Video Fitness

Freedom Restoration Complilation DVD

JB Berns

This is, without a doubt, one of my best purchases of 2004. It doesn’t have the glitz or glamour of P90X or Core Secrets. Nor the hype. What it DOES have is a huge selection of therapeutic stretches and strengthening exercises for the whole body. For once you feel that an instructor is out to help you, instead of kill you!

I have the compilation DVD which consists of seven Restoration workouts:

Knee & Hip
Ankle & Foot
Hand & Elbow
Flexibility (Whole Body)

Each section is divided into two approximately 12-15 minute segments: “A” and ”B”. “A” is a bit easier, then you can progress to the exercises in “B”. The DVD is well chaptered so you can pick and choose the segments fairly easily.

I have tried all the sections. I especially like the Shoulder one. My shoulders feel loose and stretched out. The Foot & Ankle segment has some interesting and comprehensive foot exercises. The full body flexibility one is good, too. Heck, I like all the workouts. There are many exercises I’ve never seen or done before. And some I’ve seen in physical therapy books.

JB is on a bright set with two background exercisers (No Ms. HappyPants, thank heavens!) Greg Twombly was the producer, so you know these workouts are well-produced. The music is pretty good.

I know I will get a lot of use out of these. Three and a half hours of exercises for under $20? What a deal!!! I’m very happy I got this DVD!

Instructor comments: JB is more subdued here than usual. He is sincere and cues well. He tends to repeat himself a lot, which doesn’t bother me. He is quite flexible.


Aug 20, 04

his DVD by instructor JB Burns is also known as JB Burns’ Freedom Restoration Series. It contains a series of rehabilitative workouts addressing seven different areas of the body. For each area, there is a “Series A,” which is more beginning-level and a bit less intense, and “Series B,” which includes more intermediate exercises and more active stretches, for at total of 14 workouts on the DVD. Most of the workouts are about 15 minutes long, although some are as short as 11 minutes, and a few are as long as 23 minutes. All of the workouts feature Burns with two female background exercises (the women are different in each segment), and the only props that are needed are a chair and a mat for the floorwork. I have broken down each body area in greater detail below.

The back segments were the longest at about 23 minutes each. The A Series focuses mainly on lower back and core stretches; it includes some beginning crunches, prone moves, work on all fours, and a few kneeling and standing stretches to finish. B Series takes it up a notch with intermediate pelvic tilts, crunches and bridge work. It also contains more exercises for the hamstrings and more intense low back stretches, including some tough work in the prone position.

Both series consist of about 12 exercises. In Series A, the stretches are more basic, moving the shoulders through all planes of motion. There is also some isometric work. Series B is more active, with many of the exercises being the same as moves that you would typically do with weights.

Series A focuses includes exercises to mobilize the kneecaps and strengthen the quads. It includes various hip stretches, including isometric and hip flexor stretches, and the series is performed almost entire on the floor. In contrast, Series B features stronger stretches for the hips and hamstrings, and it consists mostly of standing work.

This is the only section where Burns and the women do not wear shoes; each segment is about 13 minutes long. Series A starts out with manipulative work for the toes and ankles. Continuing in a seated position, there are various stretches for the toes, ankles, and feet. Series B offers similar stretches, but from a lying position; this segment ends with additional standing moves.

Both A and B contain 12 exercises and are about 12 minutes long. The A Series begins with a finger massage and continues into many different types of wrist stretches, including some isometric movements. In Series B, there are more active finger stretches and then a different sequence of wrist stretches.

These series are short at about 11 minutes each. Both A and B follow a similar pattern: the series begins in a standing position for a brief stretch, then moves to the floor for a series of abdominal crunches and bridge work. Series A includes isometric moves, whereas Series B includes more intermediate/advanced crunches. Both series end with a brief stretch.

Both of the series in the Flexibility portion offer a sequence of stretches for the entire body, and thus these segments would work well for stretching after a workout. The two segments are actually quite similar, covering areas such as wrists, low back, mid/upper back, chest, groin, hips, hamstrings, and ankles; perhaps the only differences are that Series A includes neck stretches, and Series B goes into the stretches a bit more deeply.

As the DVD case notes, these workouts are designed to rehab the body, and so they would be excellent for anyone suffering from a sports-specific injury—for example, the shoulder rehab for golfers. However, the entire DVD is ideal for anyone who would like to improve posture and increase flexibility. I know that I will appreciate having this DVD on hand both for when I feel the need to get some extra stretching in or especially whenever I might be experiencing any specific aches and pains that need to be addressed. The only thing that I did not like about this DVD was the music; the case describes it as having “great music and high energy,” but I found the fast-paced music jarring for a workout billed as gentle and rehabilitative in nature. Otherwise, however, this is definitely a valuable addition to a home exercise video library, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it.

Instructor comments: Since some people like to know about accents, I'll mention that Burns has a fairly heavy Brooklyn-type (I think!) accent. Sometimes I found his cueing a bit over-the-top (eg, he repeatedly says things like "hang on, you're almost there," even when what you are doing isn't very hard), but other than that, I thought he was fine.

Beth C (aka toaster)

October 30, 2008

Video Fitness copyright © 1996 - 2009 Wendy Niemi Kremer    All rights reserved