Egoscue Pain-Free Workout Series, Volume 1

Liba Placek, Brian Bradley
Year Released: 2007

Categories: Athletic Stretch , Special Health Conditions

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I recently picked up both volumes of the Egoscue Pain-Free series at a used book sale, including this one and the second, Egoscue: Pain Free Workout Series, Vol. 2. This first volume is labelled as "Beginners," which is meant to include those who do not exercise on a regular basis. Although I actually work out daily and consider myself to be at a high intermediate level, I started with this DVD prior to Volume 2, as I was curious about the Egoscue method.

The routine on this DVD is instructed by Brian Bradley, the Egoscue VP of Therapy Protocol. Brian does not perform the exercises himself; rather, he leads Liba Placek, the Egoscue Director of Athletics (and the instructor for Volume 2) through the movements. The Main Menu offers several options. First, there is a Functional Test, in which Brian instructs you to try to touch you palms to the floor and then repeat after completing the routine. Next, there is the Complete Workout (45 minutes) with Brian and Liba. There is also a second workout option, Workout with Music Only, in which both Brian's and Liba's voices are muted--instead, the names of the exercises appear on screen, and an audio cue (a bell flourish) sounds when it is time to change exercises. I found this odd and awkward, especially with the loud, revival-like guitar music playing in the background. The Menu also includes a resources section.

Brian and Liba are featured in a plain studio. A timer is used for the exercises which require a hold. I have listed all of the exercises below, sometimes offering brief descriptions.

1. Lying Hip Abduction/Adduction, 20 reps
2. Foot Circles plus Point/Flexes, 10 reps in/out, 20 reps point/flex
3. Lying Lateral Leg Raises, 10 reps each directions (up/down)
4. Frog (lying), hold 1 minute
5. Hip Crossover Stretch, held 1 minute per side
6. Cats and Dogs (aka cat/cow), 10 reps
7. Opposite Hand-Leg Lifts, hands & knees, 5 reps per side (held 5 secs each)
8. Upper Spinal Twist (lying), held 1 minute per side
9. Pelvic Tilts, 10 reps
10. Free Crunches with Obliques, 25 reps, 2 sets
11. Active Bridges, 15 reps
12. Free Crunches, 25 reps, 2 sets
13. Static Extension (on elbows), hold 1 minute
14. Kneeling Groin Stretch, hold 1 minute per side
15. Seated Femur Rotations, 10 reps, 3 sets (wider each set)
16. Modified IT Band Stretch (lying, bottom leg straight), held 1 minute per side
17. Cats and Dogs (aka cat/cow), 10 reps
18. Free Squat, hold 1 minute

Overall, I thought that this routine included some nice exercises that stretched the lower back/hips in particular, including the Cats/Dogs, Spinal Twist, Pelvic Tilts, Bridges, and IT Band Stretch. However, I question the inclusion of some of the exercises. For example, crunches, especially as performed here, can be not only challenging but also rough on various parts of the body, including the back and next--not something I would except in a "beginners" workout. Being an experienced exerciser, I knew how to modify these moves for myself, but no modifications are shown during this routine.

In summary, I would recommend this DVD with caution, especially for true beginners.

Instructor Comments:
The instructors are fine. I did find it a bit cheesy that Brian is giving Liba form pointers and asking her things like "how does that feel?" when she is an instructor herself; that kind of thing just seemed fake to me. But they did a good job overall.

Beth C (aka toaster)