Perfect Design Series: Sequence 1Tracy Anderson
Year Released: 2010
Categories: Abs/Core , Ballet/Barre, Lower Body Strength , Upper Body Strength
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A bit about me — I am a high-intermediate/low advanced exerciser in my mid-forties. I just finished Tracy's Metamorphosis Omnicentric series, and decided to try the Perfect Design Series before moving on to Continuity (I need a break from the Meta music!) The first Level of PD seemed a bit easy after Meta Level 9, so I used ankle and wrist weights to increase the challenge.
I like the lying abs section quite a bit (abs seems too short in Meta).
See breakdown below.
Warm up-4:05 mins
Butt/legs on the floor-23:42 mins, 7 different moves
1_Kneel on right leg, left leg lunges/steps to side then pushes back to attitude kick. Right arm on waist, left arm extends to side, then lowers to floor during the kick. 30 reps
2_Quadruped position. Right leg kicks down, then up in attitude with a pointed foot. 30 reps
3_Stay in quadruped position. Drop right knee down at an inverted [3 o'clock] angle, then extend back and up, crossing the body at a high diagonal. Rock forward and back during the move. 30 reps
4_Lie on stomach/front. Spread legs on either side of mat. Lift right leg up and down, then move right leg across to meet left. 26 reps
5_Lie on left side on left elbow and bent left leg. Right knee pushes front and extends back in a kick. Right arm counterbalances leg with hand pushing front and back (using Tracy's "cross-vectors"). 27 reps
6_Bridge up position with bent knees. Extend right leg out to side with a straight leg, then bend knee and cross over left leg with a bent knee (right foot over left knee). This is the most challenging move in the workout—hard on the triceps and abs. 30 reps
7_ A tick-tock move that alternates upright kneeling with an kneeling side plank. Start in kneeling side plank position (kneel on left knee with left arm straight down on floor) Lift right knee into a fire hydrant, then kick out to side. Return to upright kneeling position. 30/29 reps
Abs on the floor-7:28 mins
Standing abs-2:40 mins
Un-weighted arms-2:25 mins
Balance moves w/ arm work + footwork-2:20 mins
Note: in comparison to Meta, it's pretty hard to follow Tracy during the standing abs and arms section—she moves quickly, and it's hard to see exactly how she is moving (back/forward at an angle looks like back/forward to the left/right).
More butt/leg on all fours to "reconnect"-2:50 mins
1_Quadruped position. Lift right leg into fire hydrant, then extend to side.
2_Stay in quadruped. Cross right leg behind left, tapping toe on floor. Extend to side.
Kneeling weightless arms work-1:30 mins
Cool down-2:45 mins
Tracy is more serious here than in Meta. I miss her smiling/enthusiasm, but it's not a deal breaker.
I like that Tracy gives form pointers/verbal cues on both sides (as opposed to Meta, where she only cues the first side). However, I think some of the cues are exactly the same recorded voiceover played twice.
Tracy executes the moves slower in PD than in Meta, which helps me to maintain better form when following her, but is a little bit more boring.
I find it easier to follow the DVD (and all Tracy workouts) by hooking up my laptop to the TV. I can watch the laptop when I'm on all fours, and the TV during the standing sections. I think some people on the general forum have used a tilted hand mirror to see the TV when on all fours—I have tried that as well, but found the mirror a bit small and somewhat finicky to position properly. It would be nice if Tracy would count the reps so that you wouldn't have to look at the TV.
It's 2013, and I recently purchased what I thought was a new release by Tracy Anderson called Perfect Design Series, Level 1, Beginner, but I just learned that it is a re-release of the 2010 DVD. In any event, I felt compelled to review this workout because it evoked such strong feelings of disbelief and bafflement in me.
I own many workout DVDs, and try to be open-minded about trying new workouts. I have studied dance for years, and have several personal training and group instructor certifications. I tried other Tracy Anderson workouts in the past and did not understand her method before, and after doing the Perfect Design Series, Level 1, workout, I understand the Tracy Anderson method even less.
Exercises are supposed to be based on principles of anatomy and physiology, but I do not see Tracy Anderson's exercises based on these principles. In fact, during this workout, Tracy does not explain any scientifically based reason for doing any of the exercises. In Tracy's interview on this DVD, she says that the purpose of her exercises is for people to achieve physical perfection, which I find to be a nonsensical statement since there is no such thing as physical perfection and to encourage people to achieve physical perfection only leads to disappointment and frustration.
