Posted: August 4, 2014 at 2:24 a.m.
Title: MDFitness: The Doctor's Workout
Who's it for? It's geared toward exercisers over age 40 who might need to build (or rebuild) their fitness level from the ground up. And for people who want to hear about mitochondria while performing fanny kicks.
What's the goal? To combine cardio, weight-training and balance moves to combat sarcopenia, or age-related muscle loss, and improve fitness in order to preserve muscle function and agility. And, ultimately, to help establish a regular workout routine for lifetime fitness.
Format: Three 45-minute DVDs, each containing a full-body workout geared toward a different fitness level. (Why the workouts are broken into separate DVDs, rather than combined into one DVD and divided into chapters, isn't clear.) Each workout includes a warmup; five exercise sequences, each performed twice in a row; and then a cooldown period of stretching.
The Level One workout is preceded by a lengthy introduction, with the creators standing before shelves of medical books, about the importance of exercise. That most basic level includes a warmup of marching in place and arm swinging before launching into modified versions of pushups, lunges, bicycle crunches, high knees and side planks, plus bird-dog exercises and stepping skaters, before cooling down with seated stretches. After exercisers have used Level One for a recommended four to six weeks and have become comfortable with all the moves, they may move on to Level Two, designed as a transition period before Level Three. No word on how long Level Two purgatory should last.
Level Two includes bicep curls, pushups, alternating-side Superman exercises, modified jumping jacks, jogging in place, lunges, bicycle crunches, chest flys, forearm planks, side planks and simulated
Level Three bumps up the weight on the bicep curls, requires full Superman exercises and graduates to full jumping jacks, lunges with weights, 30-second planks, speed skaters and more intense deadlifts and chest presses. It introduces a few moves, including "suicides" with a floor touch.
Who designed this workout? Tom Kleeman, a Yale School of Medicine-educated orthopedic surgeon. He also presents the workouts alongside his wife, Anne Talbot- Kleeman, a registered nurse.
What's to like? The moves start out gently enough to include those with limited mobility or who have been sedentary. The demonstrators provide thorough explanations about each exercise's purposes and benefits, and they focus on taking the moves slowly in order to get the most out of muscles.
The DVD also includes the option to mute the nonstop narration and exercise with music only.
What's not so good? The workouts are padded with lots of lag time between moves that are padded by the Kleemans' verbal instruction, which is constant and occasionally pedantic. Sometimes the most helpful information about maintaining good form is shared only during the second set of an exercise. And it wasn't until Level Two that "Dr. Tom" got around to addressing the necessity of proper breathing.
Distractions? The Kleemans exercise in a very brightly lighted room as if Dr. Tom will be performing surgery there after filming concludes. Also, every time the Kleemans transition from a floor exercise to a standing exercise, the DVD displays -- for a few seconds -- a title card that reads, "Return to standing." These frequent mini-intermissions interrupt the flow of the workout.
And occasionally the Kleemans' form appears a little sloppy and uneven, as if they should have spent more time practicing in front of a mirror.
Necessary gear: A mat, three sets of light dumbbells and ample floor space.
Can I do it barefoot? Yes, but the demonstrators wear shoes.
Instructor's credentials: Tom Kleeman is an orthopedic surgeon specializing in spinal surgery. Anne Talbot-Kleeman is a registered nurse and certified personal trainer and blogger.
ActiveStyle on 08/04/2014