Body Electric Unplugged: Series 2000, Volume 2

Margaret Richard
Year Released: 2008

Categories: Total Body Workouts

Video Fitness reviews may not be copied, quoted, or posted elsewhere without the permission of the reviewer

Show oldest reviews first

This review is for the second volume of Margaret Richard’s Unplugged 2000 series. There are six workouts on this DVD, each approximately 25 minutes. Half of the episodes are filmed by a brook at Margaret’s home in New York. For the other three episodes, Margaret is “on the road” in public parks in Buffalo (2 workouts) and Tallahassee (1 workout). These episodes appear to be filmed at different times of the year. The trees at Margaret’s home still have their green leaves; however, Margaret tells you that the episode in Tallahassee takes place in November, and it’s snowing in Buffalo (although you can’t see it because Margaret is in a greenhouse with opaque walls).

There is no music in this series (hence the name “Unplugged”). The workouts weren’t filmed without music, though, and they were shown on PBS with it. I believe the cost of licensing the music was the reason it was removed from the workouts; occasionally you can hear it playing (very) softly in the background, just below the level where you can tell what it is.

I’d rate these workouts as intermediate; those who are truly advanced may find these too easy, but I myself am on the high intermediate / low advanced side and they work great for me. They are endurance workouts, with a primary focus of building muscle endurance rather than increasing muscle strength. Prepare to do a LOT of reps! Each episode targets four or five body parts, and you’ll need to either string the episodes together or use them sequentially to get a total body workout. However, FYI, there is no separate chest work in this volume. This is unusual; each of the other volumes has it.

You’ll need dumbbells, and (optional) ankle weights. Below is a description of each episode on the Volume 2 DVD.

EPISODE 2009 Margaret w/Heidi (25 min)

Triceps - kickback variations, pulses, and reaches/lifts behind the back
Inner Thighs - side lunges, some while picking up then putting down weights (one at each ankle)
Outer Thighs - lying bent knee lifts, toe/heel touches, and diagonal pulses
Quadriceps - kneeling squats
Food for Thought
Cool Down

Margaret uses Heidi to demonstrate proper form in the triceps exercises. This section feels like it goes on forever (but then again, I made the mistake of going heavier with my weights than I should have). Margaret seems like she’s stopping in a couple of places, but nope! She tells you that she gets sorer sometimes when she does endurance-based exercises with lighter weights than strength-building exercises using heavier ones, and I think her triceps exercises prove her point (but only if you pick challenging weights). I found the side lunges for the inner thighs less effective, but the outer thigh work was a different story. Margaret doesn’t wear leg weights, but Heidi does and when Margaret asks Heidi to rate how much she’s feeling it on a scale of 1 to 10, Heidi says 8 (and Margaret laughs, because she knows it’s true). The kneeling squats require a good bit of strength even though they are unweighted because they go on for quite some time. I wouldn’t recommend them to those with knee issues.

EPISODE 2010 Margaret alone (25 min)

Deltoids - presses in/out, up/down, and back/forward, most with hands together
Biceps - hammer, traditional, and diagonal curls
Hamstrings - pulses in/out and pizza press with a diagonal movement down
Glutes - squeezes, pulses, and isolation holds with knees moving in and out
Food for Thought
Cool Down

The workout is set in the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens. After a stretchy warmup, Margaret does unweighted exercises for the delts. Margaret tells you that sometimes she feels this more without the weights, but you have to do these with correct form; I’m with her on this. Margaret also tells you to go “nice and heavy” for the biceps exercises because “that’s what the biceps like.” Margaret invites you to join her in wearing ankle weights for the rest of the workout for a little extra enjoyment; she does hamstring exercises on the floor, with the work on each side separated by the glute exercises. In the Food for Thought segment, she tells you she was born in 1946 (just like Cher and Susan Sarandon) and so she was over 60 when this series was filmed. She doesn’t look it!

