The Dance Store introduces a new exercise DVD that effects toning and shaping with use of light dumbbells. This program is designed to improve muscle definition without adding any bulk whatsoever. In fact, a leaner figure is the predicted outcome. Sarah, a former dance competitor, leads you through all of the classic and most popular weight lifting movements, showing the correct form and technique for each exercise. Like gymnasts, competitive dancers are noted for being incredibly strong while also being very slim and flexible. This program shows you how to achieve strength and slimness simultaneously. The Volume 1 workout is 54 minutes. Volumes 1&2 are now both contained on a single DVD!
No experience is required and the whole routine is easy to perform in a home setting. This DVD is suitable for beginners, but it shows challenging variations for those who wish to go further. With a relaxed pace and very few scene transitions, it is extremely easy to follow. There is no jumping, kicking, or dancing involved. In most movements, you follow Sarah from "behind," making following very easy. This DVD was "pre-tested" prior to release to ensure that the routine was comfortably paced, enjoyable, and easy to follow. Our participants were delighted. The routine requires light dumbbells (1,2, and 3 pounds), which are inexpensive and easy to obtain from department stores. The workout covers the whole body—legs, chest, back, arms, and midsection. It begins with a warm up, goes through stretching, strength training, and then cool down stretching. The warm up does involve a combination step aerobics and strength training figure, but it is low impact and easy to follow. In developing the routine we had three main goals: 1) make the routine as comfortable and as easy to follow as possible, 2) use movements that have high benefit to effort ratio (that are the most productive and efficient), and 3) employ and illustrate the most important principles of shaping through weight lifting.
Strength training for women has become very popular. New research has helped eliminate the misconception that strength training leads to bulk. In contrast, studies show, for programs such as this that use light weights through many repetitions, that you lose about two pounds of fat for each pound of lean muscle gained. How can this happen? Strength training DOES increase lean muscle mass, but this muscle stimulates metabolism since muscle burns more calories than fat. Thus fat is lost as muscle is gained. Since muscle is denser than fat, that is, smaller for the same amount of weight, your limbs become smaller, not larger. What about the bulky cover girls on the weight lifting magazines? Unfortunately, this image has caused most women to reject the idea of weight lifting. Programs that cause such an outcome involve constantly "overloading" the muscles with increasingly heavier weights. In addition, genetic predisposition and steroid use may be involved. Our program does not use the MORE, MORE, MORE approach toward the aim of getting the muscles as big as possible. Again, for this program, the predicted outcome is a leaner figure.
This DVD is unlike any other on the market:
- It begins with a concise lesson on form and technique for each movement. This is like a private lesson with a personal trainer. The style is one-on-one in an informal way. It's just you and Sarah. Unlike most instructors, Sarah presents in a way that is caring versus being intimidating.
- All movements are performed in tempo to relaxing music. The tempo of each music clip is matched to each movement. Most videos simply use frenetic techno as background music and no attempt is made to perform repetitions in time to the music.
- All major principles of strength training are brought out. These include:
- Program structure. The program should have a structure that includes a warm up, followed by stretching, followed by strength training, followed by cool down stretching.
- Movement sequence. The program should follow the general recommendation that larger muscles such as the quadriceps and the muscles of the chest should be worked first, followed by smaller muscles, with the abdominal and lower back muscles saved for last.
- Balanced. The program should work the antagonistic muscle pairs, for example, the biceps opposite the triceps and the quadriceps opposite the hamstrings. This helps ensure symmetry, correct posture, and natural and correct movement and action.
- Complete. Rather than being a "buns" DVD or an "abs" DVD, this routine gets upper body, lower body, and midsection in one 53-minute routine.
- Use of good form. Maintaining good form helps in preventing injuries and it effects working the muscles correctly. In addition to this, a certain amount of satisfaction and pride in what you are doing comes from using good form. Conversely, bad form or cheating usually effects an incomplete or an unbalanced muscle workout. Whereas the MORE, MORE, MORE approach tempts a person to cheat, there is no reason at all to cheat with this program. You will never be encouraged to lift more than what can be lifted with good form.
