Pros: Very effective, targets trouble spots, no impact, slow pulsing exercises, works fast
Cons: Dated production and music, arms don't get much of a workout, harder than it seems
The Bottom Line: Callanetics is very different from the super energized workouts we do today but this 1986 workout will firm, tone, and sculpt your muscles FAST! It never gets old!
Callanetics has been out on VHS since the 1986 but it is now available on DVD with the name changed slightly to Callanetics: 10 Years Younger in 10 Hours. The DVD is the exact workout as the VHS with nothing added or deleted. It's dated but still very effective!
About Callanetics Now you can actually look ten years younger in ten hours. Callan Pinckney, author of the revolutionary best-selling book Callanetics (a perennial New York Times Best-Seller), personally demonstrates her innovative deep muscle exercise technique that can literally shed years off your figure in hours without putting pressure on your back. Unlike other exercise programs that stress hard jerking motions, Callanetics is a series of small, gentle, precise motions consistently applied that activate the body's largest most powerful muscles to quickly tighten hips, buttocks, inner and outer thighs; flatten the tummy; lift the bust and firm underarms and tone the entire body. It will also dramatically improve your posture. You will feel the difference after one hour and most people actually see a difference after two hours. By following the simple 60 minute Callanetics workout twice a week, the body you always dreamed about is only hours away.
Callan Pinckney came up with this early version of Lotte's Berk's method of small pulsing movements to reach deep into the muscles, firming and toning them quickly and without a lot of jumping around or strain on the joints. I should note that there is some debate as to who actually came up with the tiny pulsing moves that are prevalent on both Lotte Berk and Callan Pinckney workouts but many credit Callan for the basic concept in general.
This 60 minute workout looks and sounds like it was made in the 80's because it was. The women wear leotards and ballet shoes, the men wear funky spandex and push down socks. The workout is done in a hardwood floored studio and voiced over by Callan Pinckney who also appears in the workout.
The focus is on stretching, tiny pulses, and slow but super effective repetitions.
The workout targets the abs, hips, thighs, legs, and overall body although the arms rarely get worked. This is also not a cardio workout although, after an hour of working so hard, your heart rate will be elevated.
The music is corny and I try to drown it out. I do listen carefully to Calllan though because every little tip and hint she gives is important. The right form is everything.
You will need plenty of floor space and something to balance yourself on like a heavy piece of furniture.
The workout starts with a gentle warm up and then launches into abs exercises. There are no crunches or sit ups in this workout but you will feel every move deep in your core. There are a only a few exercises for the abs but they are repeated in small pulses hundreds of times. Your abs will scream although you're barely moving.
The legs section is when you need something to help you balance. Again, the focus is on tiny movements and little pulses. You really need strength to do the whole workout and you shouldn't be upset if you can't do the whole hour at first. they do have a beginners Callanetics tape and DVD for those who wants to start out slower.
Anyway, the leg exercises include, among other exercises, little pelvic pulses and doing plies while on your toes. That one is so tough. And the amount of times you repeat that move WILL leave your legs wobbly.
Moving into the hip and butt exercises, Callan reminds us (more than once) that we should think of our butts as a peach and she even has a special butt exercise that promises to make our pear-like butts peachy. It sounds funny but wait until you actually do the exercise. Your butt muscles won't feel peachy the next day but that's the whole idea! Working your muscles deeply and thoroughly without all the jumping around that we often do when we exercise.
Stretches and a cool down come after the hard work to make up a 60 minute near complete body workout. I say near complete because the arms aren't very involved except that sometimes they are worked when you are doing other exercises. Callan seems to forget that we need to make our arms as strong and firm as the rest of our bodies.
Because this is such a dated workout, there is no chapter to learn the exercises before you start it. During the workout, Callan will explain everything carefully but that sort of slows down the flow of the workout. So do the crazy shiny outfits and big hair but if you just concentrate on the actual exercises, you will firm up, tone your body, and get stronger. Your posture will improve and your flexibility will be enhanced.
This workout is NOT easy. It looks easy. So easy that I went right into the whole hour without thinking that the little pulses and stretches would actually DO anything. After the workout, my muscles were shaking and already hurting and the next day, especially in my abs, thighs, and butt, I was a hurtin' Mama.
However, I went right back and did the workout again a few days later and started to really pay attention to form and to slowing down and allowing the pulses to do their job. I am so used to frenzied exercises that Callanetics seemed slow and the hour dragged at first. Now, I know what's coming, I carve out an hour to do this workout, and I relax while at the same time, target all the trouble spots on my body.
There's simply no way that you won't benefit from Callanetics if you do the exercises right and do them a few times a week. If an hour is too long for you to workout, there is an AM/PM Callanetics workout as well as some targeted workouts that are about 30 minutes long. The DVD does have chapters for different body parts so you can work certain parts of the body and skip others to save time if you have to.
This workout is dated but it is exercises are very relevant. Many workouts take moves from Callanetics, including Pilates. There are elements of Pilates, yoga, and other types of exercises in this workout and I believe many fitness instructors added in some Callanetics moves to their workouts. I have done many recent workouts that utilize very similar moves in a somewhat faster way.
You can pick up the VHS on eBay for a few cents or get the DVD for around $18.50 at Amazon. It's pricey but, if you're committed to getting fit, Callanetics can get you there fast. Prepare yourself for a full hour of exercise a few times a week and don't forget to add some cardio in there for the heart. Then see what happens when you do Callanetics. I saw my body firm up quickly when I did this DVD on a regular basis. I haven't done it recently because we are redoing our living room and I don't have the floor space I need to get down and do the workout properly. I plan to get back to it when the room is back to normal.
Callanetics or Callanetics: 10 Years Younger in 10 Hours (same workout) is dated and looks corny with the old school clothes, hair, and music. It's not a flashy production and there's nothing cutting edge on the DVD. But the exercises themselves have been in use for over 20 years. New DVDs have added their twist on the original Callanetics moves and many of the new workouts I have now have very familiar moves in them that I recognize from Callanetics. The moves have stood the test of time. I give this workout 4 stars.
I wish there was a chapter that teaches each move slowly so that the workout flowed better and I also wish more attention was paid to the arms. But I promise, this workout WILL work if you commit to it. You will work your muscles and you will firm up and tone up quickly. Just don't abandon your cardio work because you need that too! Have fun and don't forget: Your butt is a peach. :)