Reach FurtherTracie Long
Year Released: 2010
Categories: Athletic Stretch , Yoga
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Reach Further is “Volume 4” in the Focus series, four 30 minute workouts that have no warm up or cool down and are intended to be used as quick, “focused” workouts or as add on workouts to another workout.
Collage Video described this as a “rhythmic blend of yoga, Pilates, and modern dance,” and I was excited to use this workout as a yoga fusion (maybe like Ellen Barrett’s Yogini), relaxing, stretching, lengthening, and strengthening all at once. I really like Tracie Long and have her TLT videos and I have certainly been a big fan of her as a Firm master instructor. She is down to business and encouraging.
With all of that said, I did the workout for the first time last night and it did not live up to my expectations. There are three chapters, in the DVD menu you can play each individually or play all at once. I appreciated the feature to play all (and used that feature) but didn’t appreciate the disjointed feel that I got from a pause with each chapter being introduced and Tracie not being in the same pose (for instance between Chapters 2 and 3, she was laying and all of a sudden she was standing!)
Chapter 1 was the (only) “yoga inspired” portion of the workout. While this was an enjoyable section (the best out of the three in my opinion) it moved *really* quickly and the transitions were not intuitive. It did not follow any vinyasa sequence and sometimes she did warrior from side to side (by widening feet) and other times from front to back (by lunging back) and I got lost quickly. The moves were so fast that they were not really relaxing, likewise they were not held long enough that I feel like I got too much flexibility gains (except for lateral stretches which she held for a long time!) Also, the only yoga move that she actually named was “Warrior 1” even though we did Warriors 1, 2, and 3 along with Side Angle Pose, etc. I thought it was peculiar that she didn’t name the other poses and made me wonder if she really isn’t that familiar with yoga. The other reviewer gave a detailed explanation of the actual moves (in all three chapter) so I will not reiterate here.
Chapter 2 was the “Pilates inspired” portion of the workout, with an ab focus. Lots of plank work and some supine ab work (both traditional and Pilates inspired – her own twists on Pilates moves but she did not specifically cite any actual Pilates moves). Tracie does know how to do plank work and the ab work was very well sequenced, and effective. My only complaint about Chapter 2 is that the routine would have been more appropriate for Chapter 3 – keep all of the laying work at the end instead of sandwiching it between two standing segments! Again the workout felt disjointed because of this. I am particularly picky about excessive up-downs (in many workouts by many instructors) so maybe this would not bother others so much. But again it seems like this would have been a much better final chapter.
Chapter 3 was clearly supposed to be focused on balance. The “modern dance” that Collage noted would have (in my opinion) been referring to this section. It was a combination of strength oriented moves on the toes (which did work the balance), and stretch oriented swaying moves that were also performed on the toes. Some of the swaying moves were dancy but not annoyingly so. The moves were okay (and creative) but the routine was bland: it wasn’t notably fun, notably challenging, or notably relaxing (any one of the three would have been great!), it was just okay. True to Tracie however this section did have a very functional fitness feel to it.
I am hoping that if/when I do this workout more, that I will get accustomed to the Chapter 1 quick transitions and it will be more enjoyable, and I will know for the future to skip over Chapter 2 or do all three separately because they do not flow well and to avoid the up-down pet peeve of mine. But at a first look, this will not be one that I reach for (pun intended :-) very often. For one thing, it was not worth the $16.95 that she is selling the Focus workouts for, that is a very steep price for a 30 minute workout of any type, and for that price I was expecting it to be fantastic. Thankfully I got it second hand but I feel it was still not worth what I paid for it.
This might be a good choice for hard core Tracie Long fanatics, and/or those who want to dapple with Yoga and Pilates but want to avoid the mind-body connection talk (as there is none of that in this video), but I would not recommend it to Yoga or Pilates purists or if you are looking for a Ellen Barrett-esque relaxing fusion workout. Both Yoga fusion and Pilates inspired core work are a dime a dozen nowadays, and there are lots of better choices out there. The balance work was more unique but even that does not justify the retail price of this DVD. Grade C-.
