Classical Stretch Season 9: Weight Loss & Pain ReleaseMiranda Esmonde-White
Year Released: 2013
Categories: Athletic Stretch , Ballet/Barre, Total Body Workouts
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This Classical Stretch season was filmed in Cozumel, Mexico. Miranda instructs alone in a number of different locations. The workouts are divided into weight loss (WL) and pain relief (PR) episodes. As with other Classical Stretch seasons, there is no traditional cardio in any of the workouts. According to Miranda, the weight loss comes instead from strengthening the muscles of the body, especially the large muscles in the legs. That seemed a little bit of a reach to me, but it is true that muscle burns more calories than fat, so I guess she’s right — technically speaking.
Miranda claims that, if you do these workouts three times a week, you’ll see amazing results. I’m not sure about this either, but I do feel great after finishing one! Overall, I thought this was a good season. I have seasons 4 and 6 through 9, and I’ve liked them all. Don’t ask me how they differ, though. I really couldn’t tell you.
There are 30 episodes in the series; this review is for discs 1 (episodes 901 - 908) and 2 (episodes 909 - 915). Note that the times are approximate because of rounding and they may not add up to the total because of the 30 second transition between standing and floor/barre work.
I know that some people don’t like plies; the workouts without them are 903, 904, 906, 908, 910, 913, and 915.
901 WL: SLENDERIZING YOUR CORE (22:40, standing/floor)
Miranda is on a terrace in Playa del Carmen. She does a warmup with side steps, chest openers, and kicks (2 min), then does lots of big stretchy movements for the torso and spine (4 min); plies (3 min); and foot stretches and kicks, both to the front and in a clock formation (3 min). At the 12 minute mark, she goes to the floor for sit ups (2-3 min); and side leg lifts and scissors for the obliques, plus leg pulls/lifts (4 min). She finishes with stretches for the hips and hamstrings (2.5 min).
Miranda gives good form pointers in this one, and she is less chatty than usual. There are some nice standing stretches for the spine/core, plus ab and oblique work, so the workout matches the name. The foot stretches felt particularly nice, although short.
902 PR: HIP & FOOT PAIN WORKOUT (23:12, standing/barre)
Miranda is on the grass in Playa del Carmen. She starts the warmup with some flowing lunges for the hips and ankles and adds big arm movements (twists, figures 8’s, and reaches) (2.5 min). She then goes into a series of deep stretches for the back/waist/torso, and does cloud washes and windmills (4.5 min); plies with added foot/shin stretches and a torque-y lunge combo move (4 min); and lunges combined with deep upper body reaches and twists (3 min). At the 14-15 minute mark, she starts barre work. She does foot stretching and strengthening (3 min); calf and achilles tendon stretches (1 min); and hip/psoas stretches and then psoas/quad stretches (like an elevated runner’s lunge) on the barre (4 min). She finishes with almost a minute of shoulder stretches using the barre.
Miranda says that, when it comes to hips, most people treat themselves too “preciously,” so they don’t open their legs widely enough (with a result that they get stiffer and stiffer). She recommends lunging as deeply as you can without pain. Positives: this one is very stretchy! Her form pointers are good. And there is a hip and foot focus, so the title is appropriate. Negatives: she doesn’t work the sides evenly in some places (but this is minimal), and the lunge/plie move requires good form to avoid a knee injury. On balance, I really liked this one.
903 WL: HIPS & LEGS (22:24, standing/floor)
Miranda is in a market place in Cozumel. She starts the warmup by moving the upper body (throwing a ball, skiing, swinging a tennis racquet) (2 min), then goes into a series of deep breathing exercises while also stretching deeply (overhead reaches, twists, lunges, etc) (4 min); arm exercises and shoulder/tricep stretches (2min); and a section of big hip movements (“belly dancing,” hip and leg circles, leg swings into a backwards and forwards lunge, etc) (3 min). At the 11 minute mark, Miranda goes to the floor for leg and hip strengthening (pulls, lifts, circles, etc) (6-7 min). She finishes with 4-5 minutes of stretches for the hips and legs, with some of the movements done only on one side.
