Pure and Simple Stretch

Runtime: 40 minutes
Karen Voight

Chillin’ 90’s Style

Everyone is sick this week, including the ICM (Irritatingly Coordinated Man), so I was definitely looking for something a little more mellow for this week’s workout DVD.

Stretching seems like a perfect choice. It can still be a workout, but generally moves a lot slower than cardio workouts, which is a big help when you’re sick, or uncoordinated, or like me, a little of both.

So, this week we’re stretching back in time to a 1991 classic, Pure and Simple Stretch. Don’t let the belted purple leotard (and unitards!) throw you off; the workout itself is timeless.

The DVD is broken into two workouts, a short standing workout (billed as 10 minutes, but closer to 8), and a longer floor workout (approximately 30 minutes). The workouts can be done separately or back-to-back. Unlike some other old school workouts, this VHS-to-DVD conversion does include chapters, so you can easily choose which parts of the workout you want to do.

Both workouts are relatively comprehensive, with both upper and lower body stretches (the longer workout has more lower body emphasis though). Both include a lot of neck and shoulder stretches – great for people who carry a lot of tension in those areas (also known as: practically everyone).

In the introduction, instructor Karen Voight seems somewhat uncomfortable and appears to be reading off a cue card held just below camera level. Once the workout starts, however, she is in her element. Her voice is soothing, and her instructions are clear and specific without being overwhelming.

As far as coordination, the standing workout is best, because you are facing the TV pretty much the whole time. The floor workout does not have that luxury, but Voight does such a great job describing the stretches that I could do this DVD successfully just based on her descriptions, even though I couldn’t always see the TV.

Voight tends to use generic terms for right and left (e.g. stretch one hand up and the other one down; or stretch towards the bent knee), so you can choose to mirror what she’s doing, or you can do your own thing. Stretches are done on both sides, so it’s not a big deal if you start off on the “wrong” side; you can just do the sides in the opposite order that she’s doing them.

One of the things I really liked about this DVD was that it doesn’t have a specific beginner-level person (who is clearly super-flexible and just pretending to be a beginner) showing modifications. Instead, each of the exercisers in the video just stretches whatever amount he or she is able to stretch.

As a bonus, one of the exercisers is a man; if you are not very flexible, this is definitely something to look for in a stretching or yoga DVD. Men tend to be less flexible than women, so this is a good way to see how you’re supposed to do the stretch if you’re not as bendy as the women in the video.

My only criticism is a weird spot in the beginning of the floor workout where it cuts to a voiceover of a different person mid-sentence. I’m not sure what that was about, and it was kind of jarring, but it didn’t last long.

Overall, this DVD is a winner – relaxing and easy for even the uncoordinated to follow. So. get past the outfits and enjoy the stretch!

Pure and Simple Stretch on January 18, 2015 rated 5.0 of 5

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