EPISODE 2011 Margaret alone (24.5 min)

Deltoids - overhead press and lateral raises
Calves - raises
Quadriceps - lower leg lifts
Abs - legs in and out, bicycles, and twists with the elbow to the opposite knee
Obliques - reaches, crunches, twists, and shifts, all to the side
Food for Thought
Cool Down

The workout is also set in the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens. It is all done from a seated position. Margaret starts with 8 lbs for overhead presses but drops to either 3 or 5 lbs (she does’t say) for the lateral raises. Margaret tells you that few people can benefit from using 2 lb weights, but most can from 3 lbs or above so you should have a variety. Margaret wears ankle weights for the calf and quad exercises, and she places dumbbells just above the knees to “add a little magic” while working the calves. I didn’t find the calf exercises as difficult as the standard standing version, but the quad exercises were another story. Ditto for the abs exercises — raising and lowering the legs after working the quads was not easy! Even Margaret has to take a break in the middle.

EPISODE 2012 Margaret w/Benisa (25 min)

Triceps - overhead press using one hand, then two
Biceps - hammer curls with one weight in both hands
Quadriceps - wide-legged squats holding one weight combined with front raises / upright rows
Outer Thighs - leg lifts and extensions
Food for Thought
Cool Down

The workout is set Tallahassee’s Maclay Gardens. Margaret is joined by her friend Benisa; Margaret says we may remember her because she’s a long-time Body Electric friend, but I didn’t. However, I looked her up and found that she is in one of the workouts on Margaret’s “Maggie” DVD.

Margaret has Benisa demonstrate good form in the tricep exercises and then she joins her; this gives Benisa extra reps so she switches to two hands for a few reps towards the end of that side. I understood that perfectly — I myself had to drop down in weight, but Margaret kept going. Margaret is the Queen of Endurance, after all. Margaret does compound exercises in quadriceps section, which may be the only compound exercises in the entire series; in fact, in one of the previous episodes, she tells you that she avoids compound exercises because she thinks it’s more effective to focus fully on one body part at a time. Margaret wears ankle weights for the outer thigh exercises, but Benisa does not. These exercises are old standards, but still effective. Margaret again uses Benisa to show form pointers, but not until the second side. This segment seemed a little shorter than usual, so it’s a good one to try using ankle weights in if you’re not used to doing this.

EPISODE 2013 w/Heidi (24.5 min)

Deltoids - a reach/pull/squeeze move, internal/external rotations, and scarecrows
Back - upright rows, some combined with squeezes, reach/pull/squeezes, and bent over flys
Glutes - squeezes/pulses, some with one leg in the air
Obliques - side reaches, twists, tilts, and crunches
Calves - raises and rocks (on heels then toes)
Food for Thought
Cool Down

Margaret is at her goofy best in this one, joking with Heidi throughout. For example, she tells Heidi to keep her back straight “like a horse,” but she later she tells Heidi she actually looked like “a little frisky pony.” At one point, she also says not to hold the weights in a “death grip, unless you’re outside in a hurricane.” (This sounds goofier when Margaret says it. :) ). There are elephant jokes and horse jokes, and both Margaret and Heidi have a good time.

All of the exercises are done standing except the glute exercises (which are on the floor). Some of the deltoid exercises seem to work the back more than the delts, but this is likely intentional because Margaret tells you that you should feel them there. Margaret holds a weight during the oblique work, which increases the intensity.

EPISODE 2014 Margaret w/Heidi (25 min)

Hamstrings - curls, swings and pulses
Triceps - pushdowns, kickbacks, pulses, and twists
Quadriceps - static lunges and wide squats
Biceps - hammer, diagonal, and traditional curls
Food for Thought
Cool Down

Both the hamstrings and the triceps exercises are done on the floor. Margaret does one hamstring, then the triceps, then the other hamstring. She wears leg weights in the hamstring segments, but the triceps exercises are unweighted. The “pushdowns” are like a pushup, but starting with the forearms on the ground. I think Margaret made this exercise up, and because it’s not an “old standard,” more form pointers would have been nice; I feel them in shoulders, which isn’t the target muscle group (and since I have shoulder issues, they also seem a little iffy to me). Margaret holds a weight for the quadricep exercises, and she goes “heavy” for the biceps (8 lbs). She ends by telling you that she hopes you work out with her every day, a nice way to wrap up the DVD.

Instructor Comments:
Margaret can be quite silly; sometimes, her jokes are funny and sometimes not. I never know what she’s going to say, which is part of the fun of working out with her. When Margaret is happy, she’s in her element and she’s happy a lot on this DVD.