Sunday 30 March 2014

Heart Hulaerobics DVD Review

Price: £5
Length: 1 hour 20 minutes
Workouts: All-over body
Suitable for: beginners and more experienced hoopers 
Amazon UK 
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Based on 4 weeks of use.
   The Heart Hulaerobics DVD is actually a pretty good product. In the US, Hoopnotica is a pretty big thing, but those DVDs aren't available in the UK, which sucks big time. In fact, the only hooping DVD I could find was this one.
   But before I get into it, I feel I have to say this about fitness DVD reviews: take the negative reviews with a pinch of salt. Time and time again I see DVD reviews on Amazon that gave only 1 star because it was "hard" and they only used it "once". These are not at all valid reviews. Why? Because a fitness DVD is supposed to be hard. If you're able to do half of the DVD easily on your first try then you need a new DVD. If they don't challenge you, they won't be effective for long. And as for only using the DVD once and finding it hard? They're not designed for one use, they're designed to be learned and re-used often. People who leave reviews like this are generally people who were either looking for a simpler workout, or were simply looking for the most results for the least work, and that is not how weightloss works at all. I've bought a lot of DVDs with reviews like that, and I've found them to be perfectly good, and, more importantly, effective.

   Now, on with the review. Like a lot of fitness DVDs, this DVD has been split into sections, such as 'tum', 'bum', 'arms' etc. Now, I will point out that the first two sections aren't really part of the workout. There is a warm-up section, yes, but I've never really done it because I've always started hooping after about 20 minutes of dance, so I'm fully warmed up by that point. But even so, I did do it once and it is more than adequate. If you're worried about looking silly, remember that you're in your own home while doing it and no one can see you if you draw the curtains! Don't worry about what peeping Toms think.
   There is another section that I feel compelled to point out isn't part of the workout, and that's the 'how to hoop' section. It does feel a bit like an interview, because you have the instructor talking to a Heart FM radio host who has come to hoop with her for a bit, and they're just asking eachother how they are and silly things like that. But after a few minutes you will begin to see the value of this section. Instead of watching an instructor hoop expertly, you're watching her do that with a far less experienced person beside her making the same mistakes you are. The instructor corrects her, and that makes it a lot easier for you to correct your own mistake, because you can see that 1) you're not the only one doing it, and 2) you're getting genuine advice. Watch this section and you will learn to hoop properly, and you'll find the hoop is being far more co-operative than it was before.

   Then comes the real workouts. Now, I will admit that I've been using this DVD for two weeks and I haven't progressed past the 'tum' section, not truly, but I have looked at and tried the rest of the DVD once. The 'tum' section takes you through power hooping - hooping really quickly - and hooping at an angle, where you lean back and push your body up through your toes and get the hoop to spin at an upward angle instead of horizontally. This isn't easy, at all. Like I've said, I've not truly moved past this section of the DVD even after 2 weeks. That's how tough (and effective) the workout is. I've only just grasped how to hoop at an upwards angle.
   The second section is called 'back', and as it suggests, it's focusing more on the back muscles than the abdominal muscles. I have tried this section, and believe me when I say that I've not been so frustrated at a workout DVD that I've wanted to throw whatever was in my hand at the time (the hoop) through the window for about a year or two now. There was a move similar to the upward hoop from the previous section, but was downwards instead, and I found it frustratingly impossible. I soon found why, however: 1) my legs and feet were already exhausted from the tum section which I had run through twice already just before then, and 2) I was trying to keep up with the instructor. No, I've still not mastered the section at all (in fact I'm a little afraid of it), but the next morning, I left the DVD off, put on The Simpsons, and tried that back move again at my own speed and in my own time, and I kind of, sort of, maybe almost got the basics of it down. Perhaps. But I didn't want to throw my hoop out of the window that time. Simply put: there are sections to the DVD that are ridiculously hard, but practice them and you will get them. If you're struggling to keep up with the instructor, remember that it's not a dance routine, so you can turn it off and focus on teaching yourself the move.
   One thing I will add to that section, though, is that at the end of it, the radio host does come back and the two of them go over that move (called the booty bump) and you can see her make the same mistakes you will. The instructor, as before, identified the problem and offered solutions. I had given up at that point because I was exhausted when I saw it, but I appreciated what she was saying. Personally, I was struggling to get the hoop to go diagonal because my back muscles were exhausted. All I was doing was keeping it horizontal (and, don't ask me how I managed it, at several points I got it moving at an upwards angle again - clearly I was doing something wrong!).
   There is a section for the arms - beware where you try this: I have yet to do so myself because I'm convinced I'm going to bring the ceiling fan down - and a section for legs. There's a section for the bum, and one of the two moves is definitely difficult. The other kind of goes against what you were initially taught (keeping the hoop above your hips) because it has you bringing the hoop beneath (not on!!!) your hips and around your bum instead. You have to spin the hoop much faster to keep it there, and trust me when I say it's surprisingly taxing.

   Overall, while it is the only hooping DVD available in the UK, it is actually a good one. It doesn't teach you a million moves, but the moves it does teach you are surprisingly hard, but they are learnable. It's difficult enough to last for quite some time, is well-worth the little money it costs, and despite what some reviewers whine about (some people complained about the music - the DVD came out in 2007, of course the music is old! It's a workout DVD anyway, not a music DVD. Some people really annoy me), it's actually perfectly adequate. Don't get me wrong, I'd love a new one with some new moves so I can do even more, but for now, this has more than enough for me. So while you don't really have a choice if you're looking for a Region 2 hooping DVD, rest assured that this DVD is actually pretty good. I bought it second hand, but if it suddenly broke or went missing, I would buy it again, and at full price, because it's well worth more than the asking price, as I believe most of my fitness DVDs are (bare in mind, however, that the effectiveness of a workout depends on how often you do it, how long you spend on it at a time, and how you behave in regards to food and activity outside of exercising).


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