It was Marisa Tomei doing a workout DVD that got me. I usually try to review specifically Pilates workout DVDs, but Core and Curves sounded close, and Marisa Tomei is such a good actress, I had to give it a try. Well, just to give you a heads up, there is no Oscar nomination happening here.
The interesting thing about this DVD, and to my mind where its value lies, is that you get to be a fly on the wall while Marisa Tomei works out with her personal trainer, Key Son. I always wondered what celebrity workouts with celebrity trainers are like. Of course this one DVD doesn't represent all celebrity/trainer workouts, but I got some of my curiosity satisfied.
It's amazing how well both Tomei and Son mostly ignored that fact that they were to have an audience working out with them as they made Core and Curves. Despite the fact that Tomei is exerting herself, and Son is supposed to be encouraging her (and us, we assume), the dynamic here is really dull. Tomei does not deliver the spark she has when she's acting, and Son, "our" trainer, never once speaks directly to us during the workouts. His delivery of instructions to Tomei is so flat I wonder how she keeps going. Tomei, on the other hand, does acknowledge us now and then. She fills us in on how she's feeling - tired, breathing hard, worried about being sore... stuff like that. And, thankfully, she coaxes a few extra cues out of Son by asking questions.
Marisa Tomei does talk to us directly in the warm up and cool down phases where she, not Son, leads us in short, somewhat disorganized routines. I say disorganized because they don't follow proper protocols for workout safety. For example, both phases start with twists, a no-no. And did I see a bit of bouncing in the stretches? I believe most of us gave that up for good reasons back in the 80's.
Tomei and Son also seem to have a very different idea about cardio than I do. Son has Tomei (and us, again, I suppose) scamper lightly back and forth across the floor a few times and they call that cardio. Well, if your definition of cardio is to get the heart rate a little bit up for a short bit of time, I guess it is.
Core and Curves comes with a sort of toning band which is part of the workout. It is a 9 inch loop of exercise band material with extra firm resistance. The band is used around the ankles so that the legs are pushing out against the band in various exercises, both lying down and walking (tip toeing actually). The band action is another thing I didn't like about the workout. I am concerned that outward pressure that is strongly resisted at the distant end of bone or limb puts unnecessary shearing force on the joints above - in this case, at the knee and hip. Indeed I did feel discomfort in my knee after the workout.
Lest you think that Core and Curves is just another useless celebrity workout DVD, I will say that it does include killer ab work. Crunch, crunch, this way and that. I'm a Pilates person so I don't trust crunches that aren't taught with cues that take you into your core rather than work just the surface rectus abdominis. But if you already know how to do ab work properly, you will get enough reps in here to make a difference.
I think if you are looking for a little extra variety for your ab workouts, you could throw this DVD in your mix (forget the toning band). And Marisa Tomei does demonstrate the exercises with reasonably good form. But the bottom line is, Hollywood trainers aren't better than other trainers, and Marissa Tomei is a much better actress than celebrity fitness star.