GoFit Foam Roll DVD Training Kit

GoFit and Mark Verstegen, founder of the Athletes' Performance training system, have partnered to develop training kits and programming; the Foam Roll Kit with accompanying DVD is part of the current group.
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GoFit and Mark Verstegen, founder of the Athletes' Performance training system, have partnered to develop training kits and programming; the Foam Roll Kit with accompanying DVD is part of the current group.

A foam roll has been used for a very long time in rehabilitation and physical therapy for muscle massage, to work out kinks and spasms, to loosen tightness, and to work on stability and balance. As physical therapy "tricks" began to enter the fitness world, along came the foam roll, too, which is overall a superior complement to exercise programs. The problem, however, is that many people don't know what to do with this circular length of foam once they get one. That's where the importance of education comes in and where GoFit hopes this package will help consumers balance their program.

The GoFit foam roll itself is about half the length of many sold on the market (18 inches instead of 3 feet), which doesn't diminish its versatility and allows it to store easier – one of several testers liked that she could stash it easily in her office for muscle massage breaks and would even consider taking it with her on short driving trips.

A couple of testers expressed surprise at the brevity of the exercise section and that it was not a true workout, but rather an extremely short training DVD (a total of 17 minutes with only about eight minutes actually demonstrating exercises with the foam roll and the rest of the DVD dedicated to nutritional information and intro material). The box actually never indicates the length of the DVD although it does say it is a "Training DVD," which sorta slips past you. To make sure consumers aren't surprised when they get home, the packaging should be clearer that this is only an exercise demonstration – eight minutes at that. We also know Verstegen is very adamant about nutrition and its importance to a solid routine, but the package also never says you're going to hear about eight minutes from him on that. Most testers found it a bit off-putting since he had a wall of branded goods behind him, although if you listened closely to his schpiel it was relatively neutral and full of useful information.

Verstegen is a solid educator with a background training elite athletes, including the German national soccer team. For the consumer, however, we would love to see a little more animation, a few smiles, even a little humor. Not gushing – we loved he wasn't a cheerleading aerobics instructor – but just a little warmer, friendlier and more welcoming. Oh, and that intro about Verstegen's Athletes' Performance system? Say it in a sentence and move on.

On to the meat of the DVD: The exercises themselves are presented clearly – appealingly straightforward, according to one tester. "You could get a feel for each one and not be dragged through a bunch of 'fluff' to waste your time," she reported. However, if you actually want to do an exercise AND do it on both sides of your body, the explanations race roar past, so you better have the remote handy to stop the DVD to take a moment to go through a movement. Nevertheless, they are mostly clearly and concisely explained, and the demonstrator – an incredibly strong albeit not intimidating young woman – performs them well with perfect body positioning that is easy to follow.

We say "mostly" because Verstegen at times falls into vernacular that is only known to really serious exercisers -- the likes of "fire your glutes" or "stack it." Verstegen also sometimes assumes a tad too much, said another male tester, and doesn't add in enough explanation about why you would do a certain exercise or who should do it. In addition, this tester would love to have seen graphics or an illustration showing the muscles being used so he could better understand the movement, as well as a list showing which ones might be more beneficial to different activities (If you're a runner, do this…. If you're a cyclist, we suggest this….)

Still, all testers loved the exercises and felt they would be a good complement to an exercise program. We will most certainly keep the roll in the family room to be able to pop in a few massaging stretches while watching TV or … just because. In fact, one tester new to foam roll exercises liked the hamstring one so much – she has problems with hamstring pulls – she went back and did quite a bit of that one. Her comment: "At the time it felt good, but was I ever sore the next day! So perhaps he should mention somewhere to do a gradual build-up." We agree. Also, a few additional warnings could be included about certain movements not being advised for beginners – with easier modifications shown -- since some require quite a bit of either ab or upper-body strength.

Another tester, who never seen or used a foam roll before, called the stretches "a good owie."

One missing piece: Either a printed piece included showing the basic roster of exercises with illustrations OR a section on the DVD that a user can print out if desired. Said one tester, "I found that I would forget the various exercises, and it's really inconvenient to have to run to the DVD player each time you want to do a few. I would use this once I got the routine and could remember the stretches."

Overall though, and despite our nits, we feel this is a super kit for the right user who already has a bit of exercise experience.

SNEWS® Rating: 4.0 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection)

Suggested Retail: $30

For more information:www.gofit.net or 1-888-530-4441

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