind of would have liked to have seen 1 & 2 put together, then 2 & 3, or maybe 1 & 1, 2 & 2, and then 3 & 3, beforehand, but those who don’t care for TIFTing will probably appreciate the fewer run throughs. This segment ends with a few of the same dynamic-type stretches from the warm-up.
The core and balance segment runs through the same routine twice (11 min.); the exercises are lifting the legs while seated on the ball, roll out into push-up & pike, elbows in & out while in plank over ball, (on back) opposite arm & leg lower & lift with ball balanced up high between hands and feet, sit-ups placing & removing balls from shins in tabletop, and upper body stretch. A few quick seated stretches complete the segment.

Level: I’d recommend this to experienced exercisers, perhaps around the intermediate to intermediate plus level, with some experience with stability balls and moderately complex choreography. This isn’t an intense workout, but it’s not supposed to be, as shown by the perceived exertion chart which recommends working around a moderate level; it’s more about making exercise fun than burning the maximum amount of calories. The workout is low impact (with one or two exceptions), although expect turns and twists.
I consider myself an intermediate + to intermediate / advanced in cardio, although I’m still new to the stability ball, and I have little trouble with all but the most complex (or poorly cued) choreography. It took me a little bit to get some of the choreography, especially since, this being a Patrick workout, there are lots of spins and some moves done with one’s back to the TV, but part of that was my unfamiliarity with cardio routines using the ball. This wasn’t a particularly intense workout for me, perhaps up there with my more intense walking and dance videos, but keep in mind that I was still learning the choreography (although having to lunge or even run after the ball balanced some of that out…).

Class: 3 women and 1 man join Patrick, who instructs live. 1 woman shows some modifications (although not quite taking out all of the turns like Patrick promises).

Music: upbeat instrumental music with a beat. I’ve heard all the songs on recent Evolution videos (I think Christiane Reiter uses the exaxt same soundtrack on Reit House Moves, for example.).

Set: interior set with vertical rows of lights flanking columns; there’s a TV with the Patrick logo on the back wall.

Production: clear picture and sound, helpful camera angles.

Equipment: stability ball or Swiss ball or whatever you want to call it (at 5’8” my 65 cm was maybe a hair too big).

Space Requirements: enough space to take several big steps in each direction, although the biggest space hog is the rolling sequence, in which you start standing behind the ball and roll on your stomach almost all of the way across it. Those who are less coordinated like myself will probably need more floor space than those who have better control of the ball. Also, you should have sufficient ceiling space to hold the ball overhead (unfortunately I do not). And be aware that there’s some bouncing of the ball (a la basketball dribbling), so this might not be one to do when your downstairs neighbor is trying to sleep.

DVD Notes: The main menu has Complete Workout or Customize Workout (Introduction; Warmup; Combo 1; Combo 2; Combo 3; All Together plus Cool Down/Stretch; Balance, Strength and Adominals).

Comments: I’ve only done the original ABC and this one but not ABC II. Patrick uses a number of the same moves, although he mixes them up so that even what you’ve seen before seems fresh. He assumes you’ve already done one of his ABC workouts, so in Having Fun… there’s less discussion of form (if you could call it that) and less breakdown. Patrick seems to have taken to heart feedback about his previous efforts, as the chapter menus in this one are more comprehensive (this is the first series in which I’ve seen the DVD chaptered by combo), he’s cut down the TIFTing, he’s included some core work, and he’s reduced the “Oh my goshes” and other Patrickisms (although fortunately he hasn’t lost his fun on screen personality).

Instructor Comments:
Patrick is his usual enthusiastic, fun-loving self, although he’s toned down the “Oh my goshes”; still, few instructors seem to enjoy being in front of the camera as much as he does. Overall he cues well, including mirror cuing.