Color, Dolby, DVD, 105 minutes
When it comes to focusing on the core, too often people rely on a high-rep combination of crunches and planks to build strength and endurance. However, while these exercises certainly have their place within a well-designed exercise program, they don't begin to address the numerous stability and mobility issues that often underlie a weak core. As our understanding of biomechanics and exercise science continues to expand, so too does the sophistication with which we can address core and abdominal issues caused by things like poor posture, injury and overtraining.
This is the particular strength of Coregeous, a DVD-based program designed to increase core and abdominal strength through a step-wise process that includes deep tissue massage, establishing proper spinal alignment and breathing patterns, and balance-challenging exercises that engages all the core muscles. Despite the advanced nature of the workout, instructor Jill Miller provides detailed explanations and cues for each exercise that makes it possible not only to execute each exercise correctly, but to understand the purpose behind each one as well.
The DVD features seven routines, but the four main sequences include Core Re-Form (using balls for deep tissue massage); Get COREganized (exercises to establish proper spinal alignment and breathing patterns); InCOREporate (exercises that require the muscles of the core to work together); and Get COREgeous (balance challenges performed in different gravitational planes). The DVD also includes three specialty sequences focusing on proper breath mechanics, abdominal massage and what Miller calls “coreso” mastery.
The exercises featured are extremely precise and challenging, even during the deep tissue massage sequence, and the balance- and agility-focused moves of the Get COREgeous sequence are likely to challenge even advanced exercisers. Beginning exercisers or those with a weaker core probably won’t be able to finish the entire workout in their first few (or more) sessions. This is, however, the method behind this type of workout—to establish a base of stability and mobility prior to moving on to more advanced exercises. Over time, the exerciser will gradually increase in both strength and endurance and will progress to completing the entire workout. As such, this video is appropriate for all exercise levels, provided the beginner doesn’t become discouraged if he or she is unable to perform every exercise the first time.
Miller provides extremely detailed and technical explanations for each exercise, which helps the user understand the rationale behind the progressions and sequences. Her demeanor is calm and measured, without trying too hard to motivate the viewer with false excitement. Perhaps the only drawback to the video is the amount of equipment that is required—a stability ball, Yoga Tune Up® therapy balls ($9.95, www.yogatuneup.com), soft sponge ball and a yoga block. Although the back cover claims these props can be substituted with tennis balls, blanket and a large book, it is unlikely that the exercise experience would be quite as enjoyable. For those who are committed to increasing core strength while exercising at home, they will likely want to invest in these props, particularly the stability ball.
Building a strong and functional torso takes time, especially if you want to establish proper stability and mobility while also avoiding injury. Coregeous, with its combination of creativity and research-based methodology, will challenge and inspire users to build a strong, stable and integrated core musculature over time—not overnight.
What we liked:
· Very well-designed, progressive workout that seeks to establish a base of core stability and mobility before moving on to strengthening exercises
· Clear explanation and demonstration of exercises, along with instructions on proper form and preventing injury
· Progressive workout focuses on proper biomechanics and improving function throughout the entire core, rather than just trying to achieve a defined torso
What we didn’t like:
· Several props are needed to successfully complete the exercises, including a stability ball, Yoga Tune Up therapy balls, a soft sponge ball and a yoga block.