The big hip movement section on this one is particularly nice, even though it seemed like Miranda worked the sides unevenly here (and elsewhere in the workout as well). Although this is labeled “weight loss,” there are no plies. The floor work requires more flexibility than usual; at one point, Miranda looks like a she’s trying to bring her foot to the back of her head. Not really, but she is rather bendy there. That felt great, but be forewarned! :) Overall, I really liked this one too.
904 WL: SLENDERIZING LEGS & HIPS (22:40, standing/floor)
Miranda is in a mangrove grove at Xel-Ha Eco Park. She starts with a 30-45 second botany lesson on the air purifying benefits of mangroves, then she does the same sports-themed warmup as in the previous episode (1.5-2 min). She continues with deep stretchy moves (arm reaches, lunges, etc) in time to the breath (almost 4 min); arm and shoulder work (2 min); and big hip and movements (hip swings, leg kicks/swings, anti-“shuffling” exercises) (2.5 min). After 11 minutes, Miranda moves to the floor for leg lifts, plus some leg twists and circles (6 min). She finishes with stretches for the legs and hips (5 min).
This episode does have some nice leg work in it, although there are no plies. Love that. Miranda calls the lying leg work “torture,” but I don’t think it reaches that level. I thought the hip swing section felt particularly nice, as did the stretches at the end.
905 PR: FEET & CALF HEALING (22:41, standing/barre)
Miranda is in front of a fountain in Cozumel. She does a sports-themed warmup, with lots of big arm and leg movements, then she adds arm exercises just before the end (almost 3 min). She then does another section with big arm movements (circles, washes, pulls, figure 8’s, etc) (4 min); plies, again with big arm movements (3 min); and big movements for the legs, hips, and maybe the feet (slow-motion bicycles and leg lifts into lunges) (almost 2 min). After about 1.5-12 minutes, she starts barre work using a chair. She does toe and ankle stretches and leg twists to clean up the hips (1.5-2 min); and then hamstring stretches on the barre/chair while “walking down a staircase,” plus some stretches for the psoas/quads (5 min). She finishes with some big stretches for the upper body, neck, and thoracic spine (3 min).
I thought this one was nice but misnamed. It’s unclear why this is a PR episode instead of WL, and there doesn’t seem to be any calf work. Then again, this one did have a nice (but short) section for the feet and ankles; Miranda says this is particularly good for runners. Perhaps that’s it.
906 WL: FOCUSING ON LEG WORK (22:43, standing/barre)
Miranda is on a path by the water in Xel-ha Eco Park. She does a warmup with big arm and leg movements, including some twists, and then she goes right into some arm work without a break (3.5 min). She continues with big upper body stretches, which also hit the hamstrings and back (3 min); and a segment with Caribbean spine (2 min). At the 8.5 minute mark, she switches to barre work, using a chair. She starts with foot exercises (heel lifts, using both legs and then one at a time, then some toe stretches, and ankle flexion) (3.5 min); then moves on to a leg lift/push series (3 min); and some stretches for the hips/psoas/quads using the chair, including a short “staircase” move (5 min). She finishes with crescent stretches and twists using the chair (2 min).
Miranda is funny in this one. She tells you that Xel-ha is the “largest natural aquarium in the world, next to the ocean, of course. And if you wish, you can come here and scuba dive with the fish!” That’s true, so I don’t know why it makes me laugh (but it does). Her cues are clear, although she mis-counts at least once and she misses a twist at the end. The leg and foot work felt particularly nice; so did the stretches. Another one with no plies!
907 WL: AB & WAIST STRENGTHENING (22:21, all standing)
Miranda is on a walkway in the jungle (which is likely at a resort) in Playa del Carmen. She starts the warmup with side steps, then does arm reaches, toe taps, leg kicks, etc. (almost 3 min). She then does big slow movements using the upper and lower body (pushes, spine stretches, figure 8’s) (3.5 min); some hand and arm work (2.5min); and plies (some with foot stretches) (3.5 min) into side lunges with upper body stretches for the core (3 min) and kicks/circles (3.5 min). Miranda finishes the workout with big four-limb movements which stretch the spine (3 min).
