Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Review of Tracy Anderson
Perfect Design Series: Sequence I

As I write this, I’m in the midst of a battle against soreness and pain induced by a round with Tracy Anderson Perfect Design Series: Sequence I.
   If I laugh, my abs are wracked with pain. When I move my arms in any fashion, they hurt. I brace myself before I sit or stand and wince as I complete the action.
   But, like the sicko I am, I love it all – that means this mighty tough workout from Tracy Anderson, an American trainer, has done its work.
   My first encounter with one of Anderson’s DVDs was with her Mat Workout, one of her initial offerings issued a few years ago.
   I liked it enough to order her next three DVDs, Perfect Design Series Sequences I, II and III. They can be ordered separately or in a package of three on her website.
   Though Sequence I is aimed at beginners (II and III are for more advanced execisers), it is very challenging.
   On the 49-minute Sequence I DVD, Anderson re-iterates her exercise philosophy of activating small muscle groups, which she says are often ignored in most workouts, to bring out sexy curves and lines.
   In doing so, she has created a unique exercise technique, sometimes referred to on her first DVDs as the Tracy Anderson Method.
   I haven’t encountered her unusual moves anywhere else, such as those in the arms section of Sequence I.
   “I’m always working in different patterns,” says Anderson as she switches into yet another short sequence of arm movements, which run the gamut of flapping, slapping, circling, stretching, reaching and gripping of imaginary objects.
   It feels and looks a little silly but it seems to be effective, making the tops and bottoms of the upper arms burn.
   The parts of the workout that are done on the floor seem a bit like a barre workout, a bit like Pilates, and a bit like yoga, but with Anderson’s own spin.
   For example, there’s the very first tough exercise on the DVD after the warmup. The starting position is on your knees on the floor, with the butt off the feet and the body straight. You lunge forward and a bit to the side on one leg, then swing your upper body forward as the same leg goes back into a straight arabesque position behind you.
   After a just a few repetitions of this, my heart rate was up, I was sweating, my butt was beginning to burn and my core was activated.
   Other moves that target the butt, thighs and core include:
   - Starting on all fours facing the ground, one leg is pushed up behind the exerciser in an arabesque, then brought down at a wide angle to the ground until the knee touches the floor. This is done accompanied by a “rocking” push-up motion.
   - While lying on one’s side and propped up on one elbow, an exerciser reaches out the top arm and leg in the opposite direction.
   - With arms and legs on the floor and body facing up and lifted from the ground (as if a person was about to do tricep pushups), one leg is lifted up, crossed over the other and brought back to the initial position. This was actually too difficult for me to do and I had to do the move with my behind on the ground.
   The mat abdominal section is next on Sequence I, and it employs Anderson’s way of doing crunches, which I think is easier to accomplish than other ab workouts I’ve done.
   Anderson crunches slightly from the floor, head cradled in her hands. Her upper body doesn’t go any more than a few inches off the floor, while the legs are used in different patterns to work the lower abs.
   In the standing abs section, an exerciser shakes it up a bit as they move their hips and ribs in opposite directions. It’s a technique Anderson calls “rib isolations.”
   I did my own stretch at the end of the workout, finding the stretch offered at the end of Sequence I too short.
   My one complaint about this DVD is its visual grimness. It’s filmed in barren studio at night. Anderson, who narrates her own moves in a voiceover, never cracks a smile.
   It seems as if the having of fun is being looked down upon, which I sometimes find discouraging – but I'm definitely not discouraged enough to not keep tackling the Design Series videos.
   I look forward to the pain and soreness the other Sequences bring.

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1 comment:

jodie said...

I just recently bought her dvds and I really like her routines. I am also a huge fan of the Pure barre dvds.:)