Classical Stretch Aging Backwards

Miranda Esmonde-White
Year Released: 2015

Categories: Athletic Stretch , Total Body Workouts

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It appears that this DVD set was released (I think original for PBS supporters only) under two names. The one I borrowed from the library has the exact same cover photo and the exact same workouts, but the title on the DVD case reads "Aging Backwards" rather than Age Reversing Workouts (as pictured on Amazon). This set is part of the Classical Stretch series developed by Miranda Esmonde-White, who instructs all five routines live here. Miranda (who states that she is 65 during one of the workouts) focuses on dynamic stretches for the entire body as a means to prevent pain, foster health, and minimize the effects of aging.

There are five total routines on in this set, four 30-minute workouts on Disc 1 and one full hour workout on Disc 2. I have described each of these in turn below. (NOTE: All of the workouts are performed outdoors; for all 4 shorter routines, Miranda is poolside, in a park setting.)

Miranda spends about four minutes at the start of this workout explaining how stretching can help with posture, including reversing the effects of a curved spine due to aging. She emphasizes that there will be an emphasis on stretching the pectoral (chest) muscles as well as the back. She starts with work for the feet and moves gentle through addressing all the major joints of the body. She moves into spinal work (familiar from her other workouts) and then a series of gentle kicks for the legs. A brief series of arms work flows into windmills to twist the spine. Miranda finishes the standing work with psoas, quad, and hip stretches. The last 10 minutes of this routine consists of floor stretching. Miranda moves through the "baby" stretch, a thorough series of hip stretches, and a few seated stretches to finish.

This is probably the gentlest workout in the set, with many of the moves similar to the other routines. Miranda states that mobility is the key to preventing pain, and she again begins with feet work. The gentle warm-up continues with easy moves for the knees, hips, and shoulders. This is followed by a series of flowing stretches combined with breath. In the next series, Miranda introduces work to address frozen shoulder, including big shoulder rotations with both bent and straight arms. She performs stretches for the fingers/wrists followed by some additional moves for the hips, knees, and shins. Miranda finishes the standing section with stretches for the feet and calves. She then uses a chair for a final ten minutes of barre work. This includes one-legged hip, psoas, hamstring, and IT band stretches, and then she concludes with back stretches.

*30 MIN WEIGHT LOSS WORKOUT (spelled "Weigth Loss" on the DVD menu!)*
Here Miranda maintains that moving the mitochondria within the cells is what will produce weight loss. She again starts slowly, but the moves become more intense over the course of the routine. There is a particular emphasis on stretching the side body/ribs. Miranda also includes quite a big of lower body work in this routine, including two separate segments of kicks and plies. This all-standing routine includes some arms work as well as a final standing stretch.

At the start of this workout, Miranda states that it is important to strengthen muscles so that they become "long and lean" rather than "bulky." This is another full body routine, with the stretches again emphasizing the pectorals and the ribs. The lengthy plie series includes contract/release, heel raises, and arms movements. Miranda also performs side-to-side lunges plus the most intense arms work for the shorter routines. She finishes the standing workout stretching the calves and then moves to the floor for the last ten minutes. Miranda begins the floorwork in a side-lying position, moving through side leg lifts and some oblique work. She concludes seated to stretch the hips, spine, and IT band.

This routine is definitely not "cardio" in the true sense of the word, but it is intense enough to increase the heart rate at times. Miranda starts again with stretches for the feet and calves, moving on to stretching the fingers and completing a short arms work section. She repeats the "alphabet" strengthening series for the legs THREE times: first, the entire alphabet with the foot pointed; second, foot flexed for A-G; and finally, repeating the flexed foot for A-D. She then continues to work the legs with a series of full-body plies. The last 20 minutes consists of barre work with a chair. Miranda does an additional set of work for the feet and ankles and then moves on to karate kicks from all angles (front, side, back). She perform a luxuriously long series of hip stretches, also getting in the hamstrings and quads. Miranda concludes this routine with some brief stretches for the back and the neck.

This set offers five routines appropriate for all ages and levels of fitness, and I would definitely recommend it as a means to keep a healthy, flexible, and mobile body.

Instructor Comments:
Miranda has a likable personality that is very laid-back and a bit goofy, too. I can't say that I agree with everything she says, but she does share plenty of interesting anecdotes regarding her personal experience of working with clients. Also, she is NOT the best cuer, something I seemed to notice even more than usual with these routines--she is prone to switching moves without warning, counting oddly, and performing uneven repetitions on each side.

Beth C (aka toaster)