Although I’m not normally a big fan of all standing workouts, I’ve changed my mind here. I think this is one of the better ones. The warmup really does get your blood flowing, as Miranda says it will, and the finger and arm exercises made me say ouch! (in a good way). The plies felt good to my feet, and the kicks/circles were nice (even if some of them seemed a little fast). The kick series requires an ability to balance on one leg while moving for an extended period of time.
908 PR: QUAD & HIPS (22:24, all floor)
Miranda is in front of ruins in Chankanaab National Park. She starts by briefly stretching the body from a sitting position (feet, back, shoulders, hands) (just over 1 minute) and then goes straight into ab work (crunches, leg lifts, scissors, flutters, etc) (4+ minutes). At the 6 minute mark, she does a series of back stretches and strengthening moves which seem to be inspired by yoga (cobra, modified up dog, cat, cow, child’s pose, and maybe a few more) (3.5 min); then another series of stretches inspired by the circus (pulling up on a trapeze bar) (2min). She continues with calf stretches using a Thera Band (1 min); strengthening exercises for the quads (seated leg lifts, circles, and swings) (3 min); and quad and hip stretches (including pretzel, pigeon, and seated forward fold) (4.5 min). The workout finishes with a final set of stretches for the hamstrings and back (2.5 min).
Miranda says that you should not get confused; this is a real workout! She doesn’t do her usual warmup; instead, she has about a minute of stretches and then launches right into sit ups. She says “surprise!” and I guess I was surprised! :) She also comments on how hard the leg work is, although I didn’t think it was anything out of the ordinary. The quad and hip stretches at the end are nice, although Miranda spends less time on the second side than the first.
909 WL: POSTURE WORKOUT (22:41, standing/barre)
Miranda is in front of a red building. She starts with a warmup consisting of side steps, arm swings, and figure 8’s (2 min). She continues with some back/upper body stretches, which include some trademarks (cutting the air, lifting a heavy weight, a move Miranda calls a “Marilyn Monroe” because your hand is behind your head, etc) (almost 5 min); plies (4 min); and side stretches and twists for the core (3 min). At the 14 minute mark, Miranda switches to barre work, using a chair. She does feet exercises (1.5 min) and then finishes with stretches for the psoas and hamstrings (6.5 - 7 min).
Miranda tells a story about a barracuda in this one, and then she says “and that’s no fish story!” She also says that the first set of upper body movements is good for your posture because they affect your spine; I assume this is where the name of the episode came from, but this didn’t seem much different from any other episode to me. Miranda also explains how the feet affect posture, so at least she has a posture theme in this one. Although she works the feet (slightly) unevenly, this episode overall is nice.
910 PR: For the Back & Knees (22:25, all floor)
Miranda is in front of a swimming pool in Playa del Carmen. The workout begins with foot/ankle/calf stretches and arm work (5.5 min), then continues with neck and upper body stretches (4.25 minutes), large upper body twists and circles for the core (2.5 min); and PNF exercises using the legs (3.5 min). The workout finishes with lower body stretches (4 min) and ab work (2.5 min).
This episode was a total body feel-good stretch, so much so that the ab work at the end felt out of place.
911 WL: SLENDERIZE YOUR WAIST (22:42, standing/floor)
Miranda is on the beach in front of a pavilion. She starts the workout with side steps combined with large arm movements (2 min), then continues with large stretchy movements for the waist (reaches, pulls, twists, rotations) (4 min); hip shifts/stretches/rotations and static plies with large arm movements (3 min); and hip shifts and crescent leg swings (3 min). At the 12 minute mark, Miranda goes to the floor for ab work (bicycles without the twist, reverse crunches, flutters, etc) (3.5 min); and side-lying oblique exercises (3.5 min). The workout finishes with sitting side stretches and lying hip and hamstring stretches (3.5 min).
The warmup in this episode seems faster-paced than usual, and I think the music goes well with the exercises. I particularly liked the middle eastern instrumentals in the plie segment, and the gregorian chant music is nice (except that it sounds a little like it is set to muzak).
912 WL: ARM SLENDERIZING (22:54, all standing)
Miranda is at the ocean. She warms up with side steps and big arm movements (2 min), then continues with spine stretches (circles holding an invisible beachball, figure 8’s, pushes, pulls, cloud reaches, etc.) (4.5 min); leg kicks (front, side, diagonal, and in a clock formation, most with foot stretches) (4 min); plies (3.25 min); arm work (2 min); and Caribbean spine and side stretches (3.25 min). The workout ends with windmills, airplanes, and hamstring stretches in a forward bend (4min).