- The benefit of working the negative. Most experts agree that the weights should be lowered slowly and some studies suggest that the "negative" part of the movement (the lowering of the weights) is more effective than the positive or lifting part of the cycle.Performing the repetitions in time to music helps ensure that the lowering part of the cycle occurs no faster than the lifting part of the cycle.
- Effects life long training. This DVD shows you how to perform most of the "classic" syllabus figures in weight lifting. After learning the moves, you should be able to walk into a gym with confidence and execute the routine without the video.
- Sculpting, not bulk building. This DVD does not encourage the MORE, MORE, MORE approach. Instead, it encourages long term participation in moderate strength training using relatively light weights.
- Is Inclusive. Another feature of this program is that it accommodates a wide range of fitness levels, while challenging all levels. For most exercises we show a way to make the exercise easier and we show a way to make the exercise more challenging.
At half the price of a single private lesson with a personal trainer, this DVD represents an outstanding bargain! This video is also LESS expensive than most strength training videos on the market! Whereas most exercise videos are about 45 minutes in length, this video is longer than most, running over an hour and a half. Stereo, CD-quality music is used for all exercises. The first workout is 54 minutes, with the remainder explaining form, technique, and the principles above.
- The workout routine
The DVD begins with an 8-minute step aerobics figure designed to effect a thorough warm up. Weight lifting may or may not be used, depending on individual preference and ability. The figure does not involve jumping or bouncing. Several variations of this step aerobics figure are discussed in the DVD. The most advanced version is shown at right. Our pre-test group agreed that the warm up is indeed effective. Next, is 4 minutes of stretching, where we stretch the muscles to be trained. Following the recommendation that larger muscles should be worked first, we begin with squats. Beginners are advised to descend only a few inches. As we wish to work both muscles of the "antagonistic pair," the next exercise is hamstring curls. Next is calf raises. This completes the "legs" part of the workout. Remember, we discuss easy options and more challenging options for each exercise.
Again, following the "big to small" and the "base of the limb" to the "end of the limb" theory of proper sequence, we go to working chest muscles (pecs) followed by working upper back muscles. Next, we work shoulders and arms and, finally, we work abs and lower back. This routine teaches you the correct technique for all of the "classic" syllabus figures in weight lifting, including: 1) the military press, 2) bicep curls, 3) the overhead tricep press, 4) tricep (dumbbell) kickbacks, 5) upright rowing, 6) front upright raises, 7) side lateral raises, 8) shoulder shrugs, 9) the "back flye," and 10) dumbbell side bends.
- What happens if I start getting bulky?
A small percentage of women may add more muscle than desired. For such individuals, the muscle "hypertrophy" (that is, muscle enlargement) is highly reversible. If you stop lifting, or lift less, the the muscles should atrophy (get smaller). Most studies conducted to determine the effects of weight lifting on women do not find significant muscle hypertrophy. Perhaps the leading and most often quoted researcher in this area reports that most women are able to drop a dress size or two as a result of the "leaning effect" of strength training.
- Is the workout safe?
We advise everyone to consult their physician before beginning this or any other exercise program. Every exercise program contains some risk of injury, and this one is no exception. Development and assessment of the program involved a large team that included an exercise physiologist, a physical therapist, an aerobics instructor, a physician and many volunteers who "pre-tested" the routine. Most of the exercises and stretches are longstanding "school figures" used for decades in strength training programs. Still, this DOES NOT ensure safety of the program for all individuals.
- Is this DVD suitable for seniors?
It is suitable for many, but it might not be the best choice for individuals with balance problems of for individuals who have no experience with light dumbbells or exercise videos. There are many videos designed specifically for seniors. These will generally show the lifts performed while seated. For seniors who are not experienced with exercise programs, I suggest the videos that address the needs of many seniors.
- I'm pregnant, is this tape suitable for me?
Probably not. There are many videos designed specifically for those expecting, and these would be a smarter choice.
The Volume 2 section consists of essentially non-stop lifting action. This great 30-minute workout includes strength training, cardio training, intensive calorie burning, and cool-down stretching. Though intense, we show how to adjust the intensity level.
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