Rocking Legs and Abs, or RLNA, is a workout DVD that aims towards getting front, middle and pancake splits, as well as other standing splits. It is an hour long and contains a whole body warmup and 8 chapters which can be done all at once or selectively.
At first glance, it looks like a 80’s hard rock themed production with a matching soundtrack. Cleo’s passion towards her music is subtly pronounced in the original song selection and how some exercises perfectly time to it. I’m not too big on this genre, yet the soundtrack never got old or annoying, even after hearing it dozens of times. It’s not distracting and cues are heard clearly over it.
Although this workout doesn’t require a pole, it was produced by a pole dancer and geared towards pole dancers. I can imagine how some things may look odd to someone from a completely different discipline trying to use this DVD. Also, I can’t say it is very gender neutral either, and I’m not sure how an average guy would feel about it.
I purchased RLNA after my progress with the traditional (that is, passive) stretching was not satisfactory. I knew all the stretches there was to know and did them consistently, yet my splits barely got better. I kept seeing testimonials from RLNAers and decided on it over other DVDs.
The routine Cleo put together surprised me with how little stretching (or what I considered back then as stretching) it actually contained. Out of all 8 chapters, only the last one is all stretches and splits. The rest are set of dynamic movements and strengthening drills.
Despite that, my progress was very noticeable. I lowered to my first (somewhat cheaty and open) split within two months and made visible progress on the other two.
It uses a range of different techniques, from dynamic stretches, active flexibility, PNF, pure strengthening drills to actual passive stretches. It sure gets your muscles tired and too weak to resist your stretching in the short term, and strong in the long term which is even more valuable for persistent flexibility gains.
The more I learn about flexibility, the more impressed I am with this workout. Whenever I discover another piece of the puzzle I was missing in my training, I find that RLNA already has it covered. I’m most certain that even exercises that I don’t understand why they are included, serve a purpose I’m not aware of yet.
There is, though, a lack of instructions on proper alignment or cues in the drills. It kind of takes away from the impression that this is intelligently put together well thought through routine, which it totally is.
I took progress pictures almost every session and kept seeing small improvements every time. The progress really got me hooked up and excited towards my next session. I was too curious to see where will it take me next time.
It would have been almost impossible to convince yourself to do RLNA all the time without this excitement. It’s a hard workout and I often found talking myself through it (“You’ve already done the warmup and the Rocking Legs chapter, the worst is already behind you”) and in need to keep a strong character not succumb to the temptation of skipping chapters (Yes, I too have gone months without doing the Lunges and High Kicks).
Once you fall off the wagon, it’s much harder to get back to regularly do RLNA. It’s already hard, and all the strength you lost while you slacked off will make it even harder and you just don’t like subjecting yourself to it again.
So if it so good, why ain’t I one of Cleo’s success girls? It worked for me, but I just wasn’t consistent enough with it. I was off RLNA probably longer than I was on. At the beginning I tried really hard to do it consistently, but now I only do it when I need a surge of strength and I keep up with it until I don’t.
Although I’m not a success story, I still heartily recommend this routine to any poler seeking to get their splits (I dragged two of my IRL poler friends to do it with me). Most people don’t know they need strengthening in their stretching and most polers lack lower body strength training, so this routine has a high chance of giving them ballistic results as it did for me.