Miranda’s cueing is a little late in some parts, and the name doesn’t seem to match the content (there are only 2 minutes of dedicated arm work, mostly for the triceps). Even so, it’s a nice workout.
913 WL: STRENGTHEN SPINE & IMPROVE POSTURE (22:39, standing/floor)
Miranda is at the market square in Cozumel. She starts the warmup with side steps and arm swings/circles, then she does a few twists (1.25 min). She finishes the warmup sequence with arm work (1.75 min) before moving on to large movements designed to stretch the spine and whole body (most of the stretches are upper-body focused, like “rocking a baby” and arm reaches overhead) (3.75 min). She continues with leg circles and lifts (3.75 min); and lunges with reaches and twists (4 min). With about 8 minutes left, Miranda moves to the floor for ab exercises (crunches with extended legs, bicycles, a move that looks like plough pose, slow scissors, etc) (6.75 min) and seated upper body stretches (1.25 min).
The warmup was more strength-oriented than usual. Miranda says that most people spend their lives going forward, so the reverse circles in the warmup arm work are designed to counteract that. Miranda reminds us that we are not dogs, so we can learn to train our bodies. She also tells us how good twists are for digestion (and then says how upset her mother would be with her when she makes another, related comment). When moving to the floor, she says not to get excited because it will be difficult; and she’s (sort of) right - the ab work requires more strength than her usual ab exercises and is much longer.
914 PR CALF & KNEE STRENGTHENING (23:11, standing/barre)
Miranda is on the grass in Playa del Carmen. She starts the warmup with side steps/arm reaches and kicks, and then she does arm exercises (2.75 min). The workout continues with figure 8’s, reaches and pulls with the arms, and side/front lunges with reaches (4 min); deep plies with upper body stretches (3 min); and standing bicycles into lunges. At around the 12.25 minute mark, Miranda starts barre work using a chair. She does foot exercises which target the shins and calves (2 min); and one-legged squats, some on the toes, with slow kicks (2.25 min). She finishes the workout with stretches for the hips, IT band, and quads/psoas (2.75 min); and hip cleaners, “shuffle exercises,” and twists with the leg on the chair (3.5 min).
Miranda says that the music in the warmup is “80’s James Bond” music, which some people may be too young to remember. She explains that the plies in this workout help with knee pain because they stretch out the quads. Unfortunately, my quads felt a burn, but not a stretch (perhaps I was doing this wrong? Miranda doesn’t give form pointers, likely because it’s obvious what to do.) Miranda says that, when people ask her for exercises to help knee pain, she always recommends a total body workout because the body works as one unit. This workout has a noticeable strength component to it, although the last 6+ minutes of barre work are nicely stretchy. Overall, this is a nice workout, despite the fact that Miranda works the sides a little unevenly in some of the segments.
915 WL: FOR LEGS & ARMS (22:43, standing/barre)
Miranda is in front of a red building. She does about a minute of side steps and big arm movements, then moves into finger/hand and arm exercises (3.25 min). She moves on to core work with overhead reaches, waist rotations and large upper body circles (3.25 min); and spinal flexion exercises combined with large arm movements (2.25 min). At the 8.75 minute mark, she gets a chair for barre work, which includes calf raises/foot stretches beginning on both legs and then switching to one leg with slow kicks in all directions (front, side, and back) (3.25 min); and side leg lifts/kicks (3.25 min). She finishes the workout with barre stretches for the psoas/hamstrings/quads (3.5 min); hips and inner thighs (1.5 min); and sides (including some twists) (2.5 min).
Miranda says that your neck and hands will feel better if you do the finger exercises every day, and then she tells you that this workout is for your core. However, the name is “For the Legs & Arms,” so Miranda seems to think she’s doing a different workout (this isn’t that unusual, though). To be fair, the upper body work does include arm exercises and the barre work focuses on the legs, so the name isn’t totally misleading. Miranda tells you that the barre stretches are many people’s favorites, and I agree — they are really nice in this workout.
