Monday, December 6, 2010

Review of Physique 57 - Volume 1

“In the next 57 minutes, we are going to strengthen and lengthen every muscle in your body,” says Tanya Becker at the beginning of the Physique 57Classic 57-minute Full Body Workout DVD.
   She’s definitely right. The workout, a combination of small, intense moves done at quick intervals, works the body from arms to butt to abs, leaving them burning with the knowledge that something definite has been done.
   Decker promises the Physique 57 technique will improve on what nature and genetics gave you, whatever your body type. And she says a person won’t plateau, that there’s always a chance to improve at the moves.
   From what I can tell, Decker’s promise appears true – workouts like Physique 57 which are based on the Lotte Berk Method of exercise do definitely contribute to toned arms, a lifted butt, thin thighs and flatter abs. And such workouts are always, always tough, continually challenging the mind and body.

If you haven’t guessed already, the Physique 57 workout technique, created by Tanya Becker, is so named for the length, in minutes, of the classic workout.
  The Complete Physique 57 Workout Kit from amazon.com includes three DVDs: 57-minute classic workout, an Express 30-minute workout and a 30-minute Abs and Arms boost. The kit is volume 1 of available Physique 57 DVDs. All three workouts feature one person in the exercise crew effectively modifying the exercises at an easier level.
   Also included in the kit is a playground ball and pump to inflate it. The playground ball is used in many of the exercises.
   The classic 57-minute workout begins with a short warm-up, followed by arm work with hand weights – bicep curls, shoulder lifts, upright rows. Dropping to the mat, arm work continues with push-ups, tricep dips and plank position.
   Next comes thigh work standing at a ballet barre, chair or sofa. With hands on the support and feet off the ground, ankles meeting in a narrow V, a person bends up and down at the knees.
   With variations on these bends, including swinging the hips as you move up and down and pressing the thighs back, the heart gets pumping and the thighs get burning. The playground ball is then placed between the knees and the thigh exercises continue.
   After thighs comes the booty burn. First facing the barre or chair, then turning to the side, the leg is bent and pushed back, repeatedly and in different variations. Then comes the pretzel, a difficult exercise that involves sitting on the ground, leaning to one side and lifting the bent leg off the ground.
   The abdominals section is next, and it’s long and challenging.
   First are a series of leg scissors, leg lifts and cycling motions done on one’s back – killer not only on the abs but the thighs and hips as well.
   Next, the playground ball comes into play. An exercise mat is placed over a sturdy cushion, and person leans back against it. With the ball between the knees, a series of crunches with leg lifts off the floor, escalating in difficulty, are performed.
   After some pelvic tilts and back work, a welcome final stretch finishes the workout.

The Express 30-Minute Full Body Workout DVD, also led by Tanya Becker, is best done after a person gets used to the 57-minute workout or has done other Lotte Berk Method workouts.
   It gets right to the thigh work almost immediately after a short-warm up and some push-ups.
   There is a big concentration on the behind, with several minutes of standing exercises performed at the barre or chair.
   The abs section gets right to using the playground ball between the knees and a series of crunches.

The 30-minute Arm & Ab Booster DVD is led by Physique 57 master instructor Shelly Knight.
   The first part of the workout concentrates on the upper body, with bicep curls, shoulder lifts, rows, tricep kickbacks, push-ups, tricep dips and plank position.
   There is a challenging transition between the work of the arms and abs. With the playground ball behind the small of the back and leaning against it, legs straight and on the ground, an exerciser lifts weights up and down and taps them together in front. The balance required does overtime work on the abs and thighs.
   The abdominal section that follows is prolonged and demanding – perfect for those looking to flatten their tummy and tone their core.

Other good Lotte-Berk Method-inspired barre workouts:
Squeeze Stronger
Pure Barre: Pershing Square 2

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