Body Electric Unplugged: Series 2000, Volume 4

Margaret Richard
Year Released: 2008

Categories: Total Body Workouts

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This review is for the fourth and final volume of Margaret Richard’s Unplugged 2000 series. All but one of the episodes are filmed by a brook at Margaret’s home in New York, and Margaret either works out alone there (3 episodes) or with her friend Heidi (2 episodes). For the final workout, Margaret is in a greenhouse in the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, where she is joined by her friend Jean.

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. You’ll need dumbbells, a playground ball and furniture moving discs for these workouts; ankle weights are optional. If you don’t have furniture moving discs, you can substitute paper or gliding discs. Below is a description of each episode on the Volume 4 DVD.

EPISODE 2021 Margaret alone (25 min)

Pecs - presses using a playground ball with arm variations
Biceps - hammer and diagonal curls
Deltoids - raises (to the sides, front, and diagonal) with straight arms
Hamstrings - pushes from a prone position using a playground ball behind the non-working leg
Glutes - squeezes/pulses with a playground ball between the knees
Food for Thought
Cool Down

The pec, biceps, and deltoid exercises are done standing. I also felt the pec exercises in my shoulders (good) and wrists (bad). The deltoid raises present quite the endurance challenge. Margaret talks constantly, but her chatter is all exercise-related. The cool down at the end is pure stretch — very nice!

EPISODE 2022 Margaret w/Heidi (25 min)

Back - cat/cow stretch, opposite arm/leg extensions, prone leg extensions, flutters, and swans
Triceps - side-lying tricep pushups, kickbacks, and straight arm pulses
Obliques - side planks and rotations
Inner Thighs - leg movements in, out, and in a circle
Food for Thought
Cool Down

After the warmup, Margaret says that this is an all-floor, no-equipment workout. However, the inner thigh exercises are done standing and Margaret uses “furniture mover” discs. Margaret tells you that you can substitute a piece of paper. I tried the paper option but couldn’t get it to work, so I didn’t find this exercise super effective. I did feel it in the calf of my supporting leg, so it wasn’t a total waste.

EPISODE 2023 Margaret alone (25 min)

Deltoids - raises/presses/in&outs using a playground ball
Quadriceps - squats with the ball between the knees and holding onto something for balance
Abs - crunches and reverse crunches
Hamstrings - curls and pushes
Food for Thought
Cool Down

All of the exercises, except the abs, are done standing. Margaret uses a playground ball for the first three segments, but it is just for positioning in the quad and ab exercises. Margaret also tells you that you can add leg weights in the hamstring exercises but she doesn’t use them herself. Margaret has some goofy moments in this episode (“If you have abominable abdominals, we’ll do this every day”); overall, she has a good time.

EPISODE 2024 Margaret alone (25 min)

Biceps - hammer and diagonal curls
Pecs - flys and chest presses
Glutes - pulses/squeezes and isolation holds with the knees in/out
Outer Thighs - leg lift variations and leg circles
Food for Thought
Cool Down

Note - the DVD cover has order of Pecs and Bicep exercises reversed

This workout is standard Margaret. It’s done mostly on the floor, and Margaret’s talk is mostly exercise related. She tells you that you’re never too old or too out of shape to work out; your muscles will always respond. Margaret doesn’t work the outer thighs in exactly the same way on both sides; she tells you that she challenges herself to be different (and then offers to sell you a bridge :) ). Gotta love Margaret.

EPISODE 2025 w/Heidi (25 min)

Triceps - dips and unweighted kickbacks
Back - flys with two hand variations and upright rows
Calves - raises
Inner Thighs - side-lying leg lifts, some while top leg moves in towards the chest
Abs - crunches, some with the feet moving in and out, and oblique crunches
Food for Thought
Cool Down

The setting is Margaret’s backyard, and the trees are still green. However, you can tell in this episode that Fall is coming; there are leaves on the ground and a few float down during the workout. For the triceps, Heidi does dips using a chair, while Margaret does hers on the floor. Margaret tells you that the chair adds intensity, but she shows a variation on the floor (moving forward towards the feet) that can’t be done in chair. For the back, Heidi continues to use a chair and Margaret stands. The calf raises are standard, but Margaret and Heidi joke during this segment; you learn that Margaret will soon be 60 and is starting a club (“Over Sixty and Sublime”), which she says that Heidi can’t join because Heidi is only in her 40’s. Margaret brings back the furniture gliders for the inner thighs and abs. I used gliding discs and found that they worked better than paper (which didn’t work at all for me); however, they were still tricky during the abs exercises, so that’s not saying much there. The inner thigh exercises required both strength and coordination, an added bonus!

EPISODE 2026 Margaret w/Jean (25 min)

Pecs - pushups variations
Biceps - traditional, diagonal, and hammer curls
Deltoids - lateral and front raises, some with pulses
Outer Thighs - side-lying leg lifts, bicycles, and circles
Food for Thought
Cool Down

Margaret is in a greenhouse in the Buffalo and Erie County Gardens. She starts the pushup segment on her toes, then she drops to her knees after a few reps. She also does a few at the end with one leg in the air; for some reason (a shorter lever, perhaps?), these felt easier to me. The deltoid work seems to go on forever. When this section is over Margaret mostly stretches the neck and pecs, and only stretches the shoulders very briefly. Margaret wears ankle weights for the outer thigh exercises to end the DVD with a bang.

Instructor Comments:
Margaret is one of my favorite instructors. She is in fine form here — her jokes are a little corny, but she’s having such a good time that it’s hard not to laugh with her.