The workouts in Season 9 are divided into weight loss (WL) and pain relief (PR) episodes. There are 30 episodes in the series; this review is for discs 3 (episodes 916 - 923) and 4 (episodes 924 - 930). Note that the times are approximate because of rounding and they may not add up to the total because of the 30 second transition between standing and floor/barre work.
I know that some people don’t like plies; the workouts without them are 917, 920, 924, 926, and 929.
916 PR FOCUSING ON THE HIPS (22:43, standing/floor)
Miranda is in a mangrove grove at Xel-Ha Eco Park. She starts the workout with figure 8’s, large diagonal pulls/reaches, diagonal toe touches, hip swings and tucks, hip circles (“belly dance”) and leg stretches (3.25 min). She continues with arm pulls and reaches (pulling a rope, lifting a heavy weight) and large washes (3.75 min); slow plies and foot/calf stretches (2.75 min); and core toning moves, including side stretches with elbow to the opposite knee, twists, lunges, and a move Miranda calls “nose dive” (hand reaches overhead and then to the opposite foot) (3.25 min). At approximately the 13 minute mark, Miranda goes to the floor for hip and hamstring stretches (2.75 min); pretzel, pigeon, and side stretches (3 min); and baby stretch, plus a diagonal stretch across the body for the IT band (2.5 min).
Miranda reminds you not to work hard in the warmup; it’s just to get the blood flowing. Even though this is a “PR” episode, there are plies, but there aren’t many and they are more stretching than toning; most of that segment is devoted to foot/calf work. The floor work is all stretching.
917 WL: INCREASE YOUR RANGE OF MOTION (22:42, standing/floor)
Miranda is in front of a swimming pool in Playa del Carmen. She starts the workout with large arm movements (circles, swings, throwing a ball and frisbee, etc) (2.25 min), then continues with deep breathing exercises combined with large twisty lunges (3.75 min); arm and wrist work (2 min); and hip and spine mobility exercises (hip swings, tucks, circles) plus some lower body stretching for the inner thighs, quads, and psoas (3.5 min). After about 11 - 11.5 minutes, you go to the floor for leg lifts/swings/kicks and hip cleaners (6.25 min). You spend the last 5 minutes or so stretching the lower body.
The warmup is unusually vigorous and largely uncued; in the first half of it, instead of cueing, Miranda tells a story about Hurricane Wilma and the benefits of “bugging your government” to improve economic conditions after a disaster. Miranda’s cueing improves in the rest of the workout. The arm/wrist work in this one felt particularly fun, perhaps because of the accompanying surfer music? Actually, all of the standing exercises felt great in this one, and I thought the the floor work was more effective than usual.
918 WL: HIP STRENGTHENING (22:40, standing/floor)
Miranda is on a terrace that looks like a golf course in Playa del Carmen. She starts the warmup with twists, figure 8’s, kicks and hamstring curls, and frisbee throws (2.75 min); then continues with diagonal pulls, lunges/reaches, full body circles, and waist rotations (3.5 min); plies (2.5 min); the alphabet with foot pointed (only to H) then with foot flexed (only to D) and stretches for the inner thighs and hamstrings (3.25 min). Around the 12.25 minute mark, Miranda goes to the floor for ab work (sit ups, bicycles, and leg extensions) (3 min); and leg work (lifts, press backs, kicks, etc) (3 min). The workout ends with pretzel and pigeon stretches (3 min).
Miranda loses count during the alphabet the first time and then almost falls over the second time (so she starts the second side again). Miranda talks about strengthening the “micro muscles” and the “macro muscles” of the hips while something that looks like a lemur runs across the grass in the background. During the ab work, Miranda says that she’s lousy at counting; although she’s not perfect, she mostly does a good job. There is one move in the floor leg work section where you arch your back a little; this does not seem like a good idea for people with back problems (and maybe not even for people who want to avoid back problems!).
