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With DVD launch, Physique 57 moves beyond Manhattan

Tilt Back BarPhysique 57, the Lotte Berk-inspired exercise method with a legion of celebrity enthusiasts, just released a 3 DVD set.  Although the three workouts don’t depart from the annoying tropes of exercise videos–annoyingly chipper instructor teaching a small class of fembots in an anonymous studio–they provide a hard-core approximation of a class at one of its Manhattan locations. This new set is great news for devotees of Physique 57 who don’t want to miss a day, but it’s unlikely to convert the rest of the country to the method. The DVDs don’t distinguish themselves in the saturated exercise market and second, the method’s exacting technique with its emphasis on proper body alignment is difficult to teach on camera. That said, the celebrity factor–Kelly Ripa and Christy Turlington are both fans–could make the DVD’s shortcomings moot.

physique57First, there’s the classic 57-minute workout, which takes you through the elements of a regular balletic class—isometric exercises and stretches, knee bends, and an inhuman number of leg lifts. But without the energy of a live teacher and classmates, I find an hour-long DVD to be too long. Much more helpful were the two 30-minute workouts—one devoted to whole body, the other just to abs and arms. These express workouts left me just as pleasantly sore and fatigued as an actual class, but the gear needed poses problems for traveling. The program requires a playground ball (how to explain the hand pump to the TSA?), as well as some light and heavy weights. On a recent trip to California, I had to venture to the hotel gym to do the workout where there were weights but no playground ball (and medicine balls don’t work as substitutes).

This Wednesday (10/14) Calypso St. Barth is hosting a launch party for Physique 57’s DVDs at the flagship store, 815 Madison Avenue at 68th Street. At this free event, you’ll get a chance to meet Physique 57 founder Jennifer Vaughan Maanavi as well as master instructors Tanya Becker and Shelly Knight. Free champagne and 20% off all purchases. RSVP to

Have you tried Physique 57’s DVDs? What did you think? Tell us, here!