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Minna - Optimizer - Strength & Grace
List Price: $7.98

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Product Description

Minna Lessig's strength & grace is one of the first programs that combines strength training exercises with the conditioning power of Yoga and Pilates*. This workout blends the best Eastern and Western exercises for the most innovative approach to total body conditioning.

*based on the original works of Joseph H. Pilates

This innovative workout blends traditional strength-training moves, such as squats and lunges, with yoga postures and Pilates-inspired moves in an interesting, varied format. Led by Minna Lessig, a former Ms. Fitness USA and N.P.C. National Fitness Champion, you move gracefully from position to position. For example, beginning in a pli¨¦ you transition into a warrior pose, or from a wide squat into a tree pose, to sounds of music with a Latin beat. In another exercise, Minna has you hold a push-up position (a posture called "the plank") for long enough to tremble, then push your hips up until you're in the downward dog pose.

Although you don't use weights, the workout is challenging because you're constantly stopping your momentum in order to balance, and because you're holding postures that fatigue the muscles. The routine works the lower body much more than the upper body. A long, soothing stretch sequence at the end works our flexibility--one component of fitness that is often neglected. Minna is a fine instructor, capably leading us through difficult sequences with grace and calm. --Joan Price

Features:
  • This workout blends the best Eastern and Western exercises for the most innovative approwch to total body conditioning
  • 45 minute workout features traditional muscle toning moves like lunges and squats, classic Yoga poses and core Pilates exercises

Customer Reviews:

  • good
    When I'm feeling like I'm achy, in my back especially, this is the exercise tape I choose to do. It really stretches me and lengthens my muscles. I feel like I have excellent posture after doing it. It's not fast-moving so if you have a lot of energy, I would choose something more fast pace. ...more info
  • Great Video - Exactly What It Says
    The video is exactly what it says: putting a more traditional spin on yoga and pilates. She moves quickly thorugh most yoga positions, so you never quite feel like you get the full benefit of the postures. However, for somebody just getting into yoga or pilates from more traditional aerobics routines will really enjoy this video....more info
  • Strength & Grace
    This is great for people who have a hard time with aerobics. It is a great workout. It tones and helps to improve posture. I like that it has helped me to improve the strength in my legs. I feel a lot more confident and sturdy....more info
  • A Must Have!
    I have had this tape for 2 years. If I ever wear it out, I will get another! A week doesn't go by that I don't do this tape once or twice in addition to my other workout tapes. Can't live without it!...more info
  • Minna is the best
    I have to say that I own many work out videos and Strength & Grace was one of my first purchases from Minna Lessig. Her and her cohorts do an excellent job of showing the correct movement and keeping the student genuinely interested in what's going to happen next. One of the better things about the video are the different sizes and shapes of the ladies in it. It truly leaves your body well worked out and your mind with a sense of well being. Get this and the rest of Minna's videos. She is nothing less than phenonmenal....more info
  • Not for Pilates or Yoga lovers!
    I was very dissapointed by this video. This workout does not demonstrate Pilates or yoga. For example, Minna and her crew are wearing athletic shoes, and if you know anything about yoga or Pilates...need I say more? This video is bouncier and more aerobic than I anticipated, and I have more that enough bouncy, aerobic videos....more info
  • Great for Growth
    I agree with the viewer who wrote this isn't a workout that can be completed by anyone new to youga or pilates. However, it is a great video to monitor your progress. It took me four months before I could get through the video 98%. Sometimes the pushup are still to much. I was able to see the growth and strength in my muscles. It is an intense workout. You have to stick with it to see results but you will see results. I rotate this workout in with Donna Richardson's three day for a great 4-day workout!
    Minna is sweet and at times monotone. But that enables you to concentrate on doing the moves correctly. With this kind of workout it is extremely important to have a stable foundation and no distractions....more info
  • Good workout for low impact
    I enjoy this tape. Yeah, it's tough for a beginner, but it wouldn't be a very good workout if a beginner could get through it easily. It's good for those of you want to stretch and work on muscel tone with some exercises that yoga tapes usually don't have....more info
  • Combine Traditional Gym Moves with Yoga & Pilates for Streng
    Workout Description: about 30 minutes of toning (most standing, with some floorwork towards the end; focuses on lower body with some abs and minimal upper body) with 7 minute warm-up and 10 minute cool-down / stretch for a total of about 47 minutes
    Workout Level: intermediate, with one student demonstrating slightly easier modifications requiring a little less balance / strength
    Instructor: Minna Lessig (Certified instructor, fitness correspondent for various TV programs, and contributing writer for several fitness magazines; 1997 Ms. Fitness USA Winner). Minna's cueing is very good, and she explains the moves well, although sometimes I wish she'd give just one more pointer or point out the muscle worked every time. She's very professional, encouraging without being too hyper or chatty, and she obviously knows her stuff, both in terms of the routine and fitness in general. I personally like this "girl next door," although some people don't find her warm enough. She works both sides evenly and expects you to mirror her moves.
    Class: 4 young women of various body types
    Music / Background: The instrumental synthesizer music is very beat-driven, although not exactly "the spicy Latin music" promised by the cover. The interior set is very bright, with hardwood floors and back wall lit with various bright hues (pink, blue, etc.)
    Equipment Needed: sneakers, mat
    Caveats: Pay attention to your technique, particularly with the squats, lunges, and plies. Your knee should never go past your toes in any version of either exercise.
    Additional Comments: You do not need a lot of space for this workout. You should be able to lie down lengthwise with your arms and legs extended, and you should be able to take kick front and back without hitting anything.
    Strength & Grace combines squats and lunges with yoga- and Pilates-inspired moves to help you increase strength and balance. It's one of the few yoga programs out there that have people in sneakers; it's also one of the few yoga programs with a good warm-up and cool-down.
    This was one of the first exercise videos I ever bought, and I still use it 1 ? years later. I credit Minna with taking me from a "beginner" to an "intermediate" level of exercise and for helping me tone my lower body and improve my balance. (I no longer fall over when I'm just standing there or trip over my own feet; the queen of klutzes is now normal!) Now that I'm fully at an intermediate level, I find that I need more abs and upper body work, so I often add on Tamilee Webb's I Want Those Arms and maybe I Want Those Abs or Pilates. A more advanced workout that's along these lines is Kari Anderson's Angles, Lines & Curves (either I or II).
    If you purchase this program on DVD, you will also get Minna's Fat Eliminator, a 30 minute toning / interval workout that will really shape your lower body followed by an extra 15 minutes of exercises for your butt, arms, and abs....more info
  • Just what I needed!
    I love doing Yoga and Pilates videos. Problem is I do not find that alone they provide enough cardio benefits. I have some cardio videos but they usually contain too much bounce and confusing routines. I spend more time trying to keep up with the routines than working out. But not with this video, I get the Yoga and Pilates that I love in an easy flowing, low impact cardio video. Brilliant video to be used in conjunction with your favorite yoga videos....more info
  • Not the best instructor
    The actual workout presented on this tape is not bad, however I can hardly stand to watch it due to the behavior and comments of the instructor and other participants. I found Minna to be pretty annoying, some of the comments she makes are truly innane and instead of focusing on the pose, I find myself wondering what the heck she meant by the comment. She sounds stilted and unnatural, like she had a script to memorize and is simply reading it. After doing a pose, she'll say - I know this is hard, its hard for me, too; and she sounds so artificial. The final annoying piece is the other people doing the workout - they have bright, fake smiles on their faces throughout the workout. No one I know actually grins through a tough workout. I have used other yoga videos with much better instructors, such as Sarah Ivanhoe of Crunch. I'm selling this video and buying another one of hers....more info
  • A pretty good workout- but not the best
    I am a 14 year old girl who likes to do fitness videos to keep fit.
    This video is yoga poses with dance steps. The music is kind of cool, but it was difficult since I am not very advanced. After a while I get too tired and can't finish it.
    Minna is really pretty and very fit, and a good insturctor, but this is not one of her best tapes! I would recommend it for more advanced people and not beginners. It is a great tape for people that don't like only yoga!...more info
  • Not the best instructor
    The actual workout presented on this tape is not bad, however I can hardly stand to watch it due to the behavior and comments of the instructor and other participants. I found Minna to be pretty annoying, some of the comments she makes are truly innane and instead of focusing on the pose, I find myself wondering what the heck she meant by the comment. She sounds stilted and unnatural, like she had a script to memorize and is simply reading it. After doing a pose, she'll say - I know this is hard, its hard for me, too; and she sounds so artificial. The final annoying piece is the other people doing the workout - they have bright, fake smiles on their faces throughout the workout. No one I know actually grins through a tough workout. I have used other yoga videos with much better instructors, such as Sarah Ivanhoe of Crunch. I'm selling this video and buying another one of hers....more info
  • A FUN workout!
    This workout blends classic non-weights toning moves (mostly for the lower body) with yoga poses and Pilates-type abs section. Yes, the participants wear shoes throughout the workout, which is certainly not traditional to either yoga or Pilates, but as the instructor Minna states at the beginning, the workout is supposed to be "a blend of east and west." I found the workout to be fun and different. Although I also have more traditional yoga tapes which I enjoy as well, this was a nice change of pace.

    The tape begins with a lengthy (about 6 minutes) warm-up which includes some simple toning moves (eg, squats) combined with yoga stretches (eg, tree pose). The workout itself continues this pattern of doing classic toning moves with yoga stretches inbetween. For example, the first segment consists of squats and lunges followed by proud warrior; following this is a series of pli?s combined with tree pose. The toughest segment comes next: it consists of holding plank pose for an extended period, moving into downward dog, and doing a few yoga-style pushups (the only really upper body work in the entire workout). The Pilates-based section is fairly intense, and because Minna doesn't provide much instruction, I would advise those with no prior knowledge of Pilates to skip this part. Finally, Minna ends with a series of classic yoga stretches and twists.