919 WL: FULL BODY TONING (22:38, standing/barre)
Miranda is at Xel-ha, standing on a path by the water. She does a warmup with big arm and leg movements (figure 8’s, arm circles, reaches, side stretching lunges) (2.5 min), then arm sweeps/stretches and windmills (4.25 min); slow plies, some combined with upper body stretches (4 min); and big stretchy exercises for the obliques and lower back (3 min). The last 8.5 minutes are barre work, with hip cleaners, quad stretches, and stretches for the calves and achilles tendons (4 min). She finishes with leg stretches on the barre for the psoas and hamstrings and stretches walking down a staircase (4.5 min).
The background music after the warmup is very soft. This episode wasn’t pure stretch but it did feel very stretchy, especially the barre work.
920 WL: HIP & BACK STRENGTHENING (22:29, all standing)
Miranda is in the calendar garden at Chankanaab Nature Park. She does a “Tai Chi warmup for the spine” (big swingy twisty movements) (2 min), then some big stretch and strengthening moves for the whole body (reaches, pulls, figure 8’s, etc.) (3.75 min); hand/finger work (1 min); a series of strengthening/stretching movements for the spine and sides, some using an imaginary cement ball and an imaginary rope (4 min); and arm work (2 min). At almost the 13 minute mark, Miranda switches to the lower body for leg work (swings, hip cleaners, kick/lunges, circles) and leg/hip stretches (3 min); windmills (3 min); and airplanes and hip/hamstring stretches (3 min). Miranda finishes with 30 seconds of upper body stretches (arms overhead).
This one felt stretchy, and there were some back strengthening moves. I’m not sure why the title includes hip strengthening, though. Perhaps it was the 3 minutes of leg work? There is some balance required to do the leg swings and hip cleaners. Even though this was a weight loss episode, there were no plies. Very nice!
921 PR: SPINE STRENGTH & FLEXIBILITY (22:38, all standing)
Miranda is in front of a red building. She does a warmup with kicks (2 min), then does lots of big reach-y movements (lifting a heavy weight, washes, lunges holding an imaginary beach ball and then a heavy weight, circling to the floor) (4.5 min); another series of kicks to the front, back, side, and in a clock formation (no impact cardio, 4 min); plies (3.5 min); arm work (almost 2 min); a series of Caribbean spine and side flexion (3 min); and reaches which look like airplane but with no propellers (1.5 minutes). She finishes with windmills (2 min).
This one had some nice movements for the spine, so it was named appropriately (except for the pain relief part? These designations continue to confuse me!). Miranda says that there is a lot of no impact cardio which would give you the same workout as if you’re on a treadmill. Since my heart rate never got that high, I doubt this claim. Other than that, a nice workout.
922 WL: SLENDERIZE THE SADDLE BAGS (22:38, standing/floor)
Miranda is in the market square on Cozumel. She does a warmup with side steps/arm pulls, knee ups, and kicks (2 min), then deep upper body stretches which include some trademarks like figure 8’s (4 min); several plie variations including shin stretches and a plie/lunge combo (3 min); and leg lifts, kicks, and circles (3 min). Miranda switches to floor work for the last 10.5 minutes and does oblique crunches and her standard leg work (lifts, circles, rotations, and squares) (7 min), and hamstring and hip stretches (3.5 min).
The warmup requires more coordination than usual, although that’s not really saying much. Also the plie/lunge combo is fast and has a little torque to it, so it’s important to pay attention to form there. The music is nice and energetic; it fits the workout well.
923 WL: LEG SLENDERIZERS (22:41, standing/floor)
Miranda is on a path by the ocean in Cozumel. She starts the warmup with arm swings and circles, foot stretches, and kicks (2.75 min), then continues with a forward bend into overhead stretches and side lunges combined with reaches and pulls (3.5 min); plies while doing arm work (2.75 min); and leg lifts, the alphabet (only to “G,” once with the foot pointed and once with the foot flexed), back leg pulses/diagonal lifts, and more leg lifts (3.5 min). Around the 12.5 minute mark, Miranda goes to the floor for ab work (leg extensions/lifts for the lower abs and crunches with one leg lifting) (3 min); leg lifts for the inner and outer thighs, rotations, circles, and kicks (3.75 min); “quad raisers” (sitting foot stretches, ankle and leg rotations, and leg circles, all while the leg is raised) and calf/hamstring stretches (3.25 min).