Tracie is a great instructor. She usually has meticulous cuing, she is really straight forward and business like but still knows how to still make a workout fun and encouraging. I liked her best in the Firm but her TLT workouts were great. I liked her less in this workout, I thought her cuing could have been improved. She does have a truly impressive physique and she looked striking in that bright green color in this workout. To date I have not tried any of her other Focus workouts or any of her LONGevity workouts.
Clearly a yoga hybrid, as it mixes traditional abdominal toning with fast paced yoga poses and balance moves. I attempted this one after my steady state run to "relax" and was pleasantly surprised by how hard I was working. The workout is broken down into 3 individual chapters that you can choose to do all at once or choose any one your prefer based on your preference for the moment.
Chapter 1 starts quickly with a side reach, plie, side reach, lunge sequence. Warrior 1 into Warrior 2, then into Reverse Warrior. Side angle stretch follows. Next you'll move into a wide legged forward bend, diving forward and then you'll arch your back on the way up. You'll repeat this 3 times and the 4th time you'll round your back on the way up. You'll repeat this "vinyasa" twice before repeating this sequence to opposite side. The last part is a flowing arms motion side to side, varying the tempo (like your pushing through water) with sunburst arms. You'll end with a balancing pose. You'll grab the right ankle with the right hand, tuck your pelvis and drop your body forward. A nice lunge/hamstring follows. Chair pose is done between sides. Down dog, plank, lower down slowly, up dog, push back again into down dog--repeat for several rounds. Hold plank. Side plank follows. Down dog, then repeat plank sequence. Down dog into child's pose. From child's pose, you'll articulate a rolling motion, diving your body forward and then rolling back. On your knees, you'll perform a modified camel with one arm supporting back. Following camel, you'll raise both arms overhead and gently lower yourself to the side, stretching your side body (repeating both sides).
Chapter 2 begins on hands and knees and moves to plank position. Tracie leads you through a sequence of knee drops, out/out, in/in feet (or hands). Tough! On the belly with arms in T, you'll lift all the body off floor. Various positions of these back body stretches are shown. One more set of the plank sequence before moving onto a thigh burner--on your knees, you'll lean your body back and fully stretch the entire upper leg area. Cat/cow follows. Triangle right leg out to side and reach over to stretch. Repeat with left leg. Traditional abs are next. Toes on floor, bring knees up, then lift toes to ceiling. Bicycles follow. Reverse curls are next. The next move is tough--hands behind head, you'll bring knees in, then push legs straight out from body and then open legs in a wide V, bring them together and back in. You'll repeat the first 2 ab moves again and then relax with bridge pose. The next sequence of ab exercises target the obliques. Tracie performs several rounds of twisting crunches. Stretch into a short, but nice, hip stretch. A nice full body stretch concludes this segment.
Chapter 3 is all about balance. Tracie starts with the balance work and finishes with a few floor stretches to end the session. Standing with arms extended in front of you, you'll rise up on your toes and then sink down. Hold. This segment was definitely a challenge for me! Next is a 1 legged balance move. On one leg, you'll lift the opposite leg and interlace the hands and hinge the body forward, lowering it over the balancing leg. Side stretch. The next move you'll hold one leg and balance on the other. You'll then extend the leg you are holding for an additional balance option. Then you'll put that foot on top of the other thigh, all while balancing and then bend and touch the floor. A nice back stretch follows. Repeat other side. The next balance move involves a one legged rotation with airplane arms. Following you'll rise up on the toes, overhead and then twist the body to the right. Repeat to other side. Forward fold to stretch hamstrings and forward bend to stretch the back. Move to floor. Position legs into a wide straddle. This stretches the legs and groin effectively. Chest stretch. A nice twist move to each side and then finish with one final forward seated fold.
This was deceptively hard.....yoga purists may want to try it for diversity and yoga beginners may want some understanding of basic yoga poses before jumping right into the workout as Tracie goes quite fast through the 1st chapter which contains most of the yoga poses.