Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Review of Squeeze Stronger

Squeeze Stronger, a DVD from Hollywood trainer Tracy Effinger, left its impact on me long after its 80 minutes of gruelling work was over.
   My sides ached, my legs felt like they had undergone some sort of trauma, and my triceps had never felt quite so sore in the couple of days after I did the workout.
   But it added to my sense of accomplishment for finishing the workout and keeping good form while doing so – my body was recognizing my efforts.
   Squeeze Stronger is Effinger’s sequel to her first DVD, Squeeze.
   Squeeze Stronger is harder and more vigorous than Squeeze, and is so a good “next step” workout.
   Squeeze is Effinger’s formula of small, intense muscle movements that target and tone the entire body. It is descended from the Lotte Berk Method, an exercise technique that has inspired other workouts such as Pure Barre and Core Fusion.
   The Squeeze Stronger workout is comprised of two main sections: a 35-minute upper body and waist routine that includes a warm-up, and a 45-minute lower body and abs routine that includes a final stretch.
   The arms are targeted first in the workout. A set of light hand weights is needed – and I really mean light. Starting off with weights that are too heavy will cause immediate exhaustion. As it is, the arms will burn as the biceps, shoulders and triceps are worked from several angles.
   Then comes the waist work, for which you need to haul out a broom. The broomstick is placed over the shoulders and the arms along it, and an exerciser bends from side to side. It will be felt the next day.
   Push-ups finish the upper body section.
   For the lower-body section, a chair is needed for balance. The feet are placed in a narrow V and lifted from the floor, and from this position deep thigh bends are done. Other standing thigh work, such as deep pliĆ©s, follows.
   “Knee dancing” is featured next. Sitting back on the feet, an exerciser pushes their hips up off the feet and forward, repeating this action over and over.
   The “pretzel,” a nightmarish move, involves sitting on the ground and swinging both legs to one side. While leaning on one’s arms to the opposite side, the background leg is lifted off the ground. It’s very hard, and thankfully Effinger shows a modification – leaning completely over on one side on the elbows, which makes it easier to lift the leg.
   An abdominals section comes next. Gripping the broomstick with both hands, an exerciser leans back and does little crunches, then proceeds to move the stick above the head and back down again.
   The hips are worked last with a series of pelvic lifts.
   A welcome final stretch concludes the workout.

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