The warmup is different; the foot stretches feel great. The forward bends and side lunges also feel stretchy, even though they have a strengthening component if you do them “with resistance” and Miranda instructs you to. The nice stretchy feeling disappears in the plie segment; that’s all strength. Overall, this is a nice workout.
924 WL: FULL BODY WORKOUT (22:27, all standing)
Miranda is on a path in what looks like a resort. She starts the warmup with isolation exercises for the fingers and wrists and slow stretches for the shoulders and chest, then she works her way down the body with hip and knee circles and foot work (3.5 min). The workout continues with a series of trademark moves (washes, cutting the air, lifting a cement ball, pulling on a bow and arrow, etc) (3.5 min); arm work and side lunges with large arm movements (3 min); a series of side lunges and lunge/twists that started slow but which picked up speed as the series progressed (3 min); ankle/foot strengthening and calf stretching (2.5 min); and washes/circles (4.5 min). The workout finishes with stretches for the quads/psoas and long adductors (2.5 min).
The warmup felt great, even though it isn’t a traditional warmup to get the heart pumping. The first half of this episode has a number of fast movements, so there is a (small) cardio component to it. This is also the episode where a “family” of cayabaras runs across the path and Miranda says that she and her crew were trying to figure out what they are (“they aren’t rabbits because they don’t have long ears!”).
925 WL: STRENGTHEN YOUR HAMSTRINGS (22:42, standing/floor)
Miranda is on a path by the ocean in Cozumel. She starts the warmup with vigorous arm circles then launches into a series of arm exercises (3.25 min). She continues with deep stretches for the upper back and spine (some “almost” figure 8’s, side-reaching twisting lunges, etc), and an “airplane” sequence combined with hamstring stretches (4.25). Next are plies with heel raises then with upper body stretch ups/pull downs (2.25 min); and fast lunges with upper body rotations/side reaches and reaches overhead/down to the floor (3 min). At almost the 13 minute mark, Miranda goes to the floor for spine stretches and sitting core work using the legs (2.75 min); and quad and hip stretches (including variations of pretzel and pigeon, plus a cross-legged forward bend) (4.25 min). She finishes with spinal twists and IT band stretches (2.5 min).
Miranda says that she is in front of a reef. She is obviously not a diver; she seems quite impressed by the divers “taking photographs of their scuba diving, right under water!” The deep stretches after the warmup are really nice, but I found it difficult to see what Miranda was doing in the airplane part of the segment. Also, the twisting lunge sequence felt out of place because it is so fast; it is hard to maintain good form because of the speed, which may make it it tricky for those with knee issues. The floor work is all stretching, which is nice.
926 PR: PAIN PREVENTION (22:25, all floor)
Miranda is in an archaeological garden on Cozumel. She starts with almost 3 minutes of hip and foot stretches and twists. She continues with ab work (crunches, leg extensions, reverse crunches, and some four limb movements) (3 min), a series of exercises that Miranda calls “spine strengthening” exercises (seated tucks, side stretches, circles, etc) (almost 4 min); and groin and leg strengtheners (pushes against legs while resisting with the hands) (2.5 min). With almost 10 minutes left, Miranda switches to lower body stretches, first for the hips, legs, and IT band (3 min) and then for the hamstrings (3 min). She finishes with some neck stretches and an exercise/stretch that she calls “row the boat.”
I love floor workouts, but the strengthening section in this one felt a little strange to me. First, Miranda finishes the ab work before the end of the music; she seems to want it to be over! I also couldn’t feel the work in the “spine strengtheners” section, so they seemed rather ineffective. The stretching portion felt really good, though. Miranda pulled it out in the end, although this one won’t be a favorite.
927 WL: FULL BODY STRENGTHENING (22:35, all standing)
Miranda is in front of a swimming pool in Playa del Carmen. She starts the warmup with arm circles and diagonal reaches/twists (2 min); slow trademark stretches (pulling on a rope, figure 8’s, twisting lunges, cloud washes, etc) (4.5 min); leg kicks/circles (4 min); plies with big arm stretches (3.5 min); hand and arm work (2 min); and slow lunges with upper body stretches (3.25 min). The workout finishes with windmills, pushes/pulls, waist rotations, and raised arm stretches (3.5 min).
