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Callanetics is back! What can be achieved with this iconic exercise programme?

Callanetics over 50Article by Fabafterfifty

Callanetics was incredibly popular 20 years ago,  I know,  I exercised to my old video until the tape became mangled in my old VHS player – finding a replacement proved to be impossible. I was so pleased to find out Callanetics is being relaunched in the UK, I bought a copy of the original programme on DVD at the Vitality show last week. Anyone who, like me,  exercised to the original will still have those images of Callan Pinckney counting us through those barely there movements.  I asked Callanetics if they could explain the benefits of the Callanetics programme to me. Judy (pictured), now 70, has been teaching callanetics since she was 50 – what a great advertisement for the programme!

Judy,  I for one, am delighted to see the new DVD become available, but why is Callanetics being relaunched now?
We are now offering teacher training worldwide through our Home Study Program.  The trainee is led through the training process beginning with the Traditional program and finalizing in the Evolution program.  During the 20+ years since Callan developed this phenomenal program it has evolved, making the program even safer and bringing even faster results than ever before.
What makes Callanetics so effective in a relatively short time period?
Callan was a leader in creating a program that used small movements (which we call “pulses”) while working in a relaxed manner.  Keeping the entire body relaxed allows deeper work into the muscle fibers and keeping the non-targeted muscles relaxed provides more energy to the working muscle group.
These techniques create very rapid results in drawing the body in and up as well as providing support for the back, allowing freedom from back pain for many students.

How Does Callanetics work?

What is the principle behind Callanetics?
The Callanetics Exercise Method works the body from the inside-out.  Work begins from the pelvic floor muscles, which recruit the deep abdominal muscles as well as the deep intrinsic muscles that support the spine.  As these muscles strengthen they eventually become a stabilizer of the spine, providing dynamic stabilization.
While working in proper form, relaxed and in our peak position, we add tiny movements (pulses).  We teach students to vary the style of pulses to create a 3-dimensional effect, engaging more muscle fibers and confusing muscle memory.  Each pulse works the muscle in a different way, utilizing muscle confusion and enhancing body shaping.
callanetics in your 50sWhy is this form of exercise particularly suited to women over 50?
As we enter the menopausal years we often find that we have lost muscle tone, have a dropped pelvic floor, have lost the strength of the deep intrinsic spine support muscles and possibly have lost some bone density.
A high percentage of my clients are in the “over 50” age category and have found that simply attending 2-3 Callanetics classes per week produces a tremendous change in 100% of them.  Simply by developing the deep intrinsic muscles their posture is quickly improved, any back or knee pain is relieved or stopped and they are getting a full body workout without putting any impact on their back, neck or knees.  Once they have taken classes long enough to understand the techniques we incorporate into our classes, their body takes this muscle memory into other phases of their life.  They are able to re-enter the arena of hiking, skiing, biking or whatever activities they have done in the past.  The Callanetics Exercise Method has given them their life back!
What results should we be able to see and feel, and how quickly?
It is common for students to see and feel results after only one class, and some after 2-3 classes.  The results vary between students.  It may be lifting the posture, drawing in the waist, erasing saddlebags, eliminating back pain, lifting the behind and/or losing a clothing size.
Does The Callanetics Exercise Method create weight loss?
No, it is not a weight loss program but it appears to be simply because women commonly reduce their clothing size quickly.  The Callanetics Exercise Method increases lean body mass proportionate to body fat, resulting in a higher metabolic burn rate of calories per hour.  This can profoundly restrict the body’s tendency to produce fat tissue.

How often and for how long should you do the programme?
I recommend to my clients that they begin with 5 classes per week the first month and then they can reduce their classes to 2-3 per week.  During the first month they are still learning to apply the concepts that we work with, including proper form, total relaxation and how to use the various pulses.  Once their muscle memory has been developed they can reduce their classes if they desire.
Although I recommend they start with 5 classes per week, I have many students who are not able to attend 5 classes per week and start with only 2-3.  These students still get results, but on a slower path.
I bought a copy of the original DVD, but I notice that there a several different versions now, can you talk us through them and which would be best for our age-group?
I recommend CallaneticsEvolution for everyone.  The Callanetics Exercise Method started with Callan’s innate sense of safety and natural body alignment and over time evolved to include more body alignment principles, spinal mobility and safety and a deeper mind-body connection.  The evolution of The Callanetics Exercise Method provides even faster results than ever, more safety for the back, neck and knees, and much quicker results.
The common area we worry about seem to be  our middles- how effective is Callanetics in addressing this area?
The Callanetics Exercise Method works the abdominal muscles from the inside-out.  It actually strengthens the deepest core muscles in the body, working into the entire abdominal muscle group.  Being able to draw the belly in and up is the beginning of bringing the body into alignment and standing taller.

