I received these videos last year on my build up to a packed fall racing calendar and found them to be extremely helpful in strengthening my core . Unfortunately, I wrecked my achilles, felt sorry for myself, and fell off the wagon for a few months.
Recently I’ve begun watching/using the DVDs again and am looking forward to regaining the core strength and flexibility I had over the summer and bidding my hip soreness adieu for good.
I should mention that this is the only video I’ve used to improve my running. For training and conditioning, I’ve always preferred to do something outside (run, ride, blade, climb), but since my flexibility can been compared to a iron rod, I’ve had to take this step. Ain’t no shame in it.
First, Greg McMillan. He’s not some infomercial blow-hard hawking a “get in shape fast” video.
He’s a world-class runner, Exercise Physiologist, and elite/Olympic coach who knows what he’s talking about and has tailored these videos to runners. Greg is in the videos and narrates the routines with a Texan twang. For more information on McMillan, check out their website here and listen to our podcast with McMillan coach Ian Torrence here.
The format is simple. There are three discs (stages 1-3) and it’s recommended you take it slow moving up the chain. For me the warning wasn’t necessary, as I’m still barely able to complete the first disc and am not that into masochism.
Each disc is then broken up into 2 sections–a detailed example of how to perform each stretch, and a section where you do the stretch along with the guy on the screen while coach Greg counts down the rep (to sometimes cheesy music.) Emphasis is placed on quality over quantity, and I often find myself finishing a fragment of the reps in order to complete them correctly. He’ll occasionally use phrases I’m not familiar with–dorsiflex?–but at that point I watch the video and catch up.
An aspect I liked is that these are straightforward routines and stretches. No dancing, no nagchampa, no shame if you can’t touch your toes with your nose. I do them on my living room floor with my 3 year old. There are a few routines that require implements (a big inflatable birthing ball and a bosu ball) that I just skip over.
Note that the guy in the video is extremely flexible. I do wish that differing levels of flexibility were discussed and advice was given on how to perform the stretches when you can’t do straight-legged windmills with your legs.
Couldn’t I just pull up YouTube and learn how to stretch? Theoretically yes, but here’s why I choose this set of videos:
- I’m easily distracted. If I’m on YouTube, I’m going to be wandering around looking at trail videos, concerts, or any of the other silly videos that will sap my time away.
- I trust McMillan. Who are these other people on YouTube and what are their credentials?
- This is a set routine I can complete every day with an expected build-up. Pretty sure I couldn’t find that online.
This set was sampled to URP, though it retails for $40 on the McMillan website.
Would I recommend this product? Absolutely. For those who need added flexibility (all of us) or strength (especially core strength for the longer hauls), this video set fits the bill perfectly.