Color DVD; approx. 45 minutes
Not many exercise DVDs begin with a crash course in graduate-level exercise science, specifically on the benefits of gravity inversion exercises. Rachael’s Inversion Exercise Routine, however, is unlike most exercise DVDs. It begins with a 12-minute introduction that, while sounding much like it was read from a scientific journal article, is actually quite informative in laying out its case for the benefits of gravity inversion exercises. The narrator cites a laundry list of benefits of exercising upside down, including improved blood flow to muscle fibers, decompression of the spine, vertebral realignment and establishment of spinal awareness, which can help reduce injuries. He also compares the benefits to that of Kundalini yoga, in that the exercises incorporate both mind and body, while also utilizing a full-stretch position. Unfortunately, additional less-proven benefits also are cited on the manufacturer’s Web site, including the assertion that this workout “stimulates hair growth, [and] cures cellulite and varicose veins.”
After the introduction, the instructor (Rachael) takes the viewer through a 30-minute workout done entirely while hanging upside down in the manufacturer’s Motorized Gravity Inversion Machine (sold separately on the Web site; price available upon request). The instruction itself is clear and mostly well done (she neglects to cue a few times, which could pose a problem since the exerciser is hanging upside-down and, therefore, unable to see the screen without relying largely on verbal cues). She does, however, take the time to explain the benefits of each exercise, as well as pause for the requisite 30 seconds (or more) of recovery time between exercises.
While exercising upside down is certainly not appealing to everyone (and the manufacturer notes that it is unsuitable for some people, such as those with glaucoma, chronic migraines or various “physical problems”), this exercise DVD does a good job of making the case for the benefits of inversion gravity exercises, while also taking the exerciser through a safe and moderate workout. Unfortunately, given the inaccessibility of the required equipment, it appears few people will be able to benefit from this unique fitness approach.
What we liked:
- A 12-minute introduction details the science behind inversion gravity exercises and explains why it is beneficial.
- The quality of the video and instruction are good, with adequate time given between exercises. The instructor clearly explains how to move from one position to another, as well as how to raise up and down on the machine (all of which is done from an upside-down position).
What we didn’t like:
- The most obvious drawback to this DVD and workout is the fact that you can’t perform the exercises without an inversion machine.
- The cost of the machine is high and the space requirements are considerable. These two facts make this product out of reach for most consumers.
- The Web site promotes unproven benefits, such as improved hair growth and elimination of cellulite, and strangely compares inversion gravity exercises to the benefits derived from anabolic steroids (without all of the annoying side-effects).
September 1, 2012