What is even more frustrating about this workout is that Tracy never breaks down any of the movements in a slow and controlled manner, but rather, she expects the viewer to watch her moving her torso, arms, hips, and shoulders in all different directions at a rapid speed, and be able to somehow follow what she is doing and be able to replicate those movements. There is no way to follow what she is doing because she is all over the place and changes the movements every 2 seconds, plus she never cues you or says what she is doing or that she is about to change what she's doing. She never says which muscles you are working or why, while she is doing the movements.
The entire workout is done with a voiceover. Tracy does the whole workout with a very serious, expressionless face. She appears to be in her own little world. I, for one, don't wish to be part of her world, after doing this DVD. I think she has no idea about how to teach fitness in a proper, professional, safe way.
The workout starts out with some odd stretching movements done standing. She moves in such a bizarre way that it's impossible to follow her. She goes on to doing some floor work, which consists of variations of leg lifts and hydrants, but she adds in various swaying movements with the upper body that do not add anything except confusion to the exercise. In other words, there is no benefit in terms of working the muscles, by adding in these extraneous movements. By adding in the extraneous movements, it makes doing the movements more difficult and adds risk of injury.
The only section of the workout that I thought had some value was the abdominal section. The exercises were done while lying on your back, and consisted of variations of crunches and leg lifts. She has several crunching exercises that are done while keeping the legs straight (which can be hard on the lower back) and does not explain any variations with the knees bent in order to protect the lower back. As with the other sections of the workout, Tracy adds in extra movements that do not add anything to the effectiveness and only makes doing the exercises more difficult to follow.
The standing arms section is done with Tracy standing and flailing her arms and hands in all different directions, at rapid speed. She also moves her torso in various directions at the same time. It appears to be a combination of old Jane Fonda-like arms exercises and jazz isolations, however there is no rhyme or reason to what Tracy is doing. Sure, your arms get tired, but if you were to stand up and keep your arms outstretched and move them around for a while, your arms will get tired. Trying to follow what Tracy is doing is an exercise in futility. She never tells you what she's doing, or why she's doing it. She never breaks down the movements or provides a slow explanation of how to do the movements. It appears as if she is improvising as she goes along.
This is not at all a beginner's workout, even though it says it is. Even though I have had years of dance and fitness training, I still could not follow Tracy in this workout.
I don't recommend this workout to anyone. I am sorry that I spent $10 on it. It is a total waste of money, time and effort. Grade: D
Tracy Anderson, in my opinion, is not an appealing fitness instructor. She does not teach. She does not instruct. She does not explain what she is doing or how to do it. She does not explain why she is doing what she is teaching, other than to say that she is fulfilling her mission of helping people achieve physical perfection and make the body teeny-tiny and use the "accessory muscles," whatever that means. She is one of the worst alleged fitness instructors I have ever seen in my many years of using fitness videos. I think she's got a lot of people fooled.
I will never understand why more people do not talk about this workout. I have been doing Tracy Anderson's method, off and on, for a solid year now. Most of that time has been spent doing the mat workout along with combining moves from meta and content I've found on youtube.
I tried to like metamorphosis, but I hate the feel of it. It is too frantic, chaotic and gives me anxiety. I couldn't get past level 3 on either omni or glute. I felt the burn, but dreaded the workout.
Having said all of that, I LOVE THIS WORKOUT SO MUCH! Today marks my third day in a row doing it, and I feel so amazing each time after completing it. I can't wait to do it again tomorrow!
Here is why I feel the way I do:
While pondering why I dislike meta, yet love this workout, I realized something about myself. I like workouts that get my heart rate up, challenge me physically and cause me to break a good sweat, yet calm my mind and nervous system. There is something meditative about this workout. I feel like I've had a great workout, yet feel that my body has been brought back to balance and my energy rejuvenated. The sweat I break doing this workout feels cleansing. I feel centered and strong, and some of the moves are really pretty. I hope this is making sense! Please do not let this be misleading. Unless you are quite advanced, you will absolutely be challenged and feel very worked out. I have a dance background and am at an intermediate exercise level, yet this still challenges me. I sweat more doing this than I ever did doing 30 minutes on an elliptical!
The set is dark and in an intimate dance studio. The backdrop is a view of NYC at night. I feel like Tracy is my personal body designer while doing this! Unless you like high energy toning workouts with the instructor screaming in your face, you may just love this as much as I do. JUST TRY IT!