Body Electric Unplugged: Series 2000, Volume 3

Margaret Richard
Year Released: 2008

Categories: Total Body Workouts

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This review is for the third volume of Margaret Richard’s Unplugged 2000 series. There are six workouts on this DVD, each approximately 25 minutes. As in the other volumes, most of the episodes are filmed by a brook at Margaret’s home in New York. However, Margaret is at the Buffalo and Erie Botanical Gardens for a couple of the workouts, once with her friend Jean and once alone. She is also joined by her long-time workout buddy Heidi for three episodes.

There is no music in this series (hence the name “Unplugged”). While I normally like background music while I work out, I don’t really miss it here. Perhaps I’m just used to it in the Unpluggeds. Or maybe it’s that Margaret can be rather silly sometimes, and I focus on what she’s saying so I have something else to listen to.

I’d rate these workouts as intermediate, but a beginner could do them with low weights. 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. I just lift as heavy as I can, which is hard because Margaret does a LOT of reps sometimes. Even so, these workouts fall into my “no dread” category. Whenever I don’t want to work out at all, I can usually convince myself to work out with Margaret.

You’ll need dumbbells, ankle weights, and a playground ball. Most episodes require dumbbells, but the other equipment only appears in a few workouts. Below is a description of each episode on the Volume 3 DVD.

EPISODE 2015 Margaret w/Jean (25 min)

Deltoids - rear delt rows, upright rows, and scarecrows
Pecs - a cross-body diagonal move with light weights and chest press/pulses
Abs - reverse crunches, rocket shoots, and traditional crunches
Inner Thighs - leg lifts and circles
Food for Thought
Cool Down

The workout is set in a greenhouse in the Buffalo and Erie Botanical Gardens. Margaret says it’s snowing outside, but you can’t see it. Inside, the flowers are tropical and lovely. Margaret and Jean make jokes and crack themselves up; they are quite silly! Most of their jokes have a (vegetarian) food theme.

The pec exercise is unusual; I’ve never seen it before and wouldn’t be surprised if Margaret made it up. You stand in a split stance and bring a light weight to the opposite pec, then, leading with the elbow, you bring the weight across and to the side of/behind the body. Even knowing that this was supposed to work the pecs, I couldn’t really feel it there. Margaret uses one weight when doing reverse crunches; she suggests 5-8 lbs. Because she holds the weight straight overhead, I don’t think the resistance increases the difficulty. Margaret doesn’t add ankle weights in the inner thigh segment, but she tells you that you can if you like. I did but started to regret it because Margaret does about 2.5 minutes on each side.

EPISODE 2016 Margaret alone (25 min)

Triceps - kickbacks, plus pushes in/out and twisting hands, both with the arms behind the back
Back - upper and mid back squeezes, scarecrows, and oblique crunches
Outer Thighs - leg lifts/pulses and circles
Calves - heel raise variations and heel rocks
Food for Thought
Cool Down

This workout is all standing. Margaret does not use weights for any of the exercises, and she promises that you’ll still get a good workout without them. She adds a few oblique exercises to the back segment, but this doesn’t seem totally out of place. Margaret tells you that you can add ankle weights to work the outer thighs but again says that you may find you don’t need them. I added weights and thought this worked well.

EPISODE 2017 Margaret w/Heidi (24.75 min)

Hamstrings - static pulsing lunges with your chest on your front quad
Abs - crunch variations, including a few side crunches
Quadriceps - leg lifts
Glutes - pulses and squeezes with various foot positions
Food for Thought
Cool Down

I think the hamstring exercise is unique to Margaret. Because you don’t come all the way up for any of the reps, it will really work your endurance. It is particularly challenging if you don’t lean into the dumbbell (used in the first set for balance) but instead let your leg muscles do all the work. Ouch! Margaret goes to the floor for the rest of the workout, and she uses a playground ball for support and/or as a positioning aid.

EPISODE 2018 Margaret w/Heidi (24.5 min)

Triceps - overhead french press
Biceps - diagonal curls
Hamstrings - deadlifts, first using both legs, then with one leg back and the weight in the front
Inner Thighs - leg lifts
Food for Thought
Cool Down

Margaret combines the tricep and bicep exercises, working one arm at a time. She uses 8 lbs and reminds you of the importance of lifting as heavy as you can; when she asks Heidi if she’s using weights that are heavy enough, Heidi admits she isn’t but then she switches for the second side. The hamstring exercises are “Margaret’s version” of a deadlift, holding only one 8 lb weight; this would be more challenging with a heavier weight. Margaret moves to the floor for standard inner thigh exercises; she doesn’t use leg weights and she doesn’t make Heidi use them either. I did, but I think they would be plenty challenging without them! Margaret tells you that if you get a little shaky, that’s ok because “shaky is not break-y.” Gotta love Margaret!

EPISODE 2019 Margaret alone (24.75 min)

Calves - raise variations and heel/toe rocks
Glutes - squats
Obliques - standing crunches and twists
Back - upright rows, some with squeezes, front rows with hand variations, and flys
Deltoids - lateral raises, diagonal raises, and small-range front raises
Food for Thought
Cool Down

Margaret is at the Buffalo and Erie Botanical Gardens. All of the exercises are done standing. The second exercise is called “Quadriceps Combo” on the Disc menu but “Glutes” on the back of the DVD cover. It consists of deep squats/squat pulses; Margaret uses a chair as a positioning aid, telling you to go low enough that you’ll almost sit down. Margaret uses one weight for the oblique exercises, and she tells you that these can cause DOMS if you’re doing them correctly. I must not be, because I never get DOMS from Margaret’s oblique work. Sigh Margaret tells you to start with heavier weights for the shoulders, and she switches to lighter ones after the first set of lateral raises. These presented quite the endurance challenge for me, but then again, I have shoulder issues.

EPISODE 2020 Margaret w/Heidi (25 min)

Inner Thighs - open and close legs while lying on your back, leg pulses, and leg circles
Outer Thighs - side-lying leg lifts from a 45 degree angle and knees pulled to the chest
Quadriceps - leg circles, lifts, pulses, and twists from a supine position
Abs - crunches, torso circles, and knee/arm extensions (while crunching)
Food for Thought
Cool Down

This workout consists of all floor work. It starts with a series of stretches, which make it feel more like a cool down than a warmup. Margaret uses a playground ball under the lower back during the inner thigh exercises. She throws it out of the way after she’s done; Heidi throws hers into the creek. Oops! Margaret makes sure that Heidi doesn’t forget this mistake, but Heidi is a good sport about it.

Instructor Comments:
Margaret is one of my favorite workout instructors. She's usually happy to be working out, and that makes me happy too.