Wednesday, February 15, 2012

"Turn your pear into a sweet, tight peach"

VIDEO: Callanetics: 10 Years Younger in 10 Hours
STYLE: Toning; isometric conditioning
INTENSITY: Moderate to high, depending on skill level
STRUCTURE: 50 minutes long, broken down into short segments covering pretty much every part of the body
GIST: Holy wow, I'm a believer. Provides an all-over tone focusing on the crucial pelvic floor and core muscles; superior instruction with modifications and injury warnings. Also the music is weird and awesome.

Pure Barre, eat your heart out. Callan Pinckney owns your ass.

I mean that literally. All that fine-tuned butt-sculpting and ab-scooping currently on sale for $25/class at Pure Barre or True Barre or any of those ballet-related Pilates offshoots? It's all here in the first Callanetics video from 1989, "10 Years Younger in 10 Hours."

Despite the gimmicky title, this program doesn't eff around. All the exercises are isometric -- meaning they're done in a mostly static position, with a range of motion that's limited to about an inch -- and they focus on the tough-to-reach pelvic floor, core and thigh muscles. These movements go hard, yet they're also wonderfully relaxing.

Check out those gams! Lady's nearly 50. Dang.

Callan, with her tight dancer's body and chic mop of auburn curls, is like a cross between a chilled-out Katherine Hepburn and your mildly eccentric rich aunt who almost made it to the Kirov Ballet until that awful horseback-riding accident. She exudes confidence and competence, and she's bossy in a gentle, concerned way. I'm in love.

I like doing this video in the morning. It's relaxing and wakes the body up. The warmup alone got me burnin, with some gentle spine rolls and an extended arm/shoulder/back exercise that made me look like a rather confused zombie:

From there, Callan takes you through different muscle groups. She usually does no more than 3-4 exercises for each section, but all of them count. A timer at the bottom of the screen ticks off the seconds for each exercise, many of which look and start out easy but become albatrosses of pain as the timer ticks on. Such as:

Callan is aware that, because the movements are so slight and precise, there's a higher risk of injury or incorrect execution. She heads that off at the pass, illustrating how NOT to do moves and describing modifications for people with back problems. Also, she lists benefits of doing the exercises correctly:

A sweet tight peach indeed! Check out Callan's serious/i'm-seriously-reshaping-your-body face:

This workout is not aerobic, like at all, so it's not going to get you into supercharged calorie-burn land. It will, however, shape your stuff -- rather quickly, it seems. I'm not buying into the "10 Hours" thing, but I found many fans of the program online who say that's not far off for seeing results. The fact that Callanetics still has avid fans, despite it being out of any sort of zeitgeist for 20 years, says something. I think that something is: CALLAN PINCKNEY I WANT TO FEEL YOUR BOOTY.

Oh! Almost forgot: the music for this video is wonderful. It's like being in a Miyazaki movie, or a short film about the rings of Saturn at the planetarium.

* Thank you to reader Flight Attendant Extraordinaire for the tip on this one!

1 comment:

  1. Watching that Youtube clip brought back so many childhood memories of trying to follow along with this tape. I think at some point in the intro, she talks about how if you hold a quarter between your knees, you should have certain gaps between your legs? To this day, I am STILL working on that gap in the thighs, haha.