I have read a lot about Tracy Anderson over the past year and none of it has been good. I don’t mean I haven’t read reviews by people who love her workouts. I have; but it seems you either love her or hate her. There are some strong feelings associated with this trainer. Plus, it is hard to get any real information/description on the actual workouts. Either people say they are the most amazing, life-changing workouts ever or they are stupidest, biggest waste of time ever. I initially wasn’t interested because they just didn’t seem like my kind of workouts (based on the scant amount of info I could discern), but I have been wanting to branch out with my workouts recently and when I discovered the library carried quite a few Tracy Anderson workouts, I thought—Why not? So I checked out The Perfect Design: Level II Intermediate and her Method: Mat Workout (which I am doing tomorrow).
I have a lot to say about this workout so bear with me. It is definitely a mixed bag. It has a tagline after the title that states: “includes warm up, abs, arms, legs, butt + thighs workout” but having done the workout, all of the body parts it claims to work are not covered in the actual workout. It is primarily a lower body/glute workout with a challenging core segment. The very end is possibly the “arm” section. She calls it “standing abs and rib isolations” but only in the very beginning does she appear to be doing anything that engages the core. After that it is a lot of weird arm/hand movements that are seizure-like. There is no cueing–you are just supposed to copy her even tho what she is doing is constantly changing. She even tells you that you should “get good at my cueing” and talks about a lot of odd things during this segment–I guess because she isn’t actually cueing anything. She says she is making “flinging” and “flicking” motions with her hands to “activate her beauty muscles” and it will “make a real difference in your results.” Honestly, it is one of the most bizarre things I’ve ever seen.
The DVD also contains a 6 minute interview with Tracy in which she talks about how she “designed this method of fitness because there was a severe hole in the fitness world in terms of a strategy to achieve the mastery of perfection.” (huh?) She also says she is not a “trend” and that you need to continue to do her workouts but that you should change them up–just like her clients. They do a new program/workouts every 10 days. In addition to these workouts she also has dance aerobics and mat workouts; she feels you have to do all 3.
First off, there were many very weird aspects to this workout. First is Tracy. She is wearing the most bizarre workout attire I have ever seen. A satiny bra with some kind of very short satin loose tunic type thing over it and long satin shorts with elastic above the knee (bloomers?). Was it underwear? A night club outfit? She was very serious and her face looked nothing like it did on the cover of the DVD. In the workout her mouth looked very swollen like someone had punched her in the face. (Botox?) Her mouth doesn’t look like that at all on the front of the DVD. The entire workout is done via voice-over and the cueing is horrid. Luckily, the majority of the workout is lower body and the poor cuing doesn’t really affect that portion of the workout. It is very high rep and the moves are generally easy to copy. The cuing however is non-existent in the warm up and the weird, afore mentioned arm seizure section. For the warm up, she doesn’t do a lot of reps and doesn’t cue at all, so you are on your own—following as you watch then losing your place as she quickly changes the move somehow or moves onto something new and different. She does cue in the core section but her cuing comes after the move has already changed. And some of the core moves she doesn’t do a lot of reps so this is problematic.
The real gold of this workout is the main 30 minute segment—lower body. I was challenged and I felt it! I am still feeling it in muscles I didn’t even know I had! So I will be buying this workout and in the future I’ll only do the lower body and core sections. I will warm myself up some other way as well as stretch out some other way. Since the legs/glutes and core combined only equal 37:30 minutes, it works well as an add on.
The Perfect Design: Level II Intermediate is 47 minutes long; 4 warm up, 30:30 minutes leg/glute work, 7 minutes of core, 5 minutes of arm spasms and a 30 second cool down? Not sure if it is actually a cool down; I really don’t know what it is, but it’s super short. You will need a chair and a mat.
Lower Body (30:30 minutes)
For all of the standing moves you will be raising the leg to at least hip level; you do a lot of reps of every exercise.
1. chair in front of you and hands on back of chair (seat facing away from you); place foot on chair seat then bring leg around behind you, raising it hip level;
2. (this is a very odd move and hard to explain) leave leg straight behind you, lean torso over back of chair putting one hand on seat then raise leg incrementally two times while moving it to the other side of the body (while still behind you and straight), then bend knee and kick in a diagonal behind you, still raising leg above hip, until leg is straight;
3. step foot out to side (she calls this a slight demi-plie) then bring that foot up and back behind you, kicking it again in a diagonal behind you (she calls this rotate and extend hip behind you);
4. do a ball change then kick to side with toe pointed and leg straight (like a roundhouse); hands will stay on back of chair the whole time;
5. keep hands on back of chair and bring knee in in an inverted fashion across other leg then kick it back behind you;
6. face front of chair and place both hands on seat, legs wide and straight so that you are in a plank; dip hips down toward seat then when you push hips back, you kick one leg out behind you, high in the air, crossing it over the opposite hip (upward diagonal);
7. (this move is hard) kneel beside chair on one knee, with one hand on the ground, raise other leg out straight and lay on chair seat (think of a straight arm side plank but you are on one knee w/ top foot rested on chair); raise leg then bend knee and kick leg out straight in front of you;
8. get on all 4s; you will go up into 3 leg down dog then back down onto knees
Repeat all moves on other side of body.
Abs is 7 minutes (you need a chair); lay on back with hands behind head and heels on chair; you do a long series in this position that gets progressively more challenging until you using the chair more as a prop to move your legs around.
I am not going to explain the final 5:30 minutes of this workout because I don’t know she is doing. It is impossible to follow, uncued and looks ridiculous. I will definitely be skipping it in the future.