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March 29, 2004 | by  | in Books |
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Punk Rock Aerobics

Maura Jasper and Hilken Mancini spent their youth as chain-smoking punk rock booze hags, working up a sweat rocking out to punk rock tunes. Now a little older and a little wiser, they decided to clean up a bit, health-wise, but didn’t want to totally throw in the punk towel. Thinking back to their days of sweat-inducing pogoing, they pondered whether they could utilise their fave punk rock moves and tunes, aerobics-style. They honed their technique watching Richard Simmons videos and listening to Iggy Pop, simultaneously (scary), coming up with something halfway between aerobics and mosh pit moves. So enthusiastic about their invention, they went out, got qualified as instructors and bought Punk Rock Aerobics to the masses, taking classes to punk rock soundtracks at clubs like CBGB’s in their native city, New York.

Punk Rock Aerobics is an exercise manual plus, for those who would rather rock out that work out. Plenty of interesting punk-rock trivia is included to keep it readable, including interviews with punk rockers like Mike Watt and Peaches, quizzing them on their fitness style. Check out the ‘Top Punk Physiques’ list for some inspiration, of course featuring the mega-ripped Henry Rollins (phwoar…this could be you!).

PRA is surprisingly practical when it come to proper exercise stuff. The authors advise on matters such as footwear (no Docs), exercise space and stretching. However, exercise-wear is a free-for-all – Chucks, fishnets, sweatbands, legwarmers and vintage band tees all feature, which makes for amusing demonstration shots. Laughable ironic outfits aside, all the stretches and moves are demonstrated really well, in layperson’s terms, with some handy hints for the very un-co (they presume this to be most of the audience). They start pretty simply, with your basic ‘pogo’, working their way through to tougher stuff. Personal favourite: ‘You be the Star Air Guitar’ (Yes! Arm windmilling included!).

Of course, Jasper and Mancini have recommended the best tunes for the job, showing a bunch of routines to start you off and recommending soundtracks. No probs if you’re a mere punk rock beginner, the authors have helpfully included a list of good compilations, and a handy discography for those who want to delve a little deeper musically.

So if you’ve had enough of OTT aerobics classes to crappy dance remixes, or can’t face another serene yoga-lates instructor sticking her ankles behind her ears, give PRA a go. At times it’s a real crack-up, and at the very least you’ll have a good laugh while listening to some great tunes.

Maura Jasper and Hilken Mancini
Da Capo Press, $39.95

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