Miranda says that this workout will stretch the muscle chains in your body, and it will improve your posture. The leg kick section moves faster than usual, and it requires a good bit of balance. The plie section, on the other hand, is NOT fast; in fact, you spend most of the section in a static or semi-static hold, so it requires a good bit of strength. Miranda recognizes this and tells you to “not get wimpy!” In the finger/arm section, she tells you that she’s passing on second-hand reports that the finger exercises help osteo- and rheumatoid arthritis. This workout is definitely more strength than stretch!
928 PR: HIP STRETCHES (22:39, standing/barre)
Miranda is in front of a red building. She does a warmup with standing hip stretches, wrist circles/stretches, and shoulder rolls (2.5 min); then she starts with the upper body and does arm work, chest stretches, waist rotations, and washes/reaches/pulls (4.25 min); plies, some combined with hip stretches (3 min); and leg lifts, one-legged squats, and leg swings (2 min). The last 11 minutes are barre work. Miranda does calf and shin stretches (2 min); and leg, quad, psoas, and hamstring stretches (5.5 min). She finishes with a series of trademark stretches where you “walk down a staircase” (3.5 min).
It’s unclear why this one is labeled “PR” as there are plies and other toning-based exercises. The Gregorian chant music during the plies is particularly nice. Some of the movements require a bit of balance and strength (e.g., one-legged squats, leg swings, etc.). This episode isn’t pure stretch, until you get to the the barre work (which felt really stretchy and nice).
929 WL: HIPS, KNEES & FOOT WORKOUT (22:41, standing/barre)
Miranda is on a pathway in front of a fountain. She starts the warmup with side steps, kicks, and hamstring curls, most accompanied by big arm movements (3.5 min), then continues with figure 8’s and lunges with large upper body movements (3 min); and hip tilts/tucks/circles and body rocks (which look a little like lunges) (2.25 minutes). With 14 minutes to go, Miranda switches to barre work using a chair. She starts with foot/shin stretches (3 min) then does hip strengthening exercises consisting of a variety of kicks in all directions (3.25 min); and (fast) hip cleaners/(deep) leg stretches using the chair (5 min). The workout finishes with upper body and neck stretches, some of which target the back and shoulders and use the chair (2 min).
The warmup felt unusually active and has a noticeable cardio component to it. The long barre section is nice. I love foot work, and Miranda gives good form pointers in this section. Miranda gets a little confused during the hamstring stretches and perhaps does an extra rep on the second side.
930 PR: FROZEN SHOULDER (22:42, all standing)
Miranda is by the ocean in Playa del Carmen. She starts the warm up with large arm movements (twists, figure 8’s, etc) (2 min), followed by slow stretches and twists for the shoulders and upper body (4 min). The workout continues with finger exercises (almost 1 min); a series of trademark moves (washes, pushes/pulls, lifting a heavy weight, etc) (3.75 min); front and side kicks with foot stretches and leg swings (2 min); and a plie/lunge combo, some with added figure 8’s, plies with overhead reaches, side lunges while you “cut the air/rock a baby/wash windows” and whole body circles to the floor and overhead (6.25 min). The workout finishes with windmills, something that looks like an almost airplane, and a forward fold to stretch the hamstrings (3.75 min).
Many of the moves require a full range of motion, so if you really have a frozen shoulder, you likely won’t be able to do this one. Miranda says to not be discouraged, though; the human body is just waiting for you to heal it, and she encourages you to try. Miranda tells you how great this workout is for weight loss, although the episode is labeled “Pain Relief.” She also tells you that she doesn’t lift weights because she tends to bulk up if she does; however, she’s found that this workout is all you need to maintain your strength. I myself don’t plan to give up my dumbbells, but I’m glad this works for Miranda! The episode felt very stretchy; it will be one of my favorites.
I think Miranda is great. She talks constantly, but there is less extraneous chatter in this season. She occasionally says some funny things (like the “fish story” on disc 2), but there are few tales of miraculous help to common folk or Olympic athletes. Now and again, she provides tourist info at the start of an episode. Cozumel should hire her as a spokesperson. :) She works the sides unevenly at times; however, her form pointers are generally ok and the stretches feel fantastic, so overall, the season is another winner in my book.