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Review of "Reach - Upbeat Toning & Flexibility for a Dancer's Body"

By Kari Anderson
Razor, 2006
Review by Pratima Sampat-Mar on Apr 19th 2011
Reach - Upbeat Toning & Flexibility for a Dancer's Body

Set: Reach is filmed in a large, open room with gray floors and big yellow windows. The participants are all wearing shades of green and brown and have orange mats.
Music: The warm-up starts with music from Karen Voight's Circuit Training workout. The rest is all familiar, upbeat instrumental stuff.
Time: The warmup is 7 minutes, standing work is 20 minutes, floor work is 22 minutes, and stretch is 10 minutes.
About me: I consider myself relatively advanced, though I don't always like knocking myself out. I liked Kari's original Angles, Lines, and Curves but somehow the second one just didn't appeal to me. I'm the type of person who has a hard time figuring out how to incorporate something like Reach into my weekly schedule. I concentrate on strength and cardio. I've used Reach as a bonus afternoon workout, which is even kind of a stretch for me because it's long. You could easily do just one chapter, but I've enjoyed it so much I don't feel like just doing part of it.
Workout: The warmup consists of gentle movements that take you through a range of motion to gradually warm you up. It starts with shoulder rolls, overhead reaches, and gradually incorporates squats and leg lifts. Kari does a few light stretches, mostly for the back. She then shows you a transition move used throughout the standing work, where you have your feet wide apart and alternate lifting each foot and standing (sort of a side touch keeping your feet out to the sides).

The moves are kind of hard to describe. The standing work is mostly ballet-inspired, with some yoga. The floorwork is more yoga, with a little Pilates, but if you're looking for pure versions of any of these, you're not going to find them here.

The DVD is chaptered into Standing Work, Floor Work, and Stretch. It's a great production; I didn't have any audio or visual issues with the DVD.
Standing work includes the following (Kari uses the ballet terms I've included):
Plies -- First you plie up, lift one leg and tap that foot on the floor, then you move to lifting the foot entirely up off the floor.
Developpe -- Start in first position (feet in a V with heels touching). Tap your toe in front of you, bend your knee and lift it up with the foot pointing straight down. Extend the leg straight in front of you. There are a few variations of this and eventually you extend the leg behind you. You balance on the other leg, bending and straightening to work balance and strength.

More plies -- lift one leg up and rotate internally so the knee comes towards the other leg, then rotate outward to move back away from the leg.
Warrior and lunge positions --Kari moves up and down and move your arms while in a lunge to work balance and strength through dynamic movements.
Floor work includes the following:
Start with squats, then go to down dog and plank position.
Side plank series--move from one side to the other working your obliques.
Push-ups and side leg lifts (done lying on your side). V-sit (teaser) or boat pose. Some ab work including a slow roll down and up with legs straight out in front of you. Dead bug, and a sort of crunch where you start lying flat on the floor, then lift up turning towards one side and bring that knee towards your upper body. Bridge work with variations.
Back extensions- start lying face down with legs bent at 90°angle so feet point straight up. Lift upper and lower body, then repeat with arms and legs both straight.
Stretch: Includes bow pose, cat/cow, and other back stretches. Kari also does some great stretches for the hips, thighs, quads, and hamstrings.

I paid really close attention to form throughout the workout and could feel it in my thighs and abs the next day (I LOVE side planks!). Kari emphasizes grace and range of motion, but she also encourages you to modify if necessary. One exerciser shows some modifications.

I wouldn't recommend this to someone who has never worked out because I think it'd be hard to get the form right. It might appeal to Lotte Berk/Callanetics/Bar Method fans because it seems to work the body in similar ways. I think ALC relaxes me, and ALC 2 didn't work me or relax me, so I was disappointed. Reach definitely seems like work, but it's done so gracefully that it's not the same feeling as lifting weights or even doing a LB or TBM workout.

Reach is definitely a workout you should check out if you're looking for something different. Kari's style of teaching and her blend of yoga, ballet, and Pilates were exactly what I was looking for.

Instructor Comments:
Kari is her usual self in this workout--encouraging, cheerful, and graceful. She demonstrates perfect form and gives very good explanations, both of which are very important in this type of workout.

 

© 2011 Pratima Sampat-Mar

 

Pratima Sampat-Mar is the Online Education Coordinator for an allied health school in Arizona. She holds an Association Montessori International Primary Diploma, a Bachelor of Arts degree from Oberlin College, and Master of Education degree fromLoyola University Maryland.

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