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by Elisabeth Halfpapp and Fred DeVito
Review by Pratima Sampat-Mar on May 15th 2012
Exhale Core Fusion Power Sculpt is a 55-minute yoga and sculpting workout. Light hand weights are used to work the upper body, and the yoga poses help work the core and lower body.
The main menu options are Intro, Workout Options, Bonus Features, Also From Acacia, and Credits. The Workout Options menu consists of:
Play All Without Introductions
Pick a Segment:
Strength and Balance
Abs and Glutes
Bonus: Stretch With Weights
Each segment is 10 minutes long, with the exception of the stretch, which is 5 minutes. The first time through the DVD, I could not discern any sort of pattern or sequence to the segments. The second time through, it was fairly obvious that there was a clear buildup in intensity from one segment to the next, and that most of the segments consist of a series of poses repeated several times.
The workout is set in a room with hardwood floors, light-colored side walls, and a brick back wall. Each participant has a set of light weights (look like about 2 lbs each) and a yoga mat. Elisabeth and Fred are at the front of the room, and three other exercisers are behind them. One exerciser does modified versions of the moves throughout the entire DVD. Upbeat but unobtrusive instrumental music plays throughout and Elisabeth and Fred take turns leading each segment.
Power Fusion: This segment moves relatively slowly and is meant as a warm-up. The poses consist mostly of standing forward bend, cat-cow, hip stretches, and a few down dogs. The only weight work is done towards the end, and consists of side plank push-ups, where you hold the weight on your side and lower and raise your body.
Strength Flow: I used a 5 lb weight for this segment. The main sequence in this begins with one weight held horizontally in front of you, hands on the ends. Cycle the weight away from you and up, then come back down and towards you. Put the weight down, go into plank (pushup position), do tricep pushups, up dog, downward dog. Standing up, go into warrior 1. Pick up the weight and do a tricep French press. Set the weight down, go into plank, up dog, down dog. Eventually, you add in twists done while standing and then squatting slightly while holding the weight horizontally in front of you. This segment works the triceps quite a bit.
Power Flow: Holding a dumbbell in each hand, circle your arms out in a v-position, up, together, then down. Put weights down, go into plank, do tricep pushups, up dog, downward dog. Stand and pick up the weights. Go into warrior 1, put your arms straight out in front of you, then bend them so your upper arms remain parallel with the floor, hands directly above your elbows. Lift the hands up to work shoulders. After several reps, hold the weights at your heart with your elbows up and out at your sides. Move the weights out to your sides and back in, keeping elbows up. Go into reverse warrior, leaning back and putting your back arm straight down, parallel with your back leg. This segment really works your shoulders. I used 3 lb dumbbells throughout.
Strength and Balance: This segment has a series of moves done all the way through with less repetition than the previous segments. Begin in plié position, do standing plies while working your shoulders. Staying in plié position, lunge to the side, flexing and raising your straight leg while lowering the dumbbells, then lunge to the other side while raising the weights in front of you. This mostly works your shoulders, and slightly works inner thighs. Do tree pose twice on each side with bicep curls. Balance on one leg, bend over at waist so upper body is parallel with floor, and hold both weights in one hand to do rows to work the upper back. Go to the floor for a few hip stretches, all done in half lotus position, with legs crossed, one parallel over the top of the other.
Abs and Glutes: Sit on the floor with knees bent up. Lean back, engaging abs. Twist side-to-side to work obliques. Extend one leg, lift and raise while leaning back to work lower abs. Move to all fours (hands and knees) and put a weight behind one knee with leg bent to hold it. Do bent leg raises, then remove weight and do variations of straight leg raises to work the glutes and outer thigh. I felt my outer thigh at the end of this segment.
Stretch: Weights are used for some parts of the stretch but I didn't feel they added much. This segment is just Elisabeth and Fred on the floor. Lie on your back, lift hips up and down a few times (bridge pose). Bring legs over your head to stretch the back. Drop knees to the side for a twist. The weights are used here on the legs and in the outstretched hand to increase range of motion in the stretch. Child's pose, hold weights in hands, lift and lower arms. Seated side stretch using weights to increase the stretch. Good stretches, but I really felt this DVD worked the arms more than the lower body, and the stretch segment doesn't include any upper body stretches.
If done all together in order, the segments on this DVD provide an energizing workout that can help with balance and upper body strength. The mix and match options allow for shorter workouts, and you could do the first segment and the abs and glutes segment for a lighter, more relaxing workout.
This is not an intense workout, despite the picture of a toned, sweaty female body on the cover. The poses are not held long enough and do not require enough strength to really work the lower body. Unlike Core Fusion Body Sculpt, there is no stretch at the end of each segment, and the yoga poses are more for strength and balance than stretch.
Elisabeth and Fred are cheerful and pleasant. Their instruction is calming and inspiring. They do not emphasize breathing or offer many form pointers, so I would recommend this DVD to someone who has experience with yoga. The weights offer a change from many typical yoga workouts, and might appeal to someone who wants more of a workout than a relaxing yoga practice.
© 2012 Pratima Sampat-Mar
Pratima Sampat-Mar is the Online Education Coordinator for an allied health school in Arizona. She holds an Association Montessori International Primary Diploma, a Bachelor of Arts degree from Oberlin College, and Master of Education degree from Loyola University Maryland.