1.20.2011

Bob Harper's Yoga for the Warrior (a Review)

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If you follow me on dailymile, you probably know winter is the time where I focus on strength and overall conditioning workouts, rather than running. You also probably know that I’ve been doing P90X and P90X Plus for about two years, and have been incorporating the Insanity program into my routine for a couple months now. I haven’t had a gym membership in more than two years, and I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been (including those tricky years in college when I was workout obsessed).

I’ve learned you don’t need to pay $50 + a month to be in great shape (though I do miss the treadmills and step mill from time to time). But I know I need to follow a program if I really want to push myself. That’s where my workout DVDs come into play. P90X and Insanity are fantastic programs for those who want to push themselves to the limit and really test their abilities. While I stand by these programs whole-heartedly, I know to keep any fitness routine going, you need variety.  Enter: Bob Harper’s Inside-Out Method series.

I always check out online reviews of any DVD workout program I’m considering, because I really need it to be a hardcore, butt-kicking workout if I’m going to spend my hard-earned dough on it. However, you can find these DVDs for $9 each at most stores, so the program won’t break your bank. By all accounts, these workouts WILL kick your butt. They WILL make you curse Bob’s name (isn’t he supposed to be “the nice one?”). And they WILL get you in fantastic shape. Added to my home-fitness arsenal are Bob’s yoga, cardio conditioning and strength DVDs. I will review them in separate posts in the coming days.

Yoga for the Warrior:
I am not a yoga gal. I’ve tried long programs for yoga at home and mostly just get bored by repetitive movements or annoyed by the host’s soft, sing-songy voice. When I’m working out, I need to sweat. I need to feel challenged. I even need to whine a little at times. I was cautious going into this workout, but it was a Sunday, and if nothing else Sunday workouts are good to just stretch out for the coming week. Maybe calm me down for the day. Maybe just an excuse to put on workout clothes and pretend I did something productive.

This is not just a meditation. It’s not just your weekly stretch out. You do get the chance to quietly ponder, but mostly at the end, after you’ve pushed yourself. You do get stretched out, but that’s only while tackling challenging poses. This is the best yoga DVD I’ve tried. I like it scores more than the P90X yoga workout because you don’t repeat the same vinyasa 40 times; you’ll do each movement or pose to target both sides of your body and move on to the next one. Even though the workout is an hour long, there’s always a new challenge just a minute or so away, so it’s incredibly refreshing and also a fantastic way to hit every muscle in your body.

I don’t know about you, but chair poses make me their bitch every. single. time. Holding a chair pose for even 30 seconds gets my legs shaking and burning like you wouldn’t believe. There are plenty of chair poses in this workout – they’re tough, but welcome: I may cry out in pain, but my legs will only get stronger. And so will yours.

Being a naturally flexible girl, I did well with most of the more advanced poses, but there were plenty of times I knew I wouldn’t be able to make them last (Hello, goofy airplane pose!). This only makes me want to do this workout more often so I can nail them all with more practice.

Another reason I loved this DVD is that it was somewhat of an interval workout. You get your heart rate up, hold a few static poses that make your shoulders or legs scream (my quads have a love-hate relationship with Warrior One), but then move into an elongating, peaceful stretch. Then you’d go back to making your muscles cry again. I never felt overworked, but also never felt like I wasn’t pushing my muscles enough.

At the end of the hour you’re given a little time to stretch out and silently meditate, which I actually surprisingly welcomed. It cleared my mind and made me appreciate the workout that much more. After I rolled up my mat and got showered (you’ll need to shower – you will sweat!), I was left feeling relaxed, loose, lengthened and strong. The next day my shoulders were definitely tight, and it wasn’t exactly easy to walk on my sore legs, either. I was incredibly surprised how my body reacted to yoga, and I’m looking forward to seeing if, when doing this workout regularly, it will lengthen my muscles at all (craving that lean, strong, yoga-girl look!).

Bob Harper’s Yoga for the Warrior DVD is a fantastic piece to anyone’s fitness routine. He’s a great trainer: calm, but stern. He doesn’t let his trainees on the DVD slack one bit – they’re expected to hold every pose, no matter how they shake. He cuts you, at home, a little slack, but even though he can’t see you, you still don’t want to let him down. I’m such a fan of this workout, and you can be sure it’s going to become a weekly part of my regular fitness routine from here on out.

Where I felt happy, poised and strong during the Yoga for Warriors workout, I absolutely got my ass handed to me during Bob’s Cardio DVD…. Stay tuned for my review on the second DVD in the series I tried, and how it left me whimpering alone in my living room, and still sore three days later...





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