DVD Review: Iron Yoga, Anthony Carillo (2005)

June 15th, 2006 11:59 pm by Kelly Garbato

Yoga on Steroids!

four out of five stars

The main premise of Anthony Carillo’s Iron Yoga workout is that you can maximize your yoga session by adding hand weights to increase the challenge. The result is a highly effective, low-impact yoga routine that demands great focus, endurance, balance, flexibility, and willpower.

The 54-minute Iron Yoga workout is led by instructor Anthony Carillo, who designed the routine as part of his training for the Iron Man Triathlon (this should give you some clue as to how effective and demanding the workout is). Although Carillo leads you through an advanced workout, there are two women working through the same routine in the background; one at a beginner level, the other, intermediate. The most obvious difference is that each instructor uses a different set of dumbbells. You can clearly see that the beginner is working with a 2-pound set, while the intermediate instructor sports a 3-pound pair (which is the weight I use). However, I couldn’t tell what weight Carillo was working with, and he never mentions it. Aside from lifting different weights, the beginner and intermediate models modify the yoga poses to demonstrate easier levels for less experienced yoga students. In general, the transition between poses is gradual enough that beginners won’t have any trouble following along, and the risk of tweaking a muscle with the weights is significantly lowered for all. Consequently, Iron Yoga is a great workout for both beginners and experienced yogis alike: you can vary both the weight and the poses according to your fitness level.

During the workout, Carillo leads the audience through a number of challenging yoga poses, including the triangle, several warrior series, awkward chair, tree sequence, and eagle. Poses that help with stretching and flexibility include the sun series, upward and downward facing dog, locus, pigeon, and child’s pose. Throughout the workout, he also incorporates various moves with the dumbbells to work the upper body. Examples include bicep, tricep, and wrist curls, tricep extensions, military presses, and lateral raises. These exercises are performed either while standing in mountain pose, or while holding some of the more challenging yoga poses (e.g., triangle). The dumbbell work, with few exceptions, involves three slow reps of each move while inhaling and exhaling deeply, and on the fourth count you must hold the move at “static peak” for several breaths. Depending on the yoga pose and the dumbbell exercise, this can be much harder than it sounds!

As an instructor, Carillo is great: simultaneously calm and soothing and motivational and encouraging (not exactly what you’d expect from an Iron Man!). On their own, neither the yoga nor weighted portions of the workout are exceptionally challenging; but combined, they make for a very demanding routine. I’ve been doing yoga for several years now (in addition to some light weight training, as well as pilates, kickboxing, and Tae Bo), and am in fairly good shape, but I still find myself sore the day after I do Iron Yoga. Of the many DVDs I own, this is probably in my top six favorites. It’s a fun break from the frenetic cardio sessions I’m used to, but it’s still effective, especially for toning the upper body. With both yoga and weights, it’s the best of two worlds. Kind of like yoga on (natural) steroids (!).

My only complaint is that Carillo has only made one Iron Yoga DVD to date (hint, hint!).

EQUIPMENT NEEDED: A pair of dumbbells and a yoga mat or carpeted floor. A masseuse for the day after won’t hurt, either!

(This review was originally published on Amazon. Please click through and vote it helpful if you think it so!)

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