by Megan McCracken (Instructor)
Bayview Entertainment, 2014
Review by Beth T. Cholette, Ph.D. on Aug 12th 2014
This DVD is actually a re-release of a program from several years ago; it appears that the new version is packaged with the weights which are used in the workout. In her introduction, instructor Megan McCracken states that "Box, Balance, & Lift" is Volume 1 in her Super Seniors series (according to her web site, she also offers a walking program).
The Main Menu of this DVD lists options for Instructional or Main Workout. McCracken explains that the Instructional segment (19 minutes) provides the opportunity to learn the moves at a slower pace. It is a mini-workout in and of itself, as McCracken (who is alone for this segment) goes through warm-up moves as well as basic exercises. However, she frequently pauses to give more detailed instruction, so it is not a flowing routine.
The main routine is just under 50 minutes. Here McCracken leads a class of eight seniors, a few of whom introduce themselves and provide their ages. Prior to starting the routine, McCracken recommends having a chair, light weights (3-5 lbs.), and water on hand. One of the participants remains seated in her chair throughout. McCracken begins the workout with a 5-minute standing warm-up. She cues simple moves similar to what she previewed in the Instructional portion such as neck and shoulder rolls, tap outs, side pivots, and overhead reaches. The actual workout starts with marches and includes some of the same moves (e.g., reaches, toe taps, and pivots) performed and a bit quicker pace. McCracken continues to add exercises such as gentle twists, high knees, and hamstring curls. She then brings in the "box" portion of the routine by incorporating easy jabs forward; she alternates these with marches and speed bags, all performed at a very moderate, easy pace. Finally, McCracken mixes in additional punches, including the hook and the uppercut. She concludes this standing cardio segment (20 minutes) by suggesting either repeating this portion for 40-minutes of cardio or coming to seated in the chair.
Once seated, McCracken tells the class that they are going to "go for a swim." She alternates a forward crawl move for the arms with flutter kicks for the legs, varying this with a breast stroke for the arms as well. The next move is standing up and sitting back down in the chair, with the option to hold onto the weights. (Note: the one class participant continues to remain seated for this entire segment.) Following this, McCracken stands next to the chair for several exercises, including step-overs (front-back and side-to-side), toe point-flex, step out-out in-in, and leg circles. Returning to seated in the chair, the class picks up their weights for bicep curls and alternating front raises. McCracken then stands again (using the chair for support) for rows and triceps kick-backs. At the 35-minute mark, there is an onscreen cue to place the weights around the ankles for a series which includes seated leg extensions and standing side abductions, rear leg lifts, calf raises, and hamstring curls. Finally, McCracken leads a 4-minute stretch to conclude the workout; this is performed entirely in the chair and targets both the upper and the lower body.
In general, this is nice routine for its intended audience of older participants. Although it will probably be too easy for seniors who have remained active, it should meet the needs of seniors with more limited mobility issues. One concern I have is that McCracken frequently goes from sitting in the chair to standing and back down again--moving up and down in this manner can be a concern for many older people. It is nice that she included the option of doing the entire routine seated, but the participant who is performing the workout this way is unfortunately not shown very often on screen. Still, I think this DVD is likely to have utility for a wide range of older users--or perhaps even younger exercisers needing a modified workout.
© 2014 Beth Cholette
Beth Cholette, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist who provides psychotherapy to college students.