    I was surprised to see that other reviewers had described this workout as fairly difficult; I consider myself to be an intermediate exerciser (advanced beginner in yoga), and I was able to do virtually the entire tape, with the exception of some of the abs moves. The plank section is tough, but if you keep your knees on the floor as in the modification, it's very doable for beginners. Minna is a pleasant instructor; she's motivating without being pushy. She and her three fellow exercisers really seem to enjoy the workout. Overall, I think this is a fun, different toning workout with a lower body emphasis that's appropriate for advanced beginners/intermediates, and as long as you are not expecting more traditional yoga and Pilates, you won't be disappointed by this tape....more info

  • Great Mix of East and West
    This video is perfect for days when you're not sure if you want to do your traditional workout with squats and lunges or if you feel more like practing yoga - this workout combines both in a fluid and not overly complex manner. Although I don't think this workout is very strenous - with the exception of the plank exercises and the abdominal work - it is still a great 45 minute workout. Minna is also a great instructor - I love her no-nonsense style. You may recognize her from the the "Quick Fix" series....more info
  • This video is great IF. . .
    I think this would be a great workout for those of you who are advanced, and whose bodies are conditioned to perform the deep strength moves required by yoga and pilates routines. However, I am concerned because I think this tape is not for the average person. I myself am relatively new to the yoga/pilates form of exercise, and had a very hard time getting through this workout. The beginner modifications are unimpressive, and overall not too helpful in achieving a less than strenuous workout.

    As for Minna, she has a great personality. I found her far less annoying than your average fitness instructor. Perhaps some new comers will find the video appealing, but the bottom line is that (unless you are quite advanced) this workout will leave you feeling anything BUT relaxed and rejuvenated - a claim made on the video packaging....more info

  • What a great workout!
    Like most of Minna's programs, this one ranks right up there with the most effective I have. It's about 30 minutes (45 with the bonus) of circuit training and the circuits are fairly smooth and very intense. If you're looking for something that will blast you into shape this will do it!...more info
  • My favorite exercise tape
    I work out a lot to exercise tapes, and this one has become my favorite - I love the fusion of different types of exercise, it makes it very hip; It gets your heartrate up and then switches to a balance/focusing exercise, which I find is great to keep me in the moment of exercising, not daydreaming and wishing I was through. The ab workout is VERY challenging, as are the series of plank position exercises. The instructor and her crew are enjoyable, too....more info
  • strength & grace ~ a must have
    Minna is not only a pleasant instructor, but she gives you a real challenge of a workout. This workout both builds muscle strength and develops balance. While perhaps a challenge for a beginner, this video will bring you to the next level in core strength and stability. What I like about "Strength & Grace" is the incorporation of key yoga poses like warrior, tree and downward dog. Even though I do work out regularly, there are some moves that are balance challenging; like the "T" Pose. The ab section is also very good; using moves like boat pose. This is a wonderful overall workout and the music fits perfectly. Love this video!...more info
  • strength, balance, and grace
    Minna is very fit, inspiring, and provides a really fun workout. The background exercisers also are very fit and inspiring. I am currently in a beginner level kripalu yoga class, and found that this workout was quite a challenge with its stretching and holding of poses. She reminds you to breath as you hold a pose, which I liked as a different, more peaceful approach in my workout tapes. Even though it is peaceful, it will really work your muscles. This workout definetely works you in developing strength, balance, and grace....more info
  • Love Minna!
    I am just getting to know Minna and so far I love her personality and her attitude during the workouts. I first saw her in the quick ten minutes video that she does with two other instructors (can't remember the name because i didn't really like it) and she immediately stood out to me. I plugged her name into Amazon and came upon this video which i think is wonderful. The tone of her voice is not annoying at all and you can actually hear her breathing hard during the cardio which makes me feel better. The back ground people are average people too. There is an older lady, a really skinny girl, a girl that has a body like myself, and a really fit aisian girl. Most of all I love the 2nd portion of the video for days when i don't feel like jumping around so much. It's more toning but don't get me wrong - you still break out in a sweat. I have had this dvd for about 3 weeks and have been switching back and forth from the cardio/strength to the strength and grace portion and i have noticed a difference in my body, especially my [back] and thighs. I would give this 10 stars if they allowed it!...more info
  • Great workout! This one's a winner!!
    I really love this video which came as a surprise as it's not the kind of exercise I usually enjoy. I've tried several other yoga and Pilates videos and although they seem like good workouts they don't motivate me. This one is really motivational with the benifits of yoga-type exercise but combined with traditional aerobics to keep you moving. The music is great to listen to which is not always easy to find. The instructor is helpful and encouraging without being over-bearing. I find people like Denise Austin to be really annoying! This video does have some modifications for beginners and this workout will give you a great deal of exercise without having to do any bouncing and jumping....more info