 Are there people who shouldn’t follow the Callanetics programme?

What about people with chronic conditions? Are there people who shouldn’t follow the Callanetics programme?
I work daily with clients who have chronic conditions such as back, neck or knee pain, inflammatory diseases such as arthritis and lupus, those who have had hip replacement or knee replacement and those who suffer from occupational or recreational injury.
The program is non-impact and easy on the joints, tendons and ligaments, making it a comfortable exercise for most people.
I always ask clients who are under doctor’s care for any chronic condition to get permission from their doctor before beginning the program.  I am not a doctor but am indeed an exercise instructor who can teach students to work in a way that does not put pressure or add pain on areas of concern.
If you follow the Callanetics programme, should you also do separate cardio exercise. Or is Callanetics sufficient in itself?
The Callanetics Exercise Method does not provide a cardio vascular workout.  I recommend that students gravitate to a cardio workout that they love and this will encourage them to actually do it on a regular basis.  It could be walking, working with the CardioCallanetics DVD, running, swimming, biking, etc.
Typically what ages are the people in your classes?
The age range of my clients is between 25 and 86, with the greatest participation in the range between 47 and 65.  Our method of teaching includes a full demonstration of each exercise and stretch while students go into position.  After completing the demonstration we move onto the floor and work hands-on with each student, correcting, modifying or intensifying them into a position that will give them the safest and quickest results.

What results have you seen in your classes?
So many that I can’t list them all, but here are the usual ones I see on a daily basis.
Tightened and flat abdominal muscles; improved posture; development of lean, firm legs; lifted and tightened behinds; elimination of saddlebags and freedom from back, neck and knee concerns.  Keep in mind that all of this occurs while protecting their back and knees!
I remind my clients that age has nothing to do with muscle development.  An example would be a student entering the program at age 65 who has never exercised in her entire life.  Her de-conditioned body can be guided to develop appropriate muscle memory and strengthen quickly from the inside-out!
What difference has the Callanetics programme made to you personally?
A huge difference!!
At age 35 I developed chronic back problems due to bulging disks which were a result of early life athletic injuries.  This condition disabled me from participating in the outdoor recreation I enjoyed and prevented me from maintaining the healthful fitness to which I was accustomed.  My journey involved years of exploring a multitude of fitness regimes before finding one that could accommodate my back problems.  I finally found The Callanetics Exercise Method when I was 50 years old and am pleased to report that I no longer have chronic back pain.  This program did not “cure” it, but has allowed me to manage it by strengthening the back support muscles.
At age 50 when I began using this exercise method I lost 2 clothing sizes in 2 months (from size 10 to size 8 ) and over the next 6 months I lost another size (down to size 6).  I am still a size 6 at age 70.
I quickly eliminated my saddlebags and improved my posture.

Is Callan Pinckney herself still involved?
Callan, the leader of our phenomenal program, has sadly died, but her legacy lives on.
You can find out more about Callanetics at www.callanetics.com The latest Callanetics DVDs are available from amazon


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  1. Toni Mackenzie

    April 13, 2011

    Thanks for this article Ceri, I’m delighted to hear Callanetics are making a comeback!

    The gym I used to go to about 17 years ago had three classes a week and I went to them all. More recently I went to a local class which included some Callanetics, but some other exercises too. I felt the others were a waste of time for me and much preferred the original classes so I didn’t continue.

    Last year I bought the new Callanetics Evolution DVD but have only watched it once so far. I do regular yoga sessions at the moment and definitely intend to add Callanetics to my fitness regime after the coming Easter holiday!


  2. Christine Jahani

    April 17, 2011

    I have been a certified Callanetics instructor for 3 years now and was actually trained by Judy (the woman in the picture). Callanetics is an amazing program that offers quick, safe results. I have taught my friends Callanetics for years and often they track me down for a class because women know this program works! There are many programs out there but NONE offer the sculpting, shaping, beautiful effects of Callanetics. I have seen so many transformations. Everyone should do this routine.

  3. Bonnie Lee

    April 17, 2011

    Since I think 1988 I have been doing Callanetics. Like Judy’s VCR Tape, my bible is the Callanetics book. I bought it at Target because it had a 30 day money back guarantee! No way I thought…absolutely no way.

    I was wrong….I don’t even lend my book out, and work out with my friends to Callanetics…

    It is absolutely the best..and I am Fab at 56!

    Best investment and quickest results you will EVER find!

  4. Jenny Spears Fister

    April 19, 2011

    I’m a new Certified Callanetics Teacher located in Post Falls, Idaho, also trained by Judy Mooser. I have barely been in my studio for a month and each week generate more students and income. I’m finding Callanetics speaks and sells for itself! My training was very thorough, and becoming Certified is only the beginning of my education.

    I am not 50 yet, I will be 39 this summer. I’m due with baby #8 in six weeks and can still roll back and forth in bed without any abdominal tearing whatsoever. It is still comfortable for me to sleep without any support under my legs or belly. People believe me just by looking at me that I have better muscle tone with my 8th pregnancy at age 38 than I did with my first at age 21.

    Judy, thank you for sharing this article. It was a delight to read and also helps me to better answer common questions I’m asked about Callanetics. You look gorgeous!

  5. Annie

    April 22, 2011

    CAlistenics are making a come back on some of the new DVD’s. Jillian Michaels has jumping jacks, running in place etc… It is a fun workout. It is hard but once you can do it all it gives you a feeling of success.

  6. Storie Mooser

    September 30, 2011

    I’m Judy Mooser’s husband. Those of you who had the good fortune of meeting her will be crushed to learn that she died of cancer on September 23rd. You can read all about it at http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/judymooser. Judy’s cancer was of a very aggressive type; she was diagnosed only on June 9th. The night before she was teaching a class, but by the 12th she was in the hospital.

    The cruel irony of it is that Judy was the embodiment of senior fitness; anyone who knew her would tell you that in appearance she looked decades younger.

    Like all the rest, I miss her terribly — that bright spirit gone.

    • Ceri Wheeldon

      September 30, 2011

      Storie, I am so sorry to hear of your loss. Judy will be missed by all those whose lives she touched. I am at a loss for words seeing the speed and suddenness of of Judy’s illness. Thoughts are with your family at this very difficult time. A very special and inspirational lady will be missed.

    • Barbara Blaize

      October 6, 2011

      Storie and Tara,
      I will see you at Judy’s Memorial
      She is so missed…
      Barbara and Les Blaize

    • Joy

      May 6, 2012

      I am so sorry for your loss, I feel like I know Judy from the Evolution DVD, she was so beautiful and calm. I am so thrilled that I discovered Callanetics, I am truly fabulous at 51

  7. Daisy

    April 8, 2012

    Just found out Callan Pinckney died March 1st as well. Judy & Callan were such wonderful ladies who showed you can get fit after 50.

    Rest in peace ladies.

    • Gayle

      May 18, 2012

      We can’t live forever, but it is wonderful to feel well until the time comes.

      I am really surprised that Judy and Callan died so young. Does anyone know how Callan was feeling in the past couple of years? How she died?

      • Sarah Wilson

        January 9, 2013

        I have such appreciation for the many contributions of such beautiful women like Judy and Callan. So very sorry to learn they are no longer with us. RIP beautiful angels.
        My deepest condolences to Mr Mooser and family as well as to Callan’s loved ones. I read that Callan also passed away due to cancer. I will always remember how elegant and graceful she was

  8. Terri Taylor

    June 7, 2013

    Would love to train as a callenetics instructor I live in salisbury and through using callenetics for my own personal use over the years I can honestly say it is by far the quickest way to transform your shape, I would love to share my knowledge of this with others x

  9. Gail

    September 27, 2013

    Hi I would like to say about 20 odd years ago I was addicted to callenetics and done them every day for 3 months solid, I lost 3 dress sizes in that time and felt great.Then over the next few years I did manage to maintain it. A few years ago I was quite ill and callenetics went the way side and I ended up out of shape and not fit again. When I felt better (took a few years) I decided to look up to see if I could by a DVD of callenetics and realised I could become a teacher. So I got in touch with the relevant people and started to train over Skype. Best thing I have ever done I am now a qualified callenetics teacher and take 3 classes a week I would recommend it to any one. I feel great and I’m getting back into shape. 🙂

  10. Ps 4 review

    March 19, 2014

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts about abdominal muscles.


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