Courtesy of Zumba
Advantages The Zumba Exhilarate DVDs feature a couple of innovative video features. The Step by Step Basic Guide DVD has the option to view the instructors from the front or back, depending on your inclination; while the Activate and Exhilarate DVDs, which are 45 and 60 minute Zumba workouts, can be played with or without vocal instructions.
A fantastic surprise is the Mix Zumba workout, which is not listed at all on the Zumba web site, and is included in the Ripped DVD. It’s a 60-minute workout that uses dances from all over the world, from Africa to India to Spain. Zumba creator Beto Perez and Zumba Education Specialist Tanya Beardsley alternate in partnering with a traditionally dressed instructor, such as a barefoot Indian dancer replete with bangles, in leading a very enthusiastic class.
Another wonderful surprise is the How to Rip and Cut featurette in the Rush DVD. It seems that personalized ripped and cut tops are the “in” thing with Zumba. I now have an excuse to bring out my “artistically” torn clothes and resurrect them during a live Zumba class.
There’s also a Program Guide that lists a suggested workout plan and menu to help the Zumba participant reach his goal. There’s even a 10-day accelerated fat loss program.
Finally, production value wise, the Zumba set of Exhilarate DVDs is very exciting. There’s a huge set, consisting of a black floor and a Hollywood Squares type construction in the background featuring Zumba dancers in silhouette, which is flexible enough to be modified for different workouts. And, aside from the regular front shot, there’s a crane that allows the camera to zoom in and out at high angles, and there’s a dolly that can take shots from both sides, without compromising the visual clarity.
Disadvantages The Ripped DVD, which is a 30-minute body sculpting and toning program, is a major disappointment for its wrong information re which muscles are being worked out. The Zumba Toning instructors perpetuate the myth that certain movements will work a group of muscles the same way whether seated or lying down.
An excellent example is the chest fly. Using a resistance band or pec fly machine, it will target the chest muscles when in an upright position. However, when using weights, one must lie down in order to target the same pectoral muscles. The Zumba Toning instructors didn’t seem to know the difference. The producers should have hired a fitness consultant.
Moreover, the stretching is not part of the DVD workout, but is listed in the Program Guide for the student to decipher. Of course, this is not a problem for the knowledgeable fitness enthusiast.
And, lastly, since live Zumba classes are taught with visual cues (an excellent decision on the creators’ part), it removes the need to master vocal skills. However, since the Zumba Exhilarate DVDs set has the option for vocal instructions, the inexperience of some Zumba Education specialists and instructors becomes evident. Only Zumba Education Specialist Tanya Beardsley is competent with timing instructions before the execution of the movement, which is crucial so that students are not lost when using this particular technique.
Recommendation Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced Zumba class attendee, the Exhilarate DVDs are an excellent investment for US$60. The various workouts capture the excitement of the music and choreography of a Zumba class, and are numerous enough to give variation to a workout plan. The DVDs can be used in conjunction with attending live Zumba classes, or when unable to go to the gym, or become part of a personal fitness regimen.
Acknowledgment Thanks to the Muñoz family for ordering and buying the Zumba Exhilarate DVDs in the US, and then transporting them to the Philippines for me.
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