Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Cleo's Rock N Pole

Last month, I took on the challenging of trying Cleo's Rock N Pole website.  In the interest of full disclosure, I was provided a free month of lessons in exchange for reviewing the site.  My plan was to approach the lessons from the perspective of a plus-sized pole dancer who no longer has a pole at home.

Cleo's Rock N Pole is a combination of Cleo's previously-produced DVDs, as well as new lessons and challenges by Cleo, in addition to some videos by guest instructors.  I like how the lessons are grouped.  There are clearly marked sections for the warm-up, fundamentals/pole (broken down by level), floor/chairplay or strength/flexibility training.  In the Rock N Pole section, you can find cute choreographed routines.  I found there were plenty of lessons for someone who does not have a pole at home.  I especially was interested in flexibility and strengthening exercises as I feel like I am constantly battling weight issues and injuries.

I enjoyed the Rockin Legs N Abs (RLNA) daily challenges (found under flexibility).  I was able to follow the videos fairly easily, although I have to say that Cleo moves really quickly.  I would sometimes catch myself trying to keep up, but felt like I was sacrificing my form.  I noticed that when I did some of the moves at half time, I was still sore and sweaty at the end, so it was good to listen to my body.  I really appreciated that Cleo's voice overs often offered modifications and encouraged beginners (or inflexible people like me) to be careful about pushing themselves into moves for which they aren't ready.  The lessons are also accompanied by specific hashtags so you can take to social media to search for others who may be doing the same challenge if you have questions or need motivation.

I would say the hardest thing about doing any kind of home workout is the fact that you are trying to do it alone.  It can set you up to injure yourself, it can be lonely, and it can be hard to motivate yourself to continue the program.  Cleo has a really active group on Facebook called Rockin' Legs N' Abs.  It is a great place to connect with others to receive the moral support that you may sometimes need to motivate yourself to bang out that late night workout even though you're exhausted.  With members from around the world, you will probably always find someone online and willing to chat.  Cleo's site also offers a blog and community tab to help people connect as well.  My biggest concern with any DVD or online workout videos is that those new to this kind of workout may injure themselves.  I believe if you have spent any time in group exercise classes, though, you usually know well enough if you are doing something you shouldn't.  If it hurts, stop.  Definitely talk to your doctor if you are just starting up a workout program for the fist time.

I am an extremely inflexible human so a month of working on my flexibility didn't really give me noticeable results.  I am 18 years into doing yoga and the fact that I can now touch my toes in a forward bend is a huge accomplishment.  However, I did really enjoy Cleo's workouts.  I hope that you will check out her site and then come back and